Monday, January 12, 2009

When Queen Elizabeth Came To Town

Today we get a special treat. Or maybe not, depending on your sense of humor. In May 2007, Queen Elizabeth II visited our neck of Virginia as part of the 400th commemoration of the arrival of English settlers in 1607. My employer, the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., commissioned me to write a welcoming article. Or something like that. I took a slightly different tack and somehow it got published anyway; you wouldn't believe some of the hate mail we got in the aftermath. Here it is, in all its glory. Good luck with the quiz.

Welcome, Queen Elizabeth II! So glad you could make it back after all these years. We're still not sure whether we should shake your hand, bow, or what, so we'll just wave. Anyway, as you know, some of our ancestors here in the great commonwealth of Virginia used to be your loyal subjects. Well, not yours personally. You're not that old. So to help our loyal readers who might be out of practice as subjects, we've come up with a list of questions, facts and even little-known items that will help them get to know you better ... without actually having to meet you. We knew you'd like that.

How much do you know? 1: How many children does Queen Elizabeth have? (Bonus points for naming her husband and one or more kids.) 2: Name one sovereign state Elizabeth holds the title of queen in. Besides the United Kingdom, dummy. (Bonus points for naming all 15.) 3: Which of the queen's grandsons recently broke up with the daughter of a commoner? We'll give you a hint: His first name is Prince. (Bonus points for naming the female commoner.) 4: Is it OK to marry a cousin? 5: What tourist place in Virginia should Queen Elizabeth visit above any other? 6: If Queen Elizabeth wanted to taste original American fare in Virginia, where should she go?

Answers:1: Chuck (Prince Charles), Annie (Princess Anne), Andy (Prince Andrew) and Ed (Prince Edward). Phil (aka Prince Philip) is Elizabeth's loyal spouse. 2: Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Is that 15? No? Oh yeah, almost forgot. Canada. 3: Prince William. He's the first son of Prince Chuck. Willie's ex is Kate Middleton. 4: Sure! Elizabeth did. In the interest of full disclosure, however, Philip is like a distant cousin. Second cousins once removed, to be accurate. That's pretty distant. Right? 5: Surrender Field, Yorktown. If the Americans, with some help from the French (Wow. That's got to hurt, eh, Lizzie?), hadn't kicked some serious Lord Cornwallis butt at Yorktown back in the day, we'd all be speaking English now! 6: We suggest the Hardee's drive-through in Gloucester Point. A Thickburger tastes best when you have a commanding view of the Battle of the Hook battlefield. That's where American and French (Aaaargh! Stop with the French!) cavalry and infantry units beat the tar out of England's Lt. Col. Banestre Tarleton on Oct. 3, 1781, effectively hemming in the British forces at this little port called Yorktown. Days later, white flags were en vogue (pardon our French!) in the British camp at Yorktown.


  1. So why the hate mail? And are you going to post that?

  2. Generally our loyal readers took issue with the tone of the article and perceived lack of respect for British royalty. You know, further proof that we're just ugly Americans. I'm an American, but I ain't ugly. Right Julie? One reader thought the crack about we'd all be speaking English was sooooo stupid. We are speaking English, the person wrote.

  3. Hi, Matt. I am a friend of Annie's. We met in space.....cyber space that is! I don't think this was really disrespectful to royalty. Gee Whillikers, the British tabloids treat royalty the way we treat Brangelina. On a good day! On a bad day, more like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan.
    I never realized that journalists got letters from people because the letter writer lacks a sense of humour (notice the British spelling of humour, very respectful to the queen, eh? Oh, and a Canadian eh thrown in. I am on a roll...)
    I didn't do to badly on the quiz. Very colourful article. I don't think your behaviour in the article was bad....Okay, I'm outta British spellings.
    Annie, I hope you don't regret sending me here now.

  4. Funny stuff!

    I say Post the hate mail, post the hate mail!

  5. * I referenced you in my post today!

  6. Hey Sherri, if I can track down the hate mail I'll post it. Thanks for the reference.