Competition

Spectator competition winners: royal clerihews

10 April 2021

9:00 AM

10 April 2021

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3193 you were invited to submit clerihews (two couplets, AABB, metrically clunky, humorous in tone) on members of the royal family, past or present.

This one was a crowd-pleaser and drew a whopping entry. An inevitable element of repetition didn’t detract from the overall excellence, so congratulations, all round.


I was sorry to hear that Noel Petty, a king among competitors, has died. His stellar contributions, spanning many decades, are summed up well by fellow competitor Frank McDonald in this winning entry from another clerihew competition:

Noel Petty
Had the grace of a gazelle on the Serengeti.
Again and again he dominated competitions
With brilliant submissions

Pausing only to tip my hat to unlucky runners-up M.F. Shardlow, Tim Raikes, George Willett, Paddy Mullin, Nigel Stuart, Frank Upton and Janey Wilks, it’s over to this week’s winners, who take £8 each.

Edward the Second,
When the Grim Reaper beckoned,
Said ‘My life was decidedly merrier
Before they hot-rodded my derrière.’
Sylvia Fairley

The Prince of Wales
Rarely fails
To walk past, say, a carnation
Without some agreeable conversation.
D.A. Prince

Marie-Christine Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz Princess Michael of Kent
Was discontent:
She said, ‘I hate their royal games —
They keep calling me names.’
Bill Greenwell

Princess Margaret Rose
Had umpteen beaus,
And was probably kissed a
Lot more than her sister.
Nicholas Hodgson

While Jeff and Ghislaine
share a classic La Reine,
Prince Andrew has got
an American Hot.
Nick MacKinnon

Countess Sophie, née Rhys-Jones,
Rarely whinges, never moans —
You don’t imagine her a moper
On Oprah.
David Silverman

Duchess Kate
is William’s mate.
While he loses hairs
she provides heirs.
Janine Beacham

Queen Elizabeth II
Is generally reckoned
To have seen her reputation ascend higher
Notwithstanding she gained a commonwealth and lost an Empire.
Adrian Fry

King Henry 8
Is remembered as a great
Lover of women’s faces and arms and legs and such.
Heads, not so much.
Max Gutmann

The slightest spark’ll
Ignite Meghan Markle —
So I fear
I’d better stop here.
I.D.M. Morley

Richard the Third,
As you may have heard,
Comes in for a bit of libel and/or slander
In Shakespeare’s Tudor propaganda.
Chris O’Carroll

George the Second
Reckoned
That no one could hold a candle
To Handel.
Paul C. Evans

Henry the Fifth
Replied to the gift
Of tennis balls in the spirit of that noble sport:
Game-set-match on the Agincourt.
Robert Schechter

Henry Tudor
(No. 8) pursued her.
Don’t ask who;
It was true of a few.
Rocco Rillrash

George the Third
Did so much that was absurd
That I was sad to discover
He wasn’t Porphyria’s Lover.
Ann Drysdale

Meghan and Harry
Have a burden to carry
Being so sensitive and woke
When you’re just an ordinary gal and bloke.
Moray McGowan

Prince Andrew’s
A man whose
Claim has put him in a very English stew:
Not sweating, while not dancing, with a girl he never knew.
Richard Spencer

Do you suppose
That Princess Margaret Rose
Came to believe that life would have been sweeter
Had she wed Peter?
Carolyn Beckingham

No. 3196: answering back

You are invited to supply a reply to the poet from Frances Cornford’s fat woman or Shakespeare’s dark lady. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 21 April.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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