The Two Sides Of Royalty

It is the year 1910, and Jane May has been arranged to be married to the Duke of Dorset on her 16th birthday. She understands that this experience will change her life forever, changing her status from a normal teenager in the 19th century to the Duchess of Dorset, but she wants the best of both worlds: to keep her 2 year relationship with her lover, Edward, but at the same time, to marry William. She has wanted royalty from a young age, but knows that by marrying the Duke, she will not be able to see Edward.
Unfortunately, she does not have the choice to decide the path of her life, and so life of a Duchess begins. She adores the privacy, William, and the expensive dresses she receives, but she also has to keep her secret: sneaking out to see Edward. As her life as the Duchess of Dorset goes on, she finds that William is not the perfect Duke, or the prince of her dreams. He has some dark secrets too...

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15. Duchess no more

I have Victoria to thank when she persuades William to release me, and move into another room as Duchess for the last day, for tomorrow, I will be stripped of my role.

I have 2 guards walking behind me and William and Victoria walking in front of me as they lead me to my new room which is close to the bedroom I used to share with William, which is now Victoria's.

I am led to a bedroom that is almost as grand as my previous one, with 2 chandeliers hanging down from the ceiling and traces of gold.

This is probably as good as it shall get. Be grateful.

I think to myself as I look around the room where I will be staying for the rest of my life.

"We knew it would be improper and irrational for you to stay in the same room as me, or that tiny room you have been staying in all these days, and this room fits perfectly, I hope this is pleasant enough for you, Jane." William says, coldly.

"This shall be fine, it is better than I'd had hoped, thank you." I reply simply, nothing I say now will change William's mind about anything he does any more. There is no use for any compliments.

"Well, we will leave you to settle in, and have an early night, tomorrow is a big day for both you and Victoria." William says, turning and heading out of the bedroom door.

But Victoria stays behind, and looks around the room, and clears her throat uncomfortably.

I look at her and frown, confused and worried at the same time.

"Victoria? You look as you have something to say to me. If there is, please, say it to me." I say to Victoria, reaching out for her hands.

"I am sorry for this. I am sure this punishes you enough, but whatever I try to say, William will simply ignore me, he will not change his mind anymore, Jane, it is set. Tomorrow will be the day, I feel as if I am stealing everything in your life away from you." Victoria sniffs, clearly apologetic.

After hearing this, I know that she is not bad at all, for she has a kind heart, and this is my mistake, the trouble that I have caused upon myself, and I have to accept this, because I know she is right. William has his mind set straight, and he will not change his decisions. Tomorrow I will step down from my role of Duchess and it will be given to Victoria.

"Victoria, it is not your fault, do not feel as if you are stealing from me. I know you will take good care of Charles and William, and hearing you say what you said, it puts my mind at rest. You are a kind woman, Victoria, and William is lucky to have you, and I am lucky to have you as a sister, too." I say, smiling at her, trying to comfort her.

When she hears this, her face lights up.

"You really feel as if I am your sister?" she asks me.

"Of course, you have been so nice to me. Now you should go and get ready for tomorrow." I say, brushing off all the tears that had been rolling down her face.

"Do not let William see you cry." I say, reassuring her, and lead her to the door.

"Until tomorrow, Jane." Victoria says to me at the door, and we hug, for the first time.

"Take care." I say back, and watch her turn away, and walk into the room William was in.

 

It is ten o'clock at night, and I cannot sleep for I am too scared for tomorrow.

I will be an embarrassment, seeing another man, when I should have been faithful to William.

I drift off soon into an exhausted sleep, where I dream of my family, and tomorrow.

I dread it.

 

I am sitting in the Duchess' chair, and everyone in the public has been gathered around us.

I look over to William and Victoria, where they sit not far from me, Victoria holding Charles, and William looking out to the distance into he crowd of the public.  

We sit higher than the public, in a circle, with the public below us, in front.

 

Ding. Ding. Ding.

 

Wind chimes are struck, and so it begins.

It starts with a speech from the high council, and then William, and then Victoria, last of all, me, when I do not know what to say.

I stutter a couple of sentences out, and hope that it will be enough.

"Hello, and thank you for coming today. I want to say that I am sorry for causing so much trouble for my family and friends, and that I hope you can forgive me for what I have caused. I think that Victoria will make a very good Duchess, and produce to William many healthy babies. I thank William for giving me a beautiful 5 years at the palace, and the times that I have enjoyed will be dearly remembered." I say, loudly.

When the speeches have ended, the high council announces that I have been officially stripped of my role, and that it has been handed over to Victoria.

I pass a small crown that I have been wearing for the ceremony to Victoria, to symbolise this.

We Victoria sets it on her head, the public applauds.

I am no longer Duchess. Victoria is. It has been made official.

I sigh a breath of relief, and the ceremony is over quickly.

We are escorted back to the palace, and William quickly disappears into the bedroom, leaving me and Victoria standing side by side in the middle of the hallway.

I decide to speak first.

"Congratulations, Victoria." I say to her.

"Jane. Thank you." replies Victoria, but before she has a chance to say anything else, William calls for her.

"I should go, William is..." Victoria trails off, already making her way to the bedroom.

I nod and smile in return as she walks into the distance and out of my sight.

I sigh heavily and step into my own bedroom and lie on the bed for what seems like hours, before I realise the noise.

Moaning.

I roll onto the front and bury my head into my pillow.

The first day of turning Duchess and they are already making love.

William's idea, obviously.

After what seems like another few hours, the noise stops and all I can hear is...

Panting.

I groan and decide that I cannot take any more.

I bury my head in my pillow and slowly drown in the covers of my new bed and force myself to fall sleep.

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