Saturday, January 27, 2007


Anecdote Involving Queen Elizabeth II, Peripherally

I went a while back with Beata and saw The Queen, which was an OK movie with a great performance by Helen Mirren, whom I can remember looking forward to seeing wander around naked in movies, as she was wont to do in her early career (Age of Consent, Savage Messiah, O Lucky Man!, Caligula), but I digress. This is about the real Queen.

It must have been in Summer, 1967; the whole world seemed to be listening to Sgt. Peppers. I was 14 and still a boy scout and we had sponsored two British scouts who had attended the World Scouting Jamboree in Idaho and were going home slowly. They stayed with us about a week, it seemed. They were Pip, the blond cockney, who wanted to be the new Tommy Steele and couldn't believe he was too young to get a drink in America, and Alan, upper class, competent, but a bit icy, who dreamed of chartered accountancy, I imagined. I went with them to meet the mayor of Richmond, VA and my whole family went down with them to Williamsburg, which they still claimed to own somehow--at least the Governor's mansion.

On their last night in Richmond, at our beautiful old home, now vanished into the maw of Mammon, my dad proposed getting out the good crystal and toasting the Queen with wine or port or something alcoholic. Pip was immediately up for it, but Alan held things up so the two could retire to their room to spruce up a bit before they did the honor. My dad was so impressed that he wrote the Queen to tell her about the gallantry of her young subjects and darned if a few weeks later we received a response from Balmoral Castle, signed by the Prince Consort, Philip, praising the two scouts and thanking my father for his gracious act of proposing a toast to Her Majesty.

He still has the letter displayed, next to the one from Reagan and the one he worked so hard to solicit from Secretary of State Rice.

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