Bon Noel, Canada! Ici le royal low-down

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The Queen's Christmas message to the Commonwealth was delivered in two different versions this year. One was the version seen on British television, and one was a special version done in Her Majesty's very own special French for the Canadian market. Here it is ...

"Messieurs, mesdames, petits enfants et bebes de Canada.

"C'est votre reine ici.

"Oui, Elizabeth No 2, a Londres.

"Un bon Noel a vous tous!

"Vous avez, I expect, beaucoup de neige au Canada. Un Noel blanc. Et vous avez beaucoup de luck!

"Ici en Angleterre, no such luck.

"Ici en Angleterre, chaque annee, year after year, nous disons: `Well, pensez-vous que nous aurons un white Christmas?' Et chaque annee le weatherman dit: `Well, les conditions sont en position pour un white Christmas! Oui, vous avez un vent qui vient directement de Siberia, les clear skies en night-time, basse humidite, etc, etc!'

"Et chaque annee, sur Christmas Day dans le matin, les petits enfants sautent de leurs lits pour aller a la fenetre et regarder s'il y a de la neige dans le jardin. Et chaque annee le same old story - no snow! Un grey Christmas! Et les bookmakers disent: `Ah ha! Tous les punters qui ont mis une fortune sur un white Christmas! Nous avons fait un killing! Chaque annee la meme histoire! Pauvres vieux punters, ha ha ha! Ils ne vont jamais apprendre ...'

"Of course, en Scotland c'est different. A Balmoral c'est different. En Ecosse il y a des blizzards et des drifts de neige a 10ft (trois metres) de profondeur et des gusts de vent a 100mph (180kph), et il y a aussi tous les Scotsmen qui disent: `Mon dieu - c'est un bon weather pour les brass monkeys ... !'

"Mais vous ne voyez pas tout cela sur la TV de London. Ah non, le white Christmas en Perthshire est nothing dans le London press. Un blizzard dans Scotland, ce n'est pas news a London. Si vous avez une petite hurricane a Wimbledon et un roof-slate tombe sur un passer-by, mon Dieu, c'est headline news a London! Mais si vous avez un total white-out dans les Highlands, c'est un matter de presque totale indifference aux media de London.

"C'est la meme chose au Canada, I expect. Au Canada vous avez 3,000 kilometres de freeze-up pour Christmas, avec des big icicles comme des bicycles, et c'est non-news elsewhere, n'est-ce pas?

"Oui, j'en suis sur.

"Well, enough petit talk.

"Vous n'avez pas switched on la TV pour un peu de chit-chat royal.

"Vous ne voulez pas ecouter mes opinions sur le weather, right? Right.

"Vous voulez ecouter le low-down sur Princess Diana, et le hoo-ha a Buckingham Palace, n'est-ce pas?

"Vous voulez ecouter mes opinions sur les goings on de Princess Diana et Fergie et tout le royal rat-pack?

"Eh bien, voila ce que je pense. Je pense que la divorce va venir en 1996. Oui, royal-wise, 1996 sera Le Year de Royal Divorce.

"Mon petit fils Charles, et cette hoyden Diana - divorce! Mon petit Andrew et cette dreadful Fergie - divorce! Moi et le Duc d'Edimbourg - divorce!

"Non, c'est une joke. Ce n'est pas une question de divorce avec moi et mon hubby royal. Moi et Phil le Grec, nous sommes dans un stable relationship. Actually, c'est une petite joke avec mon mari et moi. Philip dit: `Elizabeth et moi sont dans un stable relationship. Elle est toujours dans le stable avec les chevaux!'

"Philip a un grand sense d'humour comme ca.

"Entre vous et moi, un sense d'humour est tres necessaire quand vous etes la Reine de l'UK. Tres, tres necessaire. C'est un job tres serieux. Quand John Major rend visite a Buckingham Palace, c'est yawn-time. Non, c'est mega-yawn-time, comme dit Fergie. Mais il est drole aussi, Monsieur Major, sans le savoir ...

"Anyway, mon time est presque up, et dans un moment vous avez un cartoon du Christmas Carol, ou Monsieur Bean fait son Christmas Shopping, ou quelque rubbish comme ca. Donc, un bon Noel. God save the Commonwealth. Nous sommes une grande famille de nations, un message de goodwill partout, keep the Unon Jack burning, etc, etc, except in Nigeria, Nigeria a ete tres naughty cette annee, ce business de Ken Saro-Wiwa, tres mauvais business, tut, tut, messieurs, mais anyway, tout le normal Commonwealth guff est sur Ceefax ERII.

"Au revoir, tout le monde. See you prochain Noel. Vive le Quebec libre! Roger, over et out."

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