Royal connections

We went to the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood earlier in the summer and had a very pleasant afternoon in the sun.  Yes, the sun shone, a rare event this year.  We didn’t chat with the Queen but did pass the time with some friends we bumped into.  I didn’t eat the cucumber sandwiches but did procure a plate of gluten free goodies – the organisers have clearly done this sort of thing once or twice before.  I didn’t wear a hat and noone seemed to mind.  I didn’t take any photographs because GPD made me leave the camera in the car; after all, the invitation firmly forbade cameras.   We enjoyed the bands and marvelled at their cunning scheme, involving flags and flag poles, that allowed them to coordinate their playing from opposite sides of the park.  There was pageantry and there were spectacular outfits.  All in all, a very pleasant, very British afternoon.

And then, towards the end of the school holidays, GP2’s football team went off to Edinburgh to hobnob with royalty.   They’ve been working on a programme with Edinburgh University – Educated Pass – which seems to be designed to persuade the boys to work hard at school and pass their exams at the same time as playing football.  Fair enough. 

Anyhow, the Duke of Edinburgh, currently Chancellor of the University, came to watch their training session and chatted to the team afterwards.  I say “chatted” but GP2 assures me that he was the only one who could understand what the Duke was saying; GP2, after all, has had practice with his grandfather’s accent.  If the boys couldn’t understand the Duke, you can bet your life the Duke had absolutely no idea what the boys were saying.  Translation was a constant issue for us whilst Grandad was still alive.  East Lothian accents combined with high pitched voices produce a sound entirely alien to English speakers of a certain generation.

Still, the conversation didn’t sound too challenging for either side.  “How often do you train?”  And “Where do you train?”.   The piece de resistance, however, was “And can you read and write?”.  I’m afraid I can imagine the looks of bemusement that must have passed between the boys when that came their way.  It was the source of great mirth once they got home and will, I think, provide the enduring memory of their encounter with royalty.

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3 thoughts on “Royal connections

  1. Oh I love this GPM! what a story to tell their children…and anybody else that will listen. I train young people in schools on public speaking and effective communication skills. They take to it like ducks to water and their ability to express themselves is – shall we say “enhanced ” though I usually come into contact with young people who are only too happy to talk to me. Maybe the Dof E could do a programme with me and some youngsters. Though I have to say he does not seem to be a man who has a problem saying what he is thinking!

    I had heard about the Edinburgh football programme. From your sons’ experience do you think it does what is intended – or is it too soon to tell?

  2. In a way I thought it made one of our senior royals more human: an elderly gentleman, having to work way beyond his retirement age, trying to engage with a group of lads from whom he is so far removed in many ways that he simply couldn’t think of anything meaningful to ask them.

    As to the football programme, it’s difficult to say how effective it is as, to be honest, I don’t know a great deal about it. The leaflets we were given at the start were confusing rather than informative so I’m not sure we took it on board properly. And certainly my youngest, however much he would like to be a professional footballer, is realistic enough to know this is never going to happen and is (fortunately!) already very focussed on his school work with football as a pleasant sideline.

  3. I agree with you on the human aspect. There are so many “scripted” people in the limelight that it is refreshing to hear of someone of his profile being himself. And it is easy to forget just how old he is…

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