If you ask me, royal books are having the best year ever.
First, I plowed through The Royal We in about three days and suffered from withdrawal. THEN I discovered The Prince George Diaries (Michael Joseph books, November 2015) a satirical first-person account of George’s life, as recorded by the heir himself.
The book was written by the very smart, very funny Clare Bennett, a contributing editor to Tatler Magazine who has also worked on movies like Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
In fact, Hugh Grant declared the book “Very clever. Best diary of a two-year-old I’ve read this year.”
Bennett was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book, including the Duchess of Cambridge’s imagined obsession with the Kardashians and what she was doing the day Princess Charlotte was born.
You gave readers a taste of The Prince George Diaries in Tatler’s November 2014 issue. When did you know this was bigger than just a column?
When Penguin asked me if I’d like to write an entire book! That was a pretty massive moment.
The way you described Kate watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians was fantastic. How did you come to imagine her sitting on the couch, binging on episodes?
I think I read somewhere that she watches it – although even if she doesn’t, I thought it would be funny to write about her doing deeply normal things like worrying about Kim and Kanye’s house taking too long to be ready because it was time North had her own room.
And also because I’m obsessed with the Kardashians and I therefore sort of won’t believe Kate isn’t too.
Do you watch The Only Way Is Essex?
If no, neither do I.
If yes, who was/is your favorite “personality” aside from Nanny Pat?
I’m afraid I have never seen an episode of TOWIE, which is completely stupid because obviously I would love it.
You’ve been around two classically British comedies, having worked with the great Richard Curtis. What was that like? How did he influence you?
I worked for Richard for a long time and Love Actually particularly took over our lives for two and a half insanely fun years because he wrote, directed and edited it. He would sometimes be rewriting jokes before we shot a scene and I often rewrite up until the wire too.
I rewrote the whole of David Cameron’s storyline in the book to be about him obsessing over his weight in his meetings with the Queen and wanting to talk about his competitive dieting with George Osborne more than politics five days before I filed it. That’s because a friend had mentioned to me that in real life, David Cameron had announced he was going on a diet.
Richard said that things are funnier when they ring true, and he’s right. All this from the man who scored less than half in the quiz I wrote about the film in its accompanying book.
The only thing worse than Richard’s memory is his handwriting – and yet STILL he manages to be brilliant.
What was the toughest part of writing this book?
The day Charlotte was born – I had a truly soul-destroying hangover and spent the day in front of BBC News 24, shivering under a blanket on the sofa, trying to keep abreast of what was happening.
That was hard because I kept falling asleep. I thought they’d never leave that hospital.
Have you ever had a royal encounter?
I haven’t personally, but other members of my family have.
My favourite story is when a cousin of my grandfather’s invited him and my grandmother to go wild-fowling with the Duke of Edinburgh, a friend of his, on Morston marsh in Norfolk. Granny was furious because she was expected to curtsy to the Duke in her gumboots.
He [Philip] had the little Prince Charles with him, and no one remembers how it came about, but somehow one of Prince Charles’s grey knitted school gloves ended up on the end of a stick in the outdoor clothes alcove in the hall of my grandparents’ house.
It’s one of the reasons the Duke is called G-Pop in the story, which is what we called my grandfather.
Bop Marry Kill: Fergie, Camilla, Princess Michael of Kent
When you say ‘bop’ do you mean hit? You want me to hit or kill one of them? Naughty.
Edina or Patsy?
Patsy. So glamorous, even when she’s unconscious.
Why should America welcome cooking expert Mary Berry with open arms?
Because, after Julie Andrews, she is probably the closest thing to a saint this country has ever produced.
Who is your favorite royal?
I just think the Queen is completely wonderful. I am such a super-fan.
And I love Prince Harry, now declared the most eligible bachelor in the world since [George] Clooney got married. A well-deserved accolade and I hope he’s making the most of it.
And my man George, of course – I mean, it’s impossible to pick one.
Will there be a sequel? Please say yes.
Well, you’re very sweet to say so – we’ll see!
The Prince George Diaries is available on Amazon.