‘I won’t wash off Royalty’ vow leads to divorce threat

The controversial handshake
The controversial handshake
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A Clitheroe pensioner has threatened to divorce his wife of 49 years unless she breaks her vow to never again wash her hand after it was “touched by Royalty”.

Harry Durkin, 70, told The Clitheroe Advertiser how his 68-year-old wife, Avril, made the bizarre vow after meeting and shaking hands with Prince Charles during his visit to the Ribble Valley on Tuesday, March 21st.

This hand of mine has pressed the flesh of our future King

Mrs Durkin

“Personally, I can take or leave the royals, but my Avril has been absolutely barmy about them for as long as I’ve known her,” said a bewildered Harry, of Jesters Avenue.

“Our house is full of pictures, pots, tea towels, biscuit tins… any old rubbish as long as it has one of the Windsors on it. Meeting Prince Charles and shaking his hand in King Street last week was the highlight of her life. She’s never shut up about it ever since, but this daft vow of hers is the final straw!”

Although reluctant to talk to the press, a defiant Mrs Durkin confirmed she would never again wash her right hand: “This hand of mine has pressed the flesh of our future King,” she said proudly. “I ask you, how could I wash that off?”

She refused to reveal what the heir to the throne said to her during their brief meeting, saying only: “That’s private between Charles and me, and nobody else’s business.”

For the first three days after Prince Charles’ visit, Mrs Durkin wore a bright yellow washing up glove on her right hand to preserve any royal residue. However, she found it impractical when doing her knitting and crochet, and the rubber started to make her skin itch. Since casting the glove aside, she now wears a plastic bag over her “royal right hand”, held in place with rubber bands, whenever she has a bath, goes out in the rain or attends the OAP swimming sessions at Ribblesdale Pool.

“It’s just ridiculous,” exclaimed an exasperated Harry, “but I can’t get her to budge! Apart from anything else, its unhygienic. She cooks my meals with that hand. What if I catch something nasty? I wouldn’t mind, but we had kippers on Tuesday and I can still smell ’em!”

Now at his wits’ end, retired black pudding salesman Harry has issued his monarchy-mad wife with a desperate ultimatum: “I’ve told her straight – either she washes that bloomin’ hand or it’s the divorce courts. She says one day Charles will be King and she still won’t have washed him off, but I can’t wait that long. It’s either a bar of soap and a good scrub with hot water, or that’s us finished.”

There is, however, a glimmer of hope for the Durkins, who are due to celebrate their Golden Wedding next year. Harry explained: “After I threatened divorce, Avril said she might consider having a wash, but only if she had a good photo of her shaking hands with Prince Charles. I’ve scoured the papers and even got our son, Albert, and daughter, Vicky, to look on their computers, but we’ve all drawn a blank.

“So I’m appealing to Clitheroe Advertiser readers, if anyone has a photo please, please send it to the paper… it could save my marriage. It’s not hard to spot our Avril. She’s the one wearing a plastic Union Jack bowler hat, waving a ‘Charlie rules OK!’ placard and grinning like a Cheshire cat.”

The Durkins declined to have their photo taken, but Avril did agree to us using a picture of her “Royal hand”, shown here.