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Palace watch

Tom Farrell, education chairman in East Ayrshire, had a rather more prestigious gathering to attend, a meeting of the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme chaired by the Duke himself. As the usual pleasantries proceeded after lunch, Prince Philip revealed himself to be well versed in the aftermath of Scottish local government reform and enquired of Farrell how he had settled into life in East Ayrshire after chairing Strathclyde's education committee.

He was not so well briefed on other matters. "Tell me," he asked Farrell. "What's Frank Pignatelli doing now?"

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