In Whiche an Unrulie Mobbe of Reptiles Pursues the Royal Baby

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It's been a few weeks since we had an episode of Shakespeare's long-running saga, "The History of King Tony" (or "New Labour's Lost, Love") but before King Tony takes himself and his court off to Italy for the summer, there's just time for a look at the latest doings of the royal entourage...

It's been a few weeks since we had an episode of Shakespeare's long-running saga, "The History of King Tony" (or "New Labour's Lost, Love") but before King Tony takes himself and his court off to Italy for the summer, there's just time for a look at the latest doings of the royal entourage...

The scene is the Royal Palace at Westminster, where King Tony and Queen Cherie are packing for their holidays.

Tony: Just think of it, my dear. In two weeks' time

The cares of state will all be left behind.

We shall fly south to join the sun and then

Its healing rays will burn away our woes...

Ah yes, the sunny climes of far-off Tuscany,

And no less sun-kissed slopes of old Provence,

So well described in Peter Mayle's bestseller,

The which I took on holiday last year.

Cherie: But did not read. We'll take it once again.

Tony: 'Tis odd that no one yet has penned a book

About a year in Tuscany. 'Twould go down well.

Perhaps myself I should take up the pen

And write a book about our Tuscan times!

Cherie: Knowing your luck, it would be leaked too well

And read by all before it saw the shops.

Tony: Cheer up, my Queen, cheer up! You're sad today,

Be not so green and sour, but tell me why

Thou art in such a melancholy state.

Cherie: Perhaps it is because thou art so blithe,

Anticipating such a pleasant time,

And I do have to grapple with the packing.

Thou has but little notion of the work

Involved in visiting these OPPs.

Tony: These OPPs? What can you mean by that?

Cherie: It is my name for Other People's Palaces.

The holiday homes you fix up when abroad,

And you go drinking with your royal mates.

Back home you come and say, "Good news, my dear!

I met this Belgian with a home in Tuscany

Who says we can stay there come August time!"

Besides, I fear thee when in such a playful mood.

It was at such a time a year ago,

When thou wert full of all the joys of spring

That I conceived and later bore Prince Leo.

There must not be another royal baby!

So, I do fear thee when thou'rt full of fun.

Tony: Have no fear. I'll treat thee like a nun.

The scene changes to a street in London. Huge crowds have gathered to greet the procession of Dame Betty Boothroyd, as she drives past on her 100th birthday celebrations.

Betty: Thank you, my friends. I thank you one and all.

To Driver: Once around Whitehall, then turn left down the Mall.

She vanishes, as King Tony enters carrying Prince Leo.

Tony: They love Dame Betty, though I never knew why.

For all she ever did was say: "Aye, aye!

Now come to order! Let's have a bit of hush!"

In the rank of achievements, it isn't much...

Enter a gang of photographers, on the way back from Dame Betty's drive past.

First Photo: It's him! It's Tony himself! Let's get a snap!

Come on Tony, put Leo on your lap!

Second Photo: Or if you want to make us really very happy,

Take his outfit off and change his nappy!

Outraged by this familiarity, King Tony has all these photographers clapped in the Tower. The scene reverts to the Royal Palace, where Queen Cherie is still packing.

Cherie: Pants, socks, and shorts, and swimming towels as well...

Oh God, these holidays are merry hell!

Enter King Tony.

Tony: And don't forget the camera! This is the year

When I shall take the holiday snaps myself.

Cherie: I've put it in. I think that's just about it.

Can there be anything else that we've forgot?

Nappies for Leo... Hangover cure for Euan...

Tony: The only thing which still I fret about

Concerns Duke Gordon Brown, our Chancellor

Whom I have left behind unguarded here.

Cherie: And how can he affect our holidays?

What can he do to bring your spirits down?

What can he do to steal the royal headlines?

Tony: Perhaps you're right. I never trusted him.

But, what can he do to get back in the news?

Come then, good Queen ! Let's turn out the light

And drive to the airport for our private flight!

The scene changes to a secret wedding in Scotland, where Duke Gordon Brown is tying the knot to Lady Sarah.

Clergyman: I therefore pronounce you man and wife forthwith.

Now you may kiss the bride, if that's your wish.

Enter a gang of photographers, freshly released from the Tower of London.

First Photo: Duke Gordon Brown, before you kiss the bride,

May we implore you to allow us in

And take a little snap for our front page?

Gordon: My dear photographers from Fleet Street way!

Take all the time you want ! At your command!

Second Photo: Aside How very different from our churlish king!

Already marriage seems to mellow him!

First Photo: Aside He now has a wife. Can babes be far behind?

Second Photo: Aside The very same thought had just now crossed my mind.

More of this anon, good folk.

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