FACT: Queen Elizabeth II of England is currently in the United States, her first visit since 1991.
FACT: The Queen keeps a personal diary and is known to write in it frequently.
NOT FACT: Here are some excerpts.
Friday 4 May
weight 140 lbs., alcohol units 14, cigarettes 38, calories 2,500, beheadings 0.
It is our first visit to the colonies in 16 years, and not much seems to have changed. Still the same 13 colonies plus goodness knows how many extra, sub-colonies. (That gaudy American flag is littered with stars!) People still drive their automobiles on the right — which is to say the wrong — side of the road. The subjects continue to be v. casual and informal in their behaviour, even to the point of stubbornness. For example, the colony of Massachusetts has not paid me its Tea Tax in over 200 years! To me that sounds like good cause for a beheading.
The president is the same as in 1991, Mr George Bush, though he doesn’t remember our last visit together. He seems to have replaced his large, boxy wife with a younger one, too. Apparently his memory is fading, which is a shame, as he looks v. good for his age. The American president is roughly equivalent to our prime minister. They don’t have a direct equivalent for me, of course, as they do not have a monarchy. I am led to understand, however, that the person in America holding roughly the same status as myself is a certain Miss Oprah Winfrey. I shall see about arranging an audience with Miss Winfrey to discuss matters of state.
My first order of business here in the colonies was to speak at the ceremony commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown colony in Virginia. It was at least as dull as it sounds, perhaps more so. The Americans who were aware of the event were v. excited about it, as 400th anniversaries do not occur v. often over here, owing to this continent being rather young. In Europe, of course, everything is centuries and centuries old. A 400th birthday means nothing. I myself am two hundred and seventy-three.
The Jamestown ceremony was a bit awkward, as we had to acknowledge that while Jamestown was the first permanent colony established in the New World, it was accomplished only by pushing the Indians out of the way. The Americans have not yet fully come to terms with that part of their history. I am proud to say that my ancestors did not have to exploit and murder any natives to gain control of the land we now call Great Britain. No indeed, for the purpose of exploiting and murdering natives, we send our people to other countries and do it there. Why, there is scarcely a country or island on the earth that has not been raped by an Englishman at some point! I think my namesake, Queen Elizabeth I, would be proud of that accomplishment. I have a bag full of her bones back at the castle; I shall have to mention it to her the next time we speak.
Saturday 5 May
weight 141 lbs., alcohol units 22, cigarettes 36, calories 3,850, crown jewels lost in gambling 3.
Today Philip and I attended the Kentucky Derby. What an exciting race! Sadly, I lost 40 quid and three of the crown jewels on it, owing to a hunch which proved to be faulty. Nonetheless, we soldiered on, and the day was not entirely spoilt. I drank more than my share of mint juleps and nearly got into a fight with a vagabond. During the race I leant over to Philip and said, pointing to one of the horses, ‘I had no idea Camilla Parker Bowles could run so fast!’ Philip claims he is weary of jokes about Charles’ second wife’s equine appearance, but I thought it was a v. good joke.
Monday 7 May
weight 141 lbs, alcohol units 39, cigarettes 35, cigars 4, joints 2, calories 10,000 at least, minutes spent staring at the gap between Condoleezza Rice’s teeth 13.
What a bloody long day! Feel as though head will explode, in manner of character in Canadian film ‘Scanners.’ The major order of business was a state dinner at the White House hosted by Mr Bush. As it turns out, this is not the same Mr Bush as was president in 1991. It is the son of that man — which made it rather embarrassing when I tried to ‘remind’ him of the time he and I stripped to our underthings and attempted to outrun the Secret Service across the White House lawn.
What happened to the first Mr Bush, and why he abdicated his office, I cannot say. I can’t be bothered to pay attention to the minute details of American government. That’s what I have a prime minister for. Still, someone ought to have informed me. Believe me when I say that upon my return to London, Mr Blair will spend some time in the Tower.
The dinner was stifling and rigid, as usual. My demands that all in attendance kneel when I entered the room, and remain kneeling until I had finished dining, were met with uncomfortable silence. Such impudence among the colonists! Already I have sent orders to the Royal Navy to be prepared for a strike against the colonies if this level of insolence persists. I am prepared as well to cut off all exports of British teas, clothing, and actresses if need be.
I will say this for the Americans, though: They have elevated their consumption of alcohol to near-Irish levels. Mr Bush and I both were absolutely snockered by the end of the meal, he on Budweiser, I on port wine, old sherry, and Colt 45. I believe Mr Bush put it most succinctly and eloquently when he said, ‘The queen gots to have her brewskies!’ ‘Brewskies,’ he said! What a delightful figure of speech! I shall have to remember it for when I speak to the grandchildren.
Philip grew tired after dinner and went straightaway to the Lincoln Bedroom, where no doubt he was sawing logs and cutting biscuits within moments. My acid reflux prevents me from sleeping immediately after a large meal, so Mr Bush and I crept away to his study instead. We chatted in a friendly manner about matters of world politics, art, and literature. Mr Bush is a great fan of a performer called Foxworthy whose body of work consists of listing evidences and signs that one is a ‘redneck,’ with the implication being that if one finds one or more of these qualifications applying to one, then one is probably indeed a ‘redneck.’ From what I gather, the British equivalent of the American ‘redneck’ is a Scotsman.
After several minutes of this pleasant conversation, Mr Bush fetched a member of his staff to roll us a joint of marijuana. This we smoked with great enthusiasm. I do enjoy putting the ‘high’ in ‘Her Royal Highness.’ When we found ourselves beset with a compelling case of what Mr Bush called ‘the munchies,’ we hied directly to the White House kitchen, where we found crisps and biscuits in great abundance.
Tomorrow it is back to London and back to the old routine. I believe I have a full docket of sitting for portraits, smiling at peasants, and waving at people. I think I shall stir things up a bit by going out topless. What can they do? I’m the bloody queen of England!
I love the Queen! Of course, it's mostly the version of the Queen portrayed by Helen Mirren in "The Queen" that I love, but close enough. My affection for her prevented me at first from seeing the obvious choice for this column, i.e., to make her a senile, chain-smoking, alcoholic old tyrant. The last time I had used her in a column, I was much more respectful.
It was hard to resist making jokes at George W. Bush's expense, but I figured the comedy premise of a foreigner coming to America and encountering a dunderheaded president has been done often enough. In fact, he winds up the hero of the story, preventing an international incident by plying the Queen with booze and weed. He's a shrewd one, that Bush.
The diary format was an obvious choice, as the Queen really does keep a journal, one of many facts I picked up watching "The Queen." Deciding to employ "Bridget Jones's Diary" terminology was a later development. Hopefully the people who have not read that book or seen that movie were not too thrown by it. (I had to guess at her weight. While her height -- 5'4" -- is well-publicized, her weight is not readily available on the Internet.)
Part of the column is fraught with peril: It was published on May 7, the day the Queen was to attend the formal dinner at the White House, yet it is written as though it has already happened. I guess I figured if you're going to suspend your disbelief for the purpose of comedy and accept that this is her diary, you might as well accept that it's a diary that sees the future, too.
She really did speak at the Jamestown ceremony and attend the Kentucky Derby. The Camilla Parker Bowles jokes write themselves.
Finally, even if you don't normally bother with the SnideCast recordings, you should listen to this one, if only to hear my idea of what I think the Queen sounds like. If it helps you any, I made myself giggle all weekend, walking around the house talking to myself in that voice.