God Shave the King

Dear Charlie,

May I call you Charlie? After what I’ve been through in the last week, I feel as if I really know you. Like you’re family. Actually, given the state of your family, that’s probably the wrong thing to say. Like a friend, then. Not one of those friends who spike your drink so they can get jiggy with your girlfriend in the bogs, obviously. A proper friend.

I do apologise. It just occurred to me that you’ve probably had a worse week. All I’ve had to do is watch it on television. On every channel. On every station. Around the clock. For days on end.

My condolences on your mother finally reaching her expiry date. I don’t mean to make her sound like a Woolworth’s pudding. She was so much better than that. Lasted a lot longer, too. And way better value for money.

I met her once, you know? She might have mentioned it, but you wouldn’t remember. Sons instinctively block out what their mothers tell them. It’s a survival mechanism. Perhaps it was the other way around for you. After hearing, “Oh, do bugger off, Charles, I am not abdicating” for the 750th time, I imagine you’d stop listening. Or stop asking.

I met her at a garden party at the British ambassador’s house in Windhoek. It was very hot and I had been drinking earlier. By the time she reached me in the line, I was dying for a wee and instead of bowing, I curtsied. Easier on the bladder. She looked me in the eye, flinched ever so slightly and turned to the next person. Bringing up the rear, your father asked what it was that I did. When I said I was a journalist, he grimaced and replied, “Not my favourite people.” I tried explaining that I wasn’t like the others, but he moved on quickly.

Speaking of which, what an abrupt transition! You had barely wiped your siblings’ spittle from your hands, their fickle pledges of fealty still ringing in your ears, before encountering what seemed like hordes of Chelsea supporters who were mourning at halftime but were now celebrating at the final whistle.

In Africa, we drink and dance whether we’re celebrating or mourning. Our leaders are not pre-ordained to inherit power. There is no divine right of kings here. There is only money and guns.

Here, the electorate is red in tooth, claw and eye. We don’t fanny about with metaphysical frameworks and religious legitimacy. It’s too hot for all that malarkey. And we wouldn’t have anything suitable to wear, anyway. Could always break out the number one loincloths, I suppose.

She was lovely, your mum. I liked her. Never gave the impression of being up to her armpits in extrajudicial assassinations and massive corruption. A real lady. Not to be trifled with, for sure. But not the type to order a hit on someone who disrespected her. I’m thinking of Donald Trump, here. Pity.

So she left you six castles, one of our diamonds, a pack of stinky corgis, all the swans and Australia, Canada and New Zealand. I’ll be lucky to get a dented Toyota Yaris and half a house that smells of monkey poo. Then again, I’ll never have to shake the hands of second-class strangers and feign interest in their pointless lives. I can go to the mall without anyone demanding reparations, or worse, trying to hug me.

You’re alright, Charlie. And I’m not just saying that in the hope you’ll grant me citizenship. I don’t want to live in your country. Too many darkies.

Jokes aside, parts of England aren’t too shabby and some of your subjects are sufferable. Better off without Brexit, but there you are. That’s democracy for you. You wouldn’t have found Henry VIII larking about with referendums. Maybe you should try it. The next time the peasants revolt, get medieval on their arses.

Given your genes, poor Wills has a long wait ahead of him. At least he has Kate. I sense a dark side there, though. Skinny girls are all well and good, but they are often prone to sudden surges of extreme physical violence. This could explain why your lad has no hair left.

I think the boy Harry should take over when you fall off your perch. He has Viking blood, that one. Did you know he was shagging a South African lass for a while? It turned out she was too much for him. Not his fault. Cape Town girls go temporarily insane when they come across wealthy, single, heterosexual men and it can be quite frightening.

By the way, I loved all the pomp and ceremony, especially the 21-gun salutes. It’s so refreshing to hear guns being fired without screams and sirens following shortly after.

Anyway, I must go. The servants are standing by to put me in my pyjamas and brush my teeth. It does no good to keep them waiting. That’s how insurrections are born.

23 thoughts on “God Shave the King

  1. Chip says:

    oo jirre I’m finally crying

  2. Parthabs says:

    You and John Lydon for King and Queen of South Africa and England respectively!


    Never good to leave a Shit unfinished, so glad that BT was awarded Full Marks for his complete shittiness – one does not want detritus hanging on etc. One needs to read certain pieces of journalistic endeavor with a bit of humor does one- as did HRH on many occasions.

  4. Dani says:

    Except perhaps,”there is no Devine right of Kings here…..”, Zulu King, Swazi King?….

  5. Elaine Pregnolato says:

    Brilliantl !! You can borrow my entry level Yaris anytime Ben. . Never had such a good giggle. I spilt my drink and burnt a hole in my car seat reading this….I’m finished 🙈

  6. Jill Combes says:

    What a welcome relief from all the sentimental hoo hah going round. You remain a national treasure..thank you

  7. Pieter says:

    “By the way, I loved all the pomp and ceremony, especially the 21-gun salutes. It’s so refreshing to hear guns being fired without screams and sirens following shortly after.”

    This killed me. Had a jolly good laugh, thank you Ben.

    1. Marc says:

      96 gun salute it was , an extended remix

  8. Chantal Scott says:

    Whilst I have been continuously tearful all week at the loss of our Majesty – she would be ‘shrieking’ with laughter! Great sense of humour at the appropriate time – but sometimes we need the mirth! Tks Ben…….

  9. jimmy, diep river says:

    You are a complete SHIT.

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      Thanks Jimmy. Glad you liked it.

      1. John Read says:

        Always enjoyed your columns. Way back to Sunday Tribune days. 🙂

  10. Wanda says:

    I saw you in the
    queue, don’t bother denying it.

  11. Pru says:

    Weeping with mirth – one of your best

  12. Surfing Bird says:

    Haha. Loved the way the media appropriated the Sex Pistols version of God Save the Queen. Pity they left out the rest off the lyrics – ‘She’s not a human being and there’s no future. And England’s dreaming. I bet you at least hummed it when you met her!

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      Howzit G. I played it when I got home. Seemed like the right thing to do.

  13. Paddy Balsdon says:

    Just keep us laughing – thank you.

  14. Beverley Smith says:

    Beyond funny – I am crying and grinning like an idiot. Love the pyjamas and teethbrushing the most.

    1. Morks says:

      Can’t write–too busy laughing!
      Brilliant read.
      God save the Poms!

  15. This one was classic. Thank you for making my day. All the best to you.

  16. Marlene says:

    Needed this, sitting in my office wiping away the tears of laughter. Brilliant! Just . . . . brilliant. Thanks Ben

  17. Alan Paterson says:

    Thanks Ben. Having cried non-stop for days while watching Sky News, this reaching a shrieking crescendo whenever my load was shed, your personal take on the spectacle has offered me some welcome relief. I too loved those guns and am wondering if the noon gun still fires in Cape Town or if it is now made redundant by the regular mayhem on the Cape Flats?

  18. Kate says:

    Your BEST one……! Am crying with

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