When Kelly met Charles…
Kelly BéruBé was one of a number of staff who met HRH the Prince of Wales when he visited the University to officially open the School of Biosciences. It was an experience she, and possibly also Prince Charles, will not forget…
HRH Prince Charles and Kelly BéruBé at the opening of the School of Biosciences.
“British rules of etiquette when meeting a member of the Royal Family:
- Do not touch them
- Do not stand too close to them
- Address them only as His/Her Royal Highness.
American rules of etiquette when meeting a member of the Royal Family:
- Attempt contact at all costs
- Stand as close as possible to look like you are old friends
- Address them using American colloquialisms such as Yo! Dude! Chuck Baby!
”During Prince Charles’ visit one of the people he met was me. After all, the one sure way to get someone’s attention is to use a loud, brash, American. I broke all the cardinal rules of etiquette at once as I stepped forward (real close) and extended my hand (tried to squeeze as hard as I could) and said very loudly but not formally, ‘Hi Prince Charles, I am Kelly BéruBé, I am pleased to meet you”, sans courtesy. I half expected (and hoped) to be tackled by one of his hunky body guards. A lot of people laughed, HRH smiled, took my hand and we were off.
Now follows some of my most classic Kelly BéruBé lines. For example, when we looked at samples of air pollution particles collected from suburban areas in Wales, I told him, “In real life terms, this would be similar to the amount of particulate matter you inhale when you are in residence at Windsor Castle”. He liked that. I then showed him a filter from an Urban Area in Cardiff City and said “This would be similar to what your mother, the Queen, would be breathing while in residence at Buckingham Palace”. He laughed and told me “You do not need to tell me who my mother is”.
I finally showed him a pollution sample taken from the London black smoke collection from the 1950s. He was amazed at the contrast between the current air quality and that of London when he was a boy and said “I remember how one could not see one’s hand in front of one’s face.” He told me that his school uniform cuffs (which were white) would get discoloured (grey) at then end of the day. We finished by discussing the best place to live for good air quality in the UK. I told him of all the places we’d looked at thus far, Cornwall had the best air quality in terms of lack of particulate matter and I gave him a bit of advice about moving house; he should build a new castle and shift the entire Royal family there. “So all in all, not a bad performance, from an ex-colonialist, if I do say so myself!”
Kelly BéruBé, from Peabody, Massachusetts, USA, is a lecturer in the School of Biosciences. Her Lung and Particle Research Group focuses on the role of environmental pollutants in lung injury. After obtaining her BSc and PhD from the University of Massachusetts and working at the University of Vermont, Kelly joined Cardiff University as a Research Fellow in 1996