Doug Aiton reflects on meeting The Queen

“Oh, and Douglas…do give my regards to the Queen….”

This story is not about an interview. It is not even about a conversation. But I thought I would include it as it sticks in my memory.

This happened before I did interviews, in fact. It was way back in time when I was working for The Times in the early 1970s.

The Editor, William Rees-Mogg came to see me with a request. “Would you mind doing something for me, Douglas? I want you to represent me at Buckingham Palace because I have an important conference to attend.”

I said yes, of course. He gave me the details and then added “Oh and Douglas, do give my regards to the Queen.”

Of course, this was not the first time I had met her. Her first tour of Australia was in 1954, and I was only ten years old as she came down Virginia Street, Geelong in her royal carriage.

“Hooray, hooray, hooray,” I cried, as she swept past, waving at the hundreds of schoolboys gathered together to greet her.

Then I didn’t see her again until 1972 when I was commanded to meet her by my Editor.

Then, off I went in my humble 1959 Hillman Husky and sailed in to Buckingham Palace. I asked for the queen’s party and was ushered in to an adjoining garden. It was full of black Africans, all about 7 foot or so in height.

It emerged they were all ambassadors to London representing various African countries.

A man representing the Queen said to form a circle and I joined in. Then the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh entered and began introducing themselves to all those present.

They went inside the circle and, like clockwork, travelled around it in opposite directions saying “How do you do” to each of us.

The Queen reached me, looked momentarily puzzled, and enquired “Who are you?”

“Oh, I am from The Times, Your Majesty,” I said.

“Oh well” she said laughingly, “I don’t need to talk to you then” and moved on with a smile.

Then the Duke arrived. “Dr Livingstone I presume” he said.

About the Author

Doug Aiton was the Drive time Presenter at Melbourne’s 3LO from 1987 – 1997.

He has a combined past of newspapers and radio including a weekly column for the Sunday Age for about ten years. He is married to Judy and has three children.

Now in his 70s, Doug still presents a regular program on The Pulse Geelong.





Edited by Jessie Aiton