Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, a princess was yelling in the palace.
“I don’t need servants; I know how to dress myself!”
Diane pushed away the maids that were around her. The comment, however, was intended for her husband, Percival, whose focus suddenly went to the buttons of his shirt.
It had been only a few days since she had moved into the royal palace. She had been convinced that when Percival had got down on one knee, he was just playing a practical joke on her. What would a dashing prince like him want with a peasant girl like her? But he hadn’t been joking, it hadn’t been a dream.
Within a few months, the wedding had happened, and she had become a princess, along with becoming the future queen. But she always stopped herself from thinking about the ‘future queen’ part. That part just made her stomach ache.
Percival was a kind-hearted man with a real interest in what was happening in the kingdom. He had disguised himself well and made his way to the bordering towns, staying in inns like a simple traveler, and noting the meagre lifestyle of the people. He intended to do as much as he could to help the people once he returned to his palace.
Diane’s father ran one of these inns, and when she met Percival for the first time, she was struck immediately by how blue his eyes were. It didn’t take long for them to start talking to each other. She gave her perspective on things without even knowing who he really was, and she treated him like an ordinary man for the first time in his life.
When she inevitably found out that he was the prince, she was astonished for sure, but it also made sense to her. His nobility, his thoughtfulness and his genuine love for his people had always shined through, even when she hadn’t known.
People of similar minds tend to become friends, and that was what had happened.
Their first kiss had been unexpected, but perfect.
But she had thought that their love would be enough to become a princess overnight. She had thought that the world would accept her and love her just like Percival did.
She had been so horribly wrong.
His mother, the queen, never left any opportunity to taunt her upbringing, and the king expressed his disapproval with his frowns and narrowed eyes every time she put forward her opinion.
She was waited on every moment of the day, and she could do nothing about it but scream at the maids and hope that they hated her enough to leave her alone. But they kept coming back every single day and night.
She wasn’t a part of the family. Sometimes she slipped away, and no one would even notice, except for Percival, of course.
He was the only reason she put a smile on her face, his hopeful eyes were the only image that kept her going, that made her keep trying with the family.
She planned a grand ball for the queen’s birthday, she organized a private picnic on the king and queen’s wedding anniversary and she even commissioned a painter with Percival’s help to make a painting of the king and queen to hang on their wall.
But nothing worked.
One day, she entered the dining room only to find the king and queen laughing with each other in low voices while Percival had a weak smile on his face.
She immediately knew that the topic of their scintillating discussion was none other than herself.
She made her entrance and made sure to make a lot of sound to catch their attention.
When finally, their eyes were on her, she swallowed and tried to calm her racing heart. She was going to say it. She just needed to get it out.
“I know that it is not my place to say this, I know that I’m overstepping the line, and you can throw me in the dungeons for all I care. But I need to say this. I know that I’m not the perfect daughter-in-law that you would have wanted for your son, I know I’m not a perfect wife, and I’m certainly not the perfect princess.”
She took a deep breath in and out. She didn’t have the courage to continue. Percival looked at her and smiled that smile of his which she knew was him offering support. She cleared her throat.
“I know that I don’t fit in here, and I probably never will. But I also know that I love Percival, and he loves me right back. If he had been anyone else, that would have been enough. But in this case, it isn’t. All I ask is that you try to be more accepting of his decision, more accepting of me. Since I’ve stepped in this palace, I’ve only felt like an unwelcome guest. If you both don’t approve of us, I will be forced to leave. I will leave right now if that is what you want. But I really am trying my best to make a good impression on you both. I know it isn’t working in the way I would have wished, but I would appreciate it if you both tried too. Please. If I am to spend the rest of my life here, I do not want to be unhappy, and make everyone else unhappy too.”
She stormed out of the dining room in tears after her outburst, with Percival right at her heels. She entered their bedroom and started to pack her clothes in a bag.
“I have completely blown it. I knew that I wasn’t cut out for this princess thing. I had to open my big mouth.”
“Committing treason was all that I had left to do, and now I’ve done that as well.”
“Now before they come to kill me, I must escape. You know I love you etcetera, but I must be selfish now.”
She turned to look at him, and to her surprise, he had a huge smile on his face. He placed his hands on her shoulders.
“You don’t have to go anywhere,” he said, and her eyebrows scrunched together.
“What do you mean? I just insulted the rulers of this kingdom who also happen to be my in-laws, thereby committing treason and condemning myself to certain death. I most definitely need to go, otherwise, they’ll find me and then – mmph!”
He had cut her off mid-sentence by kissing her, and she found herself getting lost in his tender embrace.
Once they broke apart, he scratched his head sheepishly.
“I needed to make you stop talking,” he said, and she smiled widely.
“If this is my punishment for talking, then I won’t remain silent ever again,” she said, and he laughed.
“As I was saying, you don’t have to go anywhere. My parents were very impressed by you standing up to them and are terribly sorry for the way they treated you. They even forgive you for overstepping. They are willing to try,” he said, and she squealed.
“Oh, thank you thank you thank you!” she said, and hugged him in pure joy.
From that day, she became a valued and respected member of the royal family. And when she eventually became queen, she made sure to give every opportunity to her silent subjects to raise their voice for what they believe in.
Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t give up. You will find your place and you will find the people you are meant to be with. You may feel alone, you may feel like you don’t fit in. Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe they need to move over and give you some space.