Yaks, Gold Stars, and Drunken Girlfriends
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There was so much to cover this month, I hardly knew where to begin…

I Can Hardly Contain Myself

I’m so excited, I can’t stand it. I just learned that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit the United States next year to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown Settlement. (Hey, you don’t think they’re going to try and take it back, do you?) The Queen was last in the U.S. 16 years ago.

What am I going to wear? Ooooh, Ooooh, a hat...I need a new hat...

Pakistan or Bust

Charles and Camilla toured Pakistan, visiting Islamabad (I know I’d want to go there) and some small villages. They were supposed to go to Pesawar, but their visit was canceled after the Pakistan military raided a religious school there, alleged to be an al-Qaeda training camp.

They visited Nansog, an organic village, where they tasted local dishes (these two are always eating), including Balay goat meat soup, walnut and mint sauced Brabo and Kisir pancakes, local bread, and some dried apricot, which Camilla pronounced “delicious.” What? She didn’t like the Balay goat meat soup?

On the last day of their Pakistan tour, Charles and Camilla were presented with a black-and-white yak. The yak, a traditional gift for visitors, was pronounced “marvelous” and received a pat on the nose from the royal couple. But they’re giving it back to the villagers as a gesture of good will, rather than drag the animal home with them. I hope they can live with themselves when that yak winds up in a soup.

And hey, great news! Mirtza Tahir Hussain, a British citizen who was convicted in Pakistan in 1989 for murdering a taxi driver, got his November 1 hanging date rescheduled for December 31. Charles and Camilla got to roam about Pakistan on their Royal tour without fear of bumping into swinging objects. Of course, Pakistan’s foreign office denied that the reprieve had anything to do with the Royal Visit, as it doesn’t want to be seen as bowing to Western pressure. However, after Prince Charles’ personal plea to President Musharraf during his tour, Mr. Hussain’s death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment. Yay.

It is reported that Charles and Camilla had a wonderful time. Well, hell, goat soup, yak, postponed hangings, and al-Qaeda training camps? Who wouldn’t have a good time?

Happy Birthday, Charles

Prince Charles turned 58 on November 14 and was given a rise to four-star rank in each of the armed services. Now he’s a general in the Army, an admiral in the Navy, and air chief marshall in the Royal Air Force. For someone who has not seen active service, that’s quite a coup. I wonder what the soldiers in Iraq—the ones dodging suicide bombers—think about this?

Is the Wedding Off?

Rumor has it that Kate Middleton called off the royal romance after she was told that Prince William got drunk at a party and kissed another girl. Supposedly, Kate’s mother convinced Katie to give the prince a second chance. Sure. She knows on which side her bread is buttered.

Any Excuse for a Party

The Queen has been laid up for weeks with back pain. It seems Her Majesty pulled a muscle in her back, causing her to cancel a number of engagements. So to cheer her up, the Royal Family is planning a party. The party, “a jolly in the offing,” according to one source, will also mark the Queen’s 59th wedding anniversary to Prince Philip and will also kick off the family’s Christmas celebrations. It promises to be quite a shindig. If you’re planning on going, take note: it’s BYOB. No word on where the party is to take place, but stay tuned, and I’ll see what I can dig up. I know my invitation is around here somewhere…

Ooops, Looks Like I Was Wrong

I reported last month that the Royal Family’s Christmas was to be held at Windsor this year to accommodate the young Royals and their guests. But it appears it’s going to be at Sandringham after all. Now I have to call my travel agent to update my plans…

Help Wanted

There’s an opening for a Director of Information Technology at Buckingham Palace. Duties include maintaining the Queen’s website and making downloads to the Royal iPod. The Queen says typing doesn’t come naturally to her. I should think not.

You’re Fired

The Queen canned Buckingham Palace’s night phone operator and is diverting the calls to Windsor Castle’s fire surveillance room. FYI, the fire surveillance room, specially designed to monitor the Windsor treasures, is manned 24 hours a day, ever since the fire at Windsor Castle 14 years ago. The two fire officers on duty at night apparently get bored and welcomed the opportunity to answer the phones at night, for which they will receive a £750 a year bonus. The money the daytime operator used to get will help finance the new Director of IT’s salary, when one is hired. Hey, you do what you gotta do, you know?

Is this the Kind of Girl to Bring Home to Grandmother?

Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, just celebrated her 21st birthday with a bash at a Cape Town restaurant. It is said that Harry and she downed “serious amounts of alcohol.” (By the way, Harry was given the weekend off by his commanding officer, so he could fly the 6,000 miles to party with his sweetie. I betcha the guys in Iraq don’t mind.)

The theme of the party was the Roaring 20s. Chelsy wore an emerald silk flapper-style dress with feathers in her hair. Harry (or “Haz,” as Chelsy calls him) wore a fedora and Al Capone-style suit. (No Nazi armband at this soiree.)

The lovebirds smooched it up all night and even spent several minutes in the lavatory together.

Reportedly, a friend of the couple called it a “heavy, heavy night,” and Chelsy was all but legless by the end of the night.

Even though Chelsy was described the next day as having sunken eyes and a sickly pallor and Harry was described as looking “queasy,” their hangovers didn’t stop them from going out that night and partying until 3:00 a.m.

And Speaking of Harry…

It’s been said that he runs around his army barracks naked. He struts to the showers in the buff amidst wolf whistles from his bunkmates.

There’s something wrong with this guy.

And More On Harry

Word has it that in the (unlikely) event Harry is allowed to fight in Iraq, he will have his own bodyguards.

How would this work? Would Harry set up a beach chair in the sand, kick back with some Sambuca and girlie magazines, and send the bodyguards out to fight for him? Some things I just don’t get.

Let There Be Light

Hey, more good news! The front of Buckingham Palace will be lit up every night until 11:00 p.m. until the end of the Queen’s reign. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. You see, tourists complained that they could not see the palace after 4:00 p.m. in the winter. So a special team was put together under the Lord Chamberlain, and the experts who lit up Edinburgh Castle were called in to advise. (Can you believe this? How much did these birds get paid? And the poor telephone operator at BP got the boot? This is, like, twenty-seven kinds of wrong.)

Anyway, the Queen was cool with the idea, although a bit concerned because she was afraid the floodlight would shine into the 188 staff bedrooms in the Palace. Philips, the electrical company with Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, the Sphinx, and the Eiffel Tower to its credit, suggested a particular energy-efficient LED lighting that comes in different shades of white. The Palace opted for a “warm” white color.

After even more consulting with the English Heritage and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and permission obtained from Westminster City Council, Buckingham Palace now sports 59 LED lights, six of which are in the ground to light up the Palace’s three portico columns. There are also mini-lights along the balcony to highlight the palace’s features between the windows.

Total cost of installation: £37,000, to be paid through government grants.

Let the Lights Go Out

The lighting of Buckingham Palace got the environmentalists’ ire up. The Green Party thinks the whole idea is a waste of energy and the Queen is setting a bad example. Greenpeace, however, gets my award for quote of the month. “These lights are going to blaze away until the end of [the Queen’s] reign and that could be a very long time, probably long enough to see the catastrophic effects of climate change strike our country and the wider world.”

‘Nuff said.

It’s a good thing I’m around to bring you all this important news. Come back next month for more royal jollies.

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