Why It Was The Sun Wot Didn't Win It

Who sipped Bollinger with whom in the run-up to The Sun campaign for Charles to marry Camilla? Who gave it confidence to assure readers that this was now no big deal, since Parliament would fix it so that Mrs PB would not have to become Princess of Wales?

Fortified by some such high-level nudge, the paper went to town. "The Sun Says MARRY!" said the splash. "Mood Is Right For Marriage," said the spread. "Now Is The Time, Sir," said royal snapper Arthur Edwards.

"The Great Royal Debate" spread had no space for the opposite case. With The Sun’s effective dismissal of any anxiety about Queen Camilla (she would be no more than the Duchess of Whatever), what need was there for the opposite case?

"We believe," said the leader, "the time is right to say what the nation has been thinking." The way to test that would be a professional opinion poll. Instead, the paper launched a You-The-Jury game, inviting anyone to vote by phone for 10p a go.

On page one next day, there was a cross-ref: "POLL BOOST FOR CAMILLA." What were the figures? It didn’t say. All it said was, "The number backing a wedding is up 50 per cent on six years ago. Full story – page nine."

And on page nine, though not until the eighth par, those with calculators could work out that only half of one per cent of the readership had voted.

Of those 51,520, some 71 per cent said Charles and Camilla should NOT marry. And that page one cross-ref? It had compared the current 15,002 in favour with a 1996 poll when Camilla was the other woman in the royal marriage collapse.

This time, It Wasn’t The Sun Wot Won It. Though, by heaven, it had tried.

Date with destiny

There may no longer be as many as 20 Things You Never Knew About Piers Morgan. But there is One Thing Piers Morgan Never Knew About Piers Morgan.

Otherwise he could never have told the Radio 4 audience (with so many target readers for his newly non-redtop paper) that the Daily Mirror achieved its historic five million sale "in the Fifties".

It was of course the Sixties: in June 1964, the very month of the very year selected by fate for the conception of Piers Morgan.

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