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Titled? ~ 62

June 29, 2017 02:25PM

Chapter Sixty -Two




Anna Margaret got home to find Frederick eating his dinner in front of the television. “Am I late?” she wondered. He usually waited with at least part of his meal, unless he had got too hungry. But that had happened only once or twice when she was really late.

“No. I wanted to see something.”

“Oh good. I was out for a drink. The debates were exhausting. We needed to unwind.” She wondered why she felt the need to explain. He did not seem to mind at all and the time she came home varied from day to day anyway.

“It’s ready. You can heat it up.”

“Thanks. But what is it you want to see?”

“Philip.”

She was surprised. “You’re not afraid of what he might say?”

“He’s not my mother.”

But he was family. If Isabelle was his second mother, Philip was his second father. She shrugged. It was all close enough for embarrassing revelations. “But he could say things.”

“It’s been censored. I mean, checked. I don’t think they cut anything out, but it passed the test. Isabelle said so.”

“Seriously.” She went to find her dinner, shaking her head. How had Philip felt about that? But then she remembered that she had sort of made the suggestion herself.




“Thank you, Your Royal Highness, for being here. This year you and Her Majesty will be celebrating your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We have been told you will mostly be celebrating this in private, but we should like to devote some attention to this milestone nonetheless. Let’s go back to the beginning. We were actually never really told how you met, except that it was in England.”

“You weren’t. Oh…”

“Is it a secret?”

“Nobody has ever told me not to talk about it, but I can see why they might not have wanted me to. I was working at a school as an accountant and they sent Frederick there, so that is where we met.”

“But how does one become engaged to a princess?”

“I left that all to her.”

“But how did that go? You met and then…”

“She pretended to be Frederick’s mother.”

“Why?”

“Frederick was coming to the school and she told me how he was to be treated. I suppose she thought someone was more likely to listen to his mother. And then she came to drop him off and we met a few times. Basically because everyone else was on holiday. When the family got wind of it they came over as well. And they were manipulated into forcing an engagement.”

“You were forced to get unengaged?”

“Yes, they didn’t want to take the risk.”

“I’m not sure I understand you here. What sort of risk could there be?”

“We had spent some time alone. When her father did not receive an answer to his question about what had happened, we had to get engaged.”

“But did something happen?”

“It might have. It might not.”

“Did the engagement take place with your consent?”

“Oh yes. I could have got out of it. But as it was, keeping vague was the only way to continue. Besides, it was none of their business. She was twenty-two. Not that my children are the same kind of twenty-two at any point, I have to say.”

“But was there a relationship or merely an incident? This sounds very shocking.”

“Oh, no. It wasn’t shocking at all. I suppose it was a relationship. We even shared a house there. After the fuss.”

“You and Princess Isabelle shared a house in England?”

“Yes.”

“And that was allowed?”

“Did I mention they were manipulated? They – I mean, her father – was merely told that she was going to do it. She had got herself a job there to keep an eye on Frederick and she needed a house.”

“What did your parents think of it all?”

“They had faith in the way they had brought me up. They met all the saner people in the family before they met the more unpredictable ones, so…”

“I think the public were never told what she was doing in England.”

“I’m not sure King Albert knew about the house, so it’s logical that the rest of the country didn’t either. And if he did know, he wouldn’t have appreciated it much. The thing was, my parents, like most parents, were an autonomous unit. If they wanted to do something, they did it. My wife’s parents couldn’t do anything without having to consult the grandparents. Even if it wouldn’t concern these people in an ordinary family. In this case, it might have been kept from them because they would not have approved.”

“Did everyone have to consult them before they could do something?”

“Yes. I was not part of the chain at this point, but yes, this was definitely something about which they should have been consulted. Because her grandfather was the king. After we were married, ideally, I’d have had to consult my wife, who’d have had to consult her father, who’d have had to consult her grandfather. At the very worst he would then have had to consult her grandmother. But that was what tradition dictated. In practice it didn’t happen that way. In practice my wife was not the consulting, but the informing type.”

“Did that lead to conflicts?”

“Yes, but not as many as you’d expect. It was unthinkable to the family that my wife would ever be queen. After all, there was her brother and they were sure he was going to do his duty at some point. So there was a bit less pressure on her. But it was nevertheless not always appreciated if she went her own way. I think in the case I mentioned it was more her father who feared he was going to get into trouble if he allowed her to do things.”

“Is it still like that? These traditions?”

“Not entirely. The children still have to consult us. Frederick doesn’t get away with deciding everything for himself. Everybody who is older doesn’t have to. I think my sister-in-law is less frequently bemused than I was, so it’s probably improved. But I think that if you try to control the whole family or hold them to ridiculous standards they’ll keep things from you. I’ve seen this happen in the past. They told Frederick he had to study something and when he said he didn’t want to, they insisted and what happened was that he secretly went to study something else and then when they found out – after a year – they were afraid for their own image if this were to become known. Whereas if they had listened to him in the first place, they could have avoided this altogether. This is something we will not do with our children.”

“Are you and your wife strict parents?”

“Strict but reasonable, I hope. Although if they don’t keep their cash books in order I cut their pocket money.”

“Do your children get a lot of freedom?”

“Probably not. I mean, their freedom is probably different compared to other children’s. There are things we don’t force them to do that people might think we should, but there are also things they must do because of who they are. But we are careful because we saw how this affected Frederick. We try to keep them out of the public eye until they are old enough to make a choice. If they choose not to attend events, we won’t force them. Two family photos a year are compulsory, though.”

“Would you allow them to move to England?”

“Obviously they won’t have to move to England because if any of our children were to be sent to school there, we’d be taking him or her there in person, and then there’d be no need for a brother or sister to take on the parental role. But if they were a little older and they were to meet someone…”

“What did you have to give up when you married? I assume there were things you couldn’t do anymore.”

“My job. Proximity to my family. I didn’t – and don’t – have any habits or friends that could raise eyebrows, so in that respect I rarely have to wonder can I still do this, being married to a princess – or queen? They wouldn’t let me get a job here, but I have five children and I keep everyone’s accounts; I always have something to do. The only thing I’ve really had to give up was my privacy and anonymity. People share opinions, not because their opinions are worth sharing, but because they can.”

“Does that bother you?”

“Sometimes. If you see what they write you wonder why they feel the need. For example, we have five children. Too many, according to some. They cost too much money and at least three of them are superfluous. It’s not really nice to read for a thirteen-year old that you’re a parasite who shouldn’t have been born.”

“Do you play a large role in your children’s upbringing?”

“Yes, obviously. There are five of them. That takes a lot of time. They have homework, sports, they need to be taken places…”

“I can imagine you do not always have time to attend things.”

“When they were younger we rarely went together, because it meant leaving some or all of them alone, but that’s not such a big problem anymore. They also have an uncle and a grandmother who could fill in for us if we’re absolutely unable to. Or we could change our schedule.”

“Will it become more difficult when you have another child?”

“Of course there will be another little one who can’t be left alone just when all the others have reached an age at which they can, but most of them would be able to babysit. That makes it easier.”

“Are your children looking forward to getting a new brother or sister?”

“They were appalled at the news.”

“Really?”

“Most of them recovered, but yes.”

“Why was that?”

“Teens.”

“Is everything going well? Professor Hermann said the other day that the risk of complications in greater at this age.”

“Yes, that’s the thing with statistics. But statistically we’ve already had our share of being the one in a great many, so I think we’re safe. And as far as I know, Professor Hermann has not been involved in the case.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Titled? ~ 62

LiseJune 29, 2017 02:25PM

Re: Titled? ~ 62

Sarah WaldockJuly 05, 2017 05:54PM

Re: Titled? ~ 62

Lily - not logged inJuly 02, 2017 01:27AM

P.S.

Lily - not logged inJuly 02, 2017 01:32AM

Re: P.S.

LiseJuly 04, 2017 01:32PM

Re: P.S.

Sarah WaldockJuly 05, 2017 05:59PM

Re: Titled? ~ 62

KarenteaJune 29, 2017 05:32PM

Re: Titled? ~ 62

AlidaJune 30, 2017 07:47AM

Me too! smiling smiley (nfm)

CarrieAnnJune 30, 2017 01:47AM



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