Prince Edward sends well wishes ahead of the Paralympic Games
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In 1987, Prince Edward staged a “disastrous” TV show called “It’s a Royal Knockout”, which saw members of the Royal Family compete alongside celebrities from the world of sport, music and TV in a series of wacky challenges and events. Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Sarah Ferguson and Edward himself put on pantomime Elizabethan costumes joined by, among others, John Travolta, Cliff Richard, Sheena Easton and Gary Lineker. The show was seen almost universally as a public-relations disaster – but the Earl of Wessex believed otherwise.
That same autumn, a book about the TV show was published with an introduction by the Prince, who described it as “the event of the year”.
In 2019, Channel 5 documentary “Paxman on the Queen’s Children”, singer and actress Toyah Wilcox, who helped the Prince with the organisation of the show, suggested that Edward broke “all protocol” with the one-off extravaganza.
Both the Queen and Prince Philip were dismayed by Edward’s unconventional wheeze to raise money and, along with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, decided not to participate.
However, despite the criticism, Ms Wilcox noted the event was “inevitable” as it symbolised “the beginning” of a modern monarchy.
Prince Edward ‘lost his temper’ after breaking ‘all protocol’ with charity extravaganza (Image: GETTY)
In 1987, Prince Edward staged a “disastrous” TV show called “It’s a Royal Knockout” (Image: BBC)
According to the star, it wasn’t the TV programme itself that was “disastrous” but Prince Edward’s reaction when the event concluded.
Accepting the event was “pilloried”, she said: “I believe, for one second in time, it turned, there was a tipping point.
“Prince Edward didn’t want the press milling around and he went into the press tent and just said ‘no, you guys are staying here’.
“The whole atmosphere just flipped.”
In an episode of Channel 5’s “Now That’s Embarrassing: The 80s”, Ms Wilcox recalled how the assembled journalists responded with nervous laughter when he asked what they thought of the show after the event and Prince Edward stormed out of the press conference, sarcastically thanking the journalists for their enthusiasm.
Prince Edward (Image: GETTY)
Sarah Ferguson during the Royal Knockout (Image: BBC)
Ms Wilcox said: “They were hot, they were hungry and they had not seen anything in the flesh so they didn’t give him any reaction.
“They just dissed him and he lost his temper.
“That is the moment that is remembered of the whole event.”
Presenter and broadcaster Vanessa Feltz noted: “He [Edward] wanted the press to big him up and tell him how fabulous it had been, but it hadn’t been fabulous.
“It had been embarrassing, it had been a monstrous carbuncle on the entire history of the Royal Family.”
Despite the flop, Prince Edward remained very much loved by his parents.
He and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are believed to be among the favourite guests hosted every year by the Queen at Balmoral Castle.
Sophie, Prince Edward, and their two children Lady Louise Windsor, and James, Viscount Severn, are expected to visit the Queen in Scotland in the coming weeks.
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Sophie, Prince Edward, and their two children Lady Louise Windsor, and James (Image: GETTY)
In an interview with the Telegraph Magazine, the Countess of Wessex even confessed her family has sometimes spent more time holidaying at Balmoral and Sandringham than other royal relatives.
She said: “The poor Queen has had to put up with us staying on much longer than anybody else in Scotland and Norfolk.”
James and Louise are also believed to be fond of their time in Scotland with the Queen.
According to a royal insider, the young royals “relish” their time and activities there.
The source told the Sun: “The Queen loves the fact that Louise and James relish their time at Balmoral, and she has become particularly close to Louise, who seems to have become her favourite grandchild, closely followed by James.
“Louise also endeared herself to everyone by looking after William and Kate’s children when they were up here.
“Louise loves drawing and sketching and was very patiently trying to get Charlotte to do pictures of rabbits and deer.”
Given Louise has “obvious artistic skills”, the source added the Queen granted a major honour to her youngest granddaughter.