when Ferrari announced how it'd be celebrating the Diamond Jubilee.
Italy's most iconic car maker are not only sending a cavalcade of their finest creations to Windsor to mark the celebrations, but they're also bringing a division of the mounted Carabinieri (that's Italian for bobbies on horses) with them. All this for a foreign head of state who, while being fabulously rich, has never actually owned a Ferrari. Prince Charles we all know for being a bit of an Aston man, but I don't recall Queen Elizabeth II being on the waiting list for the 458 Italia.
Then it clicked. The bosses of the most obviously petrolhead company on the planet are paying tribute to something you probably didn't know about Her Majesty. Whisper it softly, but the Queen is a car enthusiast! You probably thought Britain's highest profile motoring fan was Jeremy Clarkson, didn't you? There are, even if you exclude the presenters of Top Gear, all sorts of powerful and influential people who have a passion for motoring. Steve Coogan, for instance, or Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay. Chris Evans, meanwhile, is a proper Ferrari ambassador, and has an entire collection of the Prancing Horse's finest. Arguably, though, the Queen is more high profile than any of those. She appears on our banknotes and everything!
Don't believe me? Well, it's a fact that Her Majesty The Queen is a trained mechanic, and while she could have done all sorts of different things to help the British war effort in the 1940s she spent most of the conflict in a boiler suit underneath army trucks, mending things. It's also true that she had a Rover P5B Coupe (a proper, regal old Rover from the days they were fitted with plush carpets and thumping great V8 engines) which she had not as something she could be chauffeured about in, but so that she could actually drive it herself, simply because she enjoyed it. When she eventually got rid of it she got a Jag for exactly the same purpose.
There's something strangely comforting in these austere times about knowing that the ruling monarch, deep down, is a keen driver with a James May-like command of mechanical knowhow and a taste for V8-engined luxury saloons. No wonder Ferrari thought it'd be a good idea to celebrate 60 years of her reign by showing her some F40s and Daytonas.
Deep down, I reckon she'd like ‘em...