The Prince, the PC, and me

The time has come to tell a true story about me, my computer, and Prince Charles. Yes, that Prince, the one who's heir to the throne.

The company I work for was asked by Buckingham Palace to build a web site for the Prince. I was not directly involved, but my boss was.

Months of preparation went by, and the site gradually began to take shape. The day finally came when we were going to show an initial version of the site to the Prince himself.

This meant taking a laptop, equipped with personal web server software and an archived version of the site, over to St James' Palace where the Prince could view it. Trouble was, the only decent laptop available was mine.

So I tidied up the desktop, removed the personalised desktop wallpaper and reverted the Windows defaults. I placed a single bookmark shortcut in the middle of the screen, so the demonstration could be launched with a single double-click on it.

What, I wondered, could possibly go wrong?

Now, I use the Netscape 4.5 browser. It lets you put your fave bookmarks on a little bar just above the content window. One of my bookmarks was to Haddock. It appeared, as bookmarks do, as a little button with the word "Haddock" on it.

You understand that, I understand that. The Prince, sadly, did not understand that.

He looked at the website. He liked what he saw. But: he did not understand where the web site stopped and the browser began.

He pointed at the screen, and asked the demonstrator: "What's this bit about Haddock doing in on my website then?"

They hurridly brought the demo to a close. When, a few months later, they wanted to show him the final, completed site, they used my computer again ... but they asked me to clear out the personal bookmarks folder first.

(2nd June 1999)