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Feather's Miscellany: Edward - Act 1. Scene 3

Here is the third scene in the play Edward by John Waddington-Feather, the story of events which threatened the future of the British monarchy.

Time: 1930
Place: The servants’ quarters of the Prince of Wales at Fort Belvedere near Sunningdale. James, the butler, is chatting again with Smith, the chauffeur.

Smith: He’s a bloody magnet to women, James. He can pull any bird he likes - an’ he likes a lot, I can tell yer.

James: Cleaning some silver] You tell me too much at times, Smith - but go on. What’s the latest bit of gossip?
Smith: Yer as bad as the bleeding press, James. They soak up all I tell ‘em.

James: [Looking across quickly] The press! You keep your mouth shut when the press are about, Smith, or you won’t last here two minutes.

Smith: Don’t worry, James. I knows when to shut up an’ I knows when I’m onto a cushy number. I’ll never ‘ave a better job than what I’ve got ‘ere.

James: Dead Right. Neither of us will. Better than being on a hunger march or queuing for the dole. So keep mum about what you hear and see here. But tell me, what’s His Royal Highness up to now?

Smith: [Winking] Yer know, James, yer as bad as the rest. All ears when it comes to a bit o’ scandal about the Prince’s pranks.

James: Go on.

Smith: You oughter see the new bird he has on tow. An American straight out of Hollywood - all tits and arse. Oh, what couldn’t I do for ‘er in me spare time! He seems to go in for American birds an’ they buzz round ‘im like bees round a honey pot.

James: He’s entertaining two of them tonight.

Smith; Lucky ‘im. Who?

James: One of them’s from Chile.

Smith: I bet she’s a bit of ‘ot stuff.

James: She’s an old friend, Lady Thelma Furness and she’s bringing along her friend to meet the prince. A Mrs Wallis Simpson [Lowers his voice] Who’s a divorcee!

Smith: Blimee! He’s playin’ wiv fire there, ain’t he, if the papers find out?

James: He’s always played with fire right from the start.

Smith: An’ he’s always in the papers.

James: You take the papers with a pinch of salt, Smith. They say some shocking things about His Royal Highness and half of it isn’t true. They ought to be censored. Our royal family should be seen to be squeaky clean, and that’s why the politicians are always on at him; but he doesn’t give damn. The more they grumble at him, the more he rubs them up the wrong way and the more the papers love it.

Smith; He don’t get on well wiv the King either. When the Prince left the Palace yesterday he was livid after the row he’d had wiv his dad.

James: [Quickly] And for goodness sake keep the dampers on that, Smith. If ever the press latches on to the quarrels he has with the King and Queen, they’ll have a field day. Royalty aren’t supposed to fall out.

Smith: We all fall out wiv our parents some time. I was always rowing with the old man before I left ‘ome an’ got married. Now, I ‘ave a go at the missus when I feel like it.

James: I’m not surprised, but what you hear about the Royals in your job, you keep to yourself and say nothing. That’s what we’re paid for – keeping our mouths shut.

Smith: ‘Ere, James. What you think about this Herr Hitler bloke what’s the new boss in Germany? He’s ‘itting the ‘headlines, ain’t he?

James: That’s because he’s doing something about the unemployment over there; more than our lot are doing here. The Prince thinks very highly of him and I know he would very much like to meet him to see what he’s doing in Germany.

Smith: They oughter be doing something ‘ere. You an’ me are lucky, James, ‘aving jobs.

James: And that’s exactly why you have to keep your mouth shut, Smith. One wrong word to the press of what we hear about the Prince, and we’ll be in the dole queue. Hear all, see all, and say nothing. Understand?



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