The Daily Telegraph - The Telegraph Magazine

When April showers strike

The Queen knows the benefits of carrying one’s own umbrella on walkabouts – a lesson some have yet to learn


Royal match

1. Here’s Her Majesty in 2012 with a baby-bluerimmed umbrella that – now I’m inspecting it closely – matches a ribbon on her hat. Nice one, style queen!

2. And here’s the Queen again, also in 2012. A similar umbrella, with what I guess is a violet rim that sort of goes with her purple coat. Do I detect a pat…

3. Woah. Scroll back to 2010. Here she is in Canada with a yellow-rimmed umbrella that absolutely matches her hat. Hmm, I’m no sleuth but something’s up. And won’t those flowers on the hat need watering?

4. And again! Christmas 2015, and out comes a red umbrella to match her Santa-ish coat. This is final, incontrove­rtible evidence for my theory that every royal residence has a dungeon full of multicolou­red umbrellas. And yes, the theory is watertight.

Water man

5. Prince Harry has been bumped down the line of succession in recent years, and as such is no longer entitled to use the Royal Rainbow Umbrella Collection.

6. Oh, God, this one of Harry and Meghan is just like that scene at the end of Titanic when Jack hangs on to Rose’s piece of flotsam. THERE’S ROOM FOR BOTH OF YOU!

Brolly good fun

7. Prince William’s aide, pictured in 2016, risks getting his heir wet.

8. The Duchess of Cambridge visits Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden during a downpour. Just sinkin’ in the rain… SOD’S LAW you’ll read this on a blazing, blue-skied, rainless day, but this is, of course, April, and April is, of course, the month of April showers. Geoffrey Chaucer, who it says here was a renowned meteorolog­ist, made perhaps the first recorded reference to this phenomenon in The Canterbury Tales, which, if nothing else, means that when you’re next complainin­g about being caught in the rain, you’re taking your place in a long-standing and noble cultural tradition. That said, umbrellas seem to me to represent a weirdly specific point of ridiculous­ness, insofar as we are sufficient­ly pragmatic to carry waterproof hemisphere­s on sticks, yet insufficie­ntly pragmatic to simply affix them to our heads and thus enjoy the use of both hands. Yet here we are, in 2018, still covering our heads, still refusing to get our crowns wet. —Tom Ough

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