I hope previous Tally-Ho Corner interviewees won’t be offended if I describe today’s Q&A participant as our most notable yet. When, early last week, I dashed off an email to an old school pal who, for the past twenty years, has maintained the mantraps in Windsor Great Park, I knew the chances of it leading to a tête-à-tête with his extremely busy/famous boss were miniscule. But sometimes preposterous long shots hit their mark.
THC: Many thanks for agreeing to do this. I realise you’re rather busy at the moment.
HRH: My pleasure. Assuming you steer clear of the seventeen no-go areas outlined in the ISLA, don’t use this conversation to make a series of cheap republican digs, and allow one to point out that the Royal Family costs each British taxpayer a mere £1.30 per year, one will attempt to answer your questions as fully and frankly as one can.
THC: Splendid. Paul tells me you’re an avid PC gamer. Which games are installed on the royal rig at present?
HRH: One hasn’t piloted a real aircraft since an unfortunate incident in Scotland in 1994 that definitely wasn’t one’s own fault. However one does like to keep one’s hand in with the help of sims such as Flight Simulator and X-Plane.
Like everyone, one gets a big kick out of flying over one’s own houses in FS!
After getting a chance to drive a Tube train in 2012 one got into rail sims in a big way. Long trips on one’s personal train (everyone should have one!) can be tiresome, but when one is simultaneously shadow-simming the journey with the help of Train Simulator, one finds they fly by.
Liveries for all three of the Royal Train locos – Royal Sovereign, Royal Rumble, and Royal Flush (But Only When the Train Isn’t in the Station) – are included in Armstrong Powerhouse’s superb Class 67 enhancement pack.
THC: So there are no polo sims on your HD at the moment?
HRH: If you can point one to a good polo sim – any polo sim in fact – one would purchase it in flash. Having waited decades for someone to digitize the sport of kings, one would take a half-decent Mount & Blade mod at this point.
THC: Do you wargame?
HRH: As colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment it’s one’s duty to try all new releases involving the Red Devils. When tomorrow’s palaver is out of the way, one plans to settle down with a pint of Duchy Original organic amber ale, a bag of Duchy Original roast chough flavoured crisps, and play the latest para-endowed PC offering, SGS NATO’s Nightmare.
A tribute to Jim Dunnigan’s ‘monster’ board game, The Next War, it comes with three scenarios – NORTHAG-BAOR, CENTAG 85, and European War 1985 – each of which is available in ‘basic’ (fewer units) and ‘advanced’ forms. Unusually, it also boasts multiple AIs.
THC: I know you’re a keen angler. Care to recommend a fishing sim?
HRH: One does fire up Fly Fishing Simulator HD now and again. Its lack of British beats is scandalous, but in most other regards it’s eminently likeable.
THC: What did learning to fly mean for you?
HRH: Looking back, it gave one considerable confidence. It also provided something one seldom experienced growing up – solitude. When one is heir to the throne, one is constantly accompanied by at least one bodyguard. Going ‘solo’ in a Chipmunk one is truly alone.
HRH: It’s a toss-up between the Chipmunk and the Wessex.
The Chippie could be a real handful in strong winds and, thanks to a gravity fed fuel system, didn’t care for inverted flight, but well-balanced, light on the controls, agile, and agreeably simple, it was generally a joy to fly. Ignore some mediocre audio, and Aeroplane Heaven capture its character and characteristics nicely in their recent FS2020 add-on.
Low flying in the dependable, forgiving, robust Wessex was huge fun too – especially in the Welsh mountains. Considering the length of time it was in service and the varied roles it performed, it baffles one that it has never been given the study sim treatment it deserves.
THC: Your coronation flypast will – weather permitting – feature around 60 aircraft compared to the 640 in your Mum’s. Presenting this as a cost-cutting measure is a tad disingenuous isn’t it?
HRH: The 640 figure that some in the media have been trotting out is misleading. On June 2, 1953 the flypast actually consisted of 144 Gloster Meteors and 24 Canadair Sabres. The ‘640’ aircraft fly-past occurred later in the summer during a coronation review at RAF Odiham.
But, yes, one takes your point. Today, a 640 aircraft fly-past consisting solely of RAF, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps machines would be almost impossible. In order to organise something similar in 2023 it would be necessary to get just about every one of Britain’s airworthy military aircraft – including trainers and UAVs – into the air at the same time.
THC: I have to ask… Is there any truth in the rumour that you personally funded the development of Revenger, the gory 1998 FPS in which the player assumed the role of a time-travelling assassin sent back to 17th Century England to eliminate the 59 ‘regicides’ who signed Charles I’s death warrant?
HRH: Not a jot.
THC: The rumours that you’ve lobbied Giants Software to ‘go organic’ – are they true?
HRH: The makers of Farming Simulator could and should be doing more to reduce pesticide use in their series.
THC: How did you feel about Sparrow Soft’s irreverent 1992 platformer, Prince of Perthshire? Were you hurt by the way you were depicted?
HRH: Was that the one where the protagonist could cross chasms by flapping his outsized ears?
HRH: I preferred the sequel, Charlie Don’t Serf.
THC: Name a game, either released or upcoming, that you think deserves more attention?
HRH: For years one has been pressing the government to make Fate of the World part of the National Curriculum. Red Redemption did a fantastic job of turning the single-most important issue facing us today into a compelling digital diversion. The hard choices, the need for concerted action, the cataclysmic consequences of inaction… it’s all there.
THC: Thank you for your time.
* No actual monarchs were involved in the preparation of this article.