The Controversial Princess(150)

By: Jodi Ellen Malpas

It all becomes so clear in this moment. The distance my mother kept from Davenport. The softness I saw in him recently with her. The looks being exchanged, his face softening only when he regarded the Queen Consort. “He loves you.”

She doesn’t answer me, only looks at me, her mask back in place. “Your father put an end to it many years ago.”

“Oh my God.” I reach for the statue, searching for something to hold me up.

“Oh, you’ve heard nothing yet, sister.” Eddie laughs, wobbling his way over to me. He dips to get his eyes level with mine, swaying terribly. His breath is pure liquor. “This love affair between the major and our mother started in 1981.” One eye closes, as if he’s trying to figure something out. “The King put a stop to it in 1985.” His head cocks a little, waiting for what he has just told me to click.

The possibility hits me like a brick. “You were born in 1986,” I whisper, throwing my eyes onto my mother. “No,” I breathe, struggling to find oxygen.

“Yes!” Eddie cheers, turning haphazardly on the spot. “That stuck-up arsehole is my father.” He laughs hysterically. “So all this time I’ve been forced to endure this ridiculous fucking family, and I didn’t even belong here.”

“Edward, please.” Mother comes forward, eyes begging. “Don’t be like this. You do belong here.”

“All these years I could have done what I fucking well liked.”

My heart bleeds for him, my struck state struggling to fathom who needs my comfort most. Both my mother and brother look broken. “I’m so sorry, Eddie,” I say, at a loss.

He scoffs, slinging his arm around our mother’s shoulders. “Don’t be sorry. I’m fucking delighted. It’s you I feel sorry for.”

“Why?” I ask the question before my battered head can think to straighten itself out.

“Well, you understand what this means, don’t you?” Eddie asks, performing an over-the-top bow, nearly falling to the ground in the process. “Your Majesty.”

I freeze, realization dawning on me through the grief and shock that has been dealt today. The world disappears from under my feet, everything spinning out of control around me. “No.” I step back and collide with the statue of my grandfather, jarring my shoulder. But I don’t feel any pain. I’m numb. This can’t be happening.

My attention is caught when I look up and find Josh. He never left. His face, distorted with pain, tells me he too has grasped what this means.

“I’m Queen,” I murmur, so quietly, like if no one hears me, it can’t possibly be true. It can’t be true. It can’t be, it can’t be. It can’t be true!

Yet it is true. Painful as it is, I know it’s true.

“I am the Queen of England,” I say again, my voice cracking, my eyes welling as I watch Josh backing away, as if he can escape the truth, too.

“No.” He shakes his head violently. “No, Adeline, no!” His hands find his hair, gripping hard as my tears tumble.

It’s a cruel turn of events, probably the cruelest, and it has nothing to do with the crown I hate so much and what comes with it—the pressure, the commitment, the life-long burden.

It’s the one thing that won’t come with it.

The one thing I can’t be without.

My American Boy.