The Prince and the Empress
King Leopold Edward Nenufar of the Slopheovaia kingdom is old and in poor health. The time has come for Prince Christian Edward Nenufar to marry. He is the only heir to the throne. Prince Christian desired to have a union like the one his parents’ had. Their marriage was forged out of love, not out of a call to duty. While growing up in the palace, he witnessed his parent’s admiration for each other. When his mother, Queen Camila Nenufar died while giving birth to a second child, a girl, who also perished, his father almost ceased to live. After many years, the Kings royal council pleaded with him to take another wife; He refused, the King said, “I had his one true love.” This is the story of how Prince Christian Nenufar found his one true love.
Part 1:The encounter
Prince Christian shut himself in his bedchamber. He is weary from the activities at court. Women had come from eight different kingdoms to be presented as his brides. He disliked that these women wanted to marry him for the title and to live a comfortable life at court. Prince Christian sat by the window looks over the room he has lived in since childhood. Overtime the color of the walls changed from a light powered blue to a darker royal blue to reflect the mature status of a Prince. The room contains the Mahoney writing table, a gift from his grandfather. His bed is not the traditional canopy style; instead, he sleeps in an open Juliet four-posted bed. He looks down at the dark blue and gray Persian rug, and memories of rolling around with his playmate Lanceworth flash through his mind. He lets out a heavy sigh because he would be moved to his father’s room, the kings’ chambers, after his marriage, leaving all of these memories behind and creating new ones. Opening the curtains, he looks out over the garden.
He saw her in the palace garden among the rows of roses. Her long black curly hair enchanted him as it shined in the sunlight like the stars at night.
He watched her moving around bending, placing her nose against the bud of each rose; her hair fell guarding her face. She walked like a goddess, and wore a pale blue gown with a long white train that floated like a cloud behind her.
He scrutinized her slender and delicate hands as she touched each rose with the gentleness of a mother’s love.
His thoughts are interrupted by the call of his manservant Lanceworth. Prince Christian pointed towards the women in the garden, and asked, “Who is she?”
Lanceworth sighed, “I am sorry my prince, I know not this maiden.”
The moment he turned to leave the window, she raised her face towards the sun, inhaling the fragrance of the garden. Her hair fell in a wave of curls, revealing her pearly smooth skin.
She opened her eyes. He glanced into her teal colored eyes and was lost in the moment.
Deep in thought, he did not notice when she vanished from the garden. Panic seized him; he turned to Lanceworth and shouted, “Where did she go?”
“Who?” he replied with caution.
“The woman who was in the garden,” Prince Christian demanded.
“My prince, I barely saw her.” Lanceworth responded with alarm in his voice.
“Lanceworth, I need you to summons all of the women who were at court today, she is the one I have found my bride.”
Lanceworth replied, “All of them are packing to leave.”
Prince Christian answered with anger in this voice, “I do not care what they have done and where they go, as long as I find her, my heart is telling me she is the one.”
‘As you wish my prince,” Lanceworth replied as he rushed from the room. “Alert the King,” The prince called out.
In the meantime, Prince Christian called for his royal tailors to change into his formal wear. He wanted to present himself in the proper manner to his future bride. Surely, his father was going to be pleased. He wished his mother lived to see this day. It felt like an eternity before he was announced into court. Prince Christian stood before his father’s throne with the women crowded around him.
King Leopold spoke, “my son, I am told that you have chosen a bride.”
The prince replied with pride in his voice, “This is true father.” The king raised his hand towards the women and instructed his son to bring forth his bride.
Prince Christian walked slowly up and down, searching for the angelic beauty that he saw in the garden. In the midst of the smiling faces, heavy makeup, and tons of jewelry, he did not find her. He turned to his father and said, “She is not here.”
The King told him to look again.
He did but she was not there. Prince Christian called out to Lancewroth. “Is this all the women?”
“Yes, my prince,” answered Lancworth.
Filled with disappointment he turned towards the king, said, “I am sorry father, I must have been mistaken she is not among these women,”
The king asked him, “Can you describe her?”
“Yes,” said the prince, “she was in the west side of the garden where mother planted the rose bush. She has long black curly hair and bluish green eyes as big as crystal balls. Her skin glowed like satin; in the blue dressing gown,” she was wearing.
The king asked, “Was she in the garden alone?”
The prince answered “yes father I saw no one with her.”
The room is silent.
King Leopold spoke, “might I suggest that the ladies go back to their rooms, and the owner of the gown my son described, come forth.”
While the king and the prince waited in the room, one of the woman came forth and requested to speak with the king. She claimed to know the identity of the woman the prince was seeking. When she entered the Great Hall, and she told the prince that the women he is looking for is her daughters’ lady -in –waiting. She slipped into the garden today without permission.
Prince Christian asked her to bring the girl to him. She did as the prince requested. As soon as he laid eyes on her, his heart leaped.
The king spoke, “come forth my child, do not be afraid, He asked her, “were you in the garden today, alone, by the rose bush?”
In a small soft voice, she answered, “Yes your Majesty, pardon me for the trouble I have caused, the roses are beautiful and I desired a closer look.”
The king laughed, “No harm my child, those roses were planted by wife, I am happy they brought you pleasure.” She bowed and left the room.
“Father she is the one,” the Prince said,
“My son, she is a lady- in- waiting.” The king replied. “No one in our blood line has ever married outside of the royal court.”
The prince pleaded with the King, “Father as soon as I saw her, I knew she was the one.”
“I am sorry but I cannot give my blessing to such a union.” Replied the king.
Prince Christian spoke in a sincere voice. “Father, I have never asked much of you. Please, allow me to be with a woman that I can love and seek comfort with as you did with my mother.”
The king remained silent, as his son’s words penetrated his heart. The king wanted his son to be blissful in his married life. Nevertheless, he cannot overlook the fact that the former queen was of royal blood.
King Leopold looked into his sons pleading eyes; suggesting they call upon her mistress to inquire of the young woman’s heritage. This request from the King excited the prince and gave him hope. He sent for Lanceworth to bring the girl and her mistress forward.
“Forgive me my prince,” said Lanceworth,” all of the guest have set sail for home.” The prince did not stay to hear another word. He rushed from the room, towards the sea running past the palace guards; they called out after him “my lord is there trouble?”
Prince Christian continued towards the sea where the fleet of ships were departing. He hoped he was not too late.
When he reached the shore, he dived into the sea swimming to catch the last ship. The guards rushed to pull him back on shore, but the prince in desperation, struggled against them yelling,
“Let me be! I must stop them.” As hard as he fought, they over powered him and brought him back on dry land.
Prince Christian sat on the shore watching the ships disappear one by one into the horizon. The guards pleaded with him to go back to the palace. The prince refused to move. Only when Lanceworth kneeled at his side and whispered in his ear,
“My prince I have information concerning the royal house the maiden serves,” these words gave the prince the strength to stand and he allowed the guards to guide him back to the palace.
After the prince refreshed himself, the king called him to his chambers. He walked towards his father’s quarters with a heavy heart, feeling defeated.
When he entered the room, king Leopold sat up in bed, he looked fragile. Prince Christian felt a pain in his heart. He approached the bed and sat next to his father. He wondered how many more moments like these would they share before death took him.
The king broke the silence.
“Son, all future kings faced this same moment when they are presented with a bride not of their choosing.” The Prince looked at his father with an expression of confusion.
The king rose from the bed and began to pace the floor; the king asked his son, “Have I ever told you the story of how I meet your mother?”
“No father. You have not,” replied the prince.
“Your grandfather went in search of my bride, and when he found her, he came back with a portrait. Her name was Lady Pricilla Heathcott; you know her father, King Fredrick Heathcott’s of the Penfirden realm. She was young and beautiful; and I had to do what was required of me. At the time of my proposed marriage, our kingdom was threatened with war; my marriage to Lady Heathcott promised to form an alliance between the two smaller kingdoms in order to build a strong army.
While preparations were being made to receive my bride, we received the news that Lady Heathcott ships was caught in a violent storm, only two out of the four ships made it to safety, my bride was not so lucky. The lost was great. Her mother, brothers along with other family members, perished. Her father and eldest sister were unable to make the voyage. Because of this tragedy, a period of mourning was declared. There was an agreement of peace out of respect for King Heathcott.
Months later, your grandfather and I made the trip to visit King Heathcott to pay our respects and that is when I met your mother, Lady Camila Heathcott. She was the eldest sister of my intended. She could not make the trip, due to illness. I was comforting her over the loss of her sister we fall in love. We dared not allow anyone to know because we did not want to offend her father.
By some means your grandfather found out, and fearing the word would get back to her father, he forbade me to see her. I begged him to approach King Heathcott to ask for lady
Camila’s hand in marriage. Your grandfather did not think it was a good idea, but I would not give up, hence, your clever grandfather derived a plan. He suggested to her father that I marry Lady Heathcott in case their enemies changed their mind and declared war on them again.
At first, King Heathcott feared losing another daughter to the sea; she was his only remaining child. Your grandfather continued to press the issue about the protection of our two countries, and it worked. We were married in secret, not to alert the other kingdoms. We left immediately following the ceremony. The day we departed for home, I promised her father that I would protect his daughter with my life. Your mother brought me many years of happiness, even in death “I still feel her presence.” Finishing his story, the king sighed.
Prince Christian asked his father, “What am I to do?”
The king said, “Go my son and find your bride, as your mother’s father willingly departed with his only child, so to must I.”
Stay Tune for part 2…………
Dinner conversation with my mother went something like this:
Mother: “Why can’t today’s women be like the ladies of my time?”
Me: “Mom what are you taking about?”
Mother: “Look at how these so called modern girls dress, they don’t keep house well, can’t or won’t cook, and their behavior is out of control.”
Me: “Women of today are exploring what the world has to offer them.”
Mother: “Well, if you ask me, all of this freedom is causing problems in the home. The women who want to have a job over a husband and children is selfish.”
Me: “Most if not all the women from your generation (side bar my mother was born 1943) are living in denial, the world has changed and the nature of what women need and can do has evolved and so have their role in society.”
Mother: “That the problem women have forgotten their place. In my day women understood where we belonged, in the home, tending to our children, cooking and cleaning and making sure things in the home was right when our husbands came home.”
Me: “There are still women who desire to get married and have babies. However, there is nothing wrong with the few women who choose to either delay marriage and children or not to get married and have children. The major difference between your generation and mine is that we have choices, in your day you did not. I am sure that there were women of your time who did not want to get married as young as they did, but they had no choice or say in the matter.
Mother: That might be true but….
Me: No buts, mom, the women of your generation bash today’s women because they resent not having the freedom to explore life and make their own choices. I have heard many of your friend’s say, “if they could start life over, they would make better decisions.” What you see expressed by this generation is a reflection of what they view on reality shows; look around mother no one is teaching the young women of today good values. Look at the four daughters, you raised, you taught us proper valves like, self-respect, being self-sufficient and creative. You showed us how to think for ourselves, to dress and behave like women. Most important you gave and showed us that we are loved. Mom, most of the young women of today never experienced having a close bond with their mother or grandmother like me and my sisters did. The world has changed and it will continue to do so, instead of criticizing the modern women as you called them, show share with them what you have given me, cause at the end of the day, they want to be love, not looked down on.
What say you?