History’s Royal Highnesses – The Queen’s Account

Chapter 1 – Meeting Ella

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“A last question about the food: of all the meals you have eaten here so far, which one would you say you’ve enjoyed best so far?”
“Well, I loved the breakfast of croissants and eggs. The desserts have all been absolutely delicious, especially the white chocolate gateau that was served at dinner on the first day. I thought that the goat stew and yams served yesterday were heavenly!”

“I see.” I really did see, that she had truly been eating and not discarding the food, as I had feared she could have been doing, behind her closed doors. If her previous words had been carefully masking an eating disorder then that would need to be something we addressed from the outset.

“OK, well now we’ve got the housekeeping out of the way, let’s move on to business, shall we?!
As you know, Prince Wilfred thought that you might be suited to the position of being one of my ladies-in- waiting. Is there any particular area of Palace life that interests you so far, that you would like to find out more about?”

“I love the beautiful flowers in my room, and the displays throughout the Palace. Is it possible to be a lady-in-waiting to arrange the royal flowers?”
“Of course!” I replied. “Anything else?” “I also love the nightly music performances. Could I help to choose the pieces played daily?” “Hmm,” I thought to myself. Did those choices indicate a certain creative, artistic bent to her nature?

Well of course there was already a Royal Master of the Music, just as surely as there was already a Chief-Florist-to-the-Queen’s-Table. Our Master of the Music was a particularly expressive fellow, trained in multiple musical disciplines and instruments at all the best Conservatoires of Europe. He was responsible not only for choosing what he termed the daily “listening menu” throughout the Palace but also for composing key pieces, or sometimes commissioning new pieces for special occasions from other composers. He guarded his position just as jealously as the Chief-Florist-to-the-Queen’s-Table did hers, and there was no way he would easily tolerate any rival, even someone as young, pretty and unthreatening as Ella. However, if he were introduced to a new acolyte who genuinely admired all his work and wanted to learn all that she could from him, I knew that he would be instantly amenable.

The Chief-Florist-to-the-Queen’s-Table would also be delighted to be introduced to an eager young student, with whom she might finally discuss her beloved flowers to her heart’s content. This also meant that there was real work for Ella to be doing and occupying herself with, but work that consisted of gentle and enjoyable things. I had heard some particularly gruesome stories from Prince Wilfred about her life with her Stepmother and Stepsisters. While I have no doubt that he exaggerated for effect – there is no possible way that a human being could have been expected to cook and clean for days and weeks on end, without any food whatsoever! – still her overly thin frame was the evidence right before my eyes of the basic truth of the story. Even ignoring the question of her ultimate destiny, it was a pleasure to be able to show her a more enjoyable and pleasant side to life, to play a part in what Prince Wilfred dramatically termed her “rescue”.

And do you have any questions for me?
“Just one. Do all the ladies-in-waiting have such big rooms as I do?!” She asked this with a completely innocent expression on her face. However, I could see her eyes sparkling with an unmistakable glint of mischief and I knew she knew. She already knew the answer to her own question, and she probably already knew the true reason why she had come to live at the Palace. The cheeky minx!

In response to her question I first laughed out loud before then addressing her:
“I will leave you to your own conclusions about that young lady! I hope that you and I are going to get on very well!”
She also laughed, shyly.
“I also hope so, your Majesty!”

Next Chapter – The First Dinner
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