Whisky Magazine Issue 44
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Michael Jackson crosses paths with HRH Charles
Prince Charles was heading in my direction. It was, indeed, envisaged that we should meet. His People had spoken to My People, in the way that these matters are arranged. The Prince and I would talk about beer and whisky. We were to meet in Turin, on the roof of a building that had once been the Fiat car factory.
For a man who was on the road, he looked in better shape than I did.
Turin was a more testing journey than expected. The only remotely suitable flight would deposit me in time for the meeting with the Prince, but only just. If it were, in the British tradition, fashionably late, I understood that I would be granted no such indulgence.
In the event, the plane was more or less on time, but when it landed, my troubles started.
At the airport, the usual line-up of limo drivers waited, displaying handmade signs bearing the names of their intended passengers. Two had my name. One approached, addressing me in English, but was then himself greeted by a couple of women passengers, with whom he vanished into the crowd. Meanwhile, the second man with a sign bearing my name hustled me away, whisked my bags into a cab, paid the driver, and gave him instructions in Italian.
While I tried to establish what the instructions were, the driver had his foot on the gas. He seemed unable to relax until he triumphantly had us sealed in a traffic jam.
Had he been instructed to take me to the Fiat building or the hotel? If the former, what was I to do with the baggage on a long tour? ...