- Jun 27, 2008
- Karachi, Sindh
December 14, 2017The Mausoleum of His Majesty King Leopold the Tenth was the hub of activity that morning. Private security guards belonging to the Valvoisette Group of Companies, kept the reporters back and there was a heavy contingent of police deployed. Several limousines approached the small chapel which had become the final resting place of one of the saddest men to have ever lived on this Earth.
Grand Duchess Emmeline de Valvoisette emerged from the black limousine first, followed by several others who exited from that car, as well as the three others that were immediately behind. She walked elegantly through the crowd, always sure where the cameras were and keenly aware of what angle made her look the best. Across Gallia, on the satellite television channel that had been set up in the 1980s, all loyal royalists would be tuned in to watch this moment.
"Madame," called out the reporter from TV Noblesse. "What are you feeling on His Majesty's 161st birth anniversary?"
"I feel its a moment of tremendous honour that as the senior most member of the Serenien royal family, I am present here to mark the anniversary of a truly brilliant human being. He suffered at the hands of the communist revolutionaries and died a broken man and on this day, every year, we remember him and ensure that each successive generation remembers the sacrifice of the Royal Family of Serenierre."
She walked into the mausoleum. Looking at the man who stood in the corner, she smiled weakly. "Ah, Monsieur Choiseul, I see the Grand Duke has let you off the leash," she said under her breath.
"Forever the charmer," the Duke of Choiseul shook her hand. "None of the Germanic prudishness in you, still a truly Gallic beauty."
She glanced over to see the wreath that the Duke had brought with him from Chagny. "Oh, Charles has sent a bigger one this year. Did he get offended last year?" she asked rather nonchalantly, although knew full well that the year before she had spared to no expense to make the token Burgundian wreath look inadequate.
"Do not refer to His-" he was stopped short by the commencement of the sermon by a Twentish priest.
IIIt had, by now, become somewhat of a tradition for the various aristocrats from the territories of the former Kingdom of Serenierre to gather at the estate of the Grand Dukes and Duchesses of the Valvoisette family after the yearly remembrance sermon held for the last crowned King of Serenierre. Here, in the relatively calm atmosphere, it would seem that the old world remained still. The old world charm of Serenien nobility would be on full display, although the gulf between the aristocrats and nobles from the two rival factions to the title of Monarch did, of course, result in there being marked differences in style and dress - and sad to say, even language (the Chagny nobles had long ago swapped Low Frankish for the High Frankish more common in Bourgogne).
That year, the soiree was much smaller than the year before, as turnout was always lower in the non-milestone anniversaries.
"So, Monsieur," Grand Duchess Emmeline walked up to the Duke, "Remind me why I let you come here, when you refuse to abandon your poverty in Chagny to come here and live as a noble should?" It was known that the Trier branch had long been focused on trying to convert the Dukes of Choiseul over to their side - as one of the oldest dukedoms, their support carried clout. "What does Coco give you that we, here in Trier, cannot?" She sipped her champagne.
"No, no, when you are here. It is Your Majesty."
"Madame," he repeated. "I am sworn to the His Majesty King Charles I, King of Serenierre, Grand Duke of Bourgogne. I know that Christian morals are looser here but in Chagny we value the oaths we make to our Sovereign."
"Oh, pssh." She mocked him. "When do you lot give this elusive oath? You have said this every year, even before you came to your title and I to mine."
Sensing the tensions, the Duchess of Rousillon - a doyen of the Trier faction - walked up to them and coolly distracted the Grand Duchess, who was rather drunk, long enough to allow the Duke to escape. He mouthed his gratitude as he did so.
IIIThe Duke of Choiseul retreated to his car. He wanted to leave Trier as soon as he could. The ordeal of this remembrance sermon was something his family had subjected itself to every year in the name of the Grand Duke of Bourgogne, who, quite obviously was rather averse to the notion of making the pilgrimage himself. Too many foreign policy issues would be at stake. Surely, he would tell the Duke, Villesen would launch an attack over that level of involvement by the head of state of the dreaded Burgundian enemy.
And for going through as the Grand Duke's representative to the many places that required some presence to be registered, the Duke's family had been rewarded not just by the Grand Duke himself, but also by the Burgundian society at large, which had accorded great respect and esteem to the man and his family. And it had been through this patronage that he had risen to the rank of President of the Society for the Restoration of Monarchy and had stayed there since 1978. And if he had to put up with a few rebukes from the Trier nobles - so be it.