“Abbott !” said the Queen sharply. “Off the sofa, please. Sit there by the fire with Thatcher and Blair.”
The corgi glared balefully at the monarch and gave a sullen little yap, but then waddled over to join the other dogs on the hearth. The Duke of Edinburgh raised his head from his customary breakfast fare of kippers and Horse & Hound magazine.
“Did I hear you call that dog Abbott?” he said. “I thought you named them after your prime ministers.”
“We’ve run out of British PMs, dear. Abbott is the new Australian Prime Minister. Terry Abbott. Or is it Tony? One or the other.”
“Abbott,” he said. ” Abbott…..Abbott…..Abbott? Terry Abbott? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of him.”
The Queen gave a light sigh.
“Of course you have, Philip,” she said. ” We had him to lunch at Windsor last year. You said it was the most excruciatingly dull occasion you’d endured since the state dinner for George Bush.”
“Ah yes. He kept banging on about being a Rhodes scholar.”
“And told us some of the colleges at Oxford were very old and historic,” said the Queen with a wry smile. “Who’d have thought it ?”
She poured herself another cup of tea. Spode china, milk and one, a tinkle with the teaspoon. The Duke lowered Horse & Hound.
“I suppose he’s one of those Australian republican chappies, is he? Can’t wait to get rid of us.”
“Oh Lord no, ” said the Queen. “Quite the opposite. He’s more Tory than we are. He’s just asked me to reintroduce knighthoods. Sir This and Dame That in the Order of Australia. Ridiculous, but one had to go along with it, of course. ”
Philip snorted. “Some of your colonials still love the baubles,” he said. ” I suppose that means we’ll have to fly out there for another bloody tour. ”
“No dear. Been there, done that. Too old now. William and Kate are going out in a few weeks. Good practice for ’em.”
“Thank Christ for that.”
The Duke returned to his magazine. His wife selected a triangle of toast and spread it liberally with best Welsh butter and chunky Dundee marmalade.
“Here, Abbott,” she said. “Come to mummy.”
The dog stirred from the fireplace and positioned itself by the royal chair, eyeing the toast proffered in the royal hand.
The animal settled back on its haunches, front paws raised, mouth open. In went the morsel. Snap went the jaws.
“Good boy, Abbott,” said the Queen. “Good boy.”
Source: Mike Carlton http://www.smh.com.au