Scene: A richly paneled conference room with polished floors, Oriental carpets, and elegant mahogany furniture. A table in the middle is occupied by two gentlemen. A third, younger one enters, obviously late.
Mr. Smyth: “So sorry for my tardiness. Any news?”
Mr. Baker: “Smyth, the only thing we should be waiting on is the royal baby. Not you.” Smyth sits down shamefully and reviews the paper in front of him.
Mr. Baker: “Can we proceed please? I’ve called this meeting to discuss the naming of the soon-to-be born Prince or Princess. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of Generally Accepted Royal Names that we can suggest to The Prince and Duchess for their child. I’d like us to review these and provide a list of suggestions for them. It’s the least we can do: they have been so busy dodging the paparazzi and it seems far more practical than throwing a baby shower.”
Geeves: “Oh a baby shower would have been fun. I make a mean diaper cake…” Smyth stops short
after Baker shoots him withering glance.
Baker: “Let’s proceed. Should we start with the boys names first, Mr. Geeves?”
Geeves: “Yes, yes. Where are my readers… ok…here we go. Albert. What do we think of Albert?”
Smyth: “HEY HEY HEY! It’s faaaaaaat Albert! I loved that show, watched re-runs on the telly when I was a lad.”
Baker: “Mr. Smyth. You will cease the cartoon tomfoolery at once. This is serious business.
Geeves, I believe we should strike that name from the list. I can just imagine the Fleet Street headlines if ever a Prince Albert were to make a habit of super-sizing his afternoon tea. Next name please.”
Geeves: “Quite right, quite right. Edmund. How about Edmund?”
Baker: “Sounds too much like the Prince’s Uncle Edward.”
Smyth: “I do like it, it’s my first name, but I must agree. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be calling the Palace feeling like a fool by asking for myself on the line…”
Baker: “Smyth, you are not being helpful. Geeves: Strike Edmund.”
Geeves: “You want me to hit Smyth, Baker?”
Baker: “I meant cross out the name Edmund. If Smyth needs to be struck I’ll do it myself, thank you very much.”
Geeves: “The next name is Henry…”
Smyth (interrupting): “That retread? Every other royal was named Henry back in the day. They
burned that name out. And with all his divorces…”
Geeves (interrupting Smyth): “Yes, yes. After the last 20 years, the last thing we need is even a WHIFF of marital scandal. Fleet Street would be frothing.”
Baker (irritated): “Retread...?”
Smyth (interrupting): “This is a new generation. Young…fresh…current. The royals need a name that will resonate with the public.”
Baker (more irritated): “RESONATE WITH THE PUBLIC? What resonates with the public is tradition! The Monarchy is the glue that holds the British Isles together!...”
Geeves (interrupting): “Well it’s not on the list but Elmer would go nicely with the glue leitmotif”
Baker (apoplectic): “Geeves! Did you have a bit of brandy with your lunch? Get a hold of yourself man!”
Smyth (laughing): “You were the one who compared the Royal family to cheap epoxy.”
Baker (glaring at Smyth): “If you are so well-versed on the blending of royal tradition with the popular acceptance, what name would you suggest?”
Baker: “Did you say NEWT? Is this a Monty Python joke? You want to name the future Monarch after an aquatic amphibian? Or a – lord help us – AMERICAN POLITICIAN?”
Smyth: “NO, not NEWT, CNUT. It’s pronounced Kuh-NEWT. The C is not silent.
Baker: “CNUT? There hasn’t been a Monarch named Cnut since…since…”
Geeves (interrupting): “Since 1035 sir. Cnut, Son of Sweyn Forkbeard and Gunhilda of Poland”
Baker: “Thank you Geeves. Smyth… CNUT? You can’t be serious…”
Smyth: “It tested very well with the focus groups sir.
Baker: “YOU HAD A FOCUS GROUP ON THE NAME FOR THE OFFSPRING OF THE ROYAL FAMILY?”
Smyth: “Yes. And the feedback was fascinating. They liked the rugged, Viking-like quality. It would help overhaul the Windsor brand. They don’t test out as being… being..
Baker: “Tough? The Princes serve in the MILITARY! They fly helicopters!”
Smyth: “Yes, they Princes serve in the military but it seems the only time the public sees them are when they are on some ski holiday in Gstaad. Or sans vestmants during a round of strip poker in Vega-“
Baker: “STOP. RIGHT. THERE. They are young men sowing their oats.”
Geeves: “Well, I’d rather see those stories than the ones forever questioning what the Queen carries in her handbag. Anyone with a brain knows it’s most definitely a handkerchief and breath mints…”
Smyth: “See: handbags. Handbags and breath mints do not telegraph strength. Cnut on the other hand had a rugged Viking-quality to it. The focus group found it mythic, strong. Reminded them of dragons.
Baker: “Dragons. I’m not following. Are you suggesting they are thinking along the lines of the Legend of St. George and the Dragon?”
Smyth: “No. More like Game of Thrones.”
Baker (incensed): “Are you suggesting we take cues from a MINI-SERIES???”
Geeves: “It’s actually a regular series. Season 4 starts soon. It’s pretty good, but I myself am partial to Downton Abbey”
Baker (sarcastically): “Of course you are.”
Smyth: “We could run a whole campaign around it. The scope of the merchandising could be astounding! T-shirts, coffee mugs, lunch boxes…”
Baker (sarcastically): “The Royal Prince Cnut on a cheap plastic lunch pail. Oh the majesty…”
Geeves: “I have to agree with Baker on that one, Smyth. The plastic lunch pail is a bit déclassé. The coffee mugs in ceramic could be nice though…”
Baker: “Gentleman. Please… We are not getting very far here. Can we please stop with this nonsense? Cnut it ridiculous.”
Smyth: “It is Cnot. Get it? Cnut… Cnot…. “ (laughs)
Geeves: “Good one, lad!”
Two servants enter carrying afternoon tea.
Baker: “This is irrational. We have list in front of us that represents over a thousand years of royal splendor and dignity: Richards, and Edwards, Georges, and Henrys. And you give me CNUT. I daresay I’m afraid to ask what the focus group came up with for Girls names…”
Smyth: “The were particular to J-Lo”
Geeves: “I daresay, Baker just fainted.”
Smyth: “The man is wholly lacking a sense of humor”
Geeves: “I believe you are right. Tea?”
Smyth: “Please. You can pour out.”