It was Queen Elizabeth who made me a foreign correspondent.
Before she turned up, my newspaper career had consisted of listening to Baltimore policemen reminisce about great hangings and covering bush-league statesmen deploring the state of the world.
I had also covered night rewrite: stickups, accidents, floods, fires, murders, from supper time to 2 in the morning. It wasn't a dead-end job, but neither was there a lot to look forward to except retirement after 40 years of good behavior.
When the queen assignment came, I was 27 years old. Like all young reporters — brilliant or hopelessly incompetent — I dreamed of the glamorous life of the...