July 08, 2017 09:20AM

Chapter Sixty -Three

Frederick put his plate on the table. “I can’t believe Isabelle allowed all that. She said she previewed it.”

“He can probably get away with things.” Anna Margaret was not yet done eating, but she did not want to run to the kitchen for a new serving. She had underestimated her appetite a little. Thankfully everything was already cold, so she did not have to hurry. “You would be able to get away with things as well.”

“Nice try.”

Well, she did not mean immediately, so she shrugged. It would happen someday. He was beginning to loosen up.

“So there are no complications?”

“The doctors are the only complications.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“They see problems everywhere and carry out a lot of tests.”

“But that’s good, isn’t it?”

“I’m not sure. They’re great on privacy and discretion in a private hospital, but not all their procedures have the desired result.”

“But they employ the best doctors, don’t they?”

“The best-paid doctors, certainly.”

“You do not think they’re the best?”

“If I did not now tell you I had a little procedures in the private healthcare system you would never have found out, given that my wife is pregnant.”

“That’s quite cryptic.”

“Is it? Someone will figure it out, no doubt.”

“But everything is going well then with the pregnancy?”

“Well, this is my wife’s eleventh pregnancy, I think, so obviously she knows a bit about when it’s going well and when it’s not. I did think it might become too much for her, all these things at once in the past year – Frederick’s things, her becoming the queen, the children adjusting to that – but she even had time to tell her sister-in-law what to do, so I suppose she’s managing.”

“Was this a difficult year for your family, would you say?”

“More eventful than difficult, I think. First all the attention turned to Frederick after his father’s death, but Isabelle was doing most of the work. Then she got both the attention and the work load. It did take some time to get used to it and she had to keep an eye on the children to see if they managed, and on Frederick and his girlfriend, make sure they got married and things like that.”

“They did not want to get married?”

“They did, but nothing was happening in that quarter, so they needed to be prodded along a bit. And there have been more such things. Actually, my wife and her sister-in-law both think the other should take some more action about this or that. Good thing they’re not married to each other, but in this manner it’s actually useful. We’ll be a bit more modern and they’ll be a bit less independent.”

“Would you like to, or do you need to, be more modern?”

“Well, we are, or we think we are, bound by some traditions. Some fresh blood in the family can help shake that up. Some things can and should change, but you don’t know until someone points it out. Once you’ve become assimilated, you’re no longer fresh, so after a while you need a new perspective. It’s been twenty-five years since the last outsider came in, so I suppose things were ready for a change.”

“What exactly will change?”

“One change has been that someone will give birth in the public healthcare system. That would have been unthinkable when my first children were on their way.”

“Why is it allowed now?”

“Well, nowadays the members of the family think this is none of their business. There are of course still things that are their business, but there is more freedom to make one’s own choices now. Which leads to less micro-rebellion.”


“Small-scale acts of not going along with too limiting expectations. I have seen a few family members engage in this over the years. For example, when he didn’t have to be the king anymore, I didn’t see Frederick in clothes that were purposely incorrect for the occasion anymore.”

“I don’t think I ever saw it.”

“That’s because my wife sent him back every time.”

Anna Margaret decided that going to the kitchen for a refill was more important than hearing it out. What if he talked on for another hour? She had no idea how long this would last, but she did know she wanted to be in bed in an hour at the very latest.

“You push your commoner ways on us, you know.”

“Like what?” She paused in the doorway with her plate. Philip seemed to be saying something about the future, but that could only be commonplace. She was more interested in Frederick.

“Like giving your child only one name instead of at least four.”

“I can’t even think of four!” she exclaimed on her way to the kitchen. What had her mother said about their naming habits again? Something about alternating the same set of names for the first-born sons. That would be Henri, Albert and Jacques, which would make it Jacques’ turn to be used. Jacques. Jacqueline. Jack. She might have considered the latter if some people in the family had still been alive.

But since neither Albert nor Henry were still alive, nobody was going to demand it. Queen Florence briefly crossed her mind. Since Frederick had already got all the men’s names, Isabelle had named Florian after her grandmother. That had been very considerate of her, but Anna Margaret was not going to do the same. Come to think of it, she had already been named after Queen – then, Princess – Anna herself, so all names were out.

Who had Jacques been married to? Oh, and there was Aunt Agnes and another aunt and uncle. The aunt lived abroad and the uncle was dead, but for naming purposes that would not matter.

“Pointless exercise,” she muttered to herself as her plate was in the microwave. Because she was not going to do it.

“I beg your pardon?” asked Frederick, returning his plate. “It’s finished.”

“I’m not going to name any children after your ancestors and besides, they have all been recycled already, but who was Jacques married to?”

“An Isabelle.”

She groaned. “I knew it. This was the most unimaginative family ever. Tell me, would calling a baby Jack -- and just that – have been considered a micro-rebellion or worse? Not doing it, by the way.”

“Definitely not micro. Where on earth did he come up with this term?”

“He observed you. Apparently you rebelled on a micro scale.”

Frederick tried to look offended.

“Maybe you should have come naked to the barbecue. That would have been macro-rebellion.”

“That would have killed her.”

“That would have killed us all. And you know you would not have done it. Maybe that is why he said micro. You’re not the adventurous type. But was he there? Philip? At that barbecue? I really don’t remember.”

“Of course he was there. He was ordered to observe us.”

“Why?” She would have expected Isabelle to observe them.

“Because apparently he goes unnoticed.”

She sighed. “And what did he conclude?”

“That we had been married for twenty years.”

Her eyes widened. “What did she say to that?”

“I forgot if she said anything at all, or if he told me,” Frederick said apologetically. “I was busy asking other things.” He picked up his phone. “I’m going to ask what was cut.”

“I’m going to eat.” She sat down at the kitchen table. Given what had been mentioned, she did not think anything had been cut from the interview.

Frederick wandered away. She could hear him speak in the hall, but not what he was saying. He would tell her later. She ate and tidied up. Perhaps, despite coming home a little later, she should make this an early night.

When she stepped into the hall, she found Frederick laughing and still on the phone. Something was apparently funny and that was nice. She passed him and upstairs she first went into the baby’s room. She did not really know why, except that she did it almost every night, just to see if everything was in order. Maybe she would think of something they still needed to get, but most of the time the room looked finished. The closet could do with some more clothes, but several people had said she would be getting plenty of those.

After checking the room she went to the bathroom and got ready for bed. Frederick came in when she was finished. He picked up a towel that was on the floor and took it away. She was glad he did not really always leave clothes and towels on the floor, but she now had a word for it: micro-rebellion. She snorted.

“What?” he asked.


“I phoned Philip. He said nothing had been cut, but that he had been made to pay.”

“Pay? He needs to do the dishes for a week?” She crawled into bed and waited.

It took Frederick a few minutes to appear. “He had to give her a massage. Or so he said. I don’t want to know. But on the whole she did not disagree with what he said, so she let it go. She doesn’t really like those meaningless interviews that anyone could have given.”

“World peace and save the rainforest.”

“I suppose. And he didn’t go on about how she was the most wonderful woman on earth. I’m sure she’d agree, sort of, but she wouldn’t want all that to be said.”

Anna Margaret picked up her phone. It was still early, except perhaps for pregnant women, so she restricted herself to a text message. How many names do your children have?

“What are you typing?”

“Asking how many names her children have.”

Frederick knew. “Two.”

“Oh, you knew. Why only two?”

“I have no idea. It was not something I ever cared to wonder too deeply about. None are named after me, because she thought that unfair to the others. That’s all I know. They’re not Florian Frederick and Murielle Frederica and so forth.”

The answer was quick. Two. Do not give 5 names if you want 5 boys.

“Five,” Anna Margaret gasped incredulously. “I don’t think I have the time.”

Frederick peered at her phone. He needed his glasses for it. “She’s forty-seven.”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean she could have got pregnant any year between now and thirty-seven. We don’t know when Philip’s little procedure started malfunctioning. It may well have been four years ago.” She started typing. I didn’t know you had a sense of humour.

If you can handle Freddie you can handle 5. No pressure though. “Are you sure it’s Isabelle on her own phone?” she asked suspiciously.

Titled? ~ 63

LiseJuly 08, 2017 09:20AM

Re: Titled? ~ 63

Sarah WaldockJuly 12, 2017 11:13PM

Re: Titled? ~ 63

AlidaJuly 08, 2017 09:53AM

Re: Titled? ~ 63

NickiJuly 10, 2017 09:37AM

Me, too!

Lily - not logged inJuly 08, 2017 02:08PM

ch 2

LiseJuly 08, 2017 07:00PM

Re: ch 2

Sarah WaldockJuly 12, 2017 11:16PM


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