09 November 2007

Reading

So in due course Her Majesty went to Wales and to Scotland and to Lancashire and the West Country in that unremitting round of nationwide perambulation that is the lot of the monarch. The Queen must meet her people, however awkward and tongue-tied such meetings might turn out to be. Though it was here that her staff could help.

To get round the occasional speechlessness of her subjects when confronted with the sovereign the equerries would sometimes proffer handy hints as to possible conversations.

"Her Majesty may well ask you if you have had far to come. Have your answer ready and then possibly go on to say whether you came by train or by car. She may then ask you where you have left the car and whether the traffic was busier here than in - where did you say you came from? - Andover. The Queen, you see, is interested in all aspects of the nation's life, so she will sometimes talk about how difficult it is to park in London these days, which could take you on to a discussion of any parking problems you might have in Basingstoke."

"Andover, actually, though Basingstoke's a nightmare too."

- An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

2 comments:

Karen said...

Before I saw the attribution, I was under the impression that you had had occasion to meet the Queen.

I'm now slightly disappointed.

hazelblackberry said...

Disappointed, perhaps, but also still firmly in touch with reality.