This week’s #writephoto prompt is
HRH Prince Cloudry tried to look sombre. He really did. But even the most taciturn of people would have found it hard not to let the corners of their mouth twitch just a teeny weeny amount. He. Was. King. Ok, not officially, not yet. That would follow the coronation. But he already sensed a change amongst the flunkies and flannelleries. No longer those barely suppressed sniggers, those carefully discarded newspapers turned to some uncharitable article about his passion for organic kumquats or his support for natural prosthetics. No, the bows and curtsies were deeper, the reluctance to meet his gaze more consistent. He needed to speak to Tarquin, his secretary about the Cull List. Oh there were going to be changes. Lots of changes.
No longer would they make him feel a fool. He was in charge. The Man.
Cloudry walked down the ornate corridor. He was expected to visit his mother’s body, to see it lying in state. Pretty morbid, he thought to himself but there were these traditions that the public expected and he wasn’t about to give anyone the chance to sneer and scoff so close to his ultimate victory. He knew what those sods would write. Mother not even cold and he’s trying to besmirch her memory, blah blah. She’d been Queen since Pontius had been a Pilot so of course everyone loved the old dear. But knowing when to leave the stage wasn’t one of her strengths and while he’d never say it out loud, it was clear to anyone with half a brain that she’d outlived her welcome.
He paused by the large grand double doors, allowing the cherubic girl to puff his nose with powder. Ghastly smelling stuff but Tarquin always said there’s nothing worse than the Royal Beak glowing like a lighthouse in front of the cameras.
A oily haired poseur with one of those head ear and mouth mikes stood next to the handle, his eyes unfocused as he listened. Then he looked at Cloudry. ‘Doors open in five, four…’
Cloudry had rehearsed this. He tugged his jacket and twiddled his pinky ring. He knew what was needed, knew how this charade played out.
Doors open, he steps forward and pauses so the camera can focus on him, pick up the mix of sadness, yet determination on his craggy yet ruggedly handsome visage. He moves with even paces to the coffin and waits, head bowed but eyes open as the cameras pan in on his expression. No tears, though a few blinks are acceptable. Then he turns and…
‘Sir, may we have a word?’
Cloudry hesitated, unsure what has just happened. He turned to be confronted by Honor Patience, doyen of the nightly news. This wasn’t in the script.
The interviewer moved confidentially to join Cloudry. ‘At this most sombre time, do you have a word for a grieving Nation?’
Cloudry hadn’t been the Heir for nigh on seventy years without being able to pull the right expression out of his facial locker. Saying the right thing, however, had often stumped him. ‘What? Now?’
Ms Patience was of a different school. She might channel the dyed-blonde Medusa look, but she could skewer in a sentence. ‘As you know, sir, the late Queen was adamant that the transition to your reign should be as transparent as possible.’
Indeed so, he thought. Bloody woman was a secret as a squirrel, but she’d decided to shaft him.
‘I think.. that is…’ Cloudry stopped. Did she smile? She clearly heard something from her director, but what was…
‘I can see how upset you are sir, understandably. Maybe we could move to a happier subject. Can you let the public have your expert views on the crown you will be wearing at your coronation?’
‘The crown?’ No one had mentioned a crown.
Honor faced the camera. ‘Today, it was revealed that the late Queen had requested, in a change to tradition, that our new King be crowned using the rarely seen Prince Regent Flamboyance.’ She turned to Cloudry. ‘And we are lucky to have the actual crown here, with us today. Perhaps, sir you’d like to describe it for us.’
Cloudry was speechless. That piece of Regency bling? Surely this was a joke.
But even as he thought the thought, another door opened and an overdressed page floated in carrying a red velvet cushion on which sat the Flamboyance.
Cloudry goggled. It would make him look like a lamppost in drag, a novelty birdcage.
‘Would you like to say something sir?’
Cloudry narrowed his eyes at the simpering witch. He had been right royally shafted. Literally. Well, this was his time. Whatever anyone said, he was going to be his own man. Yes, he was King. He didn’t need to put up with this shit.
‘Would I like to say something? About this?’ He turned and stared straight at the camera. ‘Fuck, yes.’