June 26, 2000
A young friend of oneself, who shall remain nameless, just turned eighteen years of age this past week. One had one's man place a trunk call to the lad (and no, one will not reveal his name, for he is a close personal friend whose privacy one shall protect unto the end). The palace staff went in search of the nameless boy, but once he was wakened (one believes in making telephone calls at the least expensive time), one had quite a nice little chat with him. One reproduces one's high points below. Once more, one requests one's readers not to beleaguer one with intrusive requests for the young man's identity. They will not be answered.
Ten points of advice
to Prince William
Upon the occasion of his eighteenth birthday
1. Most of your closest advisors and friends have told you, no doubt, that you are the hope of Britain's future, the light unto its path. They've probably mentioned that your decorum should be exemplary, so that no blot should stain the family escutcheon. Codswallop. You're the prince. Do whatever the blazes you want. What the bloody hell is the use of being an aristo if you can't enjoy a bit of fun now and then?
2. Most princes your age throughout history have already staged a bloody coup and rousted their letching, dissipated aging relatives from the throne. What's holding you back, lad?
3. When's the last time we saw a jolly good beheading? It's far past time to revive the custom, my boy. Let's start with Cliff Richard and the Labour Party.
4. Abolish Fergie. And Camilla Parking-Cars too, while you're at it.
5. Our green and pleasant land imports American culture and customs to a shocking degree. If it continues, we will all soon be wearing 'cowboy hats,' carrying handguns, and pronouncing our R's. Intolerable! One suggests we return Britain to its original purity, and expel all the McDonald's and Starbucks and Taco Bells and N'Sync and Madonna back to whence they came. An auto-da-fe would work nicely.
6. When it comes to choosing a wife, go with the heart, my lad. Your father may parade before you an unending procession of society girls, each more intolerable than the last. But get a girl with some gumption, lad. A girl with experience. A girl who can catch the eye. A girl like young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, who coincidentally happens to be eighty-fifth in line for the throne and is not married yet.
7. There are a handful of men whose service to country and Queen has never faltered, but which has never attracted the attention it may deserve. Make it your mission, my boy, to discover these loyal baronets and reward them with the titles and honorifics they so richly deserve. One name comes directly to mind, for example, that of Sir Charles Gr. . . .
As one mentioned, there were ten items that one wished to cover, but at this point one heard a click, and then the disconnect tone. Bloody phone lines. Always going down in the middle of a good conversation.
Always happy to guide Youth, one remains for yet another week,
From where in the world do you hire your man? I've been looking for a valet for quite some time, but good help is so hard to find these days.
With sincere thanks,
Sir Charles replies:
One was in a similar situation some years ago. One's man coaxed one into letting him retire early, at a ripe old seventy-four years of age.Where was one to find a replacement? Thank goodness for the Gentleman's Gentleman Employment Service for Gentlemen, Wolf Road, in Lincolnshire. They've been supplying gentlemen with gentlemen's gentlemen for generations, and can always find just the right gentlemen's gentlemen for any gentleman.
One was quite desperate before one discovered their valuable services, however. Why, from Sir Henry of Rawlinson End one was even tempted to purloin his grizzled and wrinkled retainer, old Scrotumm. In the end, however, one found one didn't have the balls for it.
With a hearty 'good luck!', one remains,
Dear Lady Felicia,
It is less than a month before my gala wedding to the extremely dashing Lord Phillip Wensleydale-Hempstead, and I am terribly excited indeed. My dress looks divine, I have been assured by the caterer that the canapes will be exquisite, and I've just gotten back from conferring with the florist about which shade of mauve will perfectly set off the stained glass windows in the cathedral where the ceremony will take place.
On a whim while en route home back to my estate, I happened to stop in at a gypsy fortune teller's tent by the roadside to see what gay prophecy of my impending marital bliss the old woman would give me for two bob. Upon gazing at the sparkling diamond engagement ring which graced my hand, the greasy-haired sybil offered me this advice: "If you want to keep your man, honey, be a chef in the kitchen, a maid in the parlour, and a wh*re in the bedroom."
What concerns me, Lady Felicia, is that Hempstead Hall already has quite a capable French chef in-house, and a fine housekeeping staff with highly recommended credentials. Do you think our marriage will suffer if I attempt to fulfill only a third of the gypsy's formula, and leave the other two portions to those who are more eminently qualified for the tasks?
A Breathless Bride-to-Be
The Lady Felicia replies:
I'm afraid you threw away your two bob, dear. Imagine: a lady of your station consulting a low gypsy woman for something so very important! Aside from this small lapse (surely attibutable to pre-nuptial jitters), you sound like a sensible girl, so let me give you some good sound advice. As a wealthy aristocrat, you may safely leave all of these tiresome domestic chores to your staff - a chef, a maid, and of course, an amiable and discreet mistress.
But this alone will not ensure connubial harmony. I remember how, on my wedding morning, my mother sat me down and solemnly passed on this old family recipe for True Marital Bliss: The Four Degrees of Separation. The Four Degrees of Separation are quite simple:
I have faithfully followed this invaluable advice throughout my long marriage to Sir Charles and I can personally vouch for its success.
Serenely, one remains,
Dear Sir Charles,
My husband acknowledges everyone's opinon. But then when I say something like, "Why did she buy that car? I don't like it!", he responds to my opinion with, "She has a right to buy whatever car she wants."
Could it be the she, who makes him testy? Or am I too testy, to feel that he is testy with me and nobody else?
Sir Charles replies:
My dear lady,
The workings of a spouse's minds are a depth not to be plumbed. You see, one has also experienced such wasp-like barbs from the pointed, poisoned end of the Lady Felicia's stinger.
For example, one was recently walking through a room while the parlourmaids were dusting, and remarked quite innocently, "My goodness, that little parlourmaid is a toothsome bit of something, isn't she? Really quite a sweet bit to sink one's teeth into! How a man would like to have a go with her, I shouldn't wonder," and the Lady Felicia promptly replied with a suggestion that was not only anatomically impossible, but really quite repellant to imagine. I could scarcely unclench my legs for a week after.
So you see, my dear, your plight is much the same as mine. Doubtless it was something that our respective spouses ate.
Sympathetically, one remains,