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BBC Breakfast With Frost, interview with HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, 2 June 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Well few people paying tribute to the Queen this weekend have a measure of what she's really like, we've all seen her public persona, the dedicated Monarch, the Head of State serving her country and leading the Commonwealth. But what's behind that regal smile, one person who certainly knows the answer to that is her son, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew. Earlier this week I went to his office inside Buckingham Palace where he told me what it was like growing up with the Queen as a mother. He began by talking about the times when she had to travel abroad.

PRINCE ANDREW: Because I was at school, I wasn't allowed to go on any of these, these wonderful tours that the Queen - she used to come back and regale us with wonderful stories, usually about the things that, more often than not, that went wrong rather than actually went right. And so we sort of lived through what she told us.

DAVID FROST: What sort of things went wrong - you mean?

PRINCE ANDREW: Oh I mean, all sorts of things would, would go wrong. Sometimes the car would break down. I remember one famous occasion when in the South Pacific when somebody's speech, she was telling me that somebody's speech notes - he'd sat on them, but he was wearing a grass skirt and when he stood up they were adhered to his backside, and sheet after sheet would gently...


PRINCE ANDREW: Come away and waft off across the parade ground.

DAVID FROST: And how did the relationship between the two of you develop over the years?

PRINCE ANDREW: Well I don't think it's developed, any, any more or any less than any other son/mother relationship. I mean it's an interesting point but of course as one grows up, and particularly as becoming part of the armed services, one looks at, at the Monarch in a different way. And so from just being mother to me, she also became the Queen and, and, and, and the epitome of what one is actually serving. And so I saw it from both sides.

DAVID FROST: So what would you say is her greatest quality, as a mother and as a Monarch?

PRINCE ANDREW: It's her compassion and understanding, I think, for everyone and that she knows exactly what everybody wants from her. Very difficult to achieve but I think that she has a touch that can calm everybody but at the same time get something back from the community and from the people with whom she meets. And, and, and at the same time she has a position of - not necessarily awe - but there's a sense of mystery in it. The education system looks at it that way, there is an element of mysticism about the Queen. What is the Queen? Why the Queen? But she, to me is, is somebody who I have tremendous respect as, as a serving officer, but, but undying and devoted love as a son. It's, it's something that's very difficult to, to explain.

DAVID FROST: She was saying thank you up in Scotland recently, for the sympathy and support of the Scottish people through the two recent bereavements and so on, and we saw then her emotion, the emotional side of her life in a way that people don't normally see.

PRINCE ANDREW: It was very, very interesting, the message that was received on the return journey from Westminster to the Palace, when, we took Queen Elizabeth from St James's to Westminster Hall on the return journey. The applause was uplifting. And it was, it was an extraordinary, emotional high, because the Queen was borne was along back to the Palace on this applause. It was respectful, it was, it was remarkable. It was, it was saying, it was saying something to the Queen that we understand what you are going through, how you are going through it on our behalf, so stoically, and what you've had to face.

DAVID FROST: It's been quite a punishing schedule for someone who's 75 plus. Do you think after the Jubilee she'll plan to slow down a bit, or does, those two words not figure in her vocabulary?

PRINCE ANDREW: I think it's interesting and you bring up a very valid point. I think if you look at the 1977 schedule that the Queen undertook, it's nowhere near as tough as this one. So what has happened in the intervening 25 years is extraordinary, in the sense that here we have a Monarch that's 25 years older and she is sustaining the same level of commitment, and the same level, if not a greater level, of work than she was 25 years ago.

DAVID FROST: Determined to carry on, she said, in her speech, didn't she?

PRINCE ANDREW: Quite right. Quite right. I don't think there's any, there's, there is no other, other way.

DAVID FROST: And the future for the Monarchy is looking pretty good at the moment, isn't it?

PRINCE ANDREW: That's for other people to decide, not me.

DAVID FROST: How will your daughters celebrate the Jubilee?

PRINCE ANDREW: Well they will be going to the pop concert tomorrow evening. And they will then also go to the service with me on Tuesday. And then there's the parades I think at the, down The Mall, and so we will be, we will be a part of that, that celebration, finishing up at about six o'clock in the evening, I understand, with a fly past and fireworks off the top of the house. I'm just hoping they don't burn it down or do something ghastly.

DAVID FROST: And at the end of the concert is it true that the Queen and other members of the Royal Family are planning to go on stage and join the performers?

PRINCE ANDREW: I believe that there is a plan for, for the Queen to go on stage but she's not actually going to perform, as I think some people may have been thinking, or either misled in some of the newspapers. But I suspect that even on - I mean I don't know the final details, I have to say, at this stage, those will be made up at the time, but I believe that it is, that it is so that the Queen will go on stage with other members of the family to meet the performers on stage and to meet the artists, rather than to, than to do anything on stage.

DAVID FROST: Rather than to sing along or karaoke or anything like that.

PRINCE ANDREW: I do not believe so.

DAVID FROST: You're off to Japan, and back again for next Monday, what would be your message to the England team?

PRINCE ANDREW: My message to the England team is that, is that I wish them every success in their World Cup campaign for 2002. There's been a huge amount of speculation as to whether fitness is going to have an effect - I understand that, that David Beckham is fit, and I think he's an inspirational leader to the, to the team.

DAVID FROST: And when you, when the National Anthem is played and the music starts up, God Save the Queen, do you think of the individual, your mother? Do you think of the institution, the family, or do you think of the country?

PRINCE ANDREW: Gosh I never thought about it before. I think I probably think of all three. Yeah, I think of all three. I mean I think that, I think of her as, as, as the Anthem for the, for the nation, as a whole, but that nation's embodiment, if you see what I mean, is, is the Monarch and the Monarch happens to be my mother. It's a combination that is both fascinating and quite difficult - and I would say probably impossible for everybody except the four of us to understand. And I think that the four of us children have a perspective that, that is unique. And, and, from our perspective she is the most fantastic mother, has been and always will be, and as our Monarch we are completely devoted to her and to the service thereof.

DAVID FROST: The Duke of York there with a personal tribute to his mother, The Queen, and of course he's President of the Football Association and that's why he's at, for today he's in Japan for that vital opening.


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