Brearley was more likely than most to study the Queen’s methods closely. “Once I was invited to Buckingham Palace for lunch. There were only four guests, and one of the others was poet Ted Hughes. I had never met him before but I took him back to Lord’s to show him the place. Along the way he told how the Queen had confirmed that she had read his poems and how she had some interesting things to say about them. He didn’t know if she really liked them, but she had done her homework.
For Gatting, the lasting memories are of his times with the Duke of Edinburgh, who, unlike his wife, was an avowed lover of the game – “I love everything about cricket”, he wrote in 1975. Widen – not to mention a double president of the MCC. “I was mortified, when I later took on the same role, to find we were serving him house wine,” Gatting recalls. “As chairman of the Lord’s Taverners, I often spoke to him in his library. But I’m also a free man from Enfield. And so when he got there with the queen, he looked down the line and said, “Oh no, not you again.”
In this week’s test, Lord’s royal affiliations will be reaffirmed like never before, with even Jubilee-themed tea parties. You sometimes wonder how such a pump is perceived in the most remote corners of the Commonwealth. As excessive size, perhaps? Brearley offers an intriguing answer: “Steve Waugh once told me, ‘You don’t wear your egg-bacon ties proud enough, y’all.’ We want to see all the traditions. We want to see the Long Room, we are proud to meet the Queen. There is a very powerful feeling of reverence.
“In Waugh’s time, they almost fell asleep in the greenery,” Vaughan points out. “But I’ve never known an English player who slept with a Three Lions cap. Maybe they did and they didn’t tell me. I don’t think we celebrate enough our monarchy, or our country enough.He may be reassured that at the Lord’s, on this most auspicious landmark of the nation, any such want of affection will be amply corrected.