Charles and Camilla "were in on the joke,’’ says Wade Lynch

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on May 21, 2014

A comic impersonation of Queen Elizabeth II Monday in Charlottetown in front of her son Prince Charles may have been a royal mistake.

The decision to have actor Wade Lynch reprise his familiar role has sparked negative, even angry, feedback from the public.

Tasteless, insulting and shameful are among the descriptions given to the tongue-in-cheek performance watched by Charles and his wife Camilla. However, others said they enjoyed the show and didn’t express any concerns about the performance.

Camilla, in particular, appeared most put off by the performance seemingly registering expressions ranging from bemusement to disgust.

Charles did not look much more enthused over watching a man parade around on stage as the Queen.

Both Charles and Camilla sat stonefaced when Lynch, in character, served up the following introduction to the royal couple:

“There are two members of our audience that call me by quite another name and that is of course ‘Mummy’. Hello kids. Surprise.’’

Premier Robert Ghiz, sitting directly to Camilla’s left, looked somewhat anxious over what his special guests were witnessing as intended entertainment.

Charles greeted the performance with at best half-hearted applause while Camilla lightly drummed her fingers on the back of her hand.

Lynch was surprised — and disappointed — to hear that the show had upset so many Islanders after being told of numerous negative comments coming into the newspaper.

In fact, the veteran actor believed he was hitting the mark. He felt “a lot of the jokes landed’’ and he could even see the prince “sort of nodding and chuckling’’.

Lynch was not able to see Camilla’s reaction throughout his performance. He says the show had to be cut in half due to time constraints.

Lynch says Brenda Gallant, the director of marketing with Tourism P.E.I., first approached him with the idea to perform as the Queen in front Charles and Camilla. Gallant says this was not her idea, but noted that her department was designated as the lead for the event Monday night that included Island mucisians and fireworks.

“I said yes to the idea with trepidation,’’ he said. “My concern was it sounds tacky...at first blush, it sounded like a bad idea.’’

Lynch sought assurances that Clarence House, the official residence of the prince and his wife, endorsed the idea.

“I understood it was no surprise at all...that they (Charles and Camilla) were in on the joke,’’ he said. “I produced a script many weeks ago that went through many filters.’’

Lynch says he received feedback from the province that the prince loved the performance and was laughing and chuckling.

“If the actual Royal family was offended, I am really sorry because that was never the intention,’’ he said.

Lynch first added his impersonation of the Queen to his impressive comedic repertoire many years ago and has slipped on the crown and dress more than 100 times over the years.

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Wade Lynch AKA Queen Elizabeth chats with Anne of Green Gables during a celebration at Province House Monday night.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis