Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Queen

I think it's pretty neat that Canada has a Queen. Although she doesn't interfere at all with Canadian politics, she's still officially our monarch. Here she is, the lovely Queen Elizabeth II.



You may be more familiar with her as the Queen of England (which is where she lives, at Buckingham Palace, in London), however she is in fact the Queen of 16 countries, known as the Commonwealth realms.

I recently saw a TV documentary showing how the Queen keeps herself busy from day to day. For starters, she threw a party for a bunch of visiting dignitaries at the Palace. I was amazed to learn that Buckingham Palace contains 775 rooms and covers 828,818 square feet of floor space. It seriously doesn't look that big in the photos I've seen.

The State Ballroom, where all the major shindigs go down, is 7,000 square feet. That is approximately 7 times the size of my entire home. Can you imagine? I'm glad I'm not responsible for vacuuming that carpet. I would demand a ride-on Hoover.

The cameras went down to the kitchens to view the preparations for the banquet. One of the chefs pointed out platters of fruit that were all set to be laid out on the tables.

"Every piece of fruit is polished," he said. "Every leaf is polished. There may be no blemishes."

The fruit was so perfect it looked fake. The grapes didn't have any of that mysterious white dust that often coats grape skins. I wondered what it's like polishing the Queen's fruit for a living. Is it supremely boring, or is there someone who derives deep and lasting satisfaction from that job?

When the ballroom was prepared, the Queen was brought in to do an inspection. There were seven nervous florists clustered in a corner, awaiting the Queen's judgement on their flower arrangments. If the Queen was displeased with their work, they would be required to be quick like bunnies and produce something more to her liking. Lucky for them, she gave her approval.

Finally, the wait staff were all gathered together for a final pre-banquet debriefing. Rules abounded. No more than two drinks on a tray at any time. The blue light means have your dishes in hand and wait at your station. The green light means place the dishes on the table. The head of the serving staff gave this final, strict advice: "Don't be nervous. Just relax and try to enjoy yourself!" Or the Queen will chop off your head.

The servers looked completely terrified.

What do you think? Would you like to have a Palace of your own? Or do you prefer the life you have? If you were King or Queen, what indulgences would you demand?

19 comments:

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Oh Boy!! If I were King.... ummm I'm sure I would be a benevolent ruler and not at all corrupt :) OK I would be a little corrupt... OK I would be mad with power, I admit it.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I'm confused. I was told that some members of the Commonwealth were strictly republican (like Malta), i.e. did not recognize the Queen as their head-of-state. Is there another Commonwealth? Or another term for its members who don't recognize the Queen as their head-of-state?

Leighann said...

Well whaddya know? I learned something new today!

Aurora said...

Yes I wouldn't mind a palace of my own! Perhaps this will the topic for my next post :-) If you're interested in the Queen, the movie is good. She does come across as very particular about convention, so the waitstaff probably do need to be nervous!

Karen said...

LOL. I am going to sound like the stupidest human alive if I admit that I had no idea the Queen of England had anything to do with Canada anymore. I am such a self-centered American, I guess

PixieVonAzia said...

I learned something today.

I would love to have my own palace and I would demand that Hayden Christensen bring in my breakfast, demand that Brad Pitt rub my feet and that Paris Hilton change my baby's diaper.

jameil1922 said...

DON'T get me started on this. i have always wanted to be royalty. it helps that i think prince william is hooooot! lol. i will not use up all your blog space. suffice it to say just being a princess with a castle would be fab!! Commonwealth realms!? never heard of such a thing! how interesting!

1218Blog said...

What do you know...I learned something new today. I had no idea the Queen was the Queen in so many countries. Hmmm... interesting

Tink said...

Ok, this is going to make me look like a total blonde, but I had no idea the Queen of Canada was the Queen of England. God, I'm such a stupid American!

Sparkling Red said...

Warped Mind of Ron: I can just see it now... The first people to be beheaded in your kingdom would by anyone in charge at the gas company!

Keera: This is what I got from Wikipedia: "In addition to the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II is also Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, in each of which she is represented by a Governor-General." No mention of Malta in there. I'm not an expert on this subject, so your guess is as good as mine. :-)

Sparkling Red said...

Leighann: I like when my blog has educational value. ;-)

Aurora: I really want to see that movie. I got my hands on a bootleg version, but it was in Italian without subtitles. :-(

Karen: I didn't expect anyone outside of Canada to be aware of the connection. It's not exactly a hot topic. If her face wasn't on all our money, I think most Canadians wouldn't know either.

Pixievonazia: I like the palace staff that you have picked out. Can I come by sometime and get a Brad Pitt footrub?

Jameil: Yeah, who says "realms" anymore? It's like something out of a fairytale. Too bad the reality is actually kind of bland.

1218blog: She's a very busy Queen. :-)

Tink: Not at all! It's a rather obscure fact, outside of Canada. I have heard tell that many Americans don't realize that Canada is a separate country. So anyone who knows who and where we are up here - you're all in my good books! ;-)

R.E.H. said...

"Peach Shiner"... I think I have a new calling in life! LOL!

No, I would not want to live like that. I like taking care of myself (and my significant other, whenever that day comes). Having people running around me all day would drive me nuts in no time.

If I had a big home - I'd want a maid to clean the place, and do the stupid laundry (I hate doing laundry). Apart from that - I'm good, thank you.

whatigotsofar said...

I wouldn't want to be king. As soon as anything shit went down, it could be my head on the block waiting for the chop. Like so many of the Queen's predecessors.

Jenski said...

I wouldn't mind something a little bigger than my current apartment, but I think I would go crazy if I were in a place so big it required a staff.

That said, weekly bubble baths with a glass of wine and a book would be nice. :)

Sparkling Red said...

R.E.H.: I'm with you on that. I wouldn't want a house so big that managing it was a full-time job. It's one of those "Your stuff owns you" situations.

Whatigotsofar: That's pretty much how it would be. You'd also be in the public eye all the time. I would find that exhausting.

Jenski: That sounds nice. I wouldn't mind having a hot tub and someone else to scrub it out for me. Baths are so relaxing, but scrubbing out a big bathtub is a pain in the back.

binky ink said...

Man, the Queen gets around. Well, I guess she doesn't actually go to all those places she has command over, which really is such a shame because if I were the Queen I would so be living it up all over the globe on territories I had jurisdiction over. Hello! Queen! How boring are you and your polished fruit?!!?

Seriously though...is it really that important to have polished fruit leaves??? But, at least she's keeping the economy alive by providing jobs!

"God save the Queen!" Sorry, I just had to say it!

Nicole said...

I didn't know they still had 16 countries :)

And nope, I would not want a palace, but a small castle would be neat ;)

Maxie said...

I WANT TO BE QUEEN! for serious.

Sparkling Red said...

Binky Ink: LOL. You have the right idea! Especially since the countries in the Commonwealth Realms include Barbados, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Why she spends most of her time in rainy old England is a mystery to me. :-)

Nicole: Actually, I didn't know that either until I did my "research" (5 minutes spent reading one page of Wikipedia) for this post. ;-)

Maxie: So far as I know there is no Queen of America yet. That means the post is available to you! You wouldn't even have to raise an army and go to war to win the crown. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?