Dickie Arbiter’s memoir, On Duty With The Queen, is on bestseller lists a week before publication
There are ghosting jobs and there are ghosting jobs, and this one has certainly been a bumpy ride. When we created Dickie’s memoir, we had a single aim in mind; to create a warm affectionate memoir, and tribute to his former boss. And we did. Or, (allegedly) maybe we didn’t. In any event, it has been the subject of much media speculation, bitching and general negative yammering, since back in the summer the Sunday Mirror published an excoriating attack on him (always such a joy to be able to use the word ‘excoriating’) for spilling the beans about things they felt he shouldn’t spill the beans about, employing all the tabloidese they could find. It’s since been serialised in the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail, inciting the internet trolls to sharpen their purloined porcupine spines and piranha teeth, in order to best lay into him for ‘dredging up’ all sorts of dirt about the Wales’ marriage, and making reference to the presumed paucity of his Palace pension.
Actually – and I obviously know of which I speak – Dickie’s book is a respectful, warm and engaging Royal Memoir. Far from seeking to rummage through the Buckingham Palace dustbins, he’s rummaged through a lifetime of wonderful anecdotes and memories, both from his 12 years at the Palace, and his respected broadcasting career, and of a fractured childhood, which took him from tragedy at three, to boarding school at just six, and then on to a fascinating journey into broadcasting and ultimately to the job offer that so profoundly changed his life. Most fascinating for me as a ghostwriter is his key role – never before spoken about – in masterminding Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral. At the time, and perhaps still, it was the biggest global media event ever, and he recounts it with both love and sincerity.
And no, Jimmy Savile DOESN’T feature.
A Kindle version is also available.