Two royal ladies

Ed
Ed Smith
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Well, I said sadly to myself, there goes the old ballgame. There goes international detente. There goes understanding and co-operation between the Yanks and the Brits. The whole world is about to go mammaries up.



I was looking at an image of the New Reality on television. More than that, I was looking at a symbol of the New Age about to break on an unsuspecting human race. This was no less a symbol of what was to come than the Model T was to the automotive age or Sputnik to the space age. This would overturn codes of conduct, codes of law and theological doctrines held for centuries.


Well, I said sadly to myself, there goes the old ballgame. There goes international detente. There goes understanding and co-operation between the Yanks and the Brits. The whole world is about to go mammaries up.

I was looking at an image of the New Reality on television. More than that, I was looking at a symbol of the New Age about to break on an unsuspecting human race. This was no less a symbol of what was to come than the Model T was to the automotive age or Sputnik to the space age. This would overturn codes of conduct, codes of law and theological doctrines held for centuries.

What I was looking at, or thought I was looking at, was a television news clip showing U.S. President Barack Obama with his arm around the shoulders of good Queen Bess.

OK, I said, there goes the farm. Whatever hope we had for a speedy end to the global economic crisis, to a non-proliferation treaty for atomic weapons or whatever hope we had for revitalization of the seal hunt, is gone forever. We can kiss Heather Mills and her support goodbye, if you have the stomach for that kind of obfuscation. Personally, I'd rather kiss Barbara Bush.

Anyway, haul up your longliners sealers, and flush out your holds. The fat lady has just hit a very low note.

I remember the fuss that erupted when then-premier Brian Tobin put his hand against the Queen's back to guide her up the steps of Confederation Building. That almost caused an international incident with the members of the Monarchist League and the Salvation Army Home League all up in arms.

The thing is, you see, one isn't allowed to lay hands on the Queen. I suppose Philip is, although it's a matter of some conjecture as to the last time he did. Since it was probably the first time he touched her that resulted in good Prince Chuck, it's a wonder he ever laid hands on her again.

So, the Pope is unfathomable - no, that's not the right word, at least for this. The Pope is ... infallible, that's it! It means he can never be wrong. The Queen is untouchable, which means she can never be touched. Fair enough trade, I suppose.

The reason one cannot put his hand on the Queen comes from the no doubt legitimate fear of centuries ago that one could have in his hands a knife with which to speedily dispatch the monarch of the day. Today the deed could be done as effectively from 10 feet as 10 inches, even farther, but the custom still remains.

As stupid customs go, that one must be near the top of the list. It's similar to the tradition of holding a girl's hand while you're making out with her. In the old days you did it to keep her from sticking a knife or a knitting needle between your ribs if she didn't like what you were doing. Drastic? Not at all.

Consider what the female praying mantis does to her mate while he's doing his thing with her. She chews his head off. It's an effective way of keeping a one night stand from developing into a long-term relationship. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time a male lost his head over a romantic tryst with a female.

I seem to be digressing a little.

When I looked again at the television clip, I noticed two things immediately. The first was that the offending personage wasn't Mr. Obama at all, but the missus who was committing the unbelievable fox pass. Thank God for that! I don't think the world could take another crisis at the moment.

What with the economic situation, great chunks of Antarctica falling into the sea, the North Koreans launching rockets into the skies above the Pacific Ocean and Madonna having to fly off home from Africa without another baby, we've probably about had it.

What might have happened had the president indeed put his arm around the monarch's shoulders is too horrifying to contemplate. I can see the U.S. being denied access to the Queen's Christmas message for years to come. Beckham would have been told to get his bum back to England and English nannies would not have been given passports to travel to the U.S. to straighten out American families.

In truth, I don't know if the royal rule applies to women. The female gender can be just as murderous as its counterpart, of course. Consider Lady Macbeth and Lizzie Borden.

The second thing I noticed was that the Queen's arm was around Michelle Obama's waist.

Now when I thought momentarily that it was Obama and Elizabeth with their arms around each other, I did a double take. In fact, I did a Tim Hortons: a double double. To what new and wondrous levels was the relationship between Britain and the United States being taken? Talk about your warm fuzzies!

Warm fuzzies and the queen? Basic contradiction in terms. I knew right away something was wrong, which is why I took a closer look and discovered my mistake.

But I'm still impressed with Her Royal Highness. She was trained for the throne in coolness, not warmth, in royal aloofness, not affectionate familiarity. Still, she was able to reach down and find some heart and put her arm around Michelle Obama's waist.

After all the international bad feeling directed toward George W. Bush and, by extension, the United States, it's nice to see that warm human touch from our Queen to the First Lady, and again by extension, the U.S.

It was a symbolic gesture as well, which I think will be noted by the world community, and perhaps be only a little less momentous than what I was saying at the beginning of the column. Elizabeth and Michelle. Who would have thunk it? Me, perhaps.

Daughter No. 1 is Elizabeth Michelle.

Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Queen's, Monarchist League, Salvation Army Home League Tim Hortons Royal Highness

Geographic location: United States, Antarctica, Pacific Ocean Africa England Britain Springdale

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