Just once before I die, I would love to have a garden party on the lawn that wasn’t attended by eight thousand of my closest friends. Today, I stood on my feet for two solid hours and shook hand after hand and gave smile after smile. It does wear upon one.
Oh, I know I’m not supposed to feel this way, and it’s a privilege I enjoy because of my birthright, but the truth of the matter is that I’m getting a little old for this sort of thing. I can’t publicly say this, of course, because the gossip rags already have us dead every time Philip or I come down with a sniffle.
The English people love these garden parties, though, so attend them I must.
At least I had an especially nice outfit this time. My dressmaker never lets me down, bless her soul. The bright pink color of my coat and hat had the press wagging about how it was clearly a reference to William and Kate’s new daughter, Charlotte. It’s fine with me if everyone wants to believe I wore pink because of that, but the truth is, I liked the color, and when my stylist suggested it, I said it would be fine. The happy color made me look a little perkier than I felt.
And speaking of color, I could hardly believe that green and purple jacket Anne wore to the party. Good heavens, I haven’t seen that many flowers on a fabric since my late mother had her drawing room furniture reupholstered back in the eighties. I’ve never quite understood where my daughter gets her fashion sense, but at least I never have to worry about her behavior. God knows I haven’t always been able to say that about every member of this family.
My granddaughter Beatrice, I’m proud to report, was at the garden party and looked lovely in her very modest dress and jacket, and she represented the firm quite nicely. I can tell she gets tired of all the pleasantries herself and would no doubt prefer to be at the club polishing off a few cocktails with her chums, but she knows how to plaster a smile on her face and make the expected small talk. Andrew and Sarah have done a fine job with those two girls, and in fact, I so wish he and Sarah would … well, no, I promised myself I would keep my nose out of that business, didn’t I?
Philip is so good to accompany me on these social occasions, and goodness knows he’s had a lifetime to get used to them. The man never complains about the garden parties, but I could tell he was itching to get inside and go back to playing Candy Crush. Those poor souls on Facebook have no idea who “Princely Dude” is, do they?
I still find it rather shocking that people will line up for hours just to sip a few cups of tea and eat a few cucumber sandwiches and slices of cake, all for the chance to curtsy or bow to me and possibly shake my hand.
Thank goodness everyone is used to seeing me wear gloves. With all those dreadful diseases spreading around the world today, I can only imagine what I would end up with if I didn’t have my trusty gloves on. I haven’t been seriously ill in years, so I think they must help. Let the Americans keep those little squirt bottles of hand sanitizer they’re so fond of. Gloves. That’s the trick.
And while all the chitchat gets old fast, I do, however, enjoy talking with the older citizens who show up at these parties. The social climbers, not so much, but the elderly, I have a real soft spot for. Today, there was a delightful 97-year-old woman in a wheelchair. She said she’d been waiting her entire life simply for the chance to see me up close, and now she could die happy since she’d gotten to shake my hand. She said it was the happiest moment of her life. I hardly feel worthy of such admiration.
So yes, the lovely old people make it a somewhat worthwhile occasion, and so, year after year, I ask that, yet again, the wait staff pour more tea and prepare more slices of cake.
I still think it would be great fun just to have a small party on the lawn one day for, oh, a few family members, like William and Kate and the children, Harry—as long as he’s not dating a hooker at the moment—Andrew and Sarah, and … oops, there I go again!
One reason I have ordered these diaries to be destroyed once I’m gone is that everyone would think me such a whiner if they knew how I truly felt about so many of these social obligations. And there are those who would be shocked at what I genuinely think about my family, for that matter.
Besides phoning up a few of my cousins, where else can I say what I really think about Anne’s jacket?
Well, Dear Diary, it’s time to call it a day. All that standing and greeting has gotten to this old gal.
Besides that, Philip keeps trying to get me to play at least one game of Candy Crush. He’s signed me up for an account under the name “Queenie,” the silly old fool.
’Til next time,