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Former reporter who became Royal press adviser dies

A former regional journalist who went on to be press adviser to the Prince and Princess of Wales has died at the age of 79.

Phil Mackie held senior positions at the Edinburgh Evening News from 1967-1984 and was believed to be the first ex-journalist employed by Buckingham Palace when he was hired in 1987.

The former crime reporter travelled the world with Charles and Diana before their marriage broke up, and became personal press secretary to the prince.

He spoke to the princess just a month before she died in 1997, when he was still working part-time at the palace.

His career began at the Falkirk Mail and he went on to work at the Daily Record and Scottish Daily Express, before starting his career at Scotsman Publications as a promotions manager.

He went on to become deputy editor and associate editor at the Edinburgh Evening News where he organised charity fundraising events which led to encounters with celebrities such as Sir Jimmy Savile and Angela Rippon.

It is thought his friendship with Sir Jimmy led to an unexpected invitation to work at the palace, where he was initially assistant press secretary to the Queen.

He was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in 1992.

Ian Nimmo, who was Phil’s editor at the Evening News latterly, said: “Phil was a livewire reporter with a background in hard news reporting on the Glasgow crime scene. He knew many of the notorious criminals of the day, including the serial killer Peter Manuel.

“He worked his way up the promotion ladder in a tough school of journalism at a time when competition across the central belt was ferocious and only the best man won the story.

“He worked on a high level of energy, ideas sparking and it is hard to remember him ever sitting down.

“He handled people well and led the field in charity fund-raising activities, masterminding the Evening News’s charity walk, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes.

“He brought a string of personalities to Edinburgh – big starts of stage and screen, including royalty, and became best friends with Jimmy Savile.

“In Phil Mackie’s passing journalism has lost an able, colourful character, and one of the last of a diminishing band who lived their journalism to the hilt when it was at its most exciting.”

Phil lived latterly in Linlithgow, Scotland with his wife Margaret. The couple had two daughters.