For 40 years, he has contributed his valuable work to the history books, recording each and every public engagement undertaken by the Royal Family for posterity.
But the work of Tim O’Donovan, which began as a hobby and is now a part of British national life, has not been universally appreciated by the palace itself, it has emerged.
Mr O’Donovan, who each year produces a list of the number of engagements performed by senior members of the Royal Family, has disclosed he was once invited to see the Queen’s Private Secretary to discuss concerns.
A few years after he began publishing his record in 1979, he said, the then-dean of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, where he attended services, pulled him gentle aside to pass on a message that palace officials wanted it to stop.
Only after visiting the Queen’s private secretary was he able to persuade aides of the value of collecting data, in a record he has continued ever since.
Ever since, Mr O’Donovan, an 87-year-old retired insurance broker, has allayed palace concerns by emphasising that his statistics should not be used as a “league table” of hardest-working royals: a plea largely ignored by the press and public who nowadays celebrate the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal at the top, and keep a close eye on the young team at Kensington Palace trailing behind.