April 1, 2009

What's in The Quinn's Purse?

A rhetorical question for music lovers and history buffs: does the Queen of England need to stand when listening to Handel’s Messiah on her IPod?

In a 1956 episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy Ricardo pines to meet the Queen of England, who husband Ricky called “The Quinn” in his Cuban accent. Always trying to get into Ricky’s shows, Lucy plays a horse and injures herself. Lucy thinks because of her inability to curtsy she cannot meet Her Majesty. At the sitcom’s end, Queen Elizabeth II (not shown in this episode) is so taken with Lucy that Ricky and friend Fred Mertz carry her back stage to meet her idol.

Imagine -- that Elizabeth Alexandra Mary has been Queen of England since 1952 when her King George died, four years prior to the filming of that I Love Lucy episode. Churchill was her first Prime Minister. In this country, Truman was still president.

Now the Queen is an octogenarian.

While Brits rail against the Man in the Financial District, Elizabeth R and Philip Duke entertained our new President and First Lady today with a private tea at Buckingham Palace. President and Mrs. Obama gave the Queen an IPod. One wonders what is on the IPod. The press said songs from musical theatre as the Queen is a fan of Richard Rogers, and Oklahoma in particular.

In my imagination I have a hard time visualizing the Queen humming to I Can’t Say No, but then the West End favorite Sweeney Todd doesn’t fit my vision either.

The President of the United States and Queen of England also posed for the standard Head of States picture. There was Queen front and center – at her feet the requisite purse. I’ve never seen a photograph of her without her purse. I have always wondered what’s inside. Moist towelettes for those long hand-shaking gigs. Breath mints? A Capital One card with her Corgis pictured on it? At least she has a convenient place to carry her IPod. Quoth the raven.