From the comfort of a chiropodist's shop window I saw Charles and Diana on their wedding day in 1981, driving from Romsey station to Broadlands for the first part of their honeymoon: they looked happy enough at the time, and were to remain so for at least another fortnight. But the Queen I encountered long before, in Romsey Abbey, where she was attending some service or other at which I happened to be present. I suppose I was about seven, and sitting at the end of a pew when she swept down the aisle with a small entourage. Her fur coat happened to brush my hand - or perhaps it would be more correct to say that I stuck my hand out to feel her coat. Either way, I was impressed by its luxuriant softness.
Now it occurs to me: did my youthful touch have some effect in ensuring that she would carry on breathing in and out for another 45 years? And in exchange, was I spared a bout of scrofula?
People have believed stranger things.