Martin Williams
3 minute read
10 Mar 2021
5:58 am

Royal spat is all piffle but you will consume it

Martin Williams

When a senior Afrikaans-speaking staffer asked him why he devoted so much space to British royalty, The Citizen editor Johnny Johnson replied: 'Ask your wife what she reads.'

Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry have quit their royal duties and moved to California. Picture: AFP/File/Michele Spatari

Legendary The Citizen editor Johnny Johnson had many flaws but few critics could fault his news sense. Among those who sang his praises as a newsman were Nelson Mandela and Helen Suzman. Johnson was not well on August 29, 1997. Uncharacteristically for a workaholic, he took time off. We didn’t expect to see him for days. But news intervened. On the Saturday evening, a Mercedes carrying Princess Diana crashed in Paris. She died on Sunday. Johnson left his sick bed to take hands-on charge of the Diana coverage. That meant reading through every hard-copy royal story and scrutinising every photograph...