Monday, 5 November 2012

The Queen and I

The occasion of the Diamond Jubilee earlier this year gives me cause to examine my own encounters with the Royals. I can recall going down to Wolverhampton in 1962 to see the Queen present the new standard to the Staffordshire Yeomanry, which my father served.

 I did see the Duke of Edinburgh though when he attended a civic luncheon in Stoke in the mid 80s. He seemed genial enough but more latterly he blew the gaffe when he called the City a "ghastly place".

Faux pas involving members of the public and the Royal Family must occur frequently as a witnessed incident with the Lord Mayor of Stoke demonstrates. At the opening of Bradeley Retirement Village Lord Mayor John Birkin introduced the uniped Leader of the Council Ted Smith who unfortunately lost a leg to illness with the comment that "When you were last here Your Majesty, he had two legs". I don’t think that John- a family friend- was being sardonic, but it was just an unfortunate slip of the tongue.

My brother and I share a distinction that we have both missed events when the Princess Royal was present. I think its two each. I missed her opening Brough Park Leisure Centre in 2002 and he missed her when he was on some sailing ship in Cornwall. As for the lesser Royal the same brother received his degree whilst at Lancaster from Princess Alexandria the Chancellor unfortunately for him she choose to have a conversation as he walked past her seated figure.

"Hev yew gort e jorb"? He said her aristocratic tones making it impossible for him to understand her.

" Pardon"

"Hev yew gort a jorb"

As this progressed he had her hand and as the time elapsed the grip became vice like. Panic was displayed in Alexandria’s eyes. My father who was taking film from the back as my brother wearing a cape lowered his head to try to catch what the Princess was saying later told us that it was like Dracula about to bite someone in the neck.

It turned out that she was asking him about his employment prospects.