Royals Beware! (Please Ask Your Chamberlain to Read This to You)

by Sir Guillaume “You Look So Domestic” de la Belgique

At the risk of creating a Pennsic-wide panic, I must warn the populace of the Known World about a dreadful plot to destroy our Royalty. This is an ongoing issue, although Pennsic is one of the main places where this nefarious scheme is put into action. Even now the perpetrators are lurking among You, Your Assembled Majesties, and I urge You to be vigilant and wary.

I am referring, of course, to: Your chamberlains.

The chamberlain or chief-lady-in-waiting is the person who is responsible for the maintenance of the King and Queen — arranging Their schedule, keeping Their obligations, coordinating Their correspondence, changing Their oil every 3,000 miles, etc. But lurking among all of those duties is a horrible plot to undermine the Monarchs’ ability to take care of Themselves in any way, shape or form.

In short, Your Majesties, Your chamberlains are out to turn You from intelligent, responsible adults into blithering idiots.

At least, that’s what happened to Felinah and I during our two reigns. Sure, our two chamberlains, Ceridwen and Veronique, always claimed they were “simply trying to help,” but in retrospect I understand how this plot took shape, and I can see that a great deal of the damage took place at Pennsic.

Now those of you reading this who are not Royalty may have no idea what I’m talking about. You see those processions of Princes and Kings walking past at the head of a column of guards, courtiers, heralds and ministers, and you think, “Gosh, it must be wonderful to be in command of a whole kingdom.” With no disrespect intended to any of the Monarchs here at the war, let me just say, “Ha!” Those people wearing those impressive Crowns and marching around with all those entourages have not been in command of anything, including their social calendars, their dining preferences, or their ability to use the privy since about 22 seconds after the final blow was struck at Crown tournament.

As I said, this is a very subtle, pervasive plot. I remember having a tiny inkling of this conspiracy after the Midrealm Royal dinner during our second reign at Pennsic XXXI. Felinah and I had been at Pennsic for nearly a week, going to meetings, battles, teas, brunches, courts, parties and all manner of delightful but hectic activities. As we were walking home from the week’s Major State Dinner, we skirted past the edge of the merchants’ area where the “midnight madness” sale was winding down. I recall thinking, “Hey, we don’t have any other commitments tonight! I’ll duck out of this procession just for a moment and see if there’s anything I want to buy.”

Which, of course, shows you just what a moron I was. Even as I stepped away from the column of attendants, the Crown of Caid began emitting high-powered radio waves, like some kind of Royal “Lo-Jack” device. Then, a random, wandering duchess rushed over to my chamberlain, pointed directly at me and shouted, “Careful! He’s getting away!” causing the entire procession to stampede into the merchants’ area just to make sure I was not actually lifting an item of merchandise with the Royal hand.

Yes, there was once a time when Felinah and I could pack our own clothes, take care of our own equipment, set up our own pavilion and cook our own meals. That was before our chamberlains launched their plots. Now, all we can do is stand there, looking helpless, with a vague notion that someone else is running our lives and hoping they don’t hurt us too badly.

So, Your Majesties, I wish You all better luck in surviving Pennsic with Your self-reliance intact. Beware those professionally organized appointment calendars, those neatly arranged Royal meeting rooms, those eternally filled goblets...those thing are Your downfall. And Your Majesties don’t need to thank me for pointing this out to You. Trust me, I’m simply trying to help.

From fighter practice on the edge of a swimming pool, to winning a lady’s heart by hitting her with a piece of rattan, to cheerleaders at Crown tournament, Guillaume’s books and audio CDs are full of hilarious stories about life in the SCA. You can find them on sale in Ceridwen’s Closet, space 122 in merchants’ row.