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By Royal Appointment

Ben Patey, after stalking a scally, stalks a sovereign

Published on February 28th 2008.


By Royal Appointment

Bumbling about near Marks and Spencer, I decide to ask one of my old scally friends where Urbis is?

“You know. Where the Queen is visiting?” I reiterate.

“The who?” comes the response.

Useless, finally I find myself down at Victoria Station to see Her Majesty the Queen. I want to know why people come and see Liz. Are the days of well-wishers a thing of the past? Is she really named after Freddy Mercury’s band?

I’m only an hour early yet I cut a pretty solitude figure amongst the policeman and confused passengers coming into Victoria. I approach a British Transport police officer

“Where is everyone? I thought there would be crowds of well-wishers here by now."

“I think those days are gone aren’t they," he replies. “I was in Burnley last week for Prince Charles’ arriving. People were more interested in the trains. You get a lot of train enthusiasts at things like this but not too many royalists anymore.”

After standing by an anorak for a bit, I finally spot a group holding cameras and flowers. Well-wishers. I go over and stand by them. It turns out they’ve travelled from the South to see Her Majesty. One woman wouldn’t give me an exact figure of how many times she’d visited the Queen but admitted it was "a lot more than twenty". I ask her and her companion what motivates them to travel for such lengths to see someone for a fleeting moment.

“We believe in the monarchy,” the other woman declares abruptly. She clearly hates me.

“We’re different," explains the nice lady. “It’s a hobby, a chance to meet old friends."

She gives me a few pointers on what to do if the Queen comes near us. I’m told that she rarely shakes hands.

“I was going to go for a kiss on the cheek,” I quip. No-one laughs. I’m politely shunned before I can ask my next question. “What do you think of Mohammed Al Fayed calling Prince Phillip a Nazi?”

Before long, more people join the flower crusade, clearly acquaintances from well-wishing rendezvous gone by. They compare notes on photos they’ve taken of the Queen and programmes they’ve watched about the Queen. It’s all rather bizarre. A mother and cute baby take up position on my right. The flower crusade remain on my left. I’m in prime position and feeling optimistic about a close-up of the monarch.

“There’s the royal train,” the mother tells her sleeping baby. A few people then precede the Queen carrying cases and umbrellas. I wonder if the Queen has ever felt rain on her head. I bet she’s the least rained on woman in England. Rain. Reign. Geddit?

Bloody hell. She’s coming right up to me and the flower crusade. I’m concentrating too much on my photo to take in the situation. The Queen is right in front of me. I suppose that’s rather exciting - at least it should be. Yet I was more excited when I met Dr Karl Kennedy from Neighbours. Still, the photo comes out a beaut.

After the Queen gets in her car, I follow a woman who looks assertive. She is talking to her friend about "smashing weather" and "brilliant sunshine". The Queen’s English don’t you know.

The pair discuss strategic positioning outside Urbis whilst I marvel at the woman’s amazing backcombed hair. She looks a little bit like a porcupine. Getting bored of waiting with the porcupine, I go and look at the police horses - crapping everywhere as usual.

There are not many young people about but I spot one youth who doesn’t look like he’s simply bunked off school.

“Why are you here?” I ask.

“Something a bit different innit - seeing the Queen and that.”And that’s what it seems to be to most people. Just something a little different. Well-wishers collect Queen’s visits in the same way a stamp collector amasses stamps - something to catalogue in an album.

Perhaps there are a few real royal devotees left but I sense they’re a dying breed. My editor, who's proud of the fact that he knows these things, says tens of thousands lined the streets when King George V opened the Central Library in the 1930s. That passion seems to have disappeared. And it's worse than that when you think that a lot of the crowd with me is made up of people just extending their smoking break to get a glimpse of the Royal enigma.

Shortly before Her Majesty comes out of Urbis, a class of schoolchildren line up ready to meet her. For them, the Queen is a figure of untainted royal authority - still fairytale. She talks to them patiently, making them feel special, like a lovely Grandma. Meanwhile some old people curse each other for deciding to switch places in the line.

One battleaxe berates the “fucking policewoman”, who told them the Queen may be walking to the side of the barrier where they are now stood.

I watch as the flower crusaders go home, happy with their latest photos. The slightly-demented old people continue to mutter, rueing the day they only nearly got a photo of the Queen. Unfortunately they just weren’t as strategically astute as the seasoned well-wishers. The street sweeper looks bemused as he cleans up the horse crap and I make my way up to Market Street, with tremendous love and affection for the Queen, though I’m a little unsure why.

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73 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

SeakayFebruary 28th 2008.

fair point, Tommo, but this way he is sometimes funny, whereas in real life I am sure hat he is quite scary.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2008.

Girls, girls, GIRLS - the auld queen would be proud if she read this as there's certainly a lot of people on her image posting here (ie queens). I think I fancy youse all ;-)On the main point though, Jamie, you originally said that Lizzie Windsor is better than an elected alternative as she is above corruption. The reason why the pampered daugther of a Nazi-lover is above corruption is because she is the richest blooming woman in the country! I resent paying for her both directly through the cash we give her to indirectly to the kind of money that is spent every time she steps outside one of her many palaces from cops to road sweepers to the royal bleeding train! She's the biggest recipient of social security in the country AND, most importantly of all, HATES Manchester. When was the last time she stayed here, for example? And she's visited flipping New Zealand more often than she's visited here. I remember seeing her sour old face whenever the lovely Kirsty Howard gave her the Commonwealth thingummy in 2002. You could tell she would rather have been in Bavaria eating gateaux! Grrr!Normally I'm nice, so I'm going to sign this anonymous!

JasonFebruary 28th 2008.

I work in an office in the old corn exchange building, or Traingle as its called now, overlooking exchange square. I walked past all the police men when I was coming into work, only they had signs saying "serious accident here, witnesses needed" so it looks like they were trying to cover up the fact that they were stood there because of the Queens visit. I still never knew she was there, and all I or any of my 5 colleagues had to do was look out of the window!

tracyFebruary 28th 2008.

I agree, great article with wonderful potential for comment and intelligent debate ruined by some idiot. Is there no editor out there watching this unfold?

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan, so you say that's your last comment. Good let's make sure it is. There will be other stories along very soon.

SeakayFebruary 28th 2008.

Abject apologies Nathan, I assumed that he didn't become king until he was crowned in 1689 (or possibly in December 1688 when he was offered the crown) ie when he was 38 or 39.

FontleroyFebruary 28th 2008.

It appears there's already a few queens in given you bitch*n ladies. Double edged sword, they cost us money, but they also generate a lot of money??

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2008.

Off with their heads

YawnFebruary 28th 2008.

Please someone block Nathan

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

pint.... point lol But with a little tax cuts we could all have few of both !!! well there's hoping i suppose lol (for some of us at least ;o)

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

is it not about time we cut them form the nations purse strings ???

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Saykey, Below really does state that the "PEOPLE" of this country want him to be crowned... oh and himself as welllol read on On 25 September 1660 the States of Holland resolved to take charge of William's education to ensure he would acquire the skills necessary to serve in an as yet undetermined future state function. This first involvement of the authorities would not last long, however. On 23 December 1660, when William was just ten years old, his mother died of smallpox at Whitehall Palace, London while visiting her brother King Charles II. In her will, Mary designated Charles as William's legal guardian. Charles now demanded the States of Holland end their interference; to appease the powerful king they complied on 30 September 1661. Charles delegated his share of the responsibility to William's paternal grandmother, the Princess Dowager Amalia, with the understanding that she seek Charles's advice when necessary. Charles continued corresponding with his nephew. In 1661, Lord Zuylestein began to work for Charles, cooperating with the English ambassador George Downing, the de facto English spymaster in the Dutch Republic. Zuylestein induced William to write letters to the English king asking his uncle to interfere on his behalf to improve his prospects on the stadtholderate. Charles then exploited this issue for political leverage, trying to sow dissension in Dutch society between the Orangists and the republican "States" faction.The Dutch authorities did their best at first to ignore these intrigues, but in the Second Anglo-Dutch War they became impossible to avoid as one of Charles's standard peace conditions was the improvement of the position of his nephew. As a countermeasure in 1666, when William was sixteen, the States of Holland officially made him a ward of the government, or a "Child of State," a legal novum. The Amsterdam burgomasters Cornelis de Graeff and Gillis Valckenier were involved in his training. Amalia's consent was obtained by granting her a considerable state pension, something William would never forgive her for. William was supposedly made a ward to prepare him for a role in the nation's government, although what this role would be exactly, was again left unspecified. A direct result was that all pro-English elements, first of all Lord Zuylestein, were removed from William's company. William was heartbroken by this and in tears begged Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt to allow Lord Zuylestein to stay. De Witt, the leading politician of the Republic, refused, but took part of William's education into his own hands, instructing him weekly in state matters — and joining him in a regular game of real tennis. William and De Witt, both having introverted and outwardly emotionally restrained characters, failed to become close friends. In 1667, the core of the English navy was destroyed by the Raid on the Medway, and the subsequent Treaty of Breda made no mention of William. In September 1668, Amalia and Frederick William declared that William had reached the age of majority; a void act as boys only attained majority at 23 and a special permit had to be obtained for an earlier age. Although no such permit ever was issued, the declaration was condoned by the authorities to avoid raising political tensions.

WhateverFebruary 28th 2008.

It doesn't matter what the ppl want... it never has mattered.. they will always be around. Nothing to be done about it.. new age monarchy is bringing about some change anyway.. nice one Prince Harry..proud kiddo.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Hello Jonathan,I've not stopped anyone from speaking their minds, and may I ask your thoughts ?my last comment on this is if their oh so supreme, why are home grown terrorists not charge with treason ???

AlFebruary 28th 2008.

Although there was an alright turn out for this, it's true, the royalists and hardcore wellwishers are dying out. People prefer reality TV 'stars'

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

and if your stating I'm wrong somewhere here please do state as and where ?

JinkiesFebruary 28th 2008.

Does anyone have ANY idea what Nathan is trying to say?

AliFebruary 28th 2008.

Funny article! What's with Nathan ranting a million times?!Crazy guy

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Seakay, and beeing as up yr arse as yourself it not "future William IIIs education from Wikipedia" it's just "William IIIs education from Wikipedia".As always much love Nathan x

Jonathan Schofield - EditorFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan, I think this isn't getting us anywhere. So please stop the comments. There is a debate to be had here but not this way. Let others have their say now.

SeakayFebruary 28th 2008.

Are you asking for information? I'm sure that a careful Internet search will provide you with the answers, or you could not bother and make another statement based on ignorance. Hmm, I wonder which option you'll go for?

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

okay Jamie in "simple" terms just for yourself. Before goverment how did the royals come to be about ???Answer that and maybe... but i seriously doubt it you'd correct that opinion.......... Jak ass

JamieFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan, honestly, World War II, was not started by the Royals. It was started by a little man with a silly mustache who couldn't get over the fact his country had lost WWI. The probably with a lot of anti-monarchy rants are that they are predicated on some weird form of jealousy, as if the 'common' man would see any of that money if the institution were abolished.

JamieFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan, I don't even understand that sentence. Maybe try and put capital letters in the right place, and check your spelling.

PhilipFebruary 28th 2008.

I know Ben Patey’s article about last week’s visit to Manchester by The Queen was probably meant to be humorous and rather tongue in cheek but I was offended by it. His schoolboy-type humour becomes boring after a while.

TommoFebruary 28th 2008.

I a big gay ! ask nicely and i'll give you my number ;o)

JamieFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan, I'm bored of you now. Please go away and learn some grammar and spelling and a basic slice of history.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2008.

I was passing through spinningfields when the queen was there must have been all of 70 odd 'wellwishers' there...

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

I'm in work act lol, and your right BS is my 1st language seems to fit reet along with yourself but please please please tell me it ain't so, I'm guessing Jinky you think either your perfect or the what you have in mind eyes is ..... Japs eyes more likes lil jinkies

it all adds upFebruary 28th 2008.

the costs associated with the roayl family come to about 14pence UK resident. Considering a large part of the world look up to us because of the Royal family, (whether you like it or not) - 14pence is not really too much to sweat over, is it now? Nathan - I'll give you your 14p if it makes you happier.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Seakay, If the royals had their way you'd be on a boat outa here (no offence) and you stated that the people wanted him to take the crown ( bolloxz ) and i ammend my comment as i would always do when occasionally.... ;o).... I'm wrong lol

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Jamie i say go and find you magic torch shine down you ears and please to god come back and tell me when you've found something

YawnFebruary 28th 2008.

Everyone. Don't even argue with Nathan. He's obviously lost his marbles

jakeFebruary 28th 2008.

not a one has come forward with founded reasons as to why their still our keepers so, leaves me to beg the question why are they there ?

SeakayFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan is right - we'd all be a lot better off if the royals stopped collecting money from the civil list and took back all the things that they gave up in return for a yearly allowance - like absolute power.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Jamie, I see where your going but if you honestly believe that it was all acrimonious then more fool you, II world war was started because of the pompous and if you put your faith in this I feel truly sorry for you. Yes I'm angered at the fact these ppl live in the best conditions and have it literally handed to them on plate when there's children/families in this country under the breadline, I could think of many things to do with the MILLIONS "we" pay just for ferrying them about..... Guess I your right I'm pi$$ed off and want a refund

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Jamie, does the "Queen" give you idenity?

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Seakay when did the royals give up their art collections ?

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Doomsday book.... who did that and whats that all about ???

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Seakay what ever would mean ?

Royal Blue JohnFebruary 28th 2008.

I think Nathan Yoda is. Except The Force he has not.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

No worries I'm terrible with dates ??? but, That sort of role is not handed to just anyboby it decided and planned yrs in advance.... Goverment... well top ranked goverment is the same so either way Royals or Goverment we're screwed. Just want the tax to come down and to spent wisely keeping on track of things

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

I guess an archaic system is what we, some people need in their lives.......... If anybody says history then I'm guessing racism, selective breeding, and generally just plain butchery is your bag then

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Silly sausage lolIn another 1000 yrs how primitive are they going think we are as we'll do now as to only about 100yrs ago

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

it all adds up......... I'd much prefer the "14p" (which I really doubt that this figure is totally correct) to go to the homeless or the NSPCC or groups that are REALLY in need of this monies. "It all adds up" for sure you can make a donation on my behalf to either of the above I mentioned, thanking you kindly :o)

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2008.

Hang on a minute, the MEN reported today on its website that: "THE Queen and Prince Philip were greeted by warm applause from crowds of well-wishers as they arrived at Manchester Victoria today."You seem to suggest that those crowds of wellwishers amounted to a few swivel-eyed royal followers and, er, you... I'm sure one of you must be wrong... I wonder who it is?

sausageFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan you're not making sense. What has your energy bill got to do with the monarchy debate? You're not helping your argument.

eddy rheadFebruary 28th 2008.

The Queen hates Manchester. She has said as much in the past. Its also interesting to note that she has visited Australia more times than she has visited Manchester. She would rather travel to the other side of the world to bless a bunch of ex-cons and native killers with her presence than jump on the 9.20 from Euston to see 'her' country's second city.Appreciation works both ways Lizzie.

JinkiesFebruary 28th 2008.

I'm just guessing here but my money's on Nathan being drunk. Oh and English is clearly not his/her first language.

SeakayFebruary 28th 2008.

I think that you mean jackass (no capitalisation required unless you are talkng about a TV programme and not using an insult) and their riches.I'm not sure wo your are talking about when you describe the royal family as facing the possibility of having to ship out - William III was invited to take power.

Anthony McCaulFebruary 28th 2008.

Missed the Queen but LOVE the Justice Centre - fantastic, iconic building.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

3rd time)is it not about time we cut them from the nations purse strings ???” ”

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Progression not regression, Just bring my bills down I mean if they were all for us why not stop the Energy companies hiking their prices when clearly they don't need it after announcing yet again record profits.... There out dated and of no importance or influence so other than living moving piece of history what are we paying for here ???

TommoFebruary 28th 2008.

Why don't you two swap numbers and have a good old debate on the phone. Put the world to rights

KarlFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan is cool, step back and take in the wider picture peeps

Steeevo!February 28th 2008.

The Monarchy is dead - long live Ben Patey!

yawnFebruary 28th 2008.

Some please give some insight so i can fight my own battles ;o(

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

2nd) is it not about time we cut them fromm the nations purse strings ???”

JamieFebruary 28th 2008.

Nonsense. The Monarch is head of state and wonderfully above it all. Just about every other head of state in a presidential system is susceptible to corruption, our Queen is not. She also gives us identity, a link with our great history.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

my bad Jamie i thought you would of known it was wwI ???v (typo)

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Jonathan, Johnathan whatever happen to free speech ? tut tut tut trying to block me shame on you

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Cheers Tommo but it's reet thxz lol

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Sausage, My taxes, well all of our taxes are partially going to these people who are supposedly guardians of people... and yes it's tied into it. my pint was clearly stated that there of no importance and have no power of influence, And more so from the start, "should we cut them from the nations purse strings" not abolish them! just not fund them... and harrys ganja farm and nazi weekends ???

JamieFebruary 28th 2008.

Nathan, you've done it again. Are you very angry and writing in haste? Anyway the royals (kings, queens, tribal leaders)came about as the traditional form of government in all societies. Then the British middle class became stronger - including a bit of a civil war, you know - and royal power was curtailed until it became what we see today. It's evolution, it's an impressive and strong tradition of change done slowly which makes our democracy both resilient and equitable.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

(gotta stop copyin ppls) name and is a debate "Yawn" step back and sit down or MASTER yr DEBATING elsewhere OR make your statement ???

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

No insight or comments from yourself then lol.

sausageFebruary 28th 2008.

I'm a royalist because it's part of our heritage, it's woven into the fabric of our country for over a thousand years. Why get rid of it now. Why do we have to get abolish or poke fun at everything that doesn't fit in with 'Modern Britain.' I'm for the monarchy!

SeakayFebruary 28th 2008.

Thank you for reproducing a section about the future William IIIs education from Wikipedia - not sure why you did it but thank you anyway.By the way, do not criticise others for continuing a discussion of WWII which you first mentioned - we cannot be expected to know that II world war is your way of saying World War I.

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Before goverment you numpty how'd yuo think they even came to power lol

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Jamie have you found anything yet lol

nathanFebruary 28th 2008.

Seakay, who got them all there riches they they "gave up".... wasn't it give up or ship out at time of this happening ???

MartinFebruary 28th 2008.

I love this place and have been a regular for many years. The men's t-shirts are great and I've never quibble over the price as I'd rather pay a little more for a t-shirt that is not going to be on every lad's chest when I go out on a Friday night.

ConfusedFebruary 28th 2008.

What is Martin on about?

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