The May 2011 issue of The Richmond Magazine’s main feature is on Royal romances and the woman who cost us a King.
AH, the power of the press!
When it comes to changing history, The Richmond Magazine may not be quite in the Washington Post league, but we still like to do our bit.
A couple of weeks ago, while walking past Hampton and Richmond Borough Football Club – nicknamed The Beavers – I was shocked to see a newly erected sign outside the ground.
The stadium, it proclaimed in garish purple, was officially the “Home of the Beaver’s”.
Er, the Beaver’s what, exactly? His team? His harem? His course in English grammar, with particular emphasis on the distinction between a plural and a possessive? Surely what was here envisaged was a veritable lodge of beavers, rather than a solitary possessive beast?
A word to the relevant powers confirmed that this was so, and by the end of the week the rogue apostrophe had vanished, to be replaced by a sign of impeccably punctuated prose.
Galvanised, no doubt, by the modest media pressure, the Hampton boys finally done good.
Of course, it was all very different 75 years ago during the Abdication Crisis.
Back then, a word in the ear from King Edward VIII was enough to keep the press barons quiet for weeks on the subject of his affair with Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee for whom he would renounce the throne.
And when Lord Beaverbrook, proprietor of the Daily Express, was on an ocean liner halfway across the Atlantic, a phone call from His Majesty requesting that he “turn round” had him heading straight back home as soon as he had docked in New York.
With royalty much in our thoughts this month, it’s a particular pleasure to present a piece by the respected Richmond author Anne Sebba (p8), whose biography of Wallis Simpson is published in August.
How would the idea of Queen Wally have gone down in 2011? And has the memory of her pathetic exile influenced our attitudes towards the present-day royals?
Also this month, read the intriguing tale of the philanthropist, the graveyard and the forgotten founding father of football (p12).
As you will see, The Richmond Magazine is backing a campaign to restore Barnes Old Cemetery, where lies a man whose vision changed the course of sporting history throughout the world.
Perhaps our humble influence in the affair of the possessive beaver is a portent of success. Let us hope so.
Moving mountains we respectfully leave to God – molehills and apostrophes are no sweat.