Cinderella 2 – The Palace Years
So, I got my Prince Charming. Very nice, very romantic. What they forgot to mention was that I also acquired the in-laws from hell.
If I’d given it any thought, I would have realised that their Royal High-and-Mightinesses wouldn’t be best pleased at dearest Char’s choice of bride. They had a selection of suitable young women lined up for him already, though I’m not quite sure how they expected him to choose one from the two dozen almost-identical titled pampered darlings eager for princesshood. I don’t suppose it would have mattered much which he married.
When he went rushing off after the ball, they were alarmed at the possibility that he might opt for someone other than one of their carefully chosen coterie, but consoled themselves with the thought that I was, at least, clearly wealthy. Look at the dress she was wearing – a designer model for sure, my dear. And did you see that carriage? All gold and diamonds – how ostentatious!
Imagine, then, their dismay and disgust when Char found me in my ragged dress scrubbing the kitchen floor. Not only was I not one of them; I was not even a moneyed commoner. Char, however, was besotted. I think he rather liked the idea of rescuing a poor little working-class girl and dazzling her with the high life.
The wedding took place with more haste than their Majesties would have liked, so much so that there was gossip about the likely arrival of a new little prince or princess in the next few months. This proved not to be the case. And after the wedding there was little opportunity for baby making. We hardly had a chance to talk alone, let alone anything else.
The in-laws maintained a polite façade at the wedding. Char’s twin sister Charmaine made an elegant if distant bridesmaid. Queen B (her given name was Betise, but no-one ever used it) was cordial in that stiff, fixed-smile way in which the upper classes simultaneously conceal and reveal their disdain, and his Majesty led me clumsily round the dance floor for a few awkward minutes before returning to his ale.
Once the guests had gone, it was a different matter. When Char was in the room with us, they limited themselves to sly looks and subtle verbal digs, but the moment he left us alone they started in on me.
To be continued