Switching on the famous Christmas lights on Regent Street in November 1982, he drew a greater crowd than even Princess Diana had. Teenage girls and housewives lined the streets shouting: “We want Andy”, fainting as if he was a pop star, and being lifted over the crowd for medical attention.
After he had given a short speech, the police were unable to disperse the crowd. The manager of the Jaeger store, where the prince was attending an after party, said: “It’s absolutely amazing; I’ve not seen anything like it since the days of Beatlemania.”
Not even the news a week earlier of his relationship with American actress Koo Stark had dented the prince’s growing popularity as a pin-up.
It was the culmination of ‘Andymania’, a phenomenon that had first struck when the prince visited Dar es Salaam, where a group of British expat women unfurled a banner reading: ‘Hi Andy, come and have coffee’.
When he then visited Blantyre, in Malawi, one man bet his wife £5 that she wouldn’t dare ask Andrew for a dance. “The next thing I knew I was in his arms, looking up into his eyes, such fabulous blue eyes”, she swooned about the royal heartthrob.
As for Koo, here The Crown also strains at the seams. In order to portray the Queen as even more exasperated with her son, it suggests that their relationship – the first true love of Andrew’s life – became public before the Falklands War began in April 1982.
The couple had met in February 1981. And during the Falklands War, Koo sent him a photograph of herself with a T-shirt emblazoned ‘Weird Fantasy’. But they kept their relationship a closely guarded secret, and she didn’t meet the Queen until her boyfriend’s return to Balmoral that autumn.