Whither And Why: HRH
From the desk of Gerald Honk, esq.
I emerged from the parting crowd triumphant. My dear Lillian and I had been personally meeted and greeted by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles himself! A splendid occasion for our village and the region as a whole, we and the Prince agreed, and a jolly nice chap too. I wondered if he had also come across my friend, the rambunctious Royalist and querulous queue-pusher, Sir Hilary Harrison-Nairn.
I found HH lounging in his garden, disinterestedly arguing with his housekeeper, Mrs Clutterbutt, and his beast of a hound, Bismarck.
“Nonsense, nonsense, I’m quite sure you’re wrong, Mrs C… what ho, Honk, ra-ra!”
“Ra-ra. Did you meet HRH, H.H.?”
“What, what what?”
“The Prince of – ”
“I did, sir! Decked myself out in one’s most buffed Northumbrian finery, we shook hands vociferously, and he seemed most impressed with my attempts to converse in his native tongue.”
“I didn’t know you spoke Welsh, H.H.?”
“Welsh? What the devil are you talking about, Honk, old chap?”
“I’ve been trying to tell him,” Mrs Clutterbutt butted in. Her hands shaking slightly, she continued, “I tried to stop him, but he just wouldn’t listen…”
The timorous housekeeper began to weep, and as Bismarck comforted her, I continued the chat with my friend.
“You didn’t speak Welsh? Then what – ”
“Well, Humpback, of course! It’s an odd dialect, but the CDs you bought me that Christmas really helped me get to grips with some of the lower intonations…”
“Humpback! The very humpiest of Humpback. Aah-WEEEEEEeeeeuoo-Yoop-Yoop-Yoop”.
And it began to dawn on me. My friend had made a monumental error in judgement, one that may have cost him not only his own reputation, but that of our entire community.
“H.H.,” I said, attempting to maintain my composure, “Prince Charles is the Prince of WALES. Without the H. Wales the country, you ninny!”
“No, no, can’t be,” my friend replied, “surely Mrs Clutterbutt would have – ”
“I DID!” Mrs C. exploded, raising her voice for the first time since the great incident of ’03, “I tried to… I tried to warn you…”
Bismarck added a low and mournful howl.
“Et tu, Bismarck?” wailed H.H. “What have I done?”
“How did Charles react?” I asked.
“Well, I admit he appeared bemused, but he then met Bismarck, and was so taken with the mutt, no further interest was paid to me… So no harm done?”
“I would count this as a lucky escape, H.H. Thank heavens for Bismarck and his winning smile!”
“Quite so, Honk. And as they say, mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod!”
As the exasperated Mrs Clutterbutt’s handbag struck my friend on the shoulder, and Bismarck’s barks became more frequent, I quietly slipped away, eagerly anticipating our next Royal encounter.
H.H. and Honk would like to point out that there is no such person as the Prince of Whales, though, were he to exist, he would be most intimidating.
They would also like to indicate that Prince Charles’ visit to Northumberland went off without a hitch, and was a roaring success!