With a swish of silk and swirl of velvet, Mother swept into the nursery.
Nanny stopped the story she had been reading her two charges mid word, put the book aside, immediately stood up and curtseyed. "Good morrow, your Highness."
"Nanny." Mother nodded to Nanny before turning to the Prince who had, of course, abandoned the sums he had been working on the moment she arrived to present himself to her properly by getting to his feet, straightening his doublet and dusting off his breeches. "Hello, sweetheart," she said, as she walked over to him. "And how is my little man doing today?"
"I am not little." The Prince, being a prince, did not pout or stamp his foot, but it was a close thing. "He's little," he added, pointing to his younger brother, who had failed to notice Mother's arrival and was still completely focused on the tower of blocks he was building. "I'm big."
"Yes, that is correct, dear, I apologize. You are bigger than your brother. Now tell me, have you been being good for Nanny today?"
The Prince stood up even straighter and clasped his hands behind his back, in order to properly address his mother. "Yes, Mother. I am always good," he replied. He was a prince and if being a prince meant anything it meant that he was to be on his best behavior at all times.
Mother nodded and smiled, and the Prince thought she was probably happy with his response. "Of course you are, you are my son after all, are you not? Now, why don't you two demonstrate for me what Nanny has been teaching you."
"I'm sure both of you would love to show Her Majesty what we were working on earlier this morning, wouldn't you?" Nanny prodded when neither the Prince nor his brother immediately sprang to action.
Noticing his brother was still playing with his blocks instead of listening to Nanny and Mother like he was supposed to be doing, the Prince poked him with the tip of his shoe. "Come on, present yourself," he ordered, but then hissed when Nanny reached behind him and thwacked him on the backside.
"That was entirely inappropriate behavior from you, young sir," she admonished. "The well-bred gentleman does not prod or poke; it is uncivilized. I have taught you better than that."
Which was true and he had been told that many times before. His brother was just so infuriating sometimes that it was hard for him to prevent letting his frustrations get the better of him. He took a deep breath, held it for a moment and nodded, sufficiently chastised. He was a prince, he would have to do better.
Upon looking at Nanny, however, he found she still seemed cross with him but he didn't know why. "Don't you have something to say to your brother?" she asked.
Oh, right, how could he forget that? "Sorry."
The little scamp, who had finally abandoned his blocks and gotten to his feet, grumbled, "No, you're not."
Mother bent down slightly so she could look her youngest son in the eye. "Now, now, a prince does not grumble, mutter or whine. They speak softly, eloquently and persuasively." She paused for moment before addressing them both, "One's tongue should be honeyed, not sharp. Your brother's apology may not have been as heartfelt as it could have been and it certainly lacked finesse, but bringing light to that is not only unseemly but also a worse offense. Do you understand?" She maintained eye contact until the two princes nodded. "Good. Now, what new skill were you about to demonstrate to me?"
"A proper bow, Mother," the Prince said as he lined up next to his brother and, with his left arm tucked behind his back and the other held palm out at waist level, formally bowed. It was perhaps not the smoothest motion, and certainly not as perfect as the ones he'd seen when the Lords presented themselves to the King and Queen, but he had only just learned how to perform one and had time to perfect it so he did not overly worry about it. And besides, his brother's was much sloppier, although it was above him to comment about such a thing.
"Wonderful!" Mother applauded. "Well done."
Nanny corrected the Prince's stance slightly, bringing his feet slightly closer together, before moving over to his brother and demonstrating how to properly place his arms. "And what do you say upon being introduced to a woman of proper status?"
Bowing again, they said in unison, "It is a pleasure to meet you, m'lady."
"And to a man?"
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, sir." The Prince was careful to make his bow not quite as deep and his smile slightly less bright, just like he'd been taught.
"Very well done. I am very proud of you both."
The Prince preened proudly under the praise. "Thank you, Mother."
When his brother failed to add his own thanks Nanny cleared her throat. "Her Majesty praised your efforts, it is proper to respond to that, young sir."
"What? Oh! Thank you, Mother."
"You are very welcome, boys. Remember, we are royalty as and such we must take the utmost care as to never offend but rather to be as charismatic and captivating as possible. It will always be easier to soothe a fragile ego than overcome the bluster of an angry foe. Happy subjects make for a happy kingdom, do they not?"
"Yes, Mother," the boys replied in unison.
Mother bent down and gave each boy a kiss on the forehead before repositioning their coifs and brushing off their collars. The Prince bore her ministrations with as much good nature as he could muster. Much to his delight, his brother fidgeted quite a bit and got a swat for his inattention. "Now, I'm afraid that I have things I must attend to so I shall leave you in Nanny's capable hands. A little more practice on their smiles, Nanny, if you will. A little more charming, less sincere I should say."
Nanny nodded. "Yes, your Highness."
Once Mother had left Nanny turned and said, "You heard the Queen, let's see those smiles now."
The Prince gave her his best smile. He was a prince, if being charming was what was expected of him then charming was what he would be.