I meet Philip at Fortnums for coffee. To say that his glumness exceeds the already
fairly high standards that he sets would not be an exaggeration.
It started with the wedding - “Too many fucking common people there”, he complains.
I think that he is alluding to the presence of the Parker Bowles family, the archbishop
of Canterbury and Stephen Fry.
Even the traditional ceremonies don’t cheer him any more.”Trooping the fucking Colour?
Same every fucking year. They should make it more interesting by making it a steeplechase.”
I point out to him that the queen no longer rides on horseback during the ceremony,
but uses a carriage. He fixes me with a withering glare. “Are you fucking telling
me that it is beyond the fucking wit of the British army to construct a few fucking
His family are of decreasing comfort to him. He shows me a spoof letter which he
has received, informing him that he is to be returned to Greece together with the
Elgin marbles. “Must be that fucking Camelia person”, he conjectures. I disagree,
it is too clever for her, but I know it is from within the family because of the
atrocious spelling, but the terrible grammar and syntax points towards an Eton rather
than a Gordonstoun education. He detests Camilla only slightly less than Diana. “Thank
God I won’t be here to see it, but I have visions of her 100th birthday the nation's
favourite step-grandmother, with her waving to the cheering crowds from the balcony
at the Palace, and then doing something execrable such as flashing her tits”, he
He performs very few public duties these days, but even this is a cause for further
misery. “Visiting a prosthetic device factory in Peebles, opening a nursery school
for children of carpet weavers in Swindon, meeting a delegation of Ecuadorian pomegranate
growers – are these people taking the fucking piss?” I detect frowns from the staff
- anyone else would have been asked to leave by now. He bemoans missing his new favourite
television programme because of these engagements. “It’s American, but I have to
say it is the funniest thing I’ve seen in years”, he chortles, “it’s called ‘Extreme
Makeover’, and what happens is that they visit the home of some downtrodden poor
people, send them on holiday, and then while they’re away, they knock their fucking
house down. I laughed so much last Tuesday, my false teeth shot across the room and
ripped a hole in one of Liz’s favourite Reubens’. Got one of the footmen to fix it
with a Pritt Stick and a magic marker – can’t tell the difference.” I don’t have
the heart to tell him that what he has assumed to be the end of the program is, in
fact, the first commercial break, and that the show then goes on to show a new home
At this point the chauffeur comes to collect him, before he gets any more suicidal.
I told Liz she ought to send him into retirement at Sandringham, out of the public
gaze, for his own good, but she still affects to be fond of the old bugger.
The Merkin said...
Ah Vicus - what is ironic is that Camilla de Cornwall (as she now styles herself
on her Matalan Card statements) cannot stand Phil the Greek either. In fact, whilst
supping banana smoothies with her in the staff canteen of Ealing branch of "Duchy
Burgers" (Big Brenda's Organic Aberdeen Angus Whopper Burgers £3.99, £4.99 with organic
Gloucestershire cheese slices), she told me that "Hoo de feckin ell does e fink e
is? Hee will neva be king but i will be kween soon and den heel be sorry for dissin
me". Calming her down with a few of my organic red-onion rings I tried to explain
the constitutional difference between a Queen Consort and a Queen Regnant, but she
kicked me between the legs, threw the remains of her organic King Edward fries onto
my doubled-up pain-racked body and told me "you no like me grub - feck off to the
Bubble 'n' Squeek kebeb place den, innit". So I did. Ironic, isn't it? On the Summer
Solstice and all....