My mother, her 87 year old sister and I, went to the theater to see the great Helen Mirren play The Queen.  And brilliantly so. Peter Morgan’s new play The Audience reveals the delicate balance of power between Monarch and Prime Minister.

A modern constitutional monarch reigns but does not rule. She has influence rather than power. Her influence is exerted by means of three fundamental constitutional rights: the right to be consulted, the right to advise and the right to warn.

The Queen exercises these rights primarily through weekly meetings with her Prime Minister. The purpose of ‘the audience’ is to enable the Queen and the Prime Minister to speak to each other in perfect confidence, sure that their comments will not reach outside ears.

Of course several Primes Ministers have likened the weekly audiences to visits to the shrink.

My Aunt only snoozed through part of the play but woke with a start when my grandfather, Mountbatten, was loudly mentioned by a formidable Winston Churchill.

The play ended and arm in arm, walking sticks in hand, my mother and Aunt tottered out of the theater.  Contemporaries and cousins to The Queen. Tottering history them selves. Out onto the bustling Shaftesbury Avenue and into a Black Cab, driving home past Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

A very British evening indeed. For more Britishness click here…..