AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIE BOND

AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIE BOND

AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIE BOND

Added 314 days ago. 14 April 2023

During her years as BBC Royal Correspondent, Jennie reported on many notable royal events, becoming a familiar face not just to the royal family, but to viewers all over the UK. She shares some wonderful stories with us from her incredible career.

Journalism wasn't her original choice of career

I always thought I’d be a teacher, but as part of my Literature degree I went to France for a year, teaching children to speak English, and I was so bad at it that I thought I would revisit my ambitions! I went to see a friend who was a journalist on a weekly paper, and I thought: “This looks so interesting! You never know what is going to happen, every day is different. So I applied to practically every newspaper in the country, and, eventually, one gave me a job.

She worked for several more papers before getting her break at the BBC

I applied to the BBC a couple of times until I got a place in the Radio Newsroom. The thrill of that first day and being told I could write the weatherforecast, then hearing it and thinking: “Oh gosh - I wrote that!” I made pretty rapid progress and became the Duty Editor. I did an ‘attachment’ to Woman’s Hour, then years later I did some attachments in TV, including as a news reporter. And I’m pleased to say they asked me to stay.

After 11 years in radio, Jennie became a television reporter in her mid-late thirties

I applied to the BBC a couple of times until I got a place in the Radio Newsroom. The thrill of that first day and being told I could write the weatherforecast, then hearing it and thinking: “Oh gosh - I wrote that!” I made pretty rapid progress and became the Duty Editor. I did an ‘attachment’ to Woman’s Hour, then years later I did some attachments in TV, including as a news reporter. And I’m pleased to say they asked me to stay.

Then out of the blue her bosses asked if she'd be interested in the BBC's Royal Correspondent position

At first, I thought: “Well, no!” as it was regarded as the shallow end of journalism, but I said I’ll do it for a year. In the end I did it for 14! The role evolved from flower shows and ‘who wore what’ to discussing the future of the Monarchy… deaths, divorces, disasters - it became a very important story.

Travelling the world for Royal Tours proved hard work but great fun too

From the heat of India… the dust of Australia… the glamour of Chicago with Diana… the freezing cold of the Arctic Circle with the Queen… to nearly crashing in a plane in Tasmania with 6 other journalists at the top of a mountain!

It was a terrible landing. We were there to cover the arrival of Prince Charles, but instead of transport waiting to take us down the mountain there was just a tiny, abandoned shed with a door swinging in the wind. In the distance we could see Charles’ entourage that we were meant to be covering, with no way to get there!

A couple of memories of King Charles stick in Jennie's mind...

While on the same 3-week tour we had a single day off and were flown off in little planes to Fraser Island off Brisbane, the largest sand island in the world. We were all in the same hotel – Prince Charles included. We press took the rare opportunity to let our hair down – and we finished up the night in the jacuzzi, outside under the stars. In the morning Charles came down and said, “Was it you lot making that awful noise last night? I couldn’t sleep!” He did forgive us in the end though!

I also remember attending the coronation of the King of Lesotho in South Africa with Prince Charles. It took place in a stadium and lasted 8 hours! When we left Charles turned around to us and said, “I promise you one thing, my coronation will not be as long as that!”

Jennie always tried to bring a little cheer to the Queen

She had a good sense of humour and a dazzling smile. No matter how many hands she had to shake or how long the day, she was always gracious. So I would always try and make her laugh! It didn’t always work but I told her once how I’d been to see her wedding dress at an exhibition and what a tiny waist she had – she did laugh at that one and looked quite pleased.

She wore bright colours to make it easy for people to see her – people who could have been standing outside for hours just to get a glimpse. She always left behind a sea of smiling faces wherever she went.

Jennie gave up the role after moving away from London for a better family life 

My husband, daughter and I moved to Devon, and I soon realised the job was simply untenable. A news story could break at a moment’s notice, and I just couldn’t get there in time. Almost instantly I was asked to do I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here. It changed people’s perception of me, and so much came my way – Rip Off Britain, Cash in the Attic, presenting, panel shows, and all the writing I do for the national papers. I’m still flooded with requests, which is wonderful. I have a balance now. I have autonomy, so I can say to job offers: “Do you know what? No.” Our two little grandchildren aged 1 and 3 keep me busy too - how lucky we are to share their tiny years with them. And I’m very happy.

Sign Up To Our Newsletters

Get fortnightly updates from Wiltshire Farm Foods

We will keep your information safe and not sell it on to third parties.

Read more about how we handle your data in ourData Protection Policy.