The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer President Tom Schlafly
Despite having met Prince Charles in 1977, as was reported in this space last month, I was not invited to the wedding of his son William and Kate Middleton on April 29th. I therefore don’t have to worry about what to get them as a wedding present. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to offer some unsolicited advice to those alert readers (ARs) who may be on the guest list.
First, check to see if Kate’s name is on the bridal registry at Home Depot. One of the main duties of princes and princesses these days is maintaining old castles, many of which are in serious states of disrepair. As the owner of a house that was built in 1912; and as the owner of a brewery housed in a building that was built in 1902, I can only imagine the upkeep involved in castles that are much older and much larger. When Kate comes back from her honeymoon she’s going to have a lot more use for a caulking gun than another chafing dish.
Second, do not give William and Kate anything that’s monogrammed. Considering the track record of royal weddings in Britain, there’s a good chance that in a few years they’re not going to want items on which their initials are permanently embroidered or engraved. Just think about Henry VIII, three of whose wives were also named Kate. He divorced Catherine of Aragon, beheaded Kathryn Howard and was outlived by Katherine Parr, his sixth and final wife. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to make sure that towels with the most current monogram were hanging in the bathrooms at Hampton Court?
More recently, the track record in William’s own family should be enough to give Kate reason for pause. His father’s marriage to Diana disintegrated prominently in the media, as did his Uncle Andrew’s marriage to Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, aka “Fergie,” aka the “Duchess of Pork” after she ballooned to the weight of an NFL player. His Aunt Anne’s marriage to Mark Phillips was under considerable strain for years before it ended in divorce in 1992. His Great Aunt Margaret’s marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones also collapsed, following rumors of her multiple affairs with lovers as varied as Mick Jagger, Peter Sellers and David Niven.
Rather than engraving silver with a monogram that could be obsolete in a few years, I think the better way to celebrate the wedding of William and Kate is that chosen by Castle Rock Brewery in Nottingham, which has brewed a beer called Kiss Me Kate. Beer drinkers all over the United Kingdom are certain to enjoy this ale, whether the royal marriage endures or not. Unlike china that could sit in a closet for years without ever being used, Kiss Me Kate Ale will bring immediate joy to the entire kingdom.
The name is taken from a musical by Cole Porter, which was first performed in 1948, shortly after Prince Charles and I were born. It includes a memorable song called “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” which provides a surefire formula for wooing women by quoting the Bard of Avon:
Just declaim a few lines from”Othella”
And they think you’re a heckuva fella.
If your blonde won’t respond
when you flatter ‘er
Tell her what Tony told Cleopaterer
If she says your behavior is heinous
Kick her right in the “Coriolanus.”
ARs who have already brushed up their Shakespeare will know that Cole Porter’s title was inspired by a line uttered by Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew: “Why there’s a wench. Come on, and kiss me, Kate.” They will also know that this is currently one of the more controversial Shakespearean plays because it’s considered denigrating to women. (ARs who would like to judge for themselves can see the play performed live in Forest Park from May 25 to June 19.) Without in any way wanting to offend any AR feminists (ARFs) , I think it’s worth pointing out that Shakespeare’s audience included people who had lived under the reign of Henry VIII. While taming a shrew named Kate might be politically incorrect by contemporary standards, it’s a lot more enlightened than decapitating her, as Henry would have done.