According to the news, the Queen celebrated her 91st birthday yesterday by going to Newbury races.

As far as I can ascertain, there was no special monarch’s trophy awarded or race run to mark either the Queen’s birthday or her presence at the event; even so, it’s as good a reason as any for starting this post with a photo of a magnificent golden kingcup.

I was trying to find an appropriate poem, but admit I don’t have too many royals in my writing, so let’s stall for time with a picture of a rather regal swan.

swan on river Avon

The Queen’s horse, Maths Prize, was running at Newbury yesterday and failed to win, so a fragment of a piece called Secondary Education might work. The poem was inspired in part by the school I went to in North Wales, where there only seemed to be three surnames among all the teachers: Williams, Jones, and Roberts.

The piece begins – Thirty years ago, I failed/ at school. – and continues full of puns and references to subjects that seem so irrelevant when you’re at school, but actually may have real-life applications.

The complete poem can be read on the Science Creative Quarterly website, but here are the lines with tangential connections to royalty:

                      No doubt
Miss Jones (domestic science?
history?) would be proud
of my monarchial skills: I can tell
King Edwards from Williams
or Victorias, and I know
the ways they should be served.
I can divide five baking spuds
between six unexpected guests
– the answer is a bowl of mash,
of course, or chips – and Mrs Jones
(biology) would be amazed
at how unfazed I am when faced
with filleting a fish.

I don’t have any photos of royalty, but here’s a perfect pear – perhaps even a Williams? – and some plum blossom from a tree which was definitely not a Victoria.

pear on table
plum blossom

Very few of my writings include references to royalty, perhaps because, as I said years ago in the post what’s in a name, I’m not what you might call a Monarchist. Even I can see that there may be some romance associated with the monarchy, though, and, as I said there, “if the choice were between Cavaliers and Roundheads, I’d always opt for seven league boots, velvet britches, lace shirts and floppy hats with jaunty feathers rather than utilitarian leather jerkins etc.”

I think I had these romantic notions in mind when I wrote the following nonsense, the only really royal verse I’ve found in my files; I’m fairly certain it has little historical foundation.

I’m Louis the Fourteenth, you know.

I can spin you a string of bons mots

with great nonchalance
for I’m Monarch of France:

I’m Louis, the Sun King, you know.

I’m Louis the Fourteenth, you know.

At Versailles, other men are de trop:

I am quite a roué,
le Roi du Soleil;

I’m Louis, the Sun King, you know.

I’m Louis the Fourteenth, you know;

Sun worship’s become comme il faut,

all the girls want a fling
with their brilliant King:

I’m Louis, the Sun King, you know.

I’m Louis the Fourteenth, you know,

and I’m Madame de Maintenon’s best beau
If you want to hear more,
give a shout of “encore!”
I’m Louis, the Sun King, you know.


Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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