Being as it is the occasion of One’s Jubilee, it is perhaps fitting to grace these pages with a Royal Anecdote, however tangential. Mrs Crox has more connection with H. M. than many. Her late father was in the horse guards; kept vigil at one corner of the coffin of the late King George VI; and was one of the horse guards riding behind the Queen’s carriage at the Coronation (you can probably catch a glimpse of him in this newsreel, though I couldn’t tell you which one he was.)
But I digress.
Many years ago when the world was young – it was definitely in the years B. C.* – and in my capacity as a Vice-President of the Linnean Society of London – I had to host, with Mrs Crox, the annual society conversazione, which that year was at Down House, the residence of the late Mr Darwin. Mrs Crox and I stood there for two hours, in our posh shoes, on the very hard Victorian floor tiles – shaking hands with each visitor in turn, making polite conversation and smiling a lot.
When, eventually, we got home, our feet ached, our hands ached and our faces ached. The last thing I remember before falling gratefully off to sleep was Mrs Crox saying “now I know what it must feel like to be the Queen.”
* Before Children