Waterloo - (A Diamond Jubilee Comedy)

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            She grimaced as she heard the bathroom door creak slowly open. Then came the weary sigh and the soft footsteps. With difficulty she lifted her feet up so they couldn’t be seen under the cubicle door. Her final bastion of privacy had been breached. It really couldn’t get any worse.

            ‘Your Majesty, I know you’re in there.’

            How did Marcus know that? Unless of course he didn’t know and he was just pretending he knew, in which case, she decided not to say a word.

            ‘Your Majesty, there really is nothing to worry about,’ her oldest assistant continued.

            Except the small issue of terrorism, she thought irritably. It was all very well having anti-missiles in place on the top of hundreds of council flats across the country but Operation Rooftop didn’t deal with suicidal maniacs and their exploding back-packs, did it?

            ‘The whole country is rooting for you.’

            That of course was her real problem. Just the thought of all those people made her stomach churn. She could picture the Southbank heaving with the masses. And every single one would be a photographer because everyone was a photographer these days, flashing their phones at her wherever she went. And they were there now, right this minute, waving their flags in the drizzle. And the children too, jumping up and down with excitement, union jacks smeared over their cheeks, boring their parents silly: ‘Is the Queen here yet? Is the Queen here yet?’ And then there were all the ones at home watching on the television, not just any old television, but on that new HD invention which showed up every wrinkle. And she didn’t even want to think about the internet! Right this very minute, millions upon millions of eyes all over the world watching and waiting for her to appear and wave a white gloved hand at them. She gripped the toilet seat overcome by nausea.

            ‘Please, Your Majesty, we do really need you. A Diamond Jubilee isn’t quite the same without a Queen.’

            Cramp got to her in the end and she lowered her feet and rubbed the backs of her legs.

            She heard Marcus’ sigh of relief and felt a shred of pity for him. If he thought that was all it was going to take then he was very much mistaken. She dug into her stiff lemon yellow handbag and retrieved her gold-plated pen; yet another gift from King Abdullah. She didn’t know why she carried it around when it wrote so badly, she half wished they’d just gold-plated a Bic biro instead. At least her message was brief.

              She wrote it in capitals to make sure he understood she was serious.

               SEND FOR BETTY

             And then she bent down and slid it under the door. A second later she saw the flash of a pink hand and the rustle of paper.

             ‘Ah,’ he said slowly. ‘About Betty...’

            Something in his tone made her jerk upright. She stared wide-eyed at the back of the door and her heart began to race.

              ‘There’s a problem with Betty.’

           What problem could there possible be? Betty was a spitting image of her and had been for the last fifteen years. Even her son, Charles, couldn’t tell them apart. Added to that, Betty was fearless and reliable and had never let her down. She actually enjoyed the buzz and attention. If it hadn’t been for William putting his foot down, it would’ve been Betty at the Royal Wedding not her.

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