We dropped into The Montpelier Pub after meeting Aditi and helping with some wedding setup. It was late afternoon and seemed the perfect time to “stop for a pint,” just like our favorite BBC detectives do after work.
The pub keeper was a friendly chap and immediately recognized our non-standard speech—he guessed we were Americans. We had a chat, and Betsy decided he was the guy to answer a pressing question: why in BBC detective shows do ordinary Inspectors call a woman Chief Inspector “Mum?” Is it a term of respect or is she, like, considered to be their mother? And, by the way, Betsy mused, what makes the Queen Mum a “mum” to the British public?
His explanation was straight-forward if subtle for an American commoner’s ear to comprehend. “Mum” when addressing one’s superior is actually “Ma’am”, a term of respect, while “Mum” is the same as “Mom” when speaking to one’s mother.
The Queen Mum, of course, is “Ma’am”, and is used to distinguish the mother of the current Queen or King, even though she herself was never in the royal lineage. For example, Diana, if she were still alive, would become Queen Mum at such time as her oldest son, William, became king.
This led to the next obvious question: under what terms might Meghan Markle became Queen Mum?
“Never!” replied our friend quite emphatically. “Prince William has three sons!”
But what if Prince William and his family were flying to the British Virgin Islands for vacation and their plane crashed? Wouldn’t that make Andrew the First Prince, and therefore his son the royal lineage, and therefore Ms. Markle a future Queen Mum?
The pub keeper explained to us that an old friend of his had been an RAF pilot, and was an OUTSTANDING pilot, so much so that he was now the personal pilot for the royal family, or at least in charge of their aviation, and that such a plane crash could never happen while he was at the controls.