An alternative fairytale in bite-sized portions
Suitable for family reading
Sons of Royalty
‘I d-don’t actually know what she looks like, Nanny Ffinch. Her webcam doesn’t work. We just t-talk.’
For a rare moment, Euphemia could find no words.
Her stillness unsettled Alfie.
‘Anyway, Nanny, you used to say we shouldn’t judge by appearances.’ He hesitated. ‘She sounds n-nice.’
‘Quite right, lad. What did you say her name was?’
‘Cindy. Her stepmother calls her Cinders; I hear her shouting orders in the b-background sometimes. Seems to me she’s treated like a servant. I’d like to…’
But, being a well brought up prince, he stopped short before recounting what he would like to do.
‘I’m sorry, Nanny Ffinch. I’ve been going on about m-me and haven’t even asked how you are? Have you been b-back long?’
‘Just for the wedding. I couldnae miss my chick’s wedding day, could I now?’
‘Are you staying, or will you be off again?’
‘I’ve a family matter to settle first.’
It came out sounding grimmer than she’d intended, and she smiled a reassurance.
‘And I cannae miss your birthday, Alfie, can I? Not now I’m here.’
‘That b-ball! I’m dreading it. M-mother has invited every titled family with an unmarried d-daughter, and every ex-royal on the p-planet.’ Most of the neighbouring countries had sacked their royal families years ago.
He ran a hand through his hair. ‘I wish I could invite Cindy, but M-mother would want to know who her family are and who they’re related to.’
‘Aye, and if you invited her to the Prince’s birthday ball, she’d think you were some kind of weirdo.’
Alfred slumped. ‘I can’t even get away to m-meet her without being flanked by b-bodyguards.’
‘If she’s a sensible lass she wouldnae agree to meet you alone anyway.’
He sighed. ‘I suppose not.’
‘Cheer up, laddie. You never know who might turn up on the night.’
‘At least you’ll be there, Nanny. I’ll have someone to t-talk to without worrying about my stammer.’
She didn’t have the heart to tell him.
Back home in her flat, Euphemia checked her emails.
You knew my brother plotted to kill me too. Did you also know how?
Somebody weakened the supports to the palace balcony so I would fall to my death while waving to my people after the coronation.
You said I should walk boldly, so instead of waving from the balcony, I decided I would ride through the streets after the coronation to be nearer my people. Yu’qub said this would not be safe or regal and while he argued, his false doctor friend walked out on the balcony. Yu’qub called him back, but he was too late. The weakened beams broke, and the doctor fell to his death.
How did you know?
Humbly yours, Djarmin
A wee bird told me.
But, in truth, I didn’t know what to expect.
My respects to the new Emir of Djalladin. Honour your father’s memory.
She closed the lid of the laptop and patted it twice, much as she would pat the head of young Alfie all those years ago when he’d pleased her. Collecting bag and cloak, she stepped outside her flat.
The hallway was dark; a light bulb must have gone. The familiar warm animal smell that lingered around the stairwell held traces of… tobacco?
The charity might be hosting a visiting dignitary. She would take the lift to the rear exit and avoid any photographers. She pressed the lift button and stepped back to swirl her heavy cloak around her shoulders.
Was that a bump behind her? And a squeal?
The door of the ancient lift squealed open. It must have been that all along, creaking and bumping against the lift shaft.
She entered the lift and pressed the button for the ground floor, looking forward to her next reunion.