Her Majesty The Queen made a not-so-surprise apprearance in the Reuters newsroom earlier this week. Liz was looking very jaunty in a bright red Mad Hatter hat. I think she might have winked at me.
As it turns out, it wasn't the first time the Queen visited Reuters -- she took a royal spin through the old Fleet St offices back in 1963...Or Did She?!
"At the time, rather surprisingly, the Reuters newsroom was felt to be too rough and tough an environment for the Queen to see. So we created a realistic but sanitized mock-up," said Reuters Group archivist John Entwisle. "This time Her Majesty has seen the real thing."
There are probably a couple of Reuters editors that would be much happier with a Potemkin Village of journalists. But we've certainly come a long way from the Fleet St days -- nowadays, the Reuters newsroom is booze- and tobacco-free (more's the pity), and looks like nothing so much as a telemarketing office with a few extra flatscreen monitors.
The Reuters intranet gushed: "There was no way The Queen could miss out on visiting the largest newsroom in Europe. Guided around the busy 4th floor by Geert Linnebank, Editor-in-Chief and Global Head of Content, even the presence of a Royal on their floor did not deter journalists from filing their stories as usual."
...or buying clothtes on eBay, or watching cricket, or surfing for porn...
At the end of her visit HMQEII "filed" a Reuters story onto the giant screen in the lobby, giving longtime royals correspondent Paul Majendie a coveted dual byline.