Friday, August 10, 2007

The Bangladeshi Queen

An amusing anecdote to finish off this short Robert Putnam series. From an essay by John Lloyd in the Financial Times:

When Robert Putnam published “Bowling Alone” six years ago, the book brought the Harvard professor such fame he was invited to speak at Camp David, 10 Downing Street - and Buckingham Palace.

When he arrived to meet the Queen, he found Her Majesty absent but her top courtiers anxious to hear his advice for a multi-racial Britain. Noting that great royal houses had often used marriage to forge important political alliances, he advised them to “go look for a nice Bangladeshi girl for one of the royal princes”.

There was dead silence. “No-one spoke,” he said. “Later, the man from Downing Street who had taken me there said, ‘Bob, maybe that wasn’t quite what they wanted to hear.’ ”

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