"Is it any wonder that such a majestic-looking creature is the true king of the forest? Whom among us could ever hope to match that regal stare which seems reserved solely for monarchs who slightly disapprove; the look of absolute power that says, 'I'm here, mate and I'm staying here until I've had my afternoon nap and I choose to budge. So if you're wise, Buster, you'll hop it before I decide to dine early this evening!
There are some people in this world of unattractive look and ungainly stance and posture, that however expensively they were clothed, they'd still look like mutton dressed as lamb. And on the other side of the coin, there are men and women who could wear some old jeans or a simple-designed inexpensive dress and they would still appear to be the height of fashion. The simple truth is that some people carry themselves better than others; some with a walk and look that indicates they were made to wear the very best clothes. I will mention but one person who ideally fitted this description of always 'looking good' in whatever clothes he wore or however badly he behaved.
When he was alive, I was distant friends with the Right Honourable, Alan Kenneth Mackenzie Clark for a number of years before his death. Alan served as a junior minister in Margaret Thatcher's governments at the Departments of Employment, Trade and Defence; and in 1991 he became a privy councillor. Alan, was, like his father, a superb diarist and author of several books of military history, including his controversial work. 'The Donkeys' (1961) which is believed to have inspired the musical satire, 'Oh, what a lovely war!'
Alan was forever known for his flamboyance, wit and irreverence, and the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (1990-1993), Norman Lamont, described him as 'the most politically incorrect, outspoken, iconoclastic and reckless politician of our times'. During his time as a Minister in Margaret Thatcher's Government, Alan was to engage in his romantic flings outside his marriage with a kind of indifference/irreverence that put up two fingers to the establishment and the rest of his parliamentary colleagues, and which also drove his loving and faithful wife, Jane, to occasional distraction. Jane never abandoned her husband and tolerated his outrageous philanderings better than any other woman one could ever imagine. When her husband's adultery with three mistresses simultaneously was revealed by one of them to the national press and his wife, Jane was pressed for a response in the grounds of the family home at Saltwood Castle, she famously replied, 'If you bed people of below-stairs class, don't be surprised if they go to the papers.'
It was our mutual love of British History and joint love of animals that initially led to our friendship. We had an ongoing correspondence, and Alan was good enough to check and where necessary correct some of the historical backgrounds I would write into my own books. He also helped to support my charitable work in a number of ways.
Despite many of his peers in the establishment of stuffy Whitehall finding him a bit too much to handle, he had a way with him that endeared him even to 'The Iron Lady', with whom his favourable comments often flirted.
One of the very first things about him that interested me, however, was his sartorial dress appearance which shouted, 'style, style!' whether he wore a Savile Row suit or a tattered old pair of old gardening jeans.
However, what really attracted my interest in him the most wasn't his sartorial style or the easy way he could pick up mistresses by the score and still retain the love of his wife and his castle intact; it was 'the majesty of his walk'. When Alan moved across the television screen in 1993 giving a half-hour 'Opinions' lecture, televised by Channel 4, each step he took commanded the full attention of his viewing audience. He didn't so much 'walk across the floor', but like that of a swan, 'he glided majestically' before one's eyes. I suspect that like the preying lion, also of majestic status, he stalked his prey with a gliding certainty of foot that is rarely seen beyond the jaws of the jungle or the castle wall.
At the early age of 11 years, an accident which wrapped my body around the shaft axle of a lorry left me crippled and fighting for my life. Then, over fifty leg operations over the year left one of my legs 3 inches shorter than the other. While I was unable to walk for almost three years, when I did walk again, because of the 3-inch height difference between my left and right leg, I was left with an ungainly and inelegantly pronounced limp of considerable magnitude.
After my childhood accident, much of my life was devoted to finding differing methods and exercises to minimise my degree of limp when I walked. In large measure, I was extremely successful, not in the least by imagining myself often in the shoes of the late Alan Clark as he majestically glided across the floor.
The next time you are in a position that you want to impress, you could do much worse than adopting the regal posture and effortless stride of the lion adorned in his smooth coat and majestic mane."
Love and peace Bill xxx