The Royals: 'No, one won't be playing the abdication game'
Would the Queen ever follow Beatrix of the Netherlands' lead? John Walsh imagines the scene at breakfast
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Tuesday 29 January 2013
The news that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is to step down from the throne in April, to give her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander, a shot at reigning will come as a relief to the Dutch people. She wasn't a popular queen: she married a German aristocrat who'd been involved in the Hitler Youth movement, and refused to cut back her state allowance of €830,000 (£710,000) as other European royals had done. Nowhere, though, will her abdication be more warmly greeted than at a certain address in London SW1…
The scene: Morning. The Blue Dining Room, Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles is seated at the table, buttering toast and reading the newspapers. The Duke of Edinburgh is helping himself to scrambled eggs and kippers. Admiral Sir Mortimer Blanchard and Field Marshal Rodney "Stinker" Fortescue are in attendance.
Enter HM the Queen.
Prince Charles: Marvellous people the Dutch. Very sound in many areas. Art. Cheese. Windmills. Er, tulips. A very enlightened bunch, historically. We could learn a lot from them.
The Queen: Are there any Cinnamon Grahams?
Admiral Blanchard: All finished, I fear, Ma'am. May I pass you the Oatibix?
Charles: Have you seen the newspapers, Mummy? There's a very interesting piece in The Independent about Queen Bea…
The Queen: One has decided to read nothing in the print media any more, bar Horse & Hind and Arthritis Monthly. Everything else is all rot. Anything I need to know, Stinker here can brief me.
Charles: Queen Beatrix has announced she's, ah, stepping down, Mummy. Of course she is a great age… I mean, 75. It's amazing she's kept at it so long.
The Queen: Stepping dine? In what sense is she stepping dine?
Charles: She is, ah, retiring from her role as head of state. Ceasing to reign. Relinquishing the throne to let her belov...
The Queen: Why must one always have this Waitrose tiger bread? It's like eating one's embroidered pillow.
Charles: ... beloved son become king. He's 45 you know. Quite old really. [Hastily] Not too old, of course. Sufficiently mature, I mean, to take on such a solemn duty.
The Queen: And this Lurpak Spreadable stuff isn't real butter. It's got some kind of oil in it.
Charles (voice trembling): She must love him very much to stand aside and give him the chance to...
The Queen: Mmm. Although this Oxford marmalade always hits the spot.
Charles (tartly): It says in The Independent that her reign was marked by tragedy and family scandal, and it's jolly well time she gave up.
The Queen: Philip? What do you make of this Dutch queen story?
Prince Philip: Never liked 'em. She and her kids always marrying bloody crooks or beastly Nazis. Not a patch on Juliana, any of 'em.
Charles (slyly): Marvellous person, Queen Juliana, wasn't she? Of course she also, ah, retired, didn't she, in 1980, so that Beatrix could take over?
The Queen: The word I think you're groping for, Charles, is abdicate. I say "I think" because it's not a word in one's vocabulary. (Steely) Nor ever will be.
Charles: Oh, Mummy. (Puts head in hands. Blubs)
Prince Philip: Pass the Duchy Originals, there's a good chap.
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...
£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital publishing solution...