‘When Stephen was told that his much-loved father - banker, prisoner-of-war and occasional transvestite - had suddenly died, his own response astonished him. In the split second before grief and disbelief filled the gap, he saw in his mind's eye the thin, anxious face of the man who had emerged from Russia to claim him as his son, the face he had glimpsed, once, ludicrously smeared with lipstick, and a voice spun through his head. 'The King is dead,' said the voice, 'the King is dead - long live the King!'

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