There is a bit of an argument brewing about whether Prince Harry and Meghan should have publicly funded security provided. Well I dont want to argue the ins and outs of whether they deserve public money or not, but to be honest we have been involved with 3 events and found the security to be spectacular. Spectacularly bad that is.
Eton College Boating Lake
The first incident was a few years back when we provided a small children’s funfair in conjunction with the world rowing championships at Eton colleges boating lake in Dorney Park
Now the days the Royals were there, security consisted of seven rings. Radiating from the central point where royalty were sitting. You had to have appropriate passes to enter any particular ring. Being situated in the outer ring we had only level 1 passes.
One day, just after carrying out the daily checks, and a bit of maintenance on one of the rides, I went to the public toilets. These just happened to be near the gate for the next ring of security. I had a pair of overalls on to keep my cloths clean as I had been lubricating some moving parts. As I neared the entrance to level 2, the guy staffing the entrance, opened it to let me through.
Hmm, I wonder how far I could go. I actually walked through the first 5 levels, into level 6 before I chickened out. It was quite a lucrative contract, so I didn’t really want to lose it, but it opened my eyes, all you need to beat security like that is a pair of dirty overalls.
Princess Anne’s Helicopter
The second incident came when we again provided a small children’s funfair to the National Farmers Union Insurance company. They were opening their headquarters after a major refurbishment.
Now, we couldn’t set up until Princess Anne had taken off in her helicopter. Unfortunately she was running late, and I was panicking about being ready in time. I came up to the aircraft in question, and asked the security detail if I could fetch one of my cars up to unload it nearby, it would save me 5 minutes is all, but time was going to be tight.
The guys in the suits and ray bans had a quick conflab, then told me I was ok. I duly drove the car up, opened the boot, and discovered to my horror that my wife had stacked all the rifles off the shooting gallery in the back of the car, I smiled sickly as I slowly closed the boot, and told them it was ok, I would wait. Luckily they didn’t notice what was in there.
Agreed they were only air rifles, but they could have been actual assault rifles, and I could easily have shot the security staff then went looking for the Princess Royal.
Prince William And The Royal Birth
My favourite was during William and Kate’s last child being born. We had been contracted by Ladbrokes, the betting group to go down to the hospital where Kate was in labour. We were to give out tea and coffee to the paparazzi. Then when the baby was born, dispense copious amounts of Prosecco.
The brief from the client was that they didn’t have permission, and if the police objected we were just to leave, but they would still pay us.
When we turned up, the police were walking around with machine guns, yikes. I jumped out of the van, told the nearest copper what we were doing and that his guys/ladies and he could have tea and coffee whenever they wanted. He gave the thumbs up and we set up. Thing is, no one asked who gave us permission. Or even looked in our van to see if we had anything nasty in there.
It got even better. After the actual birth, we used our prosecco up, the client thanked us and told us we were free to pack up and go. Now, what we didn’t know was that the police had prevented any traffic moving in the vicinity of the hospital, as prince Williams motorcade was on its way in from Buckingham Palace.
Only, we were inside the cordon. We packed up jumped in the van and set off, straight around the corner and ran slap bang into the motorcade. Unfortunately our side of the road had a row of security fencing up so we couldn’t move over. As a result Prince William and all the following security vehicles had to drive up onto the pavement to squeeze past us. We were about 2 foot from the Prince, and could see his quizzical looks. We could also see the security officers and police in the following vehicles having apoplexy. Royal security not.