Leah McLaren just landed on the front page of the Spectator with a tale of how the Queen nearly got an earful from her in response to a regally innocuous and unmistakably British “How do you do?” at a Buckingham Palace reception. The Canadian London correspondent had just found out she was pregnant and had to restrain herself from crossing the “Too Much Information” line with Her Maj.
On the way home she burst into tears.
“I wasn’t crying because of the baby — in fact I was delighted to be pregnant — I was crying because I was having a child with a Englishman who was firmly committed to England. And that meant I could never go home.”
And with this, McLaren has come full circle. For ten years ago, she made waves with another Spectator piece, one tellingly titled: “The tragic ineptitude of the English male.” Back then, she now writes:
“I concluded as a result that most British males were borderline alcoholic, fearful of women, socially and emotionally retarded and, because of the archaic boarding school system (I confined my dating to a small west London sample), probably repressed homosexuals as well.”
Flash forward a decade and McLaren is not only knocked up, but head over heels in love.
“And so, after prematurely dismissing all Englishmen out of hand, I have, to my astonishment, discovered that the best ones can be funny and clever and kind and generally unflappable. Better yet, I have found one with whom I’m very happy to make a life. That he is not boarding school-educated or from what he calls ‘the soft south’ (a place, up until now, I have pretty much thought of as ‘England;’ and a place that Rob, hardly the professional northerner, openly adores) may have something to do with it. To be honest I’m not entirely sure, nor do I really care.”