Sunday, July 10, 2011

not avant garde enough

The newlywed royals may have departed Stampede Central for the sparkling lights of Los Angeles days ago, but the local newspapers are still churning out page upon page of the clothing that was worn while they graced the streets of Calgary. I am sure that by now we are all more familiar with Kate's wardrobe than she is.

But Bill and Cathy do seem like nice enough people and their presence did churn up my muddy old memory banks enough for me to recount to the Resident Offspring about the time I saw the Queen.

We lived in Regina at the time and I was in grade two. One day the entire school population was marched outside to line up along Regina Avenue to see the Queen. We stood there for what seemed like hours, getting increasingly fidgety, until a big black car with tinted windows drove by, and we were marched back inside for math.

And that was my encounter with the Queen. Cool story, brah, I know.

The thing is, I always assumed that everybody in Canada had seen the Queen at one time or another. It wasn't until the descent of the next generation royals upon the nation, during which time I kept hearing stories about people having never encountered royalty, that I realized that perhaps it wasn't an entirely common Canadian experience after all. Like the myth of poutine and saying "aboot".

And then I started to question my own memories. Was it really the Queen that we saw drive by in that long black car, or was it some lesser royal? We kept calling her the Queen, but we were in grade two, what did we know; everybody is the Queen when you are in grade two.

A resulting perusal of the list of royal visits to Canada revealed the truth. Queen Elizabeth did not visit Canada when I was in grade two. Turns out it was her cousin or somebody in that car that day.

I wonder what other delusions I have been labouring under these past decades?

18 comments:

Karen said...

I met the lovely Diana when she and Chuck visited back in '83. We were living in Chatham NB and drove down to Saint John to visit family. Headed towards the docks if I remember correctly and mom pushed me to the front of the crowd lining the street. I had a present for one of the royal offpring and she stopped to talk to me. All I remember is that she asked what books they were and I was so stunned that she knew they were books (they were wrapped) that I said "I dunno". Oh, and she was really really tall (I was 10...). Looked lovely in her yellow dress suit and hat. It made me happy to see that Kate chose a similar color for one of her ensembles on this visit.

Wandering Coyote said...

I believe I saw Princess Anne coming out of Buck House in a limo in 1991. I have a photo to prove it!

I adore William & Kate, actually. Very accessible, very casual, not stuffy, just a nice couple who seemed to be having a really good time here.

kelly said...

what school did you attend in Regina in grade 2?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

"I dunno"! That's so adorable, Karen! You definitely win best royal banter award.

They seemed nice enough, WC, and he *gasp* wore the same shirt two days in a row!

Athabasca School, Kelly, I was there for grades 2 and 3. Do you know it?

kelly said...

i know where it is yes

bloody awful poetry said...

I think my grandparents went to see the Queen when she visited nearby Port Klang in the 60s or 70s. And a friend of a friend got close enough to shake William's hand in Sydney. He described the Royal Handshake as being extremely firm. I have a massive soft spot for Wills (crushed on him massively from age 13 to 16) so I hope he does well in all his princely endeavours.

BeckEye said...

I could have seen Prince Harry at a polo game if Obama hadn't ruined my day. I'm sure you've heard taht story.

Rudy Guiliani once bought a shot for me and a friend once. At least that's who the bartender said it was from. We could only see the guy from the back and from the back he looked like Rudy.

Allison said...

I don't think I've ever seen any member of the royal family. The rest of my family has, just not me. I shall survive.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I wonder if they teach the art of the extremely firm handshake in royalty school, BAP. I'm sure there must be protocol for the exact degree of digital pressure to be exerted whilst pressing the flesh.

I recall your disappointment and disdain at the presidential helicopter ruining your royal moment, Beckeye. But I think you are still ahead. My mayor never bought me a shot. Yet.

And yet you arguably had the best opportunity to do so, Al. I say arguably because I'm pretty sure the royals generally steer clear of Newcastle.

L said...

That is a great story! I have seen absolutely no one royal or even pseudo-royal, ever. But I do wonder what they do with all the clothes, since clearly she won't be able to wear them again.

URBAN BLONDE said...

I've had a few royal encounters, although none where I've spoke to them directly.

There is a picture of an about 18 month old me up on someone's shoulder's looking at the Queen and Prince Philip who are on the back of a train somewhere in cottage country, Ontario I believe.

M and I were at the 1977 Canada Day Celebrations in Stanley Park along with Prince Andrew. (No pics, he was "onstage" and then disappeared no doubt to par-tay)

Saw Charles and the lovely Diana at the opening of Expo 86 in Vancouver. We were living in Calgary at the time so K and I flew out to go. I have really good pics of them cutting ribbons, and my fav pic which is of them in their black car, windows down waving, where you can see reflected in the gloss of the car, a 9 month old K in her stroller with me taking the pic, proving we were there.

Re: your "brush" with royalty, I do believe you are wasting a chance to re-write your personal history.

I saw on the list of royal tours that the Queen did come to Regina in 1973. Surely you were mistaken and that was when you were in Grade 2? ;)

John Mutford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kelly said...

I've never had the opportunity to encounter royalty. I am indifferent about the whole royalty thing. I think it's a colossal waste of money and energy.

John Mutford said...

What's the myth of poutine?

The closest I've come, or care to, was catering a dinner for Adrienne Clarkson and about 300 guests. I was absolved of my head table duties when I refused to bow every time I laid a frickin' dish down.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Big scandals up here, though, Lesley - evidently Kate wore a couple of outfits more than once on this visit. Shocking!

Yeah, 1973, that's right, that's when I was in grade two, UB.
You have rubbed so many royal elbows in your life that you are practically one of the family.

You sound a little more decided than indifferent, Kelly. Me, I am totally indifferent, could not care one way or the other.

That we like it? Isn't that the poutine myth, John?
I always bow when I place a dish on the table. Did I forget to do that when you were here? I'm glad you didn't have me beheaded; Adrienne would have.

John Mutford said...

Oh right, I don't like poutine. Nope, not even craving it right now.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've never even tried it, John, not even tempted to.

Allison said...

I've never tried poutine either. Gravy has always seemed suspect to me. Even when I did eat meat.