Alan Titchmarsh is a known royalist – made an MBE in 2000, his broadcasting career has featured several royal documentaries, and his new book offers a tour of the Royal residences.
So it should come as no surprise that the gardener, author and presenter came to the defence of the Royal Family this week, telling an audience at Cheltenham Literature Festival that he believes the Queen, Prince Charles and their relations are subjected to too much criticism.
“I do think the Royal Family take more flak than they deserve,” he said. “What they do is entirely for the good of the country. They’ve got no need to socially climb, they’re not in it for the money. So, what are they doing it for?”
The gardener – who achieved national fame presenting BBC1’s Ground Force – questioned what right the public has to malign a family based on their birthright. “They’re born into it, they have no choice but to be born into and they take an awful lot of criticism.
“To criticise somebody for being born in a council house, we would be quite rightly vilified and ridiculed for doing that. In the same way, if you’re born into the monarchy, which is an established institution, if you make the best possible fist of it that you can – which I certainly think the Queen and the Prince of Wales do – then you’re doing your best.
“The alternative would be a Prince of Wales who spent the winter skiing in Cloisters and the summer in the Caribbean and we’ve got a Royal Family now which works really hard. It’s unfashionable sometimes to say that – it’s as if you’re grovelling or crawling – I make no bones about it. I’m full of admiration for what they do.
“I take my hat off to them. They make us feel special, that’s their job.”
Does Titchmarsh believe the monarchy will still be an institution in a century’s time? “100 years is a long time in terms of monarchy. I think having watched what’s happened in our lifetime, a real rocky period with Diana – it was tricky for everyone in the Royal Family – I think bearing in mind what happened over the Diamond Jubilee, that showed this country at its best, with the Olympics, with the various parades.
“I don’t think in recent years the monarchy has ever been stronger or more highly regarded than it is now. If it keeps on fulfilling its roles it does at the moment then it stands a very good chance of going on for 100 or 200 years.”