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The Princess of Genovia

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Tuesday, 23 September 2000
If I could remember one thing about my uncle, it is that he was in love with someone that he was not supposed to be in love with. At least, that is how my grandmother explained it to me growing up. How my uncle had loved a commoner and they had gotten married and divorced. And how much of a scandal that had caused her.
For the moment, I was to be the legal heir to my grandfather’s throne. My grandmother, as she liked to say, was royal by marriage. I was royal by blood. I could have taken the throne after she had abdicated or died—but I prayed that neither of those were coming any time soon. As much as I relished the chance to take the throne, to do the thing that would make her as happy as she could be…I dreaded the idea as well.
Well, it turns out that I have a cousin. A cousin in America who does not know of her royal lineage, my grandmother explained. So, we were going to America to meet this Mia, and to tell her what her destiny was. To become the Queen of Genovia.
I did not think it was going to go very well at all if I am honest. And while it does not irk me in any way that my chance to take the throne is suddenly gone, swept out from underneath my feet, I know my role in this. I am to help in any way that I can. I know I can do this. I have little choice in the matter.
So, journal, let me get you caught up on some things. My name is Aurora Renaldi. I am 15 years old. Until a few days ago I was the only legal heir to the country of Genovia.
People tell me I look like my grandmother when she was my age: brown hair that come in natural waves and blue eyes. I do not think I look like my grandmother.
When we arrive in America, I pause to take in my surroundings. This is a much different place than Genovia, louder. I know I have cameras on me, but I cannot help but look around at the skyline, and the clouds above me.
My grandmother’s voice pulls me back to earth, and I look at her. She is wearing a blue dress, a small tiara of gold resting on her head. I nod, walk down the stairs, not daring to adjust my own tiara until my grandmother does for me. “Sorry,” I mutter, as I slide into the limo next to her. “I was just…looking around. Why did I have to come again?”
“Because” my grandmother replies, even though she has told me this fifteen times—Joe kept count—on the flight here, “you may be able to help me convince Amelia to take the throne. Help her in her studies. She will need you, Aurora.”
Joe and I make eye contact through the rearview mirror, and he tries to give me an encouraging look.
“I’ll try,” I look out the window at the buildings that we are passing. “Are we going straight to the embassy? I feel like I need a shower.”
At that, my grandmother laughs and takes my hand, nodding. “Just as long as you’re ready to meet your cousin.”
I separate from my grandmother as soon as we park at the embassy, walking up the steps to my room as though I have been here all my life. Several members of the staff bow in my direction, and I nod, not really paying attention.
My mind is racing. Meet my cousin? Today? What am I even supposed to wear to meet a cousin? Will we be friends, like so many people have told me that we may be? Or will we hate each other, and end up fighting over a throne?
I look at my reflection in my mirror as I get ready to shower, my thoughts caught up in the moment. In my worst fears. She is not a princess but will need the help of a princess to become one. I need to be able to help her, no matter much I fear it.
The hours seem to pass by slowly, and after my millionth game of solitaire, I am summoned to see my grandmother and my cousin.
Amelia has a mess of curly brown hair and brown eyes that are hidden behind glasses. It only takes me a second to see that she is nervous, and who wouldn’t be?
I try to put on a comforting smile as I put my hand out for her to shake. “I am sure grandmother has already told you, but I am Aurora Josephine Renaldi. But my friends just call me Aurora.” I wink at her, catch a quick smile.
“Aurora, this is—”
“Amelia, but my friends call me Mia,” Mia replies before my—our—grandmother can reply.
“Then I’ll call you that, if you’d like.” I hate how formal I sound but standing next to my grandmother makes it come out. It is not forced, but I know that it is there, like I am mimicking her in every way that I can.
“I thought you should join us for tea, Amelia.” My grandmother gestures at the tea and sandwiches that join them, and I pull out Amelia’s chair, letting her sit before pushing it in, and then sitting in my own. “I do have a question, however. Have you ever heard of Prince Artur Christoff Phillipe Gerard Grimaldi Renaldi?"
Mia shakes her head, so I chime in, hoping to spare us more time before my grandmother rushes through with the announcement. "He was my uncle, Crown Prince of Genovia. We were a nice guy. I miss him a lot. He is...He's also your father."
My--our--grandmother smiles and nods, taking a sip of her tea. "Which makes you a princess."
"Shut up!" Mia yells, and though my grandmother looks offended, I hide a smile behind a quick sip of tea.
"It's a shout of surprise," I whisper to my grandmother, and then look at Mia.
"It’s a complete surprise, I know. But, beside me, you are the only legal heir to Genovia. I would take the throne, but my uncle was...more popular than my father was, so we are next in line to become Queen."
She looks between my grandmother, and I has though we have three heads and then says, "But I can't be a Princess! I am still waiting for my proper body parts to come in!" She looks scared, worried even, and she bolts from the table before either I, or my grandmother can say another word. I follow, barely able to keep up in my shoes.
"Mia! Mia waits!" I yell after her, ignoring my grandmother's yells for us both to come back. We slip out the door and through the gate, and I still follow, not knowing if I am making a mistake or not, but as we round yet another corner, we slow, breathing heavily.
"Why'd you follow me?" She asks, and I look at her for a long moment, taking several deep breaths before speaking.
"To try and explain it to you better than Grandmother has. You and I are the only heirs to the throne of Genovia." We are walking now, and I trust her to take me to where we need to be. "I have trained my whole life to take the throne, to become Queen after Grandmother dies. But that is not my destiny. It is yours. If you want it. I know that it is something big to throw on you--I doubt you even know who your father really was. But I have lived knowing that the day will come when I will no longer be needed. I am the spare. You are the heir." We stop in front of a house, and she looks at me.
"And you're telling the truth?"
"The truth is all I have." I look at the house, then back up the road. I am sure that Joe has convinced our grandmother that I will be fine, but that will not allow me to escape the talking too I am sure is to come.
"Why don't you come in," Mia says, taking my hand and leading me inside. "It'll be a sleepover."