Heaven help the aimless queen, and long may Her Majesty wave

ROGER SIMON /

May 12, 1991|By ROGER SIMON

I have always felt sorry for Queen Elizabeth II.

We like royalty in America. Which is ironic when you think

about it: American patriots gave up their lives fighting a British monarch at Lexington and Concord so that American citizens could claw each other for invitations to meet one 216 years later.

I doubt George Washington would understand.

In any case, we will all be polite. A lot more polite than some Britons are.

According to Harold Brooks-Baker, editor of "Burke's Peerage," "what Mr. and Mrs. Reagan are going through with Kitty Kelley's book . . . is not very different from what many members of the royal family go through every day of their lives."

The British press is really tough on the royals, especially the royal daughters-in-law, Di and Fergie.

The press printed pictures of Di in a bikini when she was five months pregnant and one British tabloid ran a contest asking readers to guess the true dimensions of Fergie's behind.

In the old days, the queen simply could behead these louts and be done with it. Today, she can't do that.

Though Elizabeth can trace her royal blood back to King Egbert in 829, she has less discretionary power than any British monarch in history.

She does meet weekly with the prime minister and makes numerous appearances for charities -- about 40 per month -- and even travels around to see how the former colonies turned out.

So if you get to meet the queen, don't be nervous. She is used to commoners.

Lee Tawney, director of the Mayor's Office of International Programs, Baltimore's unofficial protocol chief, told me the question he is most asked by Baltimoreans about to meet the queen is: "What do I say?"

"I tell them that people are people, and they should just be themselves," Tawney said. "Protocol is based on common sense and common courtesy."

So if you get a chance to talk to the queen, just remember that she is just like you and me. And I suggest you try any one the following ice-breakers with her:

1. "Sorry to hear you lost India."

2. "I'm sure Charles is a lot brighter than he looks."

3. "Just how big is Fergie's butt?"

And then wave.

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