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26/04/2007 - par Mark Tungate

On a night out in London this week I found myself confronted by two great British obsessions : the Royal Family and curry. The evening began when I met a friend who works for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. All day long I had been seeing head­lines about Prince William, who had just split up with his girlfriend Kate Middleton. It seems Kate won't be a princess after all - which is probably good news for her, bearing in mind what happened to Diana. The tabloids ­thought Kate had been a victim of snobbery. Her mother is a former air hostess and was said to have shocked the Queen by chewing gum and saying « toilet » instead of « lavatory ». William's snobby friends were also said to have teased Kate about her mum by pointing out the emergency exits whenever she entered a room.

« Absolute rubbish, » said my friend. « All that stuff was just made up by the newspapers. Anyway, I'm bored of this subject. Why don't we go and eat some curry ? » She took me to the press launch of a book called 50 Great Curries of India, by restaurateur Camellia Panjabi. The British love Indian food and have a nostalgic view of their former colony. The launch party I attended was in fact an Indian banquet. The guests included London's most famous food critics - who are just like normal English people, but with taste buds. Camellia Panjabi herself was a stately, regal woman in a gold sari. I must admit, I preferred Indian royalty to the British version. And I'm pretty sure the food was better.

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