My career as an editor started pretty early. At age seven, in fact. And I’ve got Prince Charles to thank for it, in part.

It’s 1980 and The Prince of Wales had just published his tale of ‘The Old Man of Lochnagar’, a story he’d written eleven years earlier for his younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, about the adventures of a hoary old fellow living in a cave by a loch near Balmoral. The book was illustrated by the then President of the Royal Academy, Sir Hugh Casson, and for a few weeks at least it became an end-of-day story time favourite at my small primary school, Hilden Oaks, in Kent.

However, pedantry was already brewing in my veins, for one afternoon, flicking through its pages and taking in Sir Hugh’s watercolour illustrations I noticed that where the text spoke of “twelve huge cock capercaillie” swooping up the valley to meet the old man, the picture appeared to show only eleven.

Aghast, I persuaded my teacher that we must write to The Palace immediately to point out the capercaillie discrepancy and – with great patience, I now realise – she let that happen.

Some weeks passed – which in the world of a seven-year-old seems more like years, to the extent that I’d completely forgotten about the correspondence – and then we received a reply from Michael Colborne, the Prince’s Secretary.

“Prince Charles thinks you ought to know,” he wrote, “that a room in the Tower is being prepared for Sir Hugh, but that it will probably be too difficult to keep him there!”

Boom! That was me hooked on editing, not that I knew then that was what it was, and my teacher began to set me one extra question in our general knowledge homework each week just for being such a smartarse.

I’m sorry, Sir Hugh.