I firmly believed I was the adopted son of exiled minor european royalty. Until I realised I look more like my Dad daily
I always thought I was adopted.
No, really, I did.
Until I was about 15.... Oh, OK 37., I was quietly certain I was the long lost scion of a minor European royal house.
Hidden by my brave, resourceful, loyal retainers as communist agents pursued them relentlessly across the continent.
The family chosen was the most nondescript possible. A family who were entirely ordinary. Who would nurture and care for the fledgling prince ensuring I was completely unaware of the weight of destiny that one day, inevitably, would await me.
Living a totally ordinary life, I was being kept in deliberate obscurity to ensure my anonymity was secure. Hiding me away from agents of the dark forces who were undoubtedly searching for me.
Like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries I would be plucked from school one day and whisked away to my destiny. Stopping, briefly, at their home to thank the faithful couple who had kept my secret for so long. I would bid them a tearful (on their side) farewell, promising to return and reward them properly once I had freed my oppressed people from their republican yoke.
Ascending the throne alongside Julie Andrews who would guide me in the early years of my reign. Singing occasionally. Dressed as a nun. From the nearest mountain.
The funny things was that actually happened to one of my school mates.
Lucy Agbe was the only black african child at my primary school. In early 70s, rural Hertfordshire that meant she was viewed as being incredibly exotic. It also meant she was the recipient of insensitivity, unkindness and racism. All of which, to my undying shame, alongside my fellow pupils, I was guilty.
Lucy lived with a lady who had been her father's nanny. Apparently the child of West African students studying in Britain during the late 60s. She had been left behind by parents for whom the stigma of returning to their home with a child born out of wedlock would have been impossible to bear.
Now her story would attract appropriate and comforting understanding and sympathy. Then her situation was considered an embarrassment, her story whispered by our parents, misunderstood and exaggerated by her peers.
Until the day she disappeared.
She failed to arrive at school one Monday morning. Her desk remaining empty. Our class devoid of its most exotic, engaging member. Her infectious, raucous laugh silenced.
The story slowly unfolding. Her father, having ascended the throne of a West African kingdom, he had returned to visit his daughter. Telling her foster mother he was taking her to London Zoo for the day he travelled directly to the airport and returned with her to his home, to marry.
A postscript to the story came a couple of years later. The local paper carried a notification in its Births Marriages and Deaths column. It announced the birth, to Lucy of a child. She could then have been no older than twelve or thirteen.
As the years have passed the likelihood of my being rescued by my long lost central European supporters has diminished. Not least as I have, disturbingly, grown to look increasingly like my father as age has progressed.
Looking like Grumpy Deaf Grandad!
Thank goodness I've inherited my mother's character!