The weather is cold and Andrew Marr admits to having enjoyed a whisky on his way to the event. Not a problem at Hay, the great Christopher Hitchens liked to have a drink both before and during his eloquent despatches. Marr makes it clear that he is the right side of merry.
A republican turned monarchist, Marr is here to talk about his book The Diamond Queen. He sets up a debate with his 25 year old self. He talks about the “sticky little network of privileged elitists” in the country today but argues that has nothing to do with the Royals. In fact he argues that the British aristocracy have largely sneered at the modern Royal family.
The younger Marr has no idea says the present day Marr, how incredibly hard the Queen and Prince Phillip work. In addition to the interminable public duties she reads reams of government and intelligence documents on a daily basis.
The monarchy is one of the few institutions that unites the country, says Marr, something of great value as we face the difficulties of the next 10 or 20 years.