Royal chat about this and death
FRIDAY, November 27 – A long afternoon of largely superfluous questions, during the fiftieth anniversary of the Society of Editors-in-Chief. Or were the answers superfluous? Not many people knew what we were going through. (As if I knew.) So everyone was walking on eggs.
It felt good to be with colleagues. We could address The Subject and deal with it. Which was good for them, and for me, since it was a kind of leitmotif trailing me wherever I appeared. One or two people were unaware of the situation, and I was happy to leave it at that. In a way it was easier: we reverted to journalistic chit-chat. No problem.
After the official celebration, I was one of a small group of colleagues who’d been invited to a personal meeting with Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. After a round of handshakes, His Royal Highness began by saying, ‘I want to offer my condolences on the death of your wife’. He realized that it was ‘difficult for others to comprehend what has happened to you.’
He also noted that it must have required considerable courage to attend the event. I said that I appreciated his sympathy, and stammered a few other things that I don’t remember. In order to avoid a tense silence, I asked him a question about his own manner of ‘consuming the news’. Ten minutes later the meeting with the future king of the Netherlands was over, and people could refill their glasses and revert to the usual shop talk.