Embraceable you

May 17, 1991

Americans have long had a love-hate relationship with royalty, particularly the British House of Windsor. Sure it's preposterous to ooh and ahh over people whose lives are taken up with the quaint chore of reminding us that they once ruled the world. But just try to catch a glimpse of one of these fabulous creatures on the rare occasions when they deign to alight here: The gawkers' line stretches around the block.

Britons will be mortified and Americans mildly amused by photos of Queen Elizabeth being hugged by Alice Frazier, a grandmother whose home in a poor neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the queen visited briefly Wednesday to show support for government housing efforts. Frazier obviously was as enchanted by the sovereign's appearance on her doorstep as she was unmindful of diplomatic protocol. A British photographer who snapped the moment --ed off to develop his film exclaiming: "I got a great picture, a lovely picture! "No one ever touches the queen!"

Elizabeth endured this breach with a grace befitting her breeding. By now she must realize that Americans cannot help being themselves, which means that even if you are queen, when you go to Grandma's house, Grandma will give you a hug.

Unless, of course, Grandma lives in Baltimore. In which case she will probably preface the undiplomatic embrace with a hearty but affectionate, "Good to see ya', hon!"

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