Several weeks ago I was reading a news article about the upcoming royal wedding. (Oh, right, like you haven't.) I admit that I'm a sucker for feel-good stories and what's better than the fairy tale marriage of a prince and a beautiful commoner? Just as I followed the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana (ouch, that turned out badly, but it started so beautifully), I have checked out the press coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding next month.
I'm not much of an Anglophile, although my heritage is primarily English, with a little Scottish and Irish thrown in, mixed with a daub of Native American and perhaps other nationalities too (I'm a typical American mutt). I do identify with British culture because it's pretty much bred in the bone and have to admit I find a plummy English accent to be terribly soothing when delivering the bad news on BBC America. And, when it comes to radio entertainment, in the empty space between Morning Edition and All Things Considered on NPR, regularly I find that the only things worth listening to are on BBC 4 radio, thanks to the "Listen Live" function on the internet. So maybe I'm more of an Anglophile than I care to admit.
Anyway, when I was reading this story about the wedding plans, I came upon a statement that good wishes could be conveyed to the couple at a palace email address, although if you wanted a response you should write to them the old way on paper at Prince William's official residence. Well, I thought, wouldn't that be neat to get a response from the royal family's staff?
So I pulled out my stationery (not engraved, but very nice) and composed a short letter wishing the royal couple the best on their upcoming nuptials. I can't remember the exact words, but it was a pretty good letter. I addressed it, looked up the postage online, stamped the letter and mailed it.
Today I braved the terrible rainstorms to check the mail and what do I find but an airmail envelope from Buckingham Palace with the Queen's insignia. Cool!
I hurried inside out of the damp and opened it, not looking carefully at the envelope. The salutation took me aback:
Dear Mr. C________,
In case my readers haven't figured it out over the years, I'm a girl.
I took another look at the envelope. They got my first name wrong too.
So much for "thank you for your kind and thoughtful letter of 14th March."
Note to the royal social secretary, or whomever you are, Mrs. Claudia Holloway: Better look at the mail a little more carefully next time. It wouldn't do to insult an actual somebody like that. Because you really stuck your foot in it with this nobody from the Colonies.
You're very welcome.