Saturday 18 June 2022

'The Prince and the Pea' by H. Anthony Hildebrand

OK, get this: there’s this prince, right, and he goes: “I fancy marrying me a real princess.” And we’re like, “’Real’? What means you ‘real’?”

He taps his sign:

Princess (n): one who can identify a single seed from the pod fruit Pisum sativum – a pea – under mountains of mattresses and bedding, whilst prone atop the pile.

“That’s how you identify royalty!” the prince cries. “Divining vegetables from a distance, separated by masses of memory foam and down!”

The prince’s parents shake their heads, take their troubled son to a shrink. The counsellor nods, notes, says this sort of thing’s pretty common. The monarchs wince at ‘common’ but agree to send the boy to group therapy, sign forms allowing recording.

The subsequent footage, broadcast on Channel 4 as The Secret Life of the Royals, is a ratings smash! Experts observe the blue-blooded scions cavorting and tantruming, learning about sharing and working together and understanding other people. Fascinating!

Against all odds the prince emerges as the programme’s breakout star. His utter disdain for others and his total self-absorption are reframed as eccentricities, as lovable quirks. He tells it how it is! He says it to your face! He is who he is! You can take him or leave him, yeah, and we take him to our hearts, put him on Strictly, stick him in the jungle, give him a breakfast radio slot, a column in the Mail. He’s a bit of a character!

But when he assaults Gregg Wallace on Celebrity MasterChef, responding to mild criticism of his ham hock and watercress salad by forcing handful after handful of fresh garden peas down the former greengrocer’s powerful gullet, well, it’s a step too far. We all vow to ignore him until he learns some manners. That, we’re sure, will show him.

1 comment:

  1. Ha so clever and funny and packed with observed wisdom.


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