By George, Prince Andrew wants to switch channels


PRINCE ANDREW, Duke of York, came to the Irish Embassy in London on Wednesday night, where he was given a short lesson in geography from Peter Sutherland.

In his speech, the prince, who was guest of honour at a dinner promoting trade links between Ireland and the UK, talked of the improvement in relations with Ireland “across St George’s Channel”.

Historically, in the days of empire, St George’s Channel was used interchangeably with “Irish Sea” or “Irish Channel” to cover all of the waters between Ireland and Britain. But here, it is understood only to cover the stretch between Wexford and Pembrokeshire, if it is used at all in the maritime world.

Replying to the prince, Sutherland joked that he was “prepared to make peace” but bridled at the use of St George’s Channel: “Perhaps, St Patrick’s Channel,” suggested the former attorney general.

Prince Andrew, who once said he believed the character of an individual could be judged over a round of golf more accurately than anywhere else in life, recalled a visit to Cork for an event some years ago.

A Garda chief superintendent asked him if he had ever played the Old Head of Kinsale golf course. He said he hadn’t, whereupon the officer disappeared, leaving the prince unsure why he had asked.

Later that day, as he was about to board his flight from Cork, the chief superintendent reappeared at the steps of his aircraft.

Handing him a membership form for the course, the officer told him: “That’s for the next time that you come back.”