Thursday, September 27, 2007

HRH = Henley's Royal Happening

A couple of days ago we had a Royal visitor to the College and I was one of those who was selected to stand in line to be presented after the ceremony unveiling the official opening of the River House Executive Learning Center (not to be confused with a retail business selling children's toys). The Royal in question was HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, cousin to the Queen (the last bit I add, for a complete picture).

Actually, a really complete picture would include the remark that HRH etc is a really approachable and interested dignitary, although I am probably prejudiced by the fact that in the line-up he stopped and talked (and listened!).

This is the second time I have stood in line to meet a Royal. The first was about 15 years ago in Hungary on the occasion of the Queen's State visit there. The most interesting things that stood out at that particular meeting were the obvious charisma she has (I don't know whether the person brought that to the role, or the role brought that to the person) and the very professional way she worked the room, focusing and listening and then moving effortlessly on. HRH etc had the same skills, so one wonders whether the upper classes are given classes in small-talk.

We had had several staff/faculty dress rehearsals and numerous protocol emails and memos on the correct forms of address and suitable forms of dress. Don't offer your hand till they offer theirs... bow or curtsy if you wish, but no grand gestures... don't hog the conversation... and so on. Being 'official' and 'important' is an art as well as a science, and one that might make a good subject of research. George Soros was another who I can attest as having that ability to work a room without actually ever really coming in contact with anyone in it.

Speaking of research, I also found out that Lancaster have located the two halves of my application (after I called them) and are now hunting high and low for a supervisor. Any week now...

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