Friday, June 11, 2010

Magpie #18

“It’s such a beautiful house; too bad they have to leave it.”
“Yes, but life in the Bahamas isn’t all that bad, especially if you’re the Governor’s wife.”

“But think of it, our pal Wallis is not only world-famous, she could almost have been Queen of England! Who could have imagined such a thing when we were kids back in Baltimore?”
“So where is she? We’ve come for a visit and all we do is wait. She may not even be home.”
“Oh, she’s here all right. One of the servants told me she’d be coming down shortly. He said she’s eager to see old friends. You know Wallis; she’s going to take her good time getting ready to make an entrance.”
“Well, she didn’t make it to Queen, or even Royal Consort. What is her title nowadays, exactly?”
“It’s a bit complicated; you know British protocol. She’s officially the Duchess of Windsor, but the phrase that usually accompanies that title – ‘Her Royal Highness’ – is not permitted for her.”
“H’mm. Bet that makes Edward angry.”
“Of course. They’re both angry. The Royal Family refused to so much as meet her. And of course Edward was forced to give up the throne. They’re both mad as wet hens.”
“I imagine that trip they took to visit Hitler didn’t sit well, to say the least, with Whitehall. And now they're shipping them off to the Caribbean to keep them out of trouble while Britain goes on with the war."
“You know, just between the two of us, what in God’s name does he see in her? Wallis is okay; she was always bright and knew how to turn on the charm and all that – she was fine as a school chum – but I mean, as far as the British are concerned, as a potential spouse for a king she has everything in the world wrong with her: she’s an American and she’s not only divorced, she’s been divorced twice!”
“Yes, but there’s no question, Edward is crazy about her. I think one of the things he loves is the sharp, sarcastic attitude she has toward the Royal Family; as Prince of Wales he had never come across that before. She calls the Queen, who after all is his mom, ‘Cookie,’ because of her fondness for food. Her name for the Queen Mother is ‘Cake,’ because Wallis feels that her fashion sense makes her look like a wedding cake. And she calls the girl, the Princess Elizabeth, ‘Shirley,’ as in Shirley Temple.”
“Incredible. By the way, what on earth is this doing here?”

“Ah, that. That’s a gift officially sent by Princess Elizabeth, but Wallis feels it was sent by the whole Royal Family as a kind of insult. The Coronation of George VI in 1937? What else could she think? It’s as though they’re saying, you brought this about. You caused Edward VIII to abdicate and now you’re going to get nothing! So she puts the thing right here on display and keeps it filled with pencils to show how little it means to her.”
“You know, it’s as though our Wallis experienced the ultimate fairy tale: becoming the adored favorite of the most glamorous eligible bachelor of his time, and now – well, it all seems to be going wrong.”
“As fairy tales often do.”

46 comments:

R. Burnett Baker said...

Jolly good show, Berowne. And seems the fairy tale continues to not come true as we see with little miss Fergie!

Rick

Berowne said...

Rick: "And seems the fairy tale continues to not come true as we see with little miss Fergie!"
I have the feeling that Wallis and Fergie would have gotten along beautifully. :-)

brenda said...

Indeed, they do. LoL at your Wallis and Fergie comment to Rick.

Don't you love it when characters come to life enough that we can use them in analogies, metaphors, etc. It is one of my favorite things about reading.

Your characters are brilliant. And yes, Wallis and Fergie..I can see it now.

Aoife.Troxel said...

I doubt anyone took this angle Berowne! You have great skill in relating a story by using the dialogue of two minor characters. Great Magpie, and, as always, hilarious. :)

signedbkm.com said...

Excellent take on this bit of history - fairy tales can go wrong....but they do make history..more exciting...bkm..

kathew said...

fun piece to read and most likely "spot on"!

Berowne said...

brenda: "And yes, Wallis and Fergie..I can see it now."
By the way, I have a new TV show planned, a cartoon series on the Duchess of Windsor titled "Wallis and Gromit." Haven't been able to raise the necessary funding, though. :-)

Paul C said...

You captured the historical context of the cup perfectly. These events were high drama at the time.

Sam Liu said...

I really loved reading this! I admired the historical depth and accuracy into which you delved, and also that you interpreted the prompt in such a wonderfully detailed manner. A great, natural piece of dialogue, brilliantly written :)

Berowne said...

A. Troxel, bkm, kathew, Paul C. and Sam Liu -- thanks for some really great comments.

Yemalla said...

I always thought that Wallis dodged a bullet with her rejection by the royal family. I'd put pencils in the beaker, too.

Sue J said...

Very entertaining, and I love the idea of Wallis and Grommit LOL. Great Magpie.

Mara said...

Did you catch the flies on the wall that day?

Berowne said...

Yemalla: "I always thought that Wallis dodged a bullet with her rejection by the royal family."
Yes, being a Royal can be a tough way to make a living. :-)

Berowne said...

Mara: "Did you catch the flies on the wall that day?"
I was one of 'em. :-)

sheri... said...

not only are you interesting but you taught me something without me ever knowing it...sneaky! your writing always fascinates me so if i have to learn something i'll choose to come here to do that ;)

Berowne said...

Thaks, sheri, for your enthusiastic reaction.

Carrie Burtt said...

Yes Berowne, your piece has a unique angle. Love that it is both entertaining and educational. How refreshing, thank you! :-)

The Bug said...

I enjoyed this a lot - I hadn't ever read anything about Wallis. Sounds like I might not have liked her very much :)

Berowne said...

Welcome to my blog, Carrie and Bug, and thanks for the comments.

chiccoreal said...

Dear Berowne: Brilliant account and errily accurate as if "and YOU were there". 1937 The Cornation of Queen Elizabeth R. Wonders what Wallis would have looked like if commoners and worse yet, divorcees were allowed to marry her fairy tale prince; would all of her dreams have come true?
Please let us read "Wallis and Gromit" an entirely fascinating snippet of your magical world in the professional royal-ties!

Berowne said...

chiccoreal: "Please let us read 'Wallis and Gromit' an entirely fascinating snippet..."
I haven't found any wealthy backers for the project. You wouldn't be interested in investing a hundred thousand or so?
"1937 The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth R."
Oops. :-)

Jeanne said...

That was fascinating. Does the pencil caddy really exist?

Queenmothermamaw said...

I loved your take B. I wasn't even born at that time but sure remember hearing about all the hoopla.
QMM

Tumblewords: said...

A terrific take - I'm sure Fergie now has a passel of mugs but I suspect she uses them for loose change rather than pencils. This wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong. :)

Berowne said...

Jeanne: "That was fascinating. Does the pencil caddy really exist?"
I guess Willow is the only one who knows.

Berowne said...

Thanks to QMM and Tumblewords for their much-appreciated comments.

Derrick said...

I enjoyed your tale, Berowne, lighthearted and entertaining as it is. But at the time, Wallis caused a tear in the fabric of British life larger than many people can begin to imagine. The Royal Family is good at holding grudges but Fergie's latest behaviour suggests that it may not be entirely unwarranted!

Berowne said...

Derrick: "But at the time, Wallis caused a tear in the fabric of British life larger than many people can begin to imagine."
Yes, that's why I pointed out in the post that that huge, earth-shaking upset -- the abdication, the '37 coronation, everything -- all came about because of that one unimportant, egocentric woman.

Madame DeFarge said...

Good tale well told as always. Our great royals always seem to marry dubious women.

willow said...

Yes, and the Diana story was a fairy tale gone wrong, as well. Great read, Mr. B.

Pat said...

Just as it was. As kids we used to sing:
Who's that coming down the street?
Mrs Simpson - 'aint she sweet?
She's been married twice before,
Now she's knocking on Eddie's door.

I think she did the country a favour. George the sixth was an excellent monarch who made the best of a job that he never wanted.

Berowne said...

willow: "Yes, and the Diana story was a fairy tale gone wrong, as well."
Ah yes, the Diana story. Must try to work that into a future Magpie tale.

Berowne said...

Pat: "I think she did the country a favour. George the sixth was an excellent monarch who made the best of a job that he never wanted."
An argument quite a number of people have made.

Everyday Goddess said...

It's a crazy bunch to get mixed up with, those Royals!

Very nicely Magged!!

Berowne said...

Everyday G.: "Very nicely Magged!!"
Thanks so much, E.G.

Lena said...

What an entertaining (as usual!) piece Berowne. You never cease to make me smile. If history lessons could have had adaptations like this at school I wouldn't have dropped it!

I liked Wallis. She gets a graphite tick from me!

RA said...

Tremendously enjoyable! :)

Brian Miller said...

but i still believe in happily ever after...it just may not be the way we expect it...nice mag berowne...

Berowne said...

Thanks to Lena, RA and Brian M. for some welcome comments.

showme said...

What a Royal Magpie..nicely written!

Stafford Ray said...

Berowne, next post I will wait for you to go first! Loved the gentle treatment of Edward and Wallis which was the way I remember many of my elders at the time regarded them. Excellent!

Stafford Ray said...

A sensitive take on the Edward-Wallis tragedy. Here I remember adults being quite sympathetic. We also came to respect George and Elizabeth and of course their daughters Elizabeth and Margaret, another tragic figure.

Patience said...

Great job with this one. very fun to read and I got a history lesson to boot!

Jennifer said...

I guess the thing with real-life fairy tales is, well, there are no fairy tales. Well done B. This was a fun read.

Helen said...

A Magpie full of spite and spirit ... well done!

 
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