Wednesday, 13 February 2013

My conversation with the future Edward II

Yes, you read that right!  Over the weekend, I managed to have  a small conversation with Prince Edward, the future Edward II, at the Tower of London.  As a member of the Historic  Royal Palaces group, you pay a one-off fee for a year and can visit 5 royal palaces as many times as you like.  It comes in handy whenever I'm in London because even if I have just a couple of hours to spare, I'll pop to the Tower. I  headed there for a couple of hours this weekend, and decided to head for the Medieval Palace Exhibition.  It focuses on Henry III and Edward Ist.  The Tower has several 'characters' who frequent parts of the Tower at different times.  They are not advertised as such, and you can never be sure who you will come across.  They are not always 'popular' characters either - no Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes or lady Jane Grey.  I've 'met' James, Duke of Monmouth's wife and Judge Jeffries in the past.  So I was very surprised to meet Prince Edward and his sister playing a board game in St Thomas' Tower.  The great thing about these characters is that they don't perform as such, they just stay in character, and I'm always amused by the public reaction - especially children, who either are fascinated or frightened!

Anyway, this day, 3 young children and some adults were mesmerised by Edward and his sister playing a board game.  I wasn't sure who these characters were meant to be - possibly Edward Ist and Eleanor of Castile crossed my mind, but I soon made out from listening to the conversation they were brother and sister.  So I decided to ask them, and enquired if they were royalty (you HAVE to play along, as it's so much fun!), and possibly a king.  The prince replied that he was only a prince and this was his sister and they were waiting for their father, King Edward, and I got rather excited and said 'So you're Edward II?'  'Well, not yet, but I hope to be'.  I couldn't believe the Tower was choosing Edward II - yes, a so-called 'unpopular,' 'bad', king, to use as a character!  And no mention of a red, hot poker either!  Both characters clearly understood their roles and knew the history.  Needless to say, some fun was to be had here, so I engaged in a conversation with them.  Having found out Edward was still  prince, it went like this -

'So where's your friend Piers today?  has he been banished?'

Prince - 'No, he's not here'.

Princess - 'no, shhh! not yet!  That's still a year or 2 off.  Although this might be the time to tell him what we're planning'.

Prince - 'every time I try and carry on with my duties, someone has to keep mentioning him'.

Me - 'I'm completely on your side, your Grace'.

Prince, beaming - 'are you?  What think you sister of those who speak against him?'.

Princess - 'well, dear brother, there are those who think you favour him too much when they themselves are loyal and have wise words for you'.

Prince - 'they are merely jealous of him and seek to separate us with lies'.

Me - 'yes, they are jealous because you are such special friends, and they are greedy and want honours from you themselves.  They just don't understand you'.

Prince - 'I am glad of your support'.

Princess - 'but they are wise and loyal men to our father who have your best interests at heart....'

Prince - 'Silence! I am the Prince and will hear no more against him'.

Princess - 'then let us continue with our game'.

I wished the Prince well, and told him I didn't think he had long to wait for the throne, that he should trust Piers but beware his future wife, and left them to their game. 

A fed-up Prince Edward wonders how he can get of of this boring game and go for a dip in the Thames with Piers!
'I may as well just let her win and get back to Piers'.


Kathryn Warner said...

That's fantastic! I'm so pleased they had Edward there! Ha! :) :)

Anerje said...

I thought you would - and the fact it was a negative presentation!

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Anerje, that was absolutely exhilarating and fascinating! We have no opportunities to speak to our historical figures here, in Poland. I find your story really wonderful. What a great idea. And the fact that Edward and his sister knew their own stories so well. Thank you for sharing!

Anerje said...

Hi Kasia - it made my weekend! I just loved how they stayed in character, whatever you asked them, and pretended not to know what people meant when they asked to take their picture etc. The mask never slipped! You never know when you'll run into them. Must be a great job as well!

Anerje said...

I also saw 'Henry VIII' and 'Jane Seymour' at Hampton court, but didn't engage in conversation - just bravely told his majesty not to listen to malicious gossip about his former wife Anne Boleyn :>

Gabriele C. said...

What a cool feature the Tower got there.

I met Master James of St.George in Caernarfon a few years ago, but that's about it.

They should have some interesting Romans in the exhibtion in Braunschweig planned for this fall, but I'm not sure German museums manage that much fun. ;-)

Anerje said...

Hi Gabrielle - we're quite fond of these characters in Britain. I'm meeting a Roman lady in a few weeks - no-one famous, just an ordinary Roman :> Thanks for your link!

Kathryn Warner said...

Anerje, congrats on your blog award! ;-)

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