The Queen, Prince Philip and the Prince of Wales were in the large, refurbished Conference Suite in the grounds of the Tower of London. A single elderly Yeoman Warder stood at the door. He was one of only three now, working in shifts throughout the year. The other thirty-two had been pensioned off when the Pink Tower had closed a few months ago.
These so called ''Beefeaters'' had mainly acted as tourist guides in recent years, but had enjoyed the brief return to their proper role as prison guards. With no prisoners - the one non-Pink prisoner had been released following a petition generated by an Internet forum for journalists and tourism had been declining steadily year by year - they were felt to be financially unviable. But someone had to look after the ravens.
The Warder was beginning to annoy Prince Charles as he had a troublesome little cough, which came at unpredictable intervals. He would just start to relax then a 'huhhuh' made him shift uncomfortably in his seat., eventually wanting to jump up and shout at the blasted man and tell him to go and get some Benylin or Hill's Bronchial Balsam.
They Royal trio had been invited here by Max Clifford and Simon Cowell, who had jointly won the tender to decide the fate of the now defunct ''Pink Tower.'' It was dead space and needed to be filled.
''Huhhuh'' said the Yeoman Warder. Charles flinched and stood up,beginning to pace the room, hands at his back, wringing irritatedly.
''Chorles.'' said Prince Philip. All three ignored him. It was easier that way.
The door opened.
''Huhhuh.'' said the Warder,and the Queen and her Consort stood, while Simon Cowell entered, flanked by a bald, burly bodyguard and two girls in pole-dancing costumes, with a white haired Max Clifford bringing up the rear.
The Queen gave an involuntary bow to Cowell and his entourage and mentally kicked herself. Cowell came forward with his own little bob to the Monarch and she took his hand. Max Clifford crept up in Cowell's wake, seeming unsure what the protocol was. The bodyguard made to stop him approaching the Queen, but hung back when Cowell gave a slight shake of his head.
''Hello, What do you do?'' the Queen asked the curtseying Clifford.
''Errm, I'm Max Clifford, your Majesty.'' he said,as if that explained everything, then scampered away into the corner.
Meanwhile, the pole-dancing girls had ducked out of the room. They re-entered, carrying a flipchart stand.
Simon Cowell established himself by the flipchart, flanked by the girls, who stood in gameshow type postures. The bodyguard looked at Cowell,who nodded,and he took his place at the door, next to the Warder, who said, ''Huhhuh.''
''Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, errm, ladies and gentlemen.'' began Cowell.
Mr Clifford and I would like to begin by thanking Her Majesty and her government for charging us with the task of finding a new use for the Pink Tower.'' he looked at his audience. Getting little response, he continued:
''We set up a Working Party, and a Think Tank. Originally, we looked into the idea of restoring the tower to its original colour of...grey. But the Working Party's research showed that the amount of restoration and refurbishment and...repainting required...would take...'' he pulled out a PDA and tapped a few keys. ''Twenty seven point three years.'' He paused for a response. None came.
''So,'' he continued, we asked the Think Tank to brainstorm ideas which would utilise the ''Pink'' theme. After several months, we came up with...' He gestured to the Pole Dancers,who lifted the cover sheet of the flipchart. Underneath was a head-and-shoulders shot of a pretty pink - piglet.
''Your Majesty. I respectfully present to you...' the girls lifted the next sheet,which showed a glittery logo which said..
''Pig World!'' said Simon Cowell, echoed by his henchman Max Clifford.
He looked at the Queen,who looked stunned. Prince Philip beamed and shouted ''Piggies!''.
Prince Charles rubbed his chin and murmured, ''Pigs...perfect.''
The Duke of Edinburgh looked very happy. He turned to his son and said. ''Chorles! Piggies!'' Charles ignored him and looked at Cowell.
''Mr Cowell.'' he said, ''This is very good, very good indeed.'' Cowell nodded. he had known the Prince of Wales would approve.
''The recent identification of the pig as an endangered species makes this an ideal initiative.'' He walked to Cowell and shook his hand vigorously. The Duke of Edinburgh was waiting in line behind the Prince and shouted ''Chorles'' again, then shook his son's hand, by mistake.
The Queen, still seated, ignored them both and asked, ''But, Mr Cowell, Mr Clifford, what is it FOR?''
Cowell went back to his flipchart. The girls turned the next sheet, which showed a plan in the shape of the Pink Tower.
''Your Majesty,Your Royal Highnesses. Pig World will be a phenomenon, a celebration of the life and the...wonder of the humble pig. For years, it has been known that the pig is highly intelligent, much more so than man's so-called best friend, the dog. Cowell gave an internal sigh of relief that the Queen had not brought any corgis with her today. ''The pig is a threatened entity,and we will help to save it.
''We intend that Pig World will be part theme park, part museum, part conservation centre.''
Charles breathed an ''Excellent'' in the corner. He had even stopped noticing the Warder's cough.
''It has been endorsed by the Pig Preservation Society, Save the Pig, and the RSPCP,and they have each pledged fifty percent of their proceeds in the first two years, to help with the setting up of Pig World,and its upkeep. Pig fanciers and enthusiasts from every country in the world will flock to see it.'' He gave an almost imperceptible nod to the girls, who went outside again and returned carrying a scale model of the Pink Tower.
The Queen and Prince Charles were both alarmed to see the huge pink pig's head which dominated one side of the tower, and the flashing pink ''Pig World'' logo on the opposite side. But the words, ''theme park'' had stuck in their minds. It would make money.
Cowell continued. ''And the best thing about Pig World....'' he said. ''The thing that will bring the punters...and the money...in.'' He pointed at the door.
Neither had noticed when Max Clifford had walked out of the room with the pole-dancers, so they were surprised when a figure walked in, dressed in a fluffy pink costume, complete with a large, cute looking piggy head and curly tail.
''This is Percival, your Majesty, your Royal Hignesses,'' he said proudly. ''The star of Pig World''
Percival/,Max Clifford came forward and gave a cheery wave to the Royals. Prince Philip rushed up and pumped his pink fluffy arm and said, ''Piggy!''
Well at least he hasn't said ''Chorles'' for the last fifteen minutes, thought Charles.
''Percival will appear on T-shirts, mousemats and keyrings, to name but a few items. He even has his own DVD, priced at £29.99, only available to visitors to Pig World.'' Cowell leaned against the flipchart, smiling. The Queen looked pleased.
A voice piped up in the corner. ''You could serve bacon sandwiches''.
''Philip'' said the Queen. Charles just shook his head