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Auntie Florence by Nigel Speight

May 6, 2020

After her death, Princess Margaret
came to tea with you more often.

Orphaned in the War,
you had adopted her – and her family.

She kept in touch
through Picture Post and London
Illustrated News, then
Woman, Women’s Weekly, People’s Friend.

‘Knit your own Royal Corgi!’ instructed one.

So you did, ‘Don’t forget to weave in
its bad temper!’ mocked your Ted.

At last, it was recognisable.
As a dog. You watched it limp
into oblivion with such pride.

They were not just always there,
but there for you.
And you repaid them: at street parties,
with the bunting, you were Queen.

But as that woolly dog began unravelling,
so did you. Social barriers collapsed.

And Margaret, who was always so polite,
never declined your invitations,
though she never used the ashtrays you put out.

Sometimes she would bring her latest beau.
Once she arrived by helicopter.
On the lawn of your house sold long ago.

Finally, you were forgetting your own family,
but always you remembered the Princess.

It was her due.
Because, as your life ended,
you believed she remembered you.

© Nigel Speight

Winning poem in the 2020 Is Royalty Relevant? poetry competition, see also the news article.

After studying in Oxford Nigel Speight taught English Literature and was Head of an English Department. This overlapped with 40 years as a journalist in the gambling industry and a stint as a chuchwarden in St. Mary Magdalen’s, a central Oxford church. Nigel continues to live in Oxford.

Read Nigel Speight’s blog about the competition.