Kate on Bake Off? The Royal reality TV stars we want to see
It was cruelly overshadowed by other family anniversaries, not least his mother’s Platinum Jubilee, but June 2022 marked 35 years since Prince Edward last had an effective idea. In that month in 1987, Edward – eager to make an impression after deciding his heroism would be better suited to television than the Marines – organised It’s A Royal Knockout.
For one preposterous day, young Royal family members and the most delightfully random list of celebrities (David Bowie, Kiri Te Kanawa, Viv Richards, Nicholas Lyndhurst…) gathered beside the lake at Alton Towers to compete in a charity spin-off version of It’s a Knockout, complete with medieval costumes, a plyboard castle and Meat Loaf flirting so much with Fergie that Prince Andrew (allegedly) almost punched him.
“Have you been watching it? What did you think of it?” Edward asked the press afterwards. A silence fell that somehow lasted longer than the Second Elizabethan Age. They thought it was abysmal, Your Royal Highness. He stormed out. Great, great TV.
Regrettably, the Royals have kept away from reality television since then. In the slimmed-down, more relatable Carolean era, however, they’ll be doing things differently. And so arrives the announcement that King Charles himself will appear on an upcoming episode of the BBC’s The Repair Shop.
In footage filmed before he acceded to the throne, the King will give presenter Jay Blades a tour of Dumfries House, meet students on a Prince’s Foundation programme and ask The Repair Shop team to restore some antiques from the collection at the Ayrshire residence.
“People will see the former Prince of Wales as you rarely see him,” said BBC commissioning editor Julie Shaw in a statement that makes it sound as if the King is performing in The Masked Singer, rather than championing heritage industries.
That news came on the same day as reports that Mike Tindall, the Princess Royal’s son-in-law, might have signed up for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! ITV has refused to confirm or deny, but evidently a trend has started.
It is vindication at last for the ever-pioneering Edward. It’s A Royal Knockout walked so Royal Repair Shop could run. And it provokes a question: if we can expect to see more of this, who should appear on what?
The Duke of York – Antiques Roadshow
“So then, what have you brought us?” Fiona Bruce would ask, beetling over to Prince Andrew on the Long Walk. Andrew wears the grin of a man who believes he’s finally about to be independently rich again. Or rather, for once. “York!” he bellows, thrusting a piece of paper on which he has written, “I, the Duke of York, wish to sell the City of York. Name your price.”
Bruce laughs. “Sir, as we told you last week, you cannot technically ‘sell’ York. It is a municipal area of some 200,000 people. How do you think we’d even value it?” Andrew stomps his feet and huffs. “But I have the Freedom of the City!”
She puts a hand on his shoulder. “Yes,” she says, “but so does Judi Dench.”
The Princess Royal – Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Anne’s artfully cluttered living room went viral last year: was it the zenith of aristocratic insouciance, or just a mess? We ought to let Marie Kondo decide. “Choose joy,” Kondo would insist, pointing at a copy of Horse & Hound from 1988 and sweeping it into a bin bag. “But I haven’t finished it,” the Princess Royal snaps, fishing it out again. “Choose joy,” Kondo would repeat, hurling a dog hair-coated sofa into a skip. The episode ends with Kondo herself ending up in the skip.
Prince William – Queer Eye
“OK first things first, Big Willy, we have got to shave that head. At the moment it’s giving ‘Young Chris Grayling’ and that is not good. Wait, can we call you Big Willy?” The new Prince of Wales is a perfect Queer Eye contestant: objectively handsome beneath an abysmal dress sense; ageing at double the speed of his wife; charmingly befuddled when asked about his skincare routine.
The Princess of Wales – The Great British Bake Off
She’s already baked with Mary Berry, so she might as well give actual Bake Off a go. There Kate would stand, in custom Vampire’s Wife, telling Noel Fielding, who will be dressed as an actual vampire’s wife, about how her sister used to be a professional party planner so she knows a thing or two about cupcakes. “So Kate, is there a… ‘Prince’ of Wales?” Paul Hollywood would say, his gimlet eyes glinting, to the most famously married woman in the world. He is applauded for having the gumption, at least.
Queen Camilla, the Countess of Wessex, Fergie – Come Dine With Me
All the gals, the Real Housewives of Windsor, if you will (which you will not, as they are mostly working Royals, thank you very much), cooking one another risottos and rifling through each other’s kitchen cupboards. Camilla loses points for making no attempt to hide the fact she had Tom, her food writer son, cook everything so she could focus on making gin and tonics and smoking in the drawing room until the guests arrived. Fergie prepares a novelty dessert in the shape of a toe, for miscalculated laughs. Sophie Wessex wins, naturally.
Prince Louis – SAS: Who Dares Wins
A couple of years ago, it was reported that Channel 4 is in talks to produce a children’s version of SAS: Who Dares Wins. If and when that happens – and I imagine it’s been held up by dull things like employment laws and Ofcom rules forbidding shouting “COWARD” at children who cannot do press-ups – the new hellraising prince should be the first booking they make.
The Sussexes – Nothing
I think it’s probably best if nobody tells them or their agents about these opportunities, don’t you?