'They treated me very nicely': Daventry MP talks of his time as a Buckingham Palace 'hostage'

Chris Heaton-Harris has told of his time spent as a 'hostage' at Buckingham Palace.
Chris Heaton-Harris has told of his time spent as a 'hostage' at Buckingham Palace.
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The Daventry MP who has been tasked with writing to the Queen every day has described how Buckingham Palace staff fed him tea and shortbread during a brief period as the monarch's 'hostage'.

Chris Heaton-Harris has been made the Government's vice-chamberlain of the household after a recent promotion, meaning he is now the link between the House of Commons and the sovereign.

And on Monday, the Conservative politician fulfilled the age-old tradition of being taken hostage at Buckingham Palace during the state opening of parliament.

The convention dates back to Charles I's execution in1649 and is intended to ensure the Queen's safe return from her speech in the House of Lords.

But Mr Heaton-Harris said his experience as the royal family's hostage was a pleasant one.

He said: "Initially we sat in a room in Buckingham Palace drinking tea and this drink called lemon refresher, which was incredibly sweet.

"I had a Duchy's Originals shortbread and watched the Queen's speech on television.

"I have to say they treated their hostage very nicely."

Mr Heaton-Harris met the Queen on her way out of the Houses of Parliament but could not reveal what the two talked about.

The monarch is understood to have learned to ride a horse in Maidwell, near Daventry.

However, Mr Heaton-Harris did say that he has already penned two letters to the Queen as part of his new role as a conduit between the Commons and the palace.

"She reads all of them all assiduously, I have been reliably informed," the MP said.

"Every time I go to the palace she will talk about the thing I have written, so she will be marking my homework."

However, the Daventry parliamentarian has revealed he had some nerves in crafting his first correspondence with the Queen.

"Can you remember the first article you ever had published?" he asked.

"It felt very much like that.

"I wouldn't say I was terrified, but knowing the Queen is going to read something you have written - you want to make sure your grammar is in good order."

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