One of the weirdest couriering jobs I ever had was back in the 60s when a rock star of the era, whose name I'm still unable to disclose at the risk of losing certain gig-going privileges, asked me to go and buy all the bras and knickers in not one, not two, not three, but four particular sizes from the famous underwear shop Rigby & Peller..
When I arrived at the shop, I was expecting to get more than a few funny looks and, at worst, a refusal to grant my request. But once I mentioned the rock star's name and said that the purchase was for his account, the assistant just calmly nodded her head like it was the most natural thing in the world.
So, with a van full of bras and knickers I headed for the hotel suite where my client was staying. And when I get up to his rooms, there he was lying back on chaise lounge with a suspicious looking cigarette and four semi-clad women – two brunettes, a blonde and one tall and beautiful African.
"Here's your order," I said, looking a bit shy, I guess. "At first I thought they were going to laugh me out the shop."
What he said next has always stuck with me. "See these ones," he said. "These are for Veronica. She's exactly the same measurements as the Queen, you know. They compare exactly, top and bottom, if you know what I mean."
How he knew that Veronica and the Queen shared exact bra and panty size is something that troubled me, even then. And the more I think about it, the more troubled I become. Had he, the old devil, actually enjoyed a night of passion with Her Royal Highness, sizing her up for good measure too. I wouldn't put it past him, but it still seems unlikely, if not treason, to think about it.
Had Veronica and Liz II at some point stood beside each other doing a comparison of their vital statistics. Again, it hardly seems probable.
Had Rigby & Peller as outfitters to the Queen made the disclosure? It would seem a bit crass – why would they?
Well, this is what I found myself pondering the other day while behind the wheel of my new Volkswagen Transporter van when over the radio comes story of how a pair of the Queen's 26-inch waist knickers are to be auctioned. Now, who on earth managed to get his hands on them? I have a hunch that I just might know. The old devil.