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Seeing Red: A Letter from Goneril to Regan

[This is the letter that King Lear’s daughter Goneril might have written to her sister Regan – assuming a few updates, that is!]

Dear Regan,

I am absolutely furious, not to mention seething. Daddy has gone too far this time, and I’m sending you this email to warn you that he is on his way to your place with every intention of being as unreasonable to you as he has been to me.

As you no doubt recall, when he gave that poor sap Cordelia no more than she deserved, Daddy decided to divide his kingdom between the two of us and pay us the occasional visit when he felt like it. What he did not say was that he was going to turn up with a full entourage of a hundred knights and expect us to feed and entertain the whole damned lot of them. But that is just what he’s done.

If you remember, Albany and I decided to go in for a low-key economy monarchy, so we downsized to a three-bed semi in Oadby. We therefore had to hire an enormous marquee for the garden to accommodate all the knights.

I have to admit that the knights themselves are not a bad bunch of guys, although Albany is unhappy that they are all knights and there’s not a single dame among them.

Richard Branson laid on a special train to South Wigston, which arrived horribly late. Mo Farah decided to run instead, and beat the train by over half an hour. Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins came on a tandem bike and Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave rowed up the Grand Union Canal.

Feeding them wasn’t a problem – one of the knights runs John Lewis, which includes Waitrose – and clearing up was a doddle – James Dyson ran round afterwards with his latest machine.

The entertainment side was also dead easy – the concert given by Cliff Richard, Elton John, Tom Jones and Paul McCartney went down very well, although Mick Jagger expressed dissatisfaction with some aspects of it. The comedy turn by Lenny Henry was also well received.

However, things started to go amiss when the actor knights did their party pieces. Mark Rylance, Michael Caine and David Jason were fine, but then Antony Sher and Derek Jacobi started claiming that each was a better King Lear than the other, and proceeded to prove the point, completely forgetting that the actual Lear was sitting in the front row of the audience. When Daddy stormed out in a rage that was far more convincing than anything that Sher or Jacobi could manage, he got a standing ovation, which annoyed him even more.

But that business with the knights is only the half of it. It’s what Daddy is turning into that really annoys me. For one thing, he’s gone an odd shade of orange, and he’s done something very strange with his hair.

You know that comedian who always goes around with him? The guy he calls his little fox? Well, it turns out that he’ll only believe what the little fox tells him, and everyone else is lying. It’s “Fox’s news or fake news” according to him.

Daddy just loves to tell everyone else what he thinks of them, sending out dozens of tweets every day, and I’m not at all sure that he’s correct with his facts. Somebody told me that Daddy tells six lies every day, and I’m not convinced that it isn’t even more.

I asked him yesterday if he would like me to spread marmalade on his toast. He said he would, but when I handed the toast to him he threw it on the floor, saying that he meant to say that he wouldn’t like marmalade. Everyone knew full well that he never had marmalade, so how could anyone possibly imagine that he would ever say that he would?

He has now decided that his knights are not as trustworthy as he thought they were. Some of them are out to get him. Not only that, but there are “illegals” among them who are capable of committing horrible crimes if they are allowed out of the marquee.

I think he`s particularly worried about Tony Robinson. As you know, Daddy spends hours every day watching TV, and he tells me that he has seen Sir Tony digging holes in the ground. I’ve tried telling Daddy that “digging the dirt” does not always mean finding incriminating evidence against him, and that it might have far more to do with Tony’s interest in archaeology, but I don’t think that I’ve won the argument.

Anyway, last night I was woken up by strange noises outside. When I looked out of the window I could see Daddy with a wheelbarrow full of bricks, which he seems to have taken from the neighbours who are having an extension built. I went downstairs to ask him what he was up to.

“I’m building a wall”, he said. “We’ll keep all this nasty people away from us. It’ll be a truly beautiful wall, and that Robinson man will pay for it”.

So – not only has Daddy stolen from the neighbours and lost me all my friends with his awful insulting tweets about them, but he has also made me a laughing stock with the whole town. I’m the daughter of the stark staring mad father. Can you imagine what this will do to local property prices?

Hence my anger. I’m sorry, dear sister, but once he realizes that’s he’s no longer welcome here he’ll up sticks and head in your direction.

I wish my news was as fake as Daddy’s tan, but it’s not.

Your loving sister,


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