As the bride came down the aisle her cousin, the Princess Isadora stood at her seat in the pews to watch. She was flanked by her consorts, Hass and Weld, who were known officially as the Princes Isadora. Isadora’s hands rested comfortably on her baby bump and she was smiling contentedly as she looked on. “Are you sure you didn’t want this for yourself?” That was Weld whispering from behind her.
“Marriage to a Terrencian Archduke? Isadora was whispering back. “No, thank you.”
“I meant the big ceremony with you at the centre of attention,” he whispered back.
“No, I’d rather have the two of you,” she answered, still whispering. “Besides, all of this is more for the Terrencians than it is for us. If you want a big ceremony, we can go all out on the namings for this one,” she rubbed the side of her bump.
Princess Alexandrina, the first cousin once removed of both the bride and Princess Isadora was surrounded by her three sons as she watched her two copper skinned daughters make their way down the aisle among the flower girls preceding the bride. The elder, Princess Arabella, had shaved her hair a few months earlier and the short, black, fuzzy result let a wreath of flowers sit neatly around her head like a halo so that she looked like a solemn, twelve year old angel. Her ten year old sister, Princess Ingeborg, had much longer fuzzy hair and a wreath wouldn’t have stayed on her head so flowers had been braided into her hair and the effect made her look like a vibrant flower fairy. Their mother beamed with maternal pride.
Princess Citrine, former First Counsellor of the Realm and Princess Alexandrina’s mother, was watching the wedding on the television from the manor house of her estate near Kobolgrad. Her only companion in the minor sitting room was one her ladies-in-waiting cum wardens and constant companions. She was beginning to appreciate how much the living conditions her actions had imposed on Princess Dagmar must have irked. “I would never have let Constantine’s daughter anywhere near a Terrencian match,” she said sourly to the room because she knew the other woman would not respond to her, “but he’s a younger nephew and, given his lack of military instincts, the Imperial family probably think this is far enough away to stash him.”
The lady-in-waiting continued to knit and watch the television.
Citrine pursed her lips judgementally, “And I would never have let Arabella do that to her hair but,” she added with a touch of malice, “Alexandrina’s daughters do make some of the others look positively insipid, don’t they?”