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SUNDAY 19  MAY 2024

*

We lost our investiture snaps but at least Mr Mulchrone
got his Scotch and cigarettes 

The pic that survived: Lord Snowdon at Caernarfon Castle in 1969 with reporter Seed in the background

By GEOFFREY SEED


The Daily Mail went mob-handed to the Prince of Wales’ investiture in 1969 — and I was the youngest, greenest hack on the team.


The legendary Vincent Mulchrone was to write a scene-setter and Manchester news editor Bill Dickson tasked me to help the great man in whatever way he wanted.


I found “Mr Mulchrone” sitting at a desk in his Caernarfon hotel room and asked what I might do to assist.


‘My dear boy,’ he said, ‘I have everything I need right here.’


He pointed to a bottle of Scotch, three packs of Passing Cloud cigarettes and a 2/- town guide.


‘You must go and enjoy yourself,’ decreed the great man.


And so I did and in due course, his most elegant of colour pieces duly appeared.


Some days later, Mail photographer Gordon Priestley and I managed to blag our way inside the off-limits Caernarfon Castle using only boyish charm and rat-like cunning.


Everything therein was subject to a strict Palace embargo until the investiture itself. 


We stood by Lord Snowdon who was overseeing the event. Gordon snapped away and I had a half decent story. 


Back at base, the negatives went into the developer in readiness to be wired to Manchester.


Gordon went off for a celebratory Vimto.


But alas and alack, his negs were left in the developer too long and were ruined.


Only one survived, the picture above showing me with Snowdon. 


As it turned out, I very much doubt that the Mail would have broken the embargo and published Gordon’s scoop. There was too much at stake.


All good clean fun, though. 



17 May 2024


*****

WHAT SEED DID NEXT

After leaving the Daily Mail, Manchester, Geoffrey Seed became a producer-director at Granada’s World in Action. He later produced programmes for Channel 4 and ITV before joining BBC Panorama. 


He told the Drone: ‘Since dyeing my hair grey, I’ve written four political thrillers and am mid-way through a fifth.


‘Death in a Time of Conspiracy draws on my time making programmes in Northern Ireland, south America and Africa — and falling foul of the Official Secrets and Prevention of Terrorism Acts.

‍ 

‘Rave reviews include:


“Thrilling, chilling and utterly absorbing” — Pauline McCleod, ex-Mirror feature writer;


“Riveting” — Andy Tighe, ex-Home Office head of communications;


“Dazzling, dizzying” — Colin Dunne, ex-Fleet Street and beyond;


“Torn from the headlines. Seed knows his stuff and writes a dream” — Tom Mangold, BBC ;


“Superb” — Chris Hale, TV producer.


‘My current work in progress has a murder in Sussex, a motive in Afghanistan and a suspect in America. Like my last two efforts, it’s being subbed chapter by chapter by Pat Prentice, formerly of The Times and Telegraph foreign desks and to whom I am most grateful.’

DEATH IN A TIME OF CONSPIRACY IS AVAILABLE HERE