I’m the companion to the Queen of England. She’s the honored guest at an auction. The two of us are seated in a tent, as though at war—Henry and the troops at Agincourt.
In her presence I’m flustered. I stand straight when I’m supposed to bow, bow when I’m told to kneel. I forget to address her as “Your Highness.”
When I drop the royal protocols, like a handkerchief, we are suddenly easy. We chat about flatware and the merits of stainless steel.
“You’re really quite interesting, Elisabeth,” says Queen Elizabeth to me.
And even as I hear the words, proud at our matching names, I see mine, as though a sad lot at auction, its spelling from another country.