The Princess and the President

This post was written by JW Arble on September 29, 2009
Posted Under: Literature,Satire

It’s the book everyone’s been talking about: ‘La Princesse et le Président’ is the racy new romantic novel by former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, 83, unashamedly modelled on his relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales. On being pressed, d’Estaing has had to clarify that he did not, in fact, at any time have an affair with the Princess. Like a million teenagers in front of a million computer screens with a million boxes of tissues on a million late nights, it was just a fantasy.

Nevertheless, we here at The Third Estate’s illustrious satire department have managed to get our hands on a world exclusive extract from the story of the secret affair between a fictional 1980s French president and Patricia, Princess of Cardiff…

* * *

“…The Princess was deeply unhappy. Everyone said so. She was beautiful; like a beautiful princess in a fairytale. And she yet was deeply unhappy, as if the fairytale she was in, was in fact, quite grimm. Tonight, at the summit of European Leaders, Dignitaries, Entertainers, Royalty, Directors and Yeomanry for the Moratorium on Importing Lots of Foodstuffs (ELDERLY for MILFs) in Trieste, the President had seen her all alone in the corner, on her own, with no-one to talk too. A princess, so deeply unhappy!

The moratorium troubled the President for it was an important directive and he was an important man, being President of France and representing the French people who thought the Moratorium on Importing Lots of Foodstuffs was important generally, being about foodstuffs in particular. Yet all evening the President of France had not been able think about being President of France. He was too distracted. By the Princess.

‘Magnifique,’ The President thought, when he caught a glimpse of her heaving bosom as she sat sobbing alone, on her own, in the corner. ‘Et Trez Bell.’ He thought, ‘Jolie…’ he paused, and then he thought again, ‘Mais not pas jolly, je crois, paz que,’ the President ruminated, ‘Ca Princesse est deeply unhappy.’

The Moldovan Prime Minister tried to speak to him, but the President could not hear him. The Moldovan Prime Minister had accidentally swallowed his sherry glass and it was blocking his throat. But the President would not have heard him anyway: he had eyes and ears only for the unhappy Princess.

He saw the Albanian Attaché, who had been so excited to be invited (he had never been to Trieste before), offer the Princess a Ferré-Roche. Yet a few seconds later the President saw her slide the chocolate, unnibbled, into a display of Magnolias donated by the Antwerp Association of Sausage and Vol-au-Vent manufacturers, one of the myriad pressure groups which were troubling the President by pushing for a ratification on MILFs. Not that he was bothered by MILFs now. The Princess had not even taken the lovely gold wrapping off the expensive chocolate. ‘She must eat like a oiseau.’ He thought. She was so deeply unhappy. The Moldovan Prime Minister, his face now blue, tried to grab the President’s sleeve, but he brushed that clawing hand aside. He must go to her!

*

He looked into her unhappy eyes deeply. ‘Are you unhappy?’ the President asked in English. He had a beautiful accent, the Princess thought, so continental.

‘Deeply’ she sniffed.

‘So it is true then…’ he paused. ‘That you are deeeeply unhappy?’

Poor Patricia. She felt confused. She knew she looked like a squirrel when she was confused. She blew her nose. Like an English red squirrel with a nut that in fact turns out to be the metallic kind of nut used for screwing together chairs and other simple furnishings and ornaments, and indeed basic equipment of many kinds, like boilers and lawnmowers and bear traps. But not a nut you could eat.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever been to Dieppe,’ the Princess sighed. ‘But I’m sure if I went, I would be Diepply unhappy in Dieppe.’

She saw him look at her with a pity in his eyes and felt unhappy, for she was herself so deeply unhappy that she knew he must feel her unhappiness deeply, himself, for he looked so deeply into her deeply heaving bosom as it heaved unhappily. Only this important Frenchman could know her unhappiness. He offered her his tie to blow her nose on.

*

‘Is it your husband?’ He asked. Her husband, Prince Derek, was trez English. The President had seen him lick his knife and try to eat his consummé with a fork.

‘No,’ she said. ‘It’s your tie. But…’ she snivelled, ‘there are three of us in our marriage.’

Really? Thought the President. Perhaps Prince Derek has more Va-va-voom than he had first thought, thought the President. He saw the Prince out of the corner of his eye playing ping-pong with a Ferré-Roche. They were using the Albanian Attaché as a ball.

‘Every night,’ snivelled the Princess. ‘We are joined by another.’

The President archly arched his eyebrow.

‘That damned dog!’ she cried.

‘You don’t surely mean Lady Camomile…?’

‘No,’ the Princess wailed. ‘His mother―

The President gasped.

‘―’s favourite Corgi. Every night… like some unending revenge…’

‘Does he hit you?’ asked the President, ‘Does he batter you? You can tell me. He does hit you doesn’t he? Maybe not physically but emotionally he hits you, doesn’t he?’

‘No he’s a good dog,’ said the Princess, ‘It’s just we―I’m so ashamed―we… put… marmalade on its paws.’ The Princess burst into a veil of flemmie tears

It felt like they had been speaking for hours and like they had known each other for a lifetime, for they had said so little and so much. He looked around and saw they were now alone. The room was empty, except for the Albanian attaché, stealing leftover wine and the Moldovan Prime Minister, who was dead on the floor.

‘What is your name?’ He asked her finally

‘Patricia.’ The Princess said. ‘But my friends call me Paddy. You can call me Paddy, and you―?’

‘You can call me Prezeedent’ said the Pesident, and then, suffocated and bursting with emotion, he began to speak to her in the language of love, which is French…

‘Paddy, Voulez-vais couchez avec-’ he began, but she him cut off. For she knew the rest.

‘Oui,’ she whispered, ‘Oui et maintenance.’

*

‘Prince Derek, never taught me anything like that.’

Demurely she swept her seven foot eyelashes. The President lit his 14th Gauloise.

This beautiful oiseau, he thought. It was true Paddy reminded him of his illegitimate daughters, Veronique, Margueritte, Marie, Marie Anne, Anna Marie, Marie Antoinette, Barabarella, Emmanuelle, Daphne and Celeste―but it did not trouble him. He had an open heart.

Yet tomorrow he was needed to tackle a new European fisheries directive. A Spanish trawlerman had shot and eaten a British carrier pigeon bound for Gibraltar. The President remembered 1914. He sensed Guerre was in the air.

Yet what would happen to their romance? Could he leave it after what they had done last night with the last can of tango and the beurre? The President sighed for himself. He was an important passionate man, with important decisions to make, but he felt existential, like a character in a French novel. He looked out of the hotel window over the gulf of Trieste and felt triste. He looked back at the bed. Then out of the window again. The wetness of the sea, like the wetness of tears. Beurre ou Guerre? He thought. Quelle? is a question.

‘Bof!’ the President shrugged his shoulders. But now, as he adjusted his immaculate florescent pearl cufflinks, given to him forty years previously, by a flushed and blushing and tear-stained Jackie―so similarly unbuttoned and buttered up―he saw Princess Patricia had begun to spontaneously climax. She lay clutching her pillow and mewling like a hungry squirrel cub overcome by the sight of two colossal edible nuts. (For as his father had, the President always dressed from the beret downwards. Eh, Maintenance: ou had tossed his string of onions?)

Mais Zut! It was triste that like all English girls she was so frigid. And so deeply unhappy. Perhaps, it was vrai! he should have stayed with Carla…”

And so on and so on.

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