Monday, August 13, 2007

Confessions of a Rexophiliac

I plead guilty to a case of rexophilia.

It’s my own little term combining “rex” for “king” and “philio” for “attraction or affinity.” Feel free to share it; spreading this linguistic spore will surely make its usage grow.

Yes, I’m admitting it: I savor tidbits of knowledge and little brushes with royalty. I think it started when I learned as a child that my mother’s family is descended from Robert the Bruce. Our coat of arms includes the lion rampant, a symbol reserved for those of royal blood. King William I "The Lion" (1143-1214) adopted as his heraldic device the king of beasts 'rampant' i.e. rearing up with three paws outstretched. This became the Scottish royal coat of arms and was incorporated into the Great Seal of Scotland for official documents. Legend has it that the inspiration came from King William's own lion that he supposedly kept in Edinburgh castle. (My name, Joanna, is Hebrew in origin, but the first Joanna in the United States came from Scotland and was my ancestress.)

With this in mind, when we moved to the UK, I found myself in royalty nirvana. Watching royals there is like celebrity spotting here. Or like talking about our sports teams. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a story, and you can connect with all sorts of folks in all sorts of strata by chatting about the royals.

Here’s one of my favorite encounters: When we moved to the UK, we needed furniture. (We discovered that what we thought was the annual cost to rent furniture was a monthly fee.) Especially mattresses. So we were shopping and wound up in the place where Queen Elizabeth bought her mattress. (I have no idea how; we certainly didn't have "aspirations" to expensive mattresses.) The salesman started telling us about her, how cheap she is, and how she calls up every couple of years and says, "HRH here."

Can you imagine? It's rather like Trump referring to himself in third person. Evidently, Queen Elizabeth gets her mattresses re-stuffed on a regular basis with--stand back--HORSE HAIR!

Fortunately, I'm extremely allergic to horses, so my husband David and I could nod solemnly and say, "Oh, so sorry. We'd love to buy one of your ridiculously, excessively, stupendously expensive mattresses that won't fit any beds at home in the US but because of allergies we must decline...."

Now I’m curious. How many of you are rexophiles? If you are, and if you leave a comment saying so, I’ll write about my correspondence with Prince Charles. (Yes, and I’m not joking. I’ll even scan the letter and add it to this blog. But you have to let me know…)

I'll also upload my photo of HRH taken when we both were at Ascot--as soon as Blogger fixes its uploading glitch.

But...YOU have to let me know! Are you interested? Do you, too, harbor an interest in the doings of royalty?


Camille Minichino said...

What a juicy blog, Joanna!

I am definitely a celeb-ophile, though I consider myself very picky (lol). HRH and her family are certainly on the list, along with Al Pacino ... maybe the only list that includes them both. I once stood outside a theater in San Francisco after seeing Pacino in American Buffalo, just to be able to see the top of his head in the crowd.
I lOVE your mattress story and am holding my breath for the Prince Charles morsel.
Camille/Margaret Grace

Linda O. Johnston said...

I definitely have an interest in royalty, or at least how they live --or lived. I'm not sure that amounts to rexophilia, though. How about castlephilia? I resided in Germany for about a year and a half many years ago, and my greatest pleasure was visiting castle ruins, maintained in fairly good condition there. I still do that whenever possible. On my recent UK cruise, I visited Edinburgh Castle for the first time.

Kathryn Lilley said...

I like "old royalty." The ones who really ruled--they were interesting to me. The current lot seem a tad silly, sad to say...although I wouldn't say no to a cup of tea with the Queen, lol!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks for the feedback, ladies. Camille, we'll see if I can scare up any other interested parties! I think we have a lot of readers who don't comment.

Linda, I was amazed at how big castles are and how many there are, weren't you?

And Kathryn, you would be very surprised at how hard working a lot of the British royal family members are. Their attendance at charity functions brings in a remarkable amount of $$$. While I have my problems with some aspects of royalty, their involvement with charity is a definite tick-mark on the plus side.

Kathryn Lilley said...

True! I should walk a mile in their hard working and well shod shoes, to appreciate everything that they do, lol!

Camille Minichino said...

Very cool added graphic!

Anonymous said...

COOL blog!

Definitely a royalist - but my fav was Diana. We lived in Germany when Chuck & Di were married and watched live coverage of the event.

I'm with Linda Johnston, too, in being a castlephiliac - and a cathedralphiliac too. Can't wait for the Prince Charles tidbit . . .


Queue_t said...

would love to read more about your charles corespondense.
Just finding this blog site and looking at the archives.
Neat story on the Diana grave site too.