The Forgotten Princess

"You remember, I saw the throne of my birth country snatched away before my very eyes, you do not forget something like that. And you certainly never forgive it."
Adelaide is a very powerful young lady, she is the Crown Princess to one of the richest nation in the world. Well she was until her younger brother was born. Being male he replaced her as the heir to the throne. Adelaide has grown up getting whatever she wants. And right now she wants to be Queen and she will go to whatever extent to insure her place on the throne.

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1. Chapter One

The sun was rising, penetrating the thin layer of clouds that often settle upon Paris early in the morning. The first birds were beginning to sing, their sweet calls. The city was beginning to come alive.
The sound of merchants calling to each other echoed around the quite streets. The market place would soon get busy with local people trying to pick up the best deals. Men had to wake up early to get to work on time; their wives were waking them up for breakfast, washing the children and sending them out for the day. It was a Saturday so school was not in session, not that many of the children went to school. Most boys worked with their Fathers, they would go out to work with them and learn the tricks of their Father’s trade. They were taught how to earn their keep. The girls would stay at home with their Mother; they would learn important skills needed to become a Mother and a wife.
The smell of smoke warmed the city, the days were getting colder and with Christmas just around the corner spirits were higher than ever. Cheerily men sang to each other and polite choruses of “Bonjour comment ça va?” could be heard.
Women, carrying fire wood back to their houses, crowded the streets, to lit fires.

Their houses needed to be kept warm throughout the day otherwise everyone would freeze to death.
The winter had crept silently upon the beautiful French city of Paris, the weather remained cold but a single flake of snow was yet to settle. Though come morning time, often the grass and plants would be lined with a thick layer of frost, which the children loved to run about on, marvelling at the crunching sound it made underneath their bare feet.
The sun was yet to rise, not yet marking the start of a new one. But soon it would and then the date would be the 7th December 1619.

King Louis XIII rubbed his eyes. He was exhausted, normally he would not wake to watch the sun rise, but he supposed this was a pleasant privilege. He sighed at how beautiful the sight of the rising sun was, he was unaware before of how happy such a small thing could make him. He gazed out of the window in his throne room onto the royal gardens. He rested his hands upon the high windowsill and surveyed his beautiful surroundings.
He frowned as he looked out onto the gardens, he watched the gardeners start their work cutting and planting and weeding the gardens making them look spectacular.

The King thought how much he would hate having to wake so early each morning for work. But then he remembered that he was the King and he did not have to wake so early. It was amusing to him that the trimming of a hedge could not wait until noon and had to be done just after sun rise but the most urgent and pressing matters of state could wait until whenever he was ready to deal with them. It was a funny world.
The view of the gardens was stunning from the throne room. It was one of the reasons it was the King’s favourite place. That and the fact it was where his throne was kept, arguably the most comfortable thing he owned. The solid gold armchair sat in the centre of the room, elevated so that Louis could look down on his council and anyone else who happened to be inside his throne room.
Next to his throne sat a smaller slightly less decorated one, where Anne, the Queen sat, although she had not been in the throne room for a long while. Generally she kept herself busy with the matters of smaller importance, for example Anne often organised parties and social gatherings for foreign royalty to keep their alliances strong and she enjoyed making sure the palace was kept spotless.

Not long ago Anne had begun to take an interest in the education of poor children in the townships surrounding the palace. She would send book and often money for them; she was especially interested in the education of girls, though she did not bring up her opinions with her husband. A woman’s education was seen as of second importance to a boy’s education, that is how it had been for hundreds of years and Anne was not going to let her silly hopes and dreams stand in the way of her perfect marriage. 

Each day the King enjoyed spending time in the throne room. He loved it in there; it was so peaceful; it was his place, the only place where he felt truly at home. He enjoyed spending most of his spare time in there, when he was not wondering about the royal gardens. But as summer had turned briskly to winter it had become far too cold to go wondering about outside for long periods of time.
The truth was Louis was afraid. He was scared that he would fall ill if he went outside, that he would die with no heir to inherit his Kingdom after him. Now that it was winter, sadly death rates were higher; this time of year was often when the most fatalities occurred, the icy winter grasping a firm hand over the poor and weak. Many of those in poverty in the nearby towns and cities were at great risk.

But not only was it the poor that the cold weather was murdering, children of all walks of life were at risk. The King had been informed of various nobles from his court that had lost children in the winter months. So sadly it was not just the poor and dirty that were at risk. All children had the same chances whether they were born into poverty or nobility and especially at risk were children who had not yet been brought into the world.
Louis fumbled with the window trying to work out how it opened, after a few more seconds of trying without much luck he called for one of his servants to open the window for him. They did so by pushing the lever down in such a simple manner the King could not help feel ashamed that he could not work it out.
It took him only moments to forget about his embarrassment though as the cool night air began to trickle into the room. The gentle icy breeze danced lightly upon his tense face. And for a few moments he almost forgot why he was tense in the first place. But then he remembered.
Today was a day of such importance, a day that could change the course of history. King Louis was awaiting news of the royal child.
Cardinal Richelieu, the King’s closest advisor and friend, had been to visit him in the last hour and told him that his wife, Queen Anne, had begun the birthing process and the heir should meet the world sometime later that same day. Louis was nervous about the arrival.

Anne certainly was not getting any younger and this was her first pregnancy but not only that, the child’s chances of survival were low.
They had been married for over four years and time was getting on for an heir to be born. Louis was in desperate need of a successor and he and the rest of his country were preoccupied thinking and praying for the safe arrival of a Prince, the Dauphin, to inherit his Kingdom when he ceased to rule.
Louis slowly began walking back to this throne. He climbed the several steps refusing to be helped by several of his men who held out their hands for him to hold onto. But he was not a Lady; he did not need help climbing up and down stairs. His mind was distracted. He threw himself down in his throne and leant backwards sighing loudly. He sat perfectly still for a few seconds. After a minute or so, he could hear the murmured voices of concern coming from his council. Louis did not wish to scare his loyal men so he sat up sharply. A sigh of relief echoed around the throne room.
The King tapped his right hand on the arm of the throne and a servant came rushing forward bearing a goblet of the finest wine. It was placed into his hand. Without any hesitation he raised the glass to his lips and took a large gulp. The sweet liquid ran down his throat giving him a warm numbing feeling inside.
He could not take the suspense anymore. The throne room was silent. There were many men stood around in small clusters but conversation was limited to a few polite words every so often. The men were the King’s council; he had appointed each and every one of them to help him rule.

They were supposed to look after him and cause him to remain calm, right now none of them could offer any advice apart from the occasional ‘It will be alright Sire’ or ‘A healthy heir shall grace us with his presence any time soon your Majesty’ but nothing else. Louis did not think they knew how to comfort him, in which case he needed a new council and fast.
Anne was a beautiful woman, her long blonde hair would be plaited each morning and wrapped around her head and pinned in all sorts of wonderful places creating such pretty effects. Often maids would pick her flowers from the gardens and she would wear them in her hair. Originally from Spain, Anne had not been accepted well amongst his French subjects. But now the French people were beginning to accept her slowly.

This was their first child together and he had to be born healthy otherwise he feared his country may cast out their Queen.
A stillborn child could be a sign from God against their marriage and henceforth it would be recommended that Anne would be removed and a new wife found, one who could produce heirs. On the advisement of his council the King had two robes brought into his throne room. His celebratory robe and his mourning robe. The black decorated robe hung in the corner of the throne room as a constant reminder as to what could happen to the child they so desperately needed. The King perked up a little, he heard his guards move their swords from across the door.
Cardinal Armand Richelieu held up his hand for the guards to stop opening the door for a moment.
“Are you alright Sir?” one of the guards asked. Armand nodded his head slowly. He gulped, his throat was dry and his lips were cracked, he licked them in an attempt to get his words out. He turned to a servant who was walking in the opposite direction. He snatched one of drink off of the tray he was carrying and took several glugs of the wine, it was not overly nice but he drank it anyway. He was hoping that the wine would sooth his throat and that is would make his voice sound smoother and less cracked. He nodded at the men and they swung open and the Cardinal calmly strolled into the throne room.
“His Eminence the Cardinal Armand Richelieu,” the announcer exclaimed.
“Sire,” Armand smiled weakly. The Cardinal was a greying man, whose silvery locks were covered by his red hat. He bowed slowly to the King.
The King leapt up from his throne and stood staring at Armand who was still lurking close to the door. The King looked right at him, the Cardinal felt as though he were looking into his soul. If only the King knew what he knew, Armand thought to himself. The burden of such tragic news hung over him like a dark cloud and there was nothing he could do about it. Louis looked Armand in the eyes. Armand looked back; even from the other side of the room Armand could see the King’s eyes were filled with so much hope and joy. He just could not bring himself to break the King’s heart. But alas it was his job as the King’s adviser and friend, he was just going to have to pull himself together and be strong for not only the King but the country as well.
“You cannot leave me in such a way Cardinal! I command you tell me at once!” He exclaimed.
The King’s face fell as the Cardinal shook his head sadly from side to side. Louis tried his best to fight back the tears but he was not strong enough. He fell to his knees from his throne onto the steps at the front of them.
“Your Majesty!” Armand exclaimed.
The King let out a loud cry. He broke down in front of his council who looked on with both despair and concern for their King and his wellbeing. Armand slowly walked towards the King, who was on his knees sobbing loudly. He knelt down at his Master’s side, carefully he reached out his hand and took hold of that of the King’s.
“We shall pray together, Sire,” Armand whispered.
“Tell me Armand,” the King sobbed. “Tell… tell me-” he stopped talking. He tried but no words could escape his lips.
“What is it your Majesty, what is it you desire to know Sire?” Armand prompted.
“My heir… were they a son or daughter?” he stuttered.
“Your Majesty,” Armand said slowly. He knew the child’s gender, he feared if he told the King it would worsen his already fragile mood to one unmanageable by his men.
“Just tell me!” the King exclaimed. He snatched his hand from the Cardinal’s grasp and walked towards the window. He rested his hands on the ledge and looked out over the royal gardens.
“Sire twas a Prince.” Armand said slowly. Silence. The King said nothing but the Cardinal could see he was in a state. The King turned back around to face him.
“Get out!” he shouted. “All of you get out!” he cried. He ran back and sat on his throne with his head in his hands sobbing gently.
“You heard the King, leave all of you at once from his presence,” the Cardinal said ushering the council from the throne room. Once everyone had left he stepped towards the King slowly. “Your Majesty, they have all gone. Tis only I, Cardinal Richelieu, your trusty adviser, who is still at your side,”
“I am sorry Cardinal; my sudden outburst of emotion was neither kingly nor manly. You must forgive me,”
“Forgive you Sire? There is nothing to forgive you off. Your pain and upset are most understandable and at this difficult time, I, your loyal advisor will remain at your side.” He said.
“You promise Armand?” the King asked looking down at him with pleading eyes.
“I do indeed Sire,” he promised. The King was in a sorry state. The King was in pieces and the Queen was devastated. The King’s only heir, his royal highness the Dauphin Louis of France, was dead. And there was nothing Cardinal Richelieu or anyone could do about it.

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