AFTER being dubbed a “galloping colonial clot” by a British tabloid, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is hitting back at the suggestion he breached royal protocol by revealing details of his weekend with the Queen.
Mr Key and his family stayed with Queen Elizabeth and her family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 21-22, and Mr Key later revealed he and wife Bronagh had a Land Rover tour of the estate with the Queen, and Prince Philip helped out with a barbecue.
Mr Key’s son Max went grouse shooting with Prince William and daughter Stephanie went tramping with Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
He also revealed on Monday that he had met one-month-old Prince George, the distant future heir to the throne, while at the castle – the first world leader to do so.
Following the trip, Britain’s Daily Mail accused Mr Key – or “Kay” as it spelt his name – of breaking protocol by divulging the details and releasing a photo of himself and the Queen in her sitting room.
It was apparently unaware New Zealand media were allowed in to film and photograph the pair – a rare privilege denied to the British press, which has a tense relationship with the royal family.
The newspaper described Mr Key as looking “totally chuffed to bits, glowing nuclear pink with pleasure” in the photo, while the Queen had her head bowed.
“Perhaps she is having second thoughts about letting this galloping colonial clot through the front door,” the paper suggested, launching into a critique of the Queen’s interior decorating skills.
Mr Key defended his comments, saying they “were in line with the expectations of what the palace expected me to say”.
Asked his thoughts on the Daily Mail, he said “I wouldn’t wrap my fish and chips in it.”