Log in

Phil Collins: 'The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were jiving to Rock Around the Clock'

Phil Collins teaches HRH Prince Charles how to drum Phil Collins teaches HRH Prince Charles how to drum Courtesy of Phil Collins

This photograph of me teaching Prince Charles to play drums was taken during a Prince’s Trust week at Caister in Norfolk.

It now hangs in my kitchen. Judging by my suit, it dates back to the late 1980s. HRH had seen me perform at a couple of benefit concerts and liked the rapport I had with the audience.

Aware of rock’s power to connect with young people, he invited me  to become one of the first trustees. In addition to fundraisers, that involved running music workshops for disaffected young adults. Once a year, about 400 youngsters from across the country descended for a week on an out-of-season holiday camp to learn job skills.

Thankfully, he was useless at the drums so I kept my job

This could have been a time bomb, but showing these kids we cared really resonated with them. I’d turn up on a Wednesday and help them prepare a concert for Charles at the end of the week. It was always successful because none of the kids thought he’d show up, let alone get involved. Thankfully, he was useless at the drums so I kept my job.

I have tremendous respect for the Prince. He is much maligned, but he does what he believes and he’ll make a great king. It was me who organised his 40th birthday party.

We were in the royal box at a Michael Jackson concert in aid of the trust at Wembley in 1988 when he said, ‘I’d like something like this. Could you arrange it?’ It sounded like a royal decree, so I went on the hunt for bands that could do Michael Jackson covers. I was the ‘surprise’ entertainment on the night.

At Buckingham Palace, I was struck by so much royalty. The Duchess of York was chatting with Elton John, no doubt swapping tiara tips. Prince Charles was somewhere not entirely close to his wife. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were jiving to Rock Around the Clock – an image I’ll never forget.

He is much maligned, but he does what he believes and he’ll make a great king

My two roadies stayed until breakfast was served at 1.30am. Having collected their sausage, beans and chips, they found three seats – only to discover the Queen occupying the fourth. ‘Sit down, sit down,’ she said, and an old-fashioned fry-up was had by all.  Prince Charles and I still keep in touch. That mutual respect goes back to the early days of the trust, which neither of us have forgotten.

© Telegraph, by Angela Wintle

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. Basic HTML code is allowed.

 

Log in or Sign up