It's Arianne who announces her.
"All kneel for Myrcella of Houses Baratheon and Martell, First of Her Name, Queen of Dorne, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms."
Myrcella makes her way to the Iron Throne, where both of her brothers had sat before her. She sits and smoothes down her hair where the blonde curls conceal her missing ear; a nervous habit that Arianne is forever telling her draws more attention to the disfigurement than if she'd just leave it alone.
Where she sits metal barbs dig into her thighs and buttocks. The Iron Throne is not a chair where a ruler is meant to sit comfortably - Joffrey had lounged there as though on a plush sofa, and Tommen had looked even less comfortable than Myrcella feels.
Her queensguard array themselves around the throne and Arianne steps up to her customary place at Myrcella's right hand. The court rises to begin the business of ruling for another day.
Myrcella wonders if she'll ever stop feeling like an imposter in her own throne room.
When Myrcella had been very small she and Tommen had adopted a pair of puppies, the runts of their litter. Joffrey had drowned them for sport.
Myrcella's mother had caught her trying to hide the tiny, bedraggled bodies before Tommen could see them and become upset. Myrcella had expected to be scolded, but instead Cersei had stroked her hair and said, "Quite right, sweetling. Tommen isn't strong like you are, it's right that you should protect him."
Even at the age of not quite eight, Myrcella had wondered: if she was strong and Tommen was not, what did that make Joff?
Many years later, when her Dornishmen had cast Tommen down at her feet and Myrcella had shouted, "No! Don't! Please!" she'd looked into his eyes and thought desperately, I'm doing this for you, to save you, it's what mother would have wanted.
She raised Tommen up to lord of Casterly Rock, but sometimes she wonders if he'll ever truly forgive her.
Court is dull this morning, with few matters that couldn't have been dealt with by Arianne and the small council, but Myrcella insists on staying. She always insists on staying. King Robert and King Joffrey had been more interested in sport than in the running of their realm, and Tommen's keepers had never permitted him to take too much of an interest.
No, uncomfortable, stuffy, and deathly dull though it is, Myrcella will stay.
Arianne calls an early halt for lunch. "You need to eat," she tells Myrcella when they have retreated to the queen's solar and servants have delivered them food. "For the sake of the baby, at least."
Myrcella presses her palm to her belly, which is still almost flat. Her condition is not yet widely known.
Arianne presses on. "Myrcella, I wish you'd allow me to summon a midwife--"
"If you do that then everyone in King's Landing will know by sundown. I would like your brother to hear that he is going to become a father from me and not gossip in the streets."
"--Or a maester from the Citadel who could be sworn to secrecy."
Myrcella snorts. She does not have great faith in the knowledge of female anatomy possessed by a group of old men who failed to recognise that a woman was living secretly among them for years.
Speaking of Sarella Sand: "Is your cousin still planning to accompany the Greyjoys to court, do you know?"
"Yes, their ships have been sighted off Lannisport. We expect their arrival tomorrow or the day after."
"I'll consult with Sarella after I've received the Greyjoys, and if all is well I'll tell Trystane when he visits next week."
"Yes, Your Grace." Arianne reluctantly leaves Myrcella to finish her meal, alone with her thoughts.
After her marriage Myrcella began drinking moon tea religiously. When questioned she referred back to her own broken childhood, claiming not to wish to bring a child into this world until her throne was more secure. And that was one of the reasons, but her throne is as secure as it is going to get without an heir to ensure the succession, and as to the other reason...
Myrcella tells herself that she'll feel better once she's spoken to Sarella, who according to her sisters is an insufferable know-it-all, but also better than any maester Myrcella could summon from elsewhere.
Tommen had already yielded to his sister and Myrcella was queen in all but name when she met Shireen Baratheon - the only other real claimant for the throne - in a dingy set of rooms in Flea Bottom.
All the true kings and queens are dead, Myrcella had thought. They broke themselves against the Wall, and the cold, and the Others, and now we're all that's left: two broken, scarred girls who never really wanted to rule in the first place.
"My father would want me to fight for his crown," Shireen had said.
With her lank black hair and storm grey eyes Shireen looked more a Baratheon that Myrcella ever had, and unlike Myrcella she didn't attempt to hide her marred features behind veils and elaborate hairstyles.
Myrcella remembered wanting to throw her Sunspear forged crown in Shireen's face and flee the room and the city. She'd been newly wed at that point and had wondered if Trys would run away with her across the Narrow Sea if she asked him to?
Instead she'd smiled at Shireen and said, "I'm not sure my father would have cared overmuch."
"Which father, Uncle Robert or the Kingslayer?"
Myrcella had felt Arianne and Tyene stiffen behind her; they were forever reminding her that her claim to the throne was inextricably linked with her claim to be the eldest surviving trueborn child of Robert Baratheon.
If you'd asked Myrcella she would have said that her claim had more to do with swords and spears of Dorne, the kingdom least affected by the Fall of the Wall and home of the last real army in Westeros, and Shireen and her advisors recognised that fact too.
Shireen is lady of Storm's End now, and married to the eldest of the Seaworths. Myrcella hopes she is happy, or at least happier than she would have been on the throne.
The walls of the throne room are hung with the sigils of Houses that have sworn fealty to Myrcella. The lion, the rose, the onion ship, and the falcon almost disguise the absence of the direwolf and the leaping fish.
The gold and black kraken banner unfurls as Asha Greyjoy bends the knee and swears her family's loyalty to the Iron Throne.
Arianne slips away to inform Sarella that the queen wishes to see her privately after this audience, and Lady Asha says, "I apologise that my brother did not come himself, Theon does not travel overmuch these days--"
From reports Myrcella has received the lord reaper of Pyke has not left his home in many years, he lives quietly by the sea with the daughter of a steward and prefers to leave the governance of the Iron Islands to his sister.
Myrcella thinks that it sounds quite pleasant, really.
Having left her guards on the door Myrcella enters her bedchamber and catches the tail end of Arianne and Sarella's conversation.
"--I didn't think they believed in maesters on the Iron Islands?"
"Asha finds me amusing as well as useful."
"And do you find her amusing, Sarella?"
The cousins are a contrasting pair, Arianne in a gown of sandsilk and Sarella in salt stained leathers with a half forged maester's chain about her neck, but they have both served Myrcella well. As Myrcella has served their family well, she thinks wryly.
When they realise Myrcella has arrived Arianne curtsies and Sarella bows, both accompanied by murmurings of, "Your Grace."
"You can sit up, Your Grace," Sarella tells her after the examination. "Well, you are definitely with child, and everything seems normal."
"My parents?" asks Myrcella softly. "My mother and my uncle, will they - will that - effect the child?"
Sarella frowns and chews on her bottom lip. The royal standard is the Baratheon crowned stag quartered with the Martell sun and spear. Myrcella's true parentage may be an open secret around court, but it is never, ever spoken of.
"It is a possibility," Sarella admits reluctantly. "But you and Trystane are young and strong. And both of your brothers were born healthy, weren't they?"
Myrcella nods. Tommen has his health still, as does his son. And Joff had been sound of body even if little else good could be said of him.
"And Houses Martell and Lannister share no common blood since before the Age of Heroes. Your Grace - Myrcella - I see no reason why your child should not be healthy."
Myrcella exhales deeply and lets her head thunk back against the headboard. When she opens her eyes she looks shrewdly at her cousin-by-marriage, and says, "Asha Greyjoy, truly?"
"It was the throwing axes, Your Grace, I couldn't resist."
Myrcella knows what is said of her rule behind her back, that she presides over a court of bastards and women.
Who better to rule a realm of bastards and women?
Myrcella's husband visits her as often as he can. But Prince Trystane Martell is required to spend much of his time at Sunspear, from where he rules Dorne in his sister's name.
Myrcella sometimes thinks that if she'd been kinder she would have allowed Arianne to go home and rule as the Princess of Dorne, as she knew Arianne wanted. Lady Nym or Tyene would have served just as ably as her Hand. Then she could have had Trys by her side and in her bed always.
But in the wake of her coronation she'd looked at Arianne and thought, twice now you've tried to crown me and this time you've succeeded, you will stay here and help me rule.
In front of her supporters and Arianne's cousins she'd said, "Arianne Martell, I would name you the Hand of the Queen."
Right now, Trys is pressing kisses to Myrcella's belly and telling his unborn child of how he is going to take him or her hawking in Prince's Pass and sailing on the Greenblood.
"Sarella says that there is no reason why the child shouldn't be healthy," Myrcella tells him, and Trystane looks up at her like it honestly hadn't occurred to him that it might be otherwise.
Myrcella knows that her mother had been angered by Myrcella's childhood betrothal, but she sometimes wonders what she would have made of Trystane as a man grown. She tries to see Trys as Cersei would have: a man of average height and plain features, a competent swordsman rather than a brilliant one, a compassionate and just, if uninspiring, ruler of men.
She wonders if her mother would have seen Trys' uncommonly good heart. If the fact that he would never strike Myrcella or force his presence on her unwished for would make up for him being a man content to accept the title of Prince Consort, happy to rule in his sister's name.
She'd asked Arianne about that once, why Trys didn't expect to rule over them both merely by virtue of being a man? Arianne had told her that Dornish law was good for men's souls, that once they'd bent-the-knee to one woman it became easier to respect another.
Myrcella isn't sure that's true; there are cruel men in Dorne as there are cruel men everywhere.
Trystane has returned to murmuring happy nonsense to Myrcella's stomach, and whether Arianne is right or wrong Myrcella is glad of him.
Be like your father, she thinks to the tiny fluttering life growing inside her. Be like your father and your father's father, not like mine.
There is a tourney in celebration of the announcement of the queen's pregnancy, after which the governance of the realm continues much as usual. There are envoys to be sent North, although Myrcella has all but given up hope of receiving a reply, the Warden of the East dies suddenly and his wife claims his seat, a messenger from the Iron Bank arrives talking of some unwise debts accrued by Myrcella's royal predecessors.
Myrcella conditionally grants the vale to Lady Hardyng, and refers the banker on to Tommen and Shireen, if Lannister gold doesn't see him off perhaps the storms off Cape Wrath will.
All that changes is that now people keep suggesting names for the child in the middle of totally unrelated conversations.
One by one the Sand Snakes all suggest Oberyn, all except Dorea who suggests Joffrey, in what she hastily assures Myrcella, off the queen's horrified look, was a joke.
Lady Nym, these days Myrcella's master of laws, suggests Robert, or some play on it, perhaps?
Myrcella remembers meeting the Young Wolf when she was a girl, and her old lament comes back to her, all the true kings are dead.
She will not call her son Robert or any variant of it. She will not saddle her child with a lie from his first day of life, there will time enough for those later.
Of course, it may not be a son.
Myrcella starts craving figs, fresh Dornish ones. The laughing knight, Andrey Dalt, brings her a bag of them as a gift and tells her that his paramour craved figs both times she was with child and has since delivered him two healthy daughters.
"What if it is a girl?" she asks Arianne, later.
"Dornish law is good for men's souls, Your Grace."
The Dornish laws that allowed Myrcella to claim the crown do not hold sway throughout the realm, and Myrcella has learned to pick her battles from those she can win. But, if it is a daughter...
Myrcella worries at the stub of her missing ear. "What do you think of Cersei? As a name, I mean, for a daughter."
"I--" Arianne begins delicately. "I am not sure the realm is ready for another Queen Cersei."
Nor am I, thinks Myrcella.
Myrcella and Trystane spend four months conducting an energetic and enthusiastic long distance argument about names for their child.
Myrcella is starting to worry that the archmaester is going to complain about misuse of the royal ravens when they eventually settle on Olyvar for a boy, and Elia for a girl.
Myrcella sends for Obara Sand. She hasn't spent much time with the eldest Sand Snake since the day they took the Red Keep, but for this task she can think of no one more suited.
"Tell your men," Myrcella had said, the only command she'd given that day for fear she'd be ignored or disobeyed, "that I want no rapes."
"They've been waiting to avenge Princess Elia for a long time."
"I am not my grandfather, I will not avenge rape with rape."
Myrcella had grown up hearing of Elia Martell only as a cautionary tale, although for a long time she'd been too young to understand what the moral was supposed to be. In one of her more bitter moods, Cersei had told Myrcella that it cautioned against being born with a womb, and that everything Elia had done afterwards had compounded that first, fatal mistake.
Obara arrives armed with spear and whip, for the task Myrcella has in mind this is encouraging.
Myrcella folds her hands over her swollen belly, she feels like she's got half the Golden Company camping in there these days. "The little prince or princess is going to need a sworn shield, Obara."
Obara kneels and lays her spear and Myrcella's feet. "I'd be honoured, Your Grace."
Princess Elia Baratheon takes fourteen hours to come into the world, and she arrives with such an unholy shriek that it seems as though she shares her mother's feelings on the preceding half-a-day.
She favours her father heavily. No one is going to mistake her for a Stormlander, but no one will take her for a Lannister either. Myrcella feels an absurd mixture of relief and overwhelming affection for this tiny scrap of a girl.
Trys takes his daughter in his arms, kisses the top of her fuzzy head, and calls her his little queen.
There have never seemed to Myrcella to be so many Sand Snakes as when the child has to be introduced to each of them in turn. When it's Arianne's turn to hold the baby she promises her that one day she will be queen of all the Seven Kingdoms.
When Myrcella finally has her daughter back in her arms she mentally amends Arianne's promise. Only if you want to be, she swears to the blameless little girl. If you want to be queen, you will be. If you want to be a septa, or a sailor, or run away and marry a sellsword, I will make that happen for you.