Our Royal Wedding Preview Panel

“And we’re back. Hello again from the United Kingdom. This is a file photo taken by me in 2004 looking down from the London Eye…

“…Thanks for staying with us. Our discussion has been fascinating so far. I’m sure more is to come…

“…I’m Robert, American novelist and blogger living here in Britain. We are about to continue our talk…

“…about the British royal wedding. With us are our three experts: Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Abigail’s husband, John Adams…”


“…Of course Jefferson gets reintroduced before me, and now I’m YOUR husband…”


“John, do not mumble so. ‘Tis uncouth.”



“Yes, Mr. Jefferson, for the benefit of our viewers, continuing our chat we started during the commercial break, in this era we would term her ‘biracial.’”

“Should hardly bother you, Thomas, if rumors I hear of you are truthful…”

“…John, your manners! Rudeness does not become you. Yet you cannot control your sharpness of tongue. This is why you fail to win many friends.”

“I knew that the African would improve himself. Marrying into the British royal family, as with America recently choosing a black man as president. I had believed that black and white could not live together, but I was clearly wrong and with the centuries matters are improving.”

“Thomas admits he was wrong about something! I can’t believe I have been privileged to hear such! Sound the trumpets! It was clearly slavery that degraded the black man’s condition…”

“John, please, they long ago ended that barbarity. We need not argue here over such. You take us away from Robert’s point. The prince?”

“He is the second son of the Prince of Wales. He served in Afghanistan…”

“I’d not seen it until now. Robert. You are not that Robert Rutherford? Of that novel? Thomas? ‘Tis he. I am certain of it.”

“Uh, yes, John, I do see…”

“…Gentlemen, that was someone else. In your time. Not I. May we continue?”

“Abigail?”

“I do see something of it as well…”

“Please, everyone. The royal wedding. I was saying Prince Harry was in the army in Afghanistan until he was brought home…”

“Are the British still meddling in the south of Asia? India as well?”

“No, they left India in the 1940s. India is now the largest republic in the world and America’s good friend. It is Britain’s as well…”

“Why was the prince withdrawn from his service there?”

“He served in secret, and, uh, newspapers had discovered and were going to make it public, I believe. It was considered too dangerous given the enemy….”

“Although I much prefer to have them than not, I gather that newspapers can still be despicable in their behaviors at times.”

“We are in Afghanistan with Britain and France and other countries…”

“France? So she has well-recovered from the Bonaparte beast?”

“Uh, yes, but that was a long time ago now. It is a republic now too, and we three are allies. You may wish to know, it’s not like 1776 any longer. The Queen has no powers. Great Britain is ruled entirely by the House of Commons.”

“Although doubtless an improvement we best recall that their parliament was full of blockheads as well. On that, Mr. Adams, you and I surely agree. And clearly the British monarchs used their skill at public manipulations to prevent the rise of honest republicanism and thus avoid the fate of the Bourbons.”

“Uh, well, I suppose, uh, but they are in fact quite popular. Much of the country is quite interested in this wedding, and indeed in much of their doings. The royals are now but symbols and engage in charity works mostly…”

“This is what happens when aristocrats cease to wield power, John. The people eventually choose the best courses. Sir, why are soldiers of the United States in faraway Afghanistan?”

“In the world now, with our air travel, nowhere is faraway. There had been heinous attacks on New York City and Washington, DC in 2001. A few attackers supported by a renegade government there killed thousands through surprise seizures of four passenger aircraft they crashed, or attempted to crash, suicidally into skyscrapers…uh, very tall buildings. Muslim…Mohammedan lunatics. Most Muslims around the world were appalled too. It is a long and terrible story that has not yet seen a conclusion…”

“…Much as your response to the Barbary pirates, Thomas. They here have not improved in all things, we see.”

“And you, Mr. Adams would, given your disgraceful alien and sedition acts, I presume have imagined that to cope with such, it would have been best to have kept all followers of that prophet out of America and arrested all who spoke up against our general government.”

“How many times have I told you, I signed that legislation, but I didn’t agree with it!”

“The republicans in the Congress would have supported you to a man had you stood firmly against the High Federalists who sought to direct our splendid ship of state onto the rocks of anti-foreigner sentiments.”

“Sir, while they bicker as always, if I may ask? What is the situation of the ladies?”

“Oh, yes, they have the vote now in all those countries. And even serve in the military as soldiers. In law, they are equals to men.”

“John, as I had remonstrated to you, do not forget we ladies…”

“…John, and I am aware we are now those ancients of the past upon whom much is now improved. I witnessed a gentleman soaring above Paris in a balloon…”

“…We ALL did, Thomas.”

“…And now to be able to fly from America to Europe in but hours? I would have so happily embraced such had I been so fortunate. Improvements in science is the key to improving mankind.”

“Why is it always about you? You bought Louisiana. You framed religious liberty. You planned the University of Virginia. You, you, you. I notice you don’t talk about YOUR failed trade embargo.”

“John, your efforts always to appear the humble farmer of Massachusetts tilling the rocky soil with one hand while holding a book of Virgil in the other always causes me to smile.”

“Speaking of science, Mr. Jefferson, through DNA methods that did not in your time exist, we know now about your relationship with your late wife’s enslaved half-sister, Sally Hemings…”

[Cough, cough, cough] “Ahem, Miss Hemings, I beg your pardon, sir?”

“…That said, sirs, if I may, we are here to discuss the royal wedding not your disagreements of centuries ago…”

“…It is not merely rumor, Miss Hemings? Ha! Makes me almost feel better that I have no memorial in the City of Washington! But I knew I would never have one.”

“John, you are displaying your vanity again.”

“My dear, I simply cannot abide…”

“…If we may please return to the subject of our discussion. Ms. Markle had been on a television drama on cable on the USA network…”

“My apologies once more. What is Mizzzzz?”

“Uh, she was married previously, and is of course divorced…”

“Divorced?! Goodness gracious.”

“…but she chooses not to be known by marital legal status, such as Mrs or Miss. That is common for women now. And Miss is not used nearly as much as in your time. Neither is Mrs. Ms is common. Even in France, Mademoiselle has fallen out of favor somewhat.”

“Legal in regards the marital? Is not matrimony based upon protection of women? Is it now no longer in your equality still viewed as a gift of Our Lord? I shall ask this too as neither of the gentlemen beside me shall wish to appear in too great an ignorance. What is television on cable?”

“I forgot myself, Mrs. Adams. Apologies. Allow me to clarify. It is much like the stage, but shared electronically, uh, at unlimited distances on a video…”

“You mean as lightning?”

“Yes, Mrs. Adams, visible to all on a device that receives the electrons, and also by the internet. Such is how Americans, gathered before their televisions or their computers early morning tomorrow, will be able to see the wedding here in England as it happens.”

“I understand little you say there, but I must note I’m shocked that a divorced woman of the stage should have such a place of prominence. Yet I cannot but be pleased she is an American. One might say we have come happily to master our former colonial master.”

“With respect, Mrs. Adams, but the entire spectacle is still thoroughly distasteful to me. Such useless aristocratical ceremony. Our republicanism would never resort to such.”

“At Paris you knew court life very well! You dwelled on a mountain surrounded by slaves! How do so many not see through you and your affectations of equality?!”

“John, I hold you always in highest of esteem for your intellectual talents and moral steadfastness, although we have disagreed on as we know numerous occasions over a host of matters, and I know as well of your tendency to moments of an excess of temper. I am well aware of what Fate has given to me and I believe good government ought to see that as many as possible have as much as possible, and given your warmth towards aristocratical forms and the monied interests seeking to take a disproportionate share of other men’s hard earned bread, that is there from you I hold to be an inaccurate characterization that does me no harm.”

“Doesn’t anyone in Virginia know how to speak in simple sentences? Madison and Monroe are the same. All of you. You could hold forth for an eternity, and we still wouldn’t know if you’d made a point or not, but no doubt it would sound brilliant!”

“Let me note, Mrs. Adams, that Ms. Markle’s father has just this week had heart surgery. I don’t know the details, but it is reported that while he is recovering he will not be flying here to attend the wedding.”

“How unfortunate that a father miss a daughter’s wedding. On that Mr. Jefferson and I agree that a father should be there if at all possible and especially if in possession of the means to travel in but hours by that flying craft. However illness is unpredictable. Did they bleed him successfully?”

“Umm, we no longer do that, Mr. Adams…”

“John, you are not a physician such as Dr. Rush. Oh, Robert, you see this is what I have to live with. I believe from now as Ms. Markle and other ladies in your time, please address me as Ms. Adams…”

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.