Queen and Prince Philip inspect Bank of England’s gold stash

WHEN they weren’t making insightful observations on the state of the UK’s financial regulation yesterday, The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh seemed to enjoy the rest of their visit to the vaults of the Bank of England yesterday.

As tradition dictates, the Queen and Prince Philip both signed an unissued £1m banknote to record their visit, a quirky pastime that dates back to the 19th century. The pricey note was then placed in the bank’s distinguished visitors book.

The Queen and The Duke were greeted by governor Sir Mervyn King and Lord Mayor of the City of London Roger Gifford, before being whisked off for a tour of the Bank.

The last time the couple browsed the Bank’s vaults of gold bars was in 1998, although the Queen’s first visit was back in 1937 when she accompanied Queen Mary.

No word on Prince Philip’s legendary line of questioning when he met staff members.

All change at corporate research firm Hardman & Co, which has been sold by Roger Hardman to a consortium of City worthies. The business has also taken on a new chief executive in the form of Keith Hiscock. Hiscock, who used to be director of Evolution Securities, tells The Capitalist that he hadn’t anticipated his new role involving a need for fitness, having been told by his new bosses in no uncertain terms that he must learn to ride a pushbike: “I haven’t been on a bike since I was in short trousers, but John Holmes, our new chairman, is cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats.” Hiscock lamented: “They even say they are going to confiscate my Oyster card...”

Loyal lunchtime visitors to Threadneedle Street restaurant The Mercer, may have noticed something amiss with the shop’s signage this week. The wooden and iron M symbol, which notoriously dangles over the pavement –and which many City workers will no doubt be familiar with from their daily commute – has mysteriously disappeared. Manager Jason Bedford revealed to The Capitalist that is not the start of a modern makeover, but the result of an unfortunate accident. It turns out that an errant Number 242 bus smashed the beloved sign to pieces. Luckily regular patrons from the Bank of England ought to still be able to navigate their way there, given that they both reside on the same street.