Jay Blades says the King would have been fine growing up on his council estate
ay Blades said that after he got to know the King during an episode of The Repair Shop he thinks he would have been fine growing up on his council estate in London, as he has got a “good heart”.
The 52-year-old presenter also said that there is more to Charles “than people know” after the repair team travelled to see the then Prince of Wales, at Dumfries House in Scotland.
During The Repair Shop: A Royal Visit, which also celebrated the BBC’s centenary when it aired in October, the King’s bracket clock and a piece made for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee by British ceramics maker Wemyss Ware were all fixed.
The furniture restorer spoke openly to The Times on Saturday about his difficult time growing up in Hackney, which saw him being put in a police van after a stop and search for a “kicking”, and also stabbed as a teenager in his arm.
Blades said the King “would be fine” on his council estate as “he’s got a good heart”, which he said is all you need, along with “a willingness to make a positive change”.
He added: “The King has got security people, but I think the geezer deserves props (credit). There’s more to him than people know.”
Blades also said he is getting “a lot of grief” from people saying he broke royal protocol by touching the King.
In the one-off special, he greeted the 74-year-old King with a cup of Earl Grey tea, presenting it in an HRH mug and putting his hand on Charles’s arm.
Moments later, the King returned the gesture by placing a hand on Blades’ back.
Blades added: “Well, there was plenty of royal security there to say don’t touch the geezer, but they didn’t. He’s only a human and he touched me too. So I think everyone should pipe down.”
According to the newspaper, the King is also said to be keen to keep in touch with Blades so heritage craftspeople can help students from the Prince’s Foundation Building Craft Programme – a training initiative that teaches traditional skills such as blacksmithing, stonemasonry and wood carving.
Blades also said during the interview “you’ve got to make yourself a bit smaller” as a 6ft 3in black man, and he dresses as though he is from the 1930s for that reason.
He also said: “If I met the King in a hoody and baggy trousers, what impression would Middle England have of me?
“My clothes are saying, ‘Can you get over the barrier of me being a black man?’”
The Repair Shop returns for a Christmas special on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 8pm.