WHEN people ask me who I would most like to interview, I always say the Queen. She has known every Prime Minister since Sir Winston Churchill and has welcomed scores of potentates to Buckingham Palace.

The Queen has watched the popularity of the monarchy ebb and flow over the many years of her reign. She has seen many changes in the Royal Family including herself. When she first came to the throne in 1952, she had a high pitched voice which was rather irritating and reeked of superiority.

She took elocution lessons to make it more acceptable.

The Duke of Edinburgh is often caricatured as a reactionary old duffer with a short fuse and a habit of making ill-judged remarks. Yet as a young man he was rather dashing He made thought provoking speeches on modern subjects such as technology.

He appeared briefly to be in tune with the times.

In the early years of her reign, the Queen was a popular figure. I remember seeing crowds of people line the streets, clapping deferentially as the royal Daimler swept past them.

But soon she could seem stuffy in a fast changing country and it was not long before an obscure peer called Lord Altringham criticised her for being out of touch.

He was soon howled down by royalists and consigned to the footnotes of history. But he had been a reminder to the royals that they had to earn respect rather than assume automatically it was there.

There was always a group of people who considered themselves to be republicans and when added to those disaffected by some current topic they could seem quite numerous.

The younger royals on the fringes of the family were often singled out for criticism. Some were seen to be parasites, living off State money and doing precious little to earn it.

Royal romances were always popular and there was always a good turnout whenever one led to a wedding.

The Queen’s wayward sister Princess Margaret wed the society photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones and for a while they seemed to be a stylish couple.

But the liaison did not last and ended in tears. Margaret sank into a morass of cigarettes and booze while her husband, by now Lord Snowdon, continued to show true talent in his photography.

The Queen’s own children seemed no more successful in love. There was tremendous affection among the public for Princess Diana on her marriage to Prince Charles and the wedding had both glamour and beauty.

But when the inevitable parting came, the public tended to sympathise with Diana rather than Charles. There was enormous public anguish when she died in a car crash although much of this quickly evaporated as if people had been rather ashamed.

It was at this point that the Queen made her most serious public relations mistake of her reign. She stayed at Balmoral hoping that the fuss would soon blow over.

But it didn’t and she seemed to be unfeeling. It took the talents of Tony Blair, the new Prime Minister, to persuade her to come to London and make a broadcast to the nation.

Princess Anne was no luckier in love than her brother while Prince Andrew’s oafish bride Sarah Ferguson never really won over people’s hearts.

It wasn’t until Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton that glamour returned to royal weddings.

Now we have another big event this weekend at Windsor when Prince Harry marries the American divorcee Meghan Markle. Harry has made his mistakes as a young man but has matured into a more attractive figure lately. He is able to have a good time and yet remain sensitive.

The Royal Family has for long taken the view that no publicity is good publicity.

The Queen Mother exemplified this line by waving sweetly and never giving interviews.

I always knew that even if I applied to interview the Queen, my wish would never be granted and that even if it was, she would deliberately not say anything of note.

Prince Charles has spoken out on topics that concern him such as preserving the environment. But he is instinctively a traditional royal who often seems on another planet. Almost everything about him from his voice to his suits seems out of date.

I firmly believe the Royal Family will have to adapt to survive in this century. It will not be enough to rely on mystique to keep the respect of the people.

Prince William has already shown that he speaks like a normal young man rather than a royal. Prince Harry and his unconventional bride can now go a few steps forward.