By Order of the British Empire

This week, we found ourselves one degree away from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II not just once, but three times.  It’s a sign; things are looking up.

1.  We had a visit from an English friend: scholar, author, curator, Oxford man. He’s in town to set an exhibit on Shelley at the New York Public Library and we just think that is so cool. Over lunch he recalled something he’d said that was out of place while having tea at Buckingham Palace.  The conversation went as follows:

Me: (WHAT? Tea at Buckingham Palace?) Oh how lovely, how often do you have tea at Buckingham Palace?

Him: Twice a year.

Me: (Twice a YEAR?)  Oh, I assume you’ve met the Queen personally?

Him: Well, I do all the books for the Royals, but I don’t think she knows who I am.

Me:  (WHAT? All the books? Amazing.) Oh brilliant. Let me ask you, are you allowed to look her directly in the eye when you speak to her?

Him:  Of course, but you mustn’t turn your back on her. That would be considered rude.


2.  We learned one of my husband’s colleagues was knighted last year.  He is now a Sir.  We sent a congratulatory email and asked if we could turn our backs on him-only if we promise to do it slowly, so as not to startle him.

3—Lastly, on his way home from a jog around Central Park, my husband saw none other than Sir Paul McCartney (that’s right-also knighted) stroll in front of the Museum of Natural History.  My world weary partner-friend to celebrities, knights, and aristocrats- was so excited, he hid behind a tree and pretended to stretch so he could watch Sir Paul buy his granddaughter an ice cream cone.

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