Personages of the royal household
Our courtiers can be divided into human and non-human. Among the humans, most important are Mama and Papa (a.k.a Daddy). Other courtiers, including our ambassadors abroad, are Genia, Dida, Nicolicola and Nana. Opinion is divided on whether Nana is a specific person, or a general category including Granny and Granddad.Chief of the non-human courtiers is of course Doggy, a.k.a Goggy or Chien-chien. As in all courts, the order of precedence for lesser courtiers constantly changes: recently, Lola has been in the ascendant, but her star may be waning in favour of Hop-Hop.
Outside our kingdom, there are other independent monarchs who are known to us but do not pay us allegiance. These includeÂ baby L*** and her mother. Another personage of unknown but impressive powers is Louis.
Expressing the royal will
The royal will can be expressed with few words. Oui/yes and no/non suffice for many occasions (the latter is especially firm when required). Commands can be expressed by down, up, back, catch, more, lÃ , there, this, Ã§a, and manger or by a suitable noun (e.g. bottle). When pleased, we have been known to say nice. Events which are displeasing to us can be communicated by ow, bump, bold and another word our mother is keen for us to forget. When mingling with commoners, we have a suitable range of small-talk to put them at their ease: hi, allo, bonjour, voilÃ , now so, coucou, all gone, bye-bye, au revoir and OK. When in Italy we learned ciao ciao so as to repay the homage given by the locals. At times the attention is overwhelming and we feel shy. Our royal status means that many things are given to us as our due, but we are at least familiar with merci and ta ta.
Science and culture
We are a Renaissance princess, highly cultivated and familiar with a range of natural sciences. It is often our royal will that the courtiers should bring us a book/livre and enthrall us with The Cat in the Hat or the Dinosaurs.
This has given us a wide acquaintance with popular culture: we like the chorus from She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain where we go yay yay yay and slap the royal knee. Another favourite with actions is “Row Row Row Your Boat” which is accompanied by suitable rowing actions and the words row row and may may may for merrily merrily. This can cause confusion with songs from the Gallic side of things: the popular favourite “It Ã©tait un petit navire” has a line which goes “sur la mer MÃ© mÃ© mÃ©diterrannÃ©e” and again is commanded by a subtly different mÃ© mÃ© sound. On the other hand, Meunier tu dors is unmistakable and is our only complete sentence.
In addition, from our books we are familiar with aspects of the animal kingdom: while out on the street, we are easily able to identify a bow-bow (or woof ) or a miaow, quack-quacks and cheep-cheeps. Thanks to our book Lion Misses Breakfast we are also familiar with lions, known to us as roar. Lions are often seen in Brussels. Our knowledge of animals which go moo, baa, neigh, eew-aww and bawk bawk (hens to the uninitiated) is a little more theoretical but we can still recognise them in pictures.
From the vegetable kingdom, we know leaf, flower and daisy (which triggers another song). All fruit on trees are called apple. One of our first words at the seaside, after sea, was shell, and we are able to spot fish at all stages from the wave to the plate.
We have a firm grasp of human anatomy, at least as regards the head: nez/nose, bouche, oreille/ear, teeth, eye/oeil, chin. Beyond this, things are more sketchy: we know knuckle, tummy, thumb, toe and possibly knee. We have an elementary grounding in medicine: cough and atchoo. We are on firmer ground in physics: hot/chaud, wet, cold and l’eau.
Food and drink
Like Louis XIV, we sometimes have a “petite levÃ©e” (when the monarch rises, attended by a small number of courtiers) and a “grande levÃ©e” (attended by the whole court). Unlike the Sun King’s court, our operations run 24 hours a day. A petite levÃ©e at 3 or 5 in the morning will be an informal affair, in which the monarch will call for lait/milk or simply boccle (a.k.a. bottle). At the grande levÃ©e, the monarch will often have porridge and toast (pronounced tote); occasionally she will take an egg. These are consumed in the royal high chair, before the Princess has donned her attire for the day. As a result, it is wise to have a bib. When out and about, the princess will sometimes call for some Giga (a.k.a. Liga) or baisins (a.k.a. raisins). She eats chicken, fish and cake and may help her mother to drink tea. She also likes pain (bread). After a meal, she will sometimes eat a bape (grape).Â Meals are eaten with a spoon and the end of a royal meal is announced by “all gone.”
Exploring our kingdom
When leaving the palace to explore our kingdom, we dress as befits a princess: shoes, socks, tights and a coat. It may be necessary to changer our nappy before putting on these items.Â If it is cold we may wear a scarf and hat. Many of these clothes fasten with a biz (zip). They require frequent trips to the wash. Our kingdom is sometimes damp if so, our attendant brings a brella (umbrella).
On leaving, our attendant locks the royal palace with a key (on our return, the captain of the guard will open the door if we knock). We often take the lift to where the car/voiture awaits traffic often provides an occasion to say beep beep. If we wish to mingle with our subjects, we take the tram or bus and wave regally to lucky commuters. If we see a baby, we may issue special greetings. Very rarely we take a train, and we do not quite connect it with our toy choo choo.
Unwinding in the evening
One favourite ritual is the royal bain (bath). As the day comes to an end, we go into the room where our mother takes her shower. No such rushed ablutions for us: after a luxurious soak and a splash with our toys (a ball/balle is especially good for getting everything wet) a courtier covers us with a warm towel. Hop lÃ ! A cuddle, a night night and it’s time for dodo.
Text drafted by our royal father and approved by us.
Given under our royal hand and seal on the 17th day of October 2004 at our castle of Brussels in this the 18th month of our reign.
on 18 October 2004 at 08:51
on 18 October 2004 at 11:00
Fabulous. This has made Mr Bobble want children even more.
on 18 October 2004 at 12:24
Lovely, waffle .
on 18 October 2004 at 23:35
on 19 October 2004 at 19:57
Thank you one and all on my loving spouse’s behalf. Silver, do you mean the sweetie or are you stirring? Too late now anyway, we’ve eaten it.
on 19 October 2004 at 22:53
Waffle – I meant it most sincerely.
on 28 October 2004 at 12:38
Ok, then Silver.