You’ve got a table for two booked at a nice restaurant. Who’s your fantasy dinner guest? 

 

Victoria –Her Imperial Majesty the Queen-Empress that is.  I’m taking for granted that we can dig people up to dine. Who knows what kinds of beans were spilt on the pristine tablecloth of suppers past? 

I’d try to set a casual tone, loosen her tongue before she got tucked in. Maybe experiment with ‘What up Vic,’ ‘Yo Vicky’ or even ‘Alright Tors?’ 

For our starter we’d warm up our appetites with a solitary spud, reminding Vicky of the green green fields of Ireland where she spent such happy days before the crown came to lie so very heavy. Skipping the small talk, we'd move straight to Empire - sixty-three years of it. What was it like Vicky? To see the world illuminated by Edison’s first bulb, to pet the royal horse coughing in the wake of the new automobile, to pick up one of the world’s first telephones? Who’d ya call?  

Main course – curry. Question – can Vicky handle a Vindaloo? Considering the Empress never set foot in the Raj it’s anyone’s call. If the curry crippled the stalwart Vic I’d use her spice induced fever as an opening to fill the Queen in on a century of suffragettes and salopets, the pill and the pride, and finish by smashing her poppadom with a weighty copy of ‘The Female Eunuch.’ Would this monologue cause the great Queen to rise as an iconic champion of the fairer sex? Or mumble more miserable drivel about the protective power of her dear hubby? If she tried the ‘but he could’ve been King Albert…’ line, I’d throw chutney in her face and quote some James Brown. 

Desert would, unconventionally, be black pudding in deference to Vicky’s perpetual mourning beyond the grave where, no doubt, she is the only member of the angelic host to be clad in black. Having hopefully forged a firm bond by this point I’d ask ‘How’(wa)s your love life?’ Were you really the one-man band sexual prude? Do you think Elizabeth 1st had more sex than you? Nine kids! At least Albert kept going. Ever considered abortion? What about this John Brown bloke? Forty years is a long time to be all alone in the Palace. While we’re talking palatial what was it like to be the first monarch to pimp the Buckingham Palace crib? 

The coitus conversation might take a bit of time so over a quick coffee and a nip of brandy I’d rattle off a million and one more probes. How do you arrange marriages for nine children and forty-two grand kids? Did it really snow at your funeral? How did Albert react when you had to pop the question? How does it feel to have had more assassination attempts than the Pope and the President combined? Did you know there’s a statue of you in Cape Coast, Ghana?  

And if, after hopefully the most protracted prandial of my life, the Queen stood, dabbed her eternal pout, and uttered those immortal words, ‘We are not…’, I’d stop her short, hold her hand and say, ‘Maybe we can do this again sometime.’