The Princess and the Pea…or…The Tale of the Princess and the Press.
This tawdry wee tale of a young bride-to-be
starred a prince and his mother, the girl…. and a pea!
It began when the palace announced with great pride
that Prince Cedric had finally found him a bride.
Proclaimed by a spokesman on national TV,
the kingdom rejoiced at the royal decree.
They forecast a boom in their tourism trade,
for here was the stuff of which legends were made.
Lady Sharon Spence-Fortnum, (the would-be princess),
was adored by the public and loved by the press.
Twenty-one, chic and trendy, and full of pizzazz,
the whole world fell in love with the young “Lady Shaz”.
But back at the palace the queen had a ploy
to discredit this girl for the sake of her boy.
She had never approved of this wench he’d betrothed
with her ‘down-to-earth’ air that she secretly loathed.
She’d a hunch about Sharon, like never before,
but a test orthopaedic would prove it for sure,
for ’tis writ if it’s meant for a marriage to be
then a princess-potential would notice a pea.
Placed under a mattress (and covered by more)
a pea would cause Princess to waken all sore.
She’d complain the next day, and she’d mope and she’d frown
as definitive proof of her right to the Crown.
But if this didn’t happen then off with that ring!
’cause she wasn’t the one for the son of a King.
It would prove that she just wasn’t suitably born
and she’d feel the chill of Her Majesty’s scorn.
But the world didn’t know this, and less did they care;
they all had a huge wedding for which to prepare!
There were ashtrays and mugs showing Shaz and her prince,
(the mere mention of which caused his mother to wince.)
All the tabloids ran profiles and souvenir versions,
though doubters aplenty were casting aspersions.
They hinted (though these days it’s hardly a factor),
that Shazzer was simply not ‘Virgo Intacta’.
Still, she covered the pages of glossies and books,
such a marketing dream with her girl-next-door looks.
So winsome! So charming! So coy and beguiling!
She started new trends in couture and hair-styling.
Each outfit she wore caused sensations and thrills.
Every girl in the nation wore ‘Shaz-Shirts’ with frills.
And everyone female below forty-two
just insisted on sporting a ‘Lady Shaz do’.
Ah, the bridal obsessions; the ring and the dress!
And would she wear white? It was anyone’s guess.
And what of the carriage? How big the bouquet?
From London to Leeds they were carried away!
As her subjects prepared for a right royal wedding
the queen went about setting traps in the bedding.
She sprang into action, to prove she was right,
as our Sharon made plans to go clubbing one night.
See, for all the PR about ‘wholesome’ and ‘chaste’
very few were aware she’d developed a taste
for the parties and nightclubs that were all the rage
among most of the youngsters of comp’rable age.
And besides, she was bored, driven wholly insane
by the lessons in protocol and the inane
little details they banged on about royal life
and the duties befalling Prince Cedric’s new wife.
So as Cedric Beloved conferred with his plants
our Shazzer togged up and she went out to dance
at a nightclub frequented by those of her class,
where champagne’s by the bottle and never the glass.
Unaware of the trap that was laid in her bed,
Sharon went on the town and she painted it red.
She took to the dance-floor. She drank to excess.
She ignored all the chaps from the guttersnipe press.
Then at three she decided to make for her car
but gave up, rightly thinking she wouldn’t get far.
And -accepting a lift from an affable suitor
was snapped in his car by a pap on a scooter.
Back home, at the palace, she stumbled to bed,
the alcohol having so addled her head,
and woke the next day feeling sick and confused
to a queen who was patently most unamused.
For there on the front of The Mail and The Sun
was our Shaz with a ciggie and having great fun
with a chap –said the caption- called Timothy Hew.
Dear goodness! The outrage! Oh, what a to-do!
She’d woken with aches and was heard to complain,
and – quite true to the aim- felt inordinate pain.
But the point of the test had been utterly missed
on account of poor Sharon was thoroughly pissed.
Her source of discomfort lay not in her bed,
’twas the cymbals that pounded and clashed in her head.
And the pea in her mattress would never be found
just as long as her bedroom kept spinning around.
The family royal now had to address
all the questions and jibes from the folks in the press,
And -surmising this chaos could never be mended
The queen took aside her beloved’s intended….
The wedding was off! said reports on TV,
(though no mention was made of the test with the pea),
And no more would “a commoner ever defame
the House of the Royals”, the Palace proclaimed.
So the much-fêted nuptials would never take place,
No kiss at the altar. No frock trimmed with lace.
No ride in a carriage. No crown trimmed with pearls.
No bridesmaids with ringlets or pageboys with curls.
As the nation took down their commem’rative plates
Sharon’s lawyers were busy behind palace gates.
She was paid by the queen enough money to burn
to depart from the kingdom and never return.
But the search for a bride once again would resume,
(who’d be tested, no doubt, by the Royal Legume),
For if Cedric was ever to get on that throne
it was certain he just couldn’t do it alone.
While the sub-plot had worked, this young girl to unseat,
the headlines now read: “King and Queen Obsolete!”
But our Shaz (clever girl) sold her rights to this tale
and moved eastwards to Paris with the cash from the sale.
So no heirs to the throne would our Sharon beget,
Still she had lots of lolly and little regret.
And her life’s now a whirlwind, exciting and giddy;
She has a new beau: a Moroccan called Diddy.
His dad owns a shop. His dad has a yacht.
(The queen hates his father, they say, quite a lot.)
They dine out at Maxim’s; they go there by car,
and the press follow closely wherever they are.
But an insider tells me, (and why would they lie?)
that the queen wants to neutralise Shaz and her guy.
Just think how much newsprint that story would sell!
But for now it’s all peachy and dandy and swell…
So now what have we learnt from the story here told?
Well, for one thing bad press can be better than gold,
And if love doesn’t prosper; if love isn’t true,
just make sure you’ve a lawyer who knows what to do.
Because love everlasting is hard to achieve;
as a concept it’s nice, but it’s jolly naïve,
So before you swap rings and “till death us do part”
an iron-clad pre-nup’s a great way to start.
And no matter how palsy your in-laws may be
go and lift up your mattress and look for that pea.
And if it’s there lurking, just call it a day:
Ditch the bloke, get the cash, and then move far away…