“Inside Buckingham Palace” – Brian May from Pt 1 – Ch 5


Brian May

Brian May from “Inside Buckingham Palace” – Pt1 extract

The Palace opened up as never before.

BRIAN MAY: “The moment there is such a great feeling in the country. It was like ‘Yes we did this. We have come together’.”

COMMENTARY: In this programme we look back over the 60 tumultuous years since the Queen’s Coronation and look ahead to the next monarch.

In the 2002 Golden Jubilee celebrations the palace was given a central role. In a bid to regain the nation’s affection the grounds were opened up to a pop concert for the first time ever. Headlining were some of the biggest names from British rock.

BRIAN: “This, in a sense, was part of a kind of a PR operation. Yeah. The Queen had been through difficult times. The Palace had been through the whole Diana thing and I think in lot of people’s minds the palace was rather remote and there’s this feeling that the Royal weren’t really in touch with the public. So this was part of an attempt to bring things together, consciously, and in a nice way I think.”

On the day of the concert 12,000 ticket holders poured into the Palace gardens.

BRIAN: “About half an hour before we were due to go on the air live, I couldn’t hear the orchestra. That wire had gone wrong and I remember saying to someone, ‘We need a new wire’, and he went, ‘Well, we need permission from the Palace to run another wire up here.’ I went, ‘It’s [in] half an hour’s time! Get a wire!’

“So eventually I could hear them, they could hear me and it happened live. It was a stupendous feeling.”

< GOD SAVE THE QUEEN (Solo) plays.

“I did feel that we achieved what we set out to do and it was on the front of every paper the next day and for a moment there was such a great feeling in the country . It was like , ‘Yes, we did this and we have come together.’”

< End of solo >

A few years later Brian May was welcomed back to Buckingham Palace at a reception to celebrate the British Music Industry.

BRIAN: “I said, ‘Good evening Ma’am’, or something like that, and I said, ’I’m the guy who who made that terrible noise on your roof. I hope I didn’t disturb you.’ And she smiled, and she said, ‘Oh, it was you, was it!’

So I introduced her to Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page and she said to Eric Clapton, ‘How long have you been playing then?’

And he said [in London ‘cockney’ accent] “Quite a while really, M’um’.”

The PR offensive around the Palace continued with more receptions and more TV cameras let inside.