Sunday 6 November 2011


Lord Kilmuir, who heard about his dismissal on the wireless: You have given me less notice than I would a housekeeper. Harold Macmillan: But good housekeepers are so hard to find.

My mind is chock full of anecdotes and sometimes one has to repeat one. Neither Kilmuir nor Harold Macmillan was terribly nice. Macmillan when asked why his son Maurice whom I knew and loved did not get further in politics said because he was not a shit. 

My favourite of my scores and scores of Macmillan stories is of when the Queen, Mrs. Thatcher and the five living former ‘Prime Ministers  had dinner at No. 10 to celebrate 300 years since it was built. As the famous photograph was being taken James Callaghan said: I wonder what is the collective noun of Prime Ministers. To which Lord Stockton who was 91 instantly replied: a lack of principals.

Oh and the Maharajah school friend of Macmillan who came to tea at No. 10 on one of his rare visits to the UK. Maurice told me: They overran their time and Papa’s private secretary came in and said I’m sorry to disturb you, Prime Minister, but you are due to meet the Finnish Ambassador in five minutes. To which the Maharajah looked at my father and said ‘But Harold, dear boy, you never told me you’d gone into politics.’

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