My time with H.R.H. Prince Charles in Leipzig – an honour and a privilege
Every now and then, in our lives, we get the opportunity to do something really special and meaningful. Please do not get me wrong, I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching English to every client that I have in Leipzig. But recently, I was given the chance to do something that filled me and all of my friends, family and even clients with pride.
It all began with an unexpected phone call at about 4 pm on the 7th of May 2019, the unknown voice on the other end of the line asked me “Hello, Mr Graham. We have been informed that you are an English teacher and translator in Leipzig, is that correct?” To this I answered “yes, it is”, the caller then asked me if I was available for the next day as they need an interpreter for an important assignment. As always, my schedule was chock-a-block, so I initially declined the request. At which point the mystery caller completely caught me by surprise by uttering the words “That’s a shame, Prince Charles will be disappointed!” Of course, this revelation piqued my interest, so I pressed the caller for more information. “Due to obvious security reasons, I cannot tell you too much at this time, apart from we would like you to accompany Prince Charles for about an hour tomorrow afternoon” he explained. “It would be a pleasure” I replied, almost biting his hand off.
Photos couresey of Kirsten Nijhof Photographie
So, to cut a long story short, Prince Charles is a big fan of Mendelssohn’s music as well as being passionate about art especially water colour. That is why he requested a private tour of the Mendelssohn Haus here in Leipzig. It was a little bit of a last-minute thing which caused quite a few problems for the Prince’s security detail, but the future King of England thought it would be a great way to kill two birds with one stone as a visit to the museum was always on his bucket list. I was chosen to be the interpreter as I have carried out English training at the Mendelssohn Haus and the Director recommended me as we have spent a lot of time talking about Mendelssohn, the museum and the arts in Leipzig.
It was a great experience for me to wander shoulder to shoulder with the Prince through the different rooms of the museum. He was so amiable and seemed to have the knack to make people feel at ease in his presence, he even showed interest in me by asking a few questions about my work as an English teacher in Leipzig. The 90 minutes passed by quite quickly, but the memory will take a long time to fade.
Please do not get me wrong – Bitte verstehen Sie mich nicht falsch
Filled with pride – mit Stolz erfüllt (sein)
chock-a-block – rammelvoll
initially declined – zunächst ablehnen
caught me by surprise – überrascht warden
uttering – aussprechen
piqued my interest – das Interesse wecken
almost biting his hand off – sich fast überschlagen
to kill two birds with one stone – zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen
bucket list – die Wunschliste
wander shoulder to shoulder – Seite an Seite schlendern
amiable – aufmerskam, liebenswert
knack – Hang/ Talent
feel at ease – sich wohl fühlen
take a long time to fade – lange nicht verblassen