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Meet The People: Crown Prince Harpik of Ruritania

The exiled prince has, for generations, offered the citizens in his adopted town a chance to salute the old country at elaborate Ruritanian balls. His latest? A grand Edwardian garden party

Published on July 11th 2007.


Meet The People: Crown Prince Harpik of Ruritania

Have you got time to talk to us, Your Imperial Majesty?
"This morning I find a magpie on my breakfast plate and the consuming of this creature empowers me to chatter and cluck like a bird. Regrettably, I cannot fly. But talk? Of course."

Why do you live off Smithdown Road, and not in your native land?
"I am in exile. We fled in 1918 after the abdication and execution of Nicholas of Russia. The children had been left with the childminder when they were thrown down a well. We fled again in 1944 when the Russians came marching from the East."

You have been staging events in Liverpool for many years now. Tell us about this one.
"I am the Crown Prince Harpik of Ruritania and I deem this the year of celebration and joy! One of my objectives is to organise a splendid party...but where? Few places are easily ready to open their doors unless one has buckets of money to throw at those in positions of power. Apart from that we've done balls at St George's Hall and Liverpool Town Hall. My soothsayers and the alchemist advise me it will be a scorching day... and the widow of Varna (who is both reliable and trustworthy ) is in agreement.
Therefore I have ordered a garden party to be held on Saturday the 14 of July in honour of myself . Modesty is little heard of in my country."

Is this a Capital of Culture event? And aren't they planning on running balls in 2008?
"Alas, I hear some mumbo jumbo where they say the council are doing balls. They have much experience of balls. My agents may have to arrange a mysterious fire, or perhaps a ski~ing accident. I am told that the mountains...while most beautiful at this time of year, can be quite treacherous for the inexperienced...especially for those at Liverpool Direct. Fools! I fart at them."

Will we, the peasants, be able to attend the garden party?
"Every decent thinking eccentric loves the prospect that I offer. Endless hedonism and, where funds allow, copious amounts of champagne! Many foreign heads of state are said to be “gagging” to attend. Do come. Don't be shy. But bring your own booze."

But where is it?
"Is in a secret garden, in leafy south Liverpool, with a view over the endless Shropshire hills. At precisely 2pm it will be declared open and celebrations will commence. We will remain active until 9pm when the black marias arrive. "

Smart-casual or what?
"The party will be in full costume and attire as laid down in the Ruritanian dress codes of 1889 and 1901. Those failing to meet my high standards will be isolated and chased like the wild pig."

So you're not telling us where it is?
"All tickets are £10 each, and will include a magnificent buffet. And I mean a good one, no pineapple chunks and no sausage rolls. If you contact 'thecrownprince@hotmail.co.uk' and successfully buy a ticket, I might tell you. But I am busy on my sewing machine, so may not, and soon have to go to Sayers for all the pasties we will need.
So please. You can go now."

Thank you, Your Highness. "Tsar, la."

*Ruritanian Garden Party, somewhere in south Liverpool, this Saturday. If you really want to go, email the above, at once. But don't hold your breath. Pictures courtesy of www.theflaneur.co.uk.

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