It never comes in to mind, when starting out from humble beginnings that one will some day get to meet royalty, let alone by invitation and on top of that be given the opportunity to perform magic. I remember the day I received a phone call to ask if I was available for a private reception at Clarence House and that I would soon receive an invitation through the post. Nervous? No. Excited? Absolutely.
Later I received a brief for the day listing people that are likely to be in attendance, Prince Charles, Will.I.Am, Carol Vorderman, Gabby Logan…it was a long list that also included very successful business people. Okay, now a little nervous. The people organising this event were aware that I do something with fire and while briefing on protocol for meeting royalty specifically asked me not to perform it. To begin the reception key guests were lined up around the room for HRH to move along and greet. I was placed near the front inbetween popular magician Dynamo and staff from Bloomberg. While we waited for the Prince to join the room Dynamo leaned over and we had a little chat about what each of us will perform. I didn’t mention this fire magic that I was contemplating doing but all was sorted so that we didn’t, by some miracle end up performing the same thing. HRH entered the room and slowly made his way through guests, greeting them and seemed to be enjoying it very much. He is either a superb actor or genuinely loves people. He reached Dynamo, who is mid-performance of a popular magic trick amongst professionals and I’m starting to have second thoughts. Dynamo finishes and I’m there face to face with royalty for the first time in my life, I wouldn’t describe myself as a big royalist but it was quite a moment. I buckled under the pressure of all the cameras and celebrity presence in the room and showed him something with money, which is a story for another time…..
Later during the same reception I was talking to Kenny and Gabby Logan, telling them what I had planned to do despite being told not to. They thought it was a great idea and I discretely showed them this thing with fire. They absolutely loved it but the moment had passed and Prince Charles was on his way out of the room. An opportunity missed in my opinion, and one that may never come again.
Not too long after the reception at Clarence House I find myself performing at a dinner at the Savoy hotel in London. I’m preparing a few things in the green room, where Joanna Lumley commented on my suit saying how fabulous it was. A good start to the event. Then armed police begin roaming the rooms with sniffer dogs, so I know that Prince Charles is on his way. Great! Another opportunity to blow his socks off with the fire magic. I was excited about this but was then told, once again, not to do it, this time with the addition of not handing him anything.
Charles stopped to say hello to a handful of us on his departure from the event and there were bodyguards in black suits with ear pieces all the way through the corridor between the dining room and exit. I pulled out my wallet and made a business card float in to my free hand, which he was thoroughly impressed by. Now the moment of truth, the moment I missed out on before, I hand him my business card followed by my wallet setting on fire with the sentence, “Be careful, they’re hot off the press”.
I have never been asked to perform for him since. It was worth it.