Controversial author and columnist AN Wilson will not doubt enjoy his visit to the Marlborough Literary Festival at the end of the month — because he is a true monarchist and admirer of the Duchess of Cambridge, who was educated at Marlborough College.
And so too was the late Poet Laureate John Betjeman, the subject of one of Wilson’s admired biographies.
Wilson will be revealing his own surprising antecedents, exposed in his first novel for five years, called The Potter’s Hand, in which he explains that his father was managing director of the famed Wedgwood factory, and that his grandfather too was a master potter.
But very much the historian, his interest in the royal dynasty is linked to the birth of Prince George since, at 62, Wilson has had his own “awe-inspiring experience” and the thrill of becoming a grandfather – he has six grandchildren of his own.
“How much more must this be the case with the birth of a great-grandchild,” he writes. “And with a royal great-grandchild, the feelings are shared by everyone who has an interest in the future of the monarchy and of our country.
“The great-grandmother in this story has not been a passive observer. Now the Duchess of Cambridge has had her son, the Queen will know that she has secured her dynasty, and the monarchy, up to three generations into the future — perhaps into the 22nd century.
“The Queen will know that she has secured her dynasty. This is not something purely accidental. It is something in which, discreetly, she has been more involved than many people would think.”
Writing in the Daily Mail, Wilson praises Her Majesty or steering the monarchy out of trouble waters, something she has been able to do because she gets on so well with Prince William with whom – since the death of his mother Princess Diana – she has enjoyed a warm relationship.
And she realises too that the best hope for the future of the Crown was for Prince William to marry for love.
“Republicans like Tony Benn have always reiterated that the monarchy is just the apex of a pyramid of privilege from which ‘ordinary people’ are shut out,” adds Wilson.
“The Queen’s extraordinary triumph — and the single most valuable gift she bequeaths to her new great-grandchild — is to have made those arguments seem oddly quaint and irrelevant…
“In spite of her diffidence and her innately small-c conservative nature, this is the woman who has transformed the British monarchy.”
AN Wilson will be appearing at the Marlborough Literary Festival, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, on Saturday, September 28.
For tickets phone 01249 701628.