I was deeply absorbed in a particularly complex explanation of Black Rod when Richard came into the room, brushing his teeth noisily. He peered over and a wave of spearmint fumes hit me. He stared at the screen solicitously. I had earplugs (oops, sorry technologically superior teen child - earbuds) on, so he couldn't hear the commentary, but Prince Charles was shaking hands with someone and grimacing in the way only Prince Charles can. Without concern for any future Black Rod knowledge I may or may not have been stashing away for later (Jeopardy battles being rife around these parts), he launched into his usual nightly behaviour. This generally involves bouncing into bed noisily and interrupting me cheerily while he decides which book to read from the tottering pile at his bedside. Sometimes he brandishes the cover of each book so I can be privy to his inner deliberations (I tell him to pick the nice yellow book). Sometimes the pile falls over (clouds of dust ensue). Sometimes he yanks the covers about if he thinks I'm hogging the duvet (we wrangle pleasantly about who has more blanket). Sometimes he launches into a discussion about the complexities of the tile cutting saw he saw in the Canadian Tire catalogue (I remind him he already has a tile cutting saw). Every now and then he madly leaps up and races around the house, remembering doors to lock or bread to remove from freezers (I remind him that the kids are - or WERE - asleep). Once he's chosen his book and his page he clicks off. Abruptly.
After this evening's performance was over, I returned to my Monarchy viewing. We read and watch for a while. I am just getting into a particularly tense scene involving an irritated Queen and a number of sheepish looking Corgis when Richard blurts out of nowhere:
"Think he'll ever be King?"
"Prince Charles. Think the Queen will outlive him? Throne pass to Wills?"
"What? Are you kidding? She won't outlive him! Poor Charles."
"It's happened before. It's not unthinkable. There IS precedent."
"What? When has it happened before?" (the Corgis are forgotten)
"The Black Prince. His father outlived him. Throne passed on to Richard II."
"Who? The Black Prince? What? When was this? Recently?" (in spite of myself I am starting to screech a bit)
I burst out laughing.
"Oh my GAWD! That's only 700 years ago. Practically yesterday! I'm sure it's something that weighs heavily on Charles' mind. The Black Prince. You are INSANE." (I roll about in the pillows, feeling quite hysterical at this point)
Richard smiles smugly. "Don't laugh. It IS a precedent. I'm sure the Queen knows about it."
For some reason this strikes me as both wildly improbably AND hysterically funny. Richard goes back to his book, with a rather knowing look on his face. I return to my iPod. The Queen is traipsing up a very long staircase in a white evening gown, looking barely out of breath. Camera shifts to Prince Charles, looking red faced and rather less robust than his mother. I peer at his face on the tiny screen, wondering.
I glance over at Richard. He smirks.