Many years ago I was watching a documentary about something or the other, and it included a recording of the BBC radio bulletin announcing the birth of then-Princess Elizabeth’s first child. “Her Highness,” the announcer intoned, “has given birth to a prince.”
And it struck me kind of funny, kind of funny yes indeed, that on the day you were born you were already the person you were always going to be, no matter what. I mean imagine giving birth to an electrical engineer, or a graphic designer, or a short order line cook or an Oxford don.
All of which is to say that I find the entire British royal family rigamarole actually quite offensive, on purely democratic and egalitarian grounds, and have felt this way for almost exactly 40 years, ever since a girlfriend insisted that I join her for a 2 AM viewing of the (first) wedding of Princess Elizabeth’s first child (a prince).
On the other hand there’s probably some genuine sociological significance of some sort to this whole Harry and Meghan and Oprah thing, which I assume some of you would like to talk about, and since we’re a full service blog this post is providing a venue for that.
Meanwhile my Prince story:
30-odd years ago when I was a lawyer of a sort I was leaving a meeting at a law firm’s office somewhere outside Los Angeles, California (Century City to be exact). I got into the elevator and immediately noticed that a short very slightly built man was standing in the corner, with his face to the wall. He was flanked by two enormous dreadlocked men, who looked like bodyguards. As the elevator began to descend again I glanced at him as discreetly as I could, and after a few seconds I realized it was the Artist then Known as Prince.
The elevator stopped again, and a young woman got on. She recognized our man, and immediately began lavishing him with a piercing encomium: “Oh my God Prince Oh my God I don’t believe it. Prince I love your music I love your movies, I love your concerts,” and so on, for what must have been maybe 20 or 30 seconds but seemed like several weeks.
During all this, Prince did not, as far as I can tell, move a muscle.
The elevator reached the bottom floor, the door opened, and Prince wheeled around and practically flew out the door, followed in procession by his two praetorians.
The woman and I looked at each other for a moment, and then suddenly one of the bodyguards stuck his head back into the elevator and said to her in this incredibly deep James Earl Jones voice:
“Prince thanks you.”