And now for something completely different. In his 1959 official life of Queen Mary (great grandmother of the present King), helpfully entitled Queen Mary, 1867-1953, James Pope-Hennessy repeatedly referred to Queen Louise of Denmark (great great great grandmother of the King) as ‘Droning Louise’, eight times in all. Fast forward 60 years, and Pope-Hennessy’s research for the book was edited by Hugo Vickers and published in 2018 as The Quest for Queen Mary. In the introduction Vickers wrote:
Pope-Hennessy had to face Sir Owen Morshead, whose knowledge of Danish was clearly limited, asking him whether it was really necessary to describe Queen Louise of Denmark as ‘Droning Louise’ – he wondered if this was an adjective ‘denoting a silly old droner’. Pope-Hennessy was obliged to explain to Morshead that that was the Danish for Queen.
This was so entertaining that Ysenda Maxtone Graham repeated it in her review of the book for The Times:
Vickers has an ear for the hilarious. In his introduction he describes the lengthy process of censoring that Pope-Hennessy’s draft biography had to go through before it was passed for publication. Sir Owen Morshead, the royal librarian, was worried by Pope-Hennessy’s referring to Queen Louise of Denmark as ‘Droning Louise’. ‘He wondered if this was an adjective “denoting a silly old droner”. Pope-Hennessy was obliged to explain to Morshead that Droning was in fact Danish for queen.’
All very clever. Except that the Danish for Queen is Dronning.
I eagerly await my usual 100 Guinea fee for correcting stupid errors, payable either by the Palace, HarperCollins or Hachette UK.
H/T: Scott Birrell on Twitter.