A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
One morning, Mary and I were trying to decide what to have for lunch, that’s not an unusual discussion in most households, especially if, like us, you are retired and stuck in the house all day courtesy of the pandemic. Our little chat that day likely included the standard ‘I don’t know what do you feel like?’ or ‘What have we got that’s easy other than Habitant Pea soup since we’ve had it three days in a row and even the cat won’t stand behind us?’
I wonder if this bit of repartee ever happens in the lives of the British Royal Family as they do whatever Royals do to earn their keep. And if so, does, ‘I don’t know, some peanut butter on a slice of bread is good enough for me’ ever come into the conversation? What about ‘I think there is some leftovers in the fridge, just put them on a paper plate, Liz, and stick them in the microwave for a couple of minutes.’ I don’t think you would hear that all that often.
Probably the conversation would be more like “I say, Philip old bean, do let us get Cook to whip us up a Chateau Briand with side of hummingbird tongues and truffles?’ Perhaps we should have Jeeves open a bottle of Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut. Better make it a half-bottle I have to baby sit the grandkids this afternoon. If we are going to call the servants in, Philip, you better put on some pants and a shirt. They aren’t paid enough to have to look at you in your underwear. As a matter of fact, neither am I.’
Not being of royal blood (I once looked up my ancestry and found out my many times ‘great’ grandfather used to empty Henry VIII’s latrine so I stopped looking) I have no idea what a typical lunch would be in Buckingham Palace or how formal it is. Does Liz wear her tiara, or just a hat? We know she’s big on hats.
Somehow, I doubt the Queen and the Prince ever sit downstairs at the kitchen table, her Majesty in the ratty old nightgown she bought in 1952 at a garage sale, and Phil in his jockey shorts that should have been tossed into the ragbag many moons ago.
If The Crown is even remotely correct, every dinner is served on fine China with dining room staff hovering over them serving from the right and removing from the left. (I have no idea if the right-left business is the way it’s done. At our house it’s ‘Pass the peas, Porky. By the way I noticed you scoffed the last chicken wing. I believe that makes five.’
And yet, I don’t think I would want their lives. Most of the dignitaries they have to meet are snotty and boring at best. And the endless parades? How many times a day can a Queen give the ‘hem, hem,’ wave before her hand falls off?
I know the Queen loves horses but sitting on one all afternoon while the guard troops must be tiring. I once sat on one for several spins and got a sore bum. The next ride I switched over to the swan where I could at least stretch my legs, as short as they are. (Whenever I get measured for a pair of pants, Steve, at Dapper Dan’s, always gives his head a shake them measures me again.)
Granted there a lot of privileges to being a Royal; I have never seen the Queen in the line-up for the can at the World Cup. Nor have I ever seen her Rolls in the drive thru line at Hortons. Of course, she may be a Starbucks fan, although I doubt it since an American’s idea of afternoon tea is dropping a teabag into a paper cup and pouring lukewarm water over it. I have always suspected there never was an American Revolution. The Brits kicked them out for ruining their ‘cuppa’. Tossing a shipload of tea into the harbour at the Boston Tea Party wasn’t a mistake. The colonials thought that was how it was made.
One of the Old Guard at the Legion told me he once had a couple of beers with some guy at a table in a British Legion and found out later it was Prince Philip. On the other hand, the same guy told me he was propositioned by Princess Anne outside a fish and chip store in Newcastle upon Tyne. Shortly after that shocker he was put in a cab and sent home.