Kate and William are landing Wednesday — and staying for three whole days — and our leaders have not adequately prepared us. Where were the pop-up etiquette lessons on the Seaport’s Lawn on D? The city-sponsored wardrobe refresh? The merch?
This visit could have been Boston’s moment to shine in a (not-yet-announced) Season 17 of “The Crown,” but instead we’re doomed to be portrayed as our actual selves — a mass of dark puffy coats angling aggressively for selfies.
Actually, let’s take a step back. Maybe the Prince and Princess of Wales are the ones who could have used manners lessons. They’re coming to the home turf of the New England Patriots, and what’s People magazine reporting? That the couple’s staffers are calling this their “Super Bowl moment.”
Ahem, if you want to talk about faded dynastic glory we can go there, but Kate and Will, be careful. If you have learned anything about us, perhaps you know that we’re a town that enjoys our grudges. So count yourselves lucky that we’re not (yet) planning to leave discount tickets to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum in your hotel room. Or to line your travel route wearing Paul Revere masks.
Speaking of your route — we hope you’ve left time to account for traffic. City Hall Plaza at rush hour Wednesday? Chelsea and Somerville both on Thursday? Harvard Square and Dorchester, albeit separately, during the day on Friday — and then the MGM Music Hall at Fenway at night? Good luck with parking!
Actually, we’re not sure how you’re getting around. Maybe you’re planning to take the T. As an FYI, the Red Line can take a long time to come, even during rush hour. Or, if you’re picking up a rental at Logan, here’s a translation of our road signs, per an @OnlyInBoston Twitter thread:
“STOP” means “Slow down to 5 MPH, continue.”
“No right on red” means “Check that no one is paying attention. Proceed to turn.”
“YIELD” means “Don’t make eye contact with the other driver and bull your way through.”
Now that you’ve learned the basics, can we get real? Your Royal Highnesses, you’ll be in Boston, but your itinerary doesn’t show you the real Boston. It lacks the places that we work-a-day Bostonians hold near and dear. There are locations of significant importance, places that are culturally holy to us, that are missing. The omission of the words “package store” and “iced mochaccino” from your schedule is setting off serious alarms.
What’s that? You’d like to hear some suggestions? How very kind of you!
- In London, you have a pigeon’s paradise called Trafalgar Square, but we have something a bit more exciting here: It’s one of the most hated rotaries in Massachusetts! Or, as you would say, it’s a bloody frightful roundabout. As your motorcade brings you to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, get ready for the excitement of Kosciuszko Circle. This is a white-knuckle experience of praying that cars will yield and drive accordingly. Remember, do not make eye contact with yielding drivers. They can smell your fear, even with all your windows rolled up.
- There’s a long, strained history between Massachusetts and England, but as far as we’re concerned, that history truly began in 2016 when Ben Affleck brought his son Sam to an indoor play center in London. It was there where your sweet son, Prince George of Wales, gave the Affleck scion a cold. At least that’s what Affleck told Graham Norton on the BBC. While you’re in Boston, you should stop by Affleck’s beloved Dunkin’ to see why he can’t get enough, buy him a congratulatory gift card to celebrate his recent nuptials, and make amends for George’s spreading of the royal germs. We’d recommend a specific Dunkin’ location, but trust us, he loves all of them.
- Obviously, your accommodations are hush-hush, but if we had to venture a guess — and we will — we’d say you’re probably staying at the impossibly posh Four Seasons One Dalton. But why not spend the night where some of Boston’s most famous roustabouts and rebels once slept? The former Charles Street Jail is a lovely hotel called the Liberty. Over its 140 years in operation, the jail held Malcolm X, Boston mayor James Michael Curley, several prominent suffragettes, and, well, a lot of mobsters. Staying gives you royal bragging rights. Harry and Meghan can say they’ve talked to Oprah, but can they say they’ve slept in a jail?
- After a few days, you’ll likely be missing your royal brethren. Fear not, friends. We have plenty of royalty right here in Boston. Stop by Jacques Cabaret in Bay Village. The place is packed with queens. Garden variety drag queens, pageant queens, and comedy queens. There are more tiaras and scepters here than in the Tower of London, albeit they’re plastic. The queens, however, are golden.
- We hear a whole bunch of fancy-pants musicians will be performing for you on Friday at the MGM Music Hall at Fenway. We can overlook the fact that Jimmy Tingle won’t be hosting, but we noticed there are no Boston acts on the roster. It’s time to school yourself on the Boston music scene, and the best way to do that is to trace the history of one of our most important artists. Nope, not Aerosmith. We speak of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Sure, Wahlberg couldn’t rap his way out of a paper bag, but he had star quality, meaning killer pecs. When you’re in Dorchester, swing by his childhood home. Sadly, the house caught on fire last month, but please, show your respects. We’d also recommend stopping by the middle school where the Wahlberg boys were frequently disciplined, but it was closed years ago. Maybe just go to one of the 11 Dunkin’ locations in Dorchester instead.
Beth Teitell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bethteitell. Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.