Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 5 May 2012
Wandering and wondering on a Saturday.
As I sit here, there is an actor dressed up as Queen Victoria down there on the street, accosting passers-by and shouting in a shrill voice at motorists. I guess she is promoting some event to do with the Victoria Gallery, but she looks nothing like the real Victoria that we knew and loved.
I know this because the actor (are we still allowed to call them 'actresses'?) stands beneath a nine-foot high statue of the Queen in Portland stone, and I know that the statue is a good likeness because many photos of Her Majesty were taken, and still exist. I also know that she was known and loved because the bronze inscription by the Women of Bath tells me so.
There used to be a solicitor who came into my local pub on a regular basis, and she was the absolute spitting image of Queen Victoria. Her face, shape, height and thick ankles only needed the right hair-do and attire to have made her Vic's double, even though she smiled a lot more than we are lead to believe the real one did. Not only that, but she smiled to herself in a rather disconcerting way, which was why I never approached her about the photo-shoot that I had secret plans for, and I haven't seen her now for a few years.
We (that's the non-royal version) are told that our present queen has a wickedly dry sense of humour, and often entertains the rest of the family with brilliant impersonations of statesmen, politicians and African kings, etc. She must be good - even if there is only a grain of truth in the story, that family looks a hard bunch to entertain.
I bet you she is trying her damnedest to out-do Victoria in the 'Long to Reign Over Us' stakes - she only has a few years to go now, and the only time I have ever seen her lose her composure is when screaming and jumping up and down as she wills one of her racehorses over the finishing line at Ascot. We are doing pretty much the same thing this year - we scream and jump up and down as we watch her approaching the final straight that we all are galloping towards, but not many of us are the favourite like she is.
I only hope the HRH Elizabeth will leave juicy diaries as Victoria did, and I only hope (that's two 'onlys' - am I allowed?) that my eyesight is still good enough to read them by the time she does. The 'Annus Horribilis' section should be the most enthralling of the lot, when even in the Queen's own words when speaking of the conspiracies against Diana, "Dark forces are at work in this country".
I have the first few volumes of Queen Victoria's diaries - written as a young woman - and they read like romantic thrillers, what with the conspiracies and plots against her immediately before her coronation, her whirl-wind and genuinely passionate engagement and marriage to German Albert and the ever-present and benign influence and guidance of her beloved uncle (whose name I have forgotten, but it begins with 'Lord').
The really personal stuff was written in Arabic, a language she learnt as a result of having letters and manuscripts stolen from her by the conspirators at court. She knew that they would not be able to read them, because they hated foreigners of any kind, even looking on the young, Jewish, Benjamin Disraeli as one. He became one of her greatest friends and allies, long before her Highland equerry, Brown, found a place in her affections.
What failed to amuse her the most - we have found out - was blatant racism and injustice. There is a story that the reason that lesbianism was not included as a crime outlawed by statute in the same way as general homosexuality between men was, is because she simply could not believe that it actually existed. I'm not so sure that this story is true.
Apparently, Margaret Thatcher - when she still knew where her marbles were - was a close personal friend of Queen Elizabeth, and they got on very well. Hmm...
I hope you read all this, because I am going to be asking questions later, and each correct answer will receive a point. What do points mean?