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Your Royal Highness!

  In 1985 or thereabout Prince Charles came to our school.

Somehow our teachers decided we were not smart enough and kept drilling into our single-digit IQ heads how to address him.  

Our teachers kept asking us 'how do you address the Prince of Wales'. 

The answer was something like 'your royal highness'.  

You could immediately tell there must have been a staff meeting to teach the teachers how to say it right and how to quickly indoctrinate us into saying the three magic words. We were in trouble. Before we assembled by the big square our teacher had asked that question 34, 765 times. Our teacher was British and we felt he was under some sort of pressure to get his class to do it right.

The other classes whose teachers were not British were no better. They had been asked the same question 657, 839 times which was quite a stretch like a fat lady in ski pants. The poor kids kept murmuring the response throughout the visit. This replaced the normal chitchat of naughty school kids. 

Our teachers had clearly decided the potential for disaster was enormous, like a family picnicking on the train tracks. Everyone from cleaner to headmaster was as busy as a cat trying to cover poop on a tin roof. I bet the ancillary staff must have accused the school administration of non-consensual education.

When he arrived to address us we were immediately struck by how plain looking he was and his big ears reminded us of a SciFi character in Star Trek called Mr Spock - the

latter remains the most indelible memory of his visit. His address was short and we kept wondering what his speech was about and why he had bothered visiting our school. He made a short round and shook hands with a few lucky students who probably went on to greater things in their lives after being dealt some sort of royal flush. At least that was my thought. Strangely not once did we have to use 'your royal Highness' which had been drummed into our unwilling heads for a whole week.

Our disappointment ran deep. Our anger ran deeper. This was like spending sleepless nights revising trigonometry and there's not a single question on it in the exam paper. 

We questioned our teacher about it and he admonished us quickly and threatened to dish out consequences for those that dared. Our teacher was like a detention factory- you could be in detention faster than you could say 'your royal highness'. That closed the little uprising that was gaining steam.

In 2018 there was a royal wedding across the oceans and I felt a pang of sadness that I couldn't attend if only to be in a position to use 'your royal highness'. 

Yes GSS students from that era say that better than everyone else because we had been taken through a rigorous course of responding to the Prince of Wales. Finally we await jobs that require people who are proficient in responding 'your royal highness'!

(For comments, feedback and insults email

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