Sunday, June 1, 2008

Prince William and the "Suspect Vessels"

On the BBC website there's a little video report by Nicholas Twitchell about Prince William heading off to the Caribbean for a couple of months to do a stint with the Royal Navy. The Navy is apparently a bit miffed that he chose to go to Sandhurst, but he has to become familiar with all branches of the armed services; hence he's already spent time in the air force, and now he's off to help patrol the waters for drug smugglers, help with hurricane relief ops, and perhaps even board "suspect vessels," provided that such boarding does not pose a threat of bodily harm from armed resistance (which it usually doesn't, a naval officer assures Twitchell).

Digression: The best thing I've ever read about running contraband in the Caribbean is Robert Stone's novel A Flag for Sunrise, one of my favorite pieces of fiction.

Anyway, the funniest part of the report is Twitchell's reference to the fact that the Prince of Wales, William's father, spent five years in the navy, but by his own admission "never got the hang of navigation." Twitchell gives this phrase a slightly supercilious-sounding twist, as if to say "what a moron!" while the video shows Charles on a ship, kind of fumbling with what may or may not be a sextant.

Good stuff, if you keep an eye on the royals or more specifically Prince William, for whom informed observers have long seemed to feel a bit sorry (born into a role he really doesn't want to play, etc.) but who, to some of the rest of us, is just cool (or hot?). Whatever.

No comments: