Along with a short list of don’ts pregnant ladies, Rensa discovered, were encouraged to both exercise in moderation and nap. Her weight was still less than her doctor thought it should be and the first sign of her pregnancy had been a small dip in that weight. As a result she was now on a ‘sustaining’ diet backed by a vitamin supplement. Mirren, a month more pregnant than Rensa, was still the chief aider-and-abettor of the campaign to raise Rensa’s weight and she made sure small, regular, healthy snacking opportunities were being presented to both of them on a regular basis.
One more month, then they’d be through the first trimester and there could be a public announcement. That might stop some of the letters.
People wrote to the Empress. Rensa wasn’t quite sure why, but they did. They’d had to give her a pool of secretarial staff just to open and deal with the mail. Only a few of the opened letters came to Rensa herself.
A fair number were asking her to attend functions or support causes. Those went to the people who organised the Imperial couple’s diary.
Another substantial subset was from school children who were writing to the palace as part of some set project. There was a fairly standard reply for those with space for appropriate tailoring and Rensa signed those responses herself.
Most of the rest were begging letters. Most of those got a politely worded redirection of their request for help, with copies of the applicable forms if necessary. Others were handed straight to the criminal investigation liaison who now occupied a desk in the secretariat room, some for fraud investigation but others because what they revealed was some form of illegal coercion on the writer.
The threats, and there were some, also went to the criminal investigation liaison. Some people just didn’t understand that it was illegal to threaten anyone through the mail.
A few correspondents’ letters got sent through to Rensa. Mail from Yannic’s family that had gone to the public address and not the private one or letters from the woman who’d discovered a sketchbook and pencils hidden down the back of a dresser that she’d acquired which had come from one of the palace’s private apartments. She’d returned the sketchbook with a note remarking that she was sure the Empress would want the pictures of her family back and Rensa’s return note of heartfelt thanks had led to a mail friendship. The sketches themselves, beautifully done, weren’t of Rensa’s immediate family but they were of people she knew and were the only thing she could point to and show others what her world had been like…before.
The letters she hoped the announcement of her pregnancy would stop were the advice ones. The embarrassingly detailed ones on how to get pregnant.
Of course, they were probably going to be replaced by equally detailed letters on what she should do in pregnancy and childbirth…