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A Windsor at Hogwarts

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A Windsor at Hogwarts
By J.C. Vascardi

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Chapter One:
A Not So Normal Rainy Day

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The day had been progressing fairly normally for eleven-year-old Prince William. School was out for the summer and the family was partaking in a visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland. This meant that his father, Prince Charles, and his grandfather, Prince Philip, were often to be found wearing kilts. Prince William had worn one a couple of times in the privacy of his bedroom, but he simply didn’t feel comfortable going outside wearing one. It was certainly possible that might change as he got older, but at that exact moment in time, he highly doubted it.

“Hullo Wills,” said William’s eight-year-old brother, Prince Henry, as he entered the sitting room that William was currently in.

“Hullo Harry,” William said, not looking up from the book he was reading.

“It would have to rain,” Henry said as he went over to one of the windows and looked outside to see the rain pouring down. The rain was coming down so hard that try as he might, Henry couldn’t see more than a couple of inches out the window.

Turning away from the window and sitting down on the couch next to William, Henry said, “Wills, I’m bored.”

“Well, find a book to read then,” William said, as he turned the page of his book.

“I don’t feel like reading,” Henry whined. “I want to go outside and play.”

“Go ahead,” William said in an uninterested tone. “It’s your funeral.” They both knew that their mother would be extremely mad at them if they went outside in the pouring rain, as they would most likely catch their death of cold.

Before Henry could say anything in response, a strange tapping noise came from the direction of the window that he’d just been standing by. Standing back up and peering through the glass, Henry tried to make out what was making the strange noise.

“Harry, stop making that noise,” William said as he turned another page of his book. Honestly, did his little brother have to be this annoying? The castle was huge, why couldn’t he just leave him alone with his book?

“Wills, I’m not making that noise."

“Then what is?” William asked, somewhat annoyed.

“The owl on the windowsill."

“What?” William asked, finally looking up from his book. “Harry, owls are nocturnal. They don’t come out in the middle of the afternoon.”

“Yeah, well, tell that to the one that’s tapping its beak on the window."

“Harry, I know you’re bored,but you don’t have to tell tales.”

“I’m not! See for yourself!”

Sighing in frustration, William put a bookmark in his book and set it on a nearby end table before he stood up and walked over to the window his little brother was standing at. He was just about to call his brother’s bluff, when he caught sight of the owl sitting on the windowsill, tapping its beak insistently on the glass, as if to say, “Will you open this bloody window already?”

“Wills, am I seeing things, or does that owl have an envelope tied to its leg?”

William was just about to tell Henry that he was indeed seeing things, because after all, owls did not fly around with envelopes tied to their legs, when he noticed that there was indeed an envelope tied to the owl’s leg. “Okay, now that’s just weird,” he said instead.

Cocking his head to one side and studying the bird for a moment, as its tapping got more and more insistent, Henry said, “I think it wants us to open the window.”

“Are you crazy, Harry? It’s pouring rain outside. Besides Mum and Dad, not to mention Grandmum and Granddad, would kill us.”

With their backs to the doorway of the room, neither of them saw their grandmother, The Queen, enter the room until she asked, “And why pray tell would I kill you?”

Both boys turned around to face their grandmother. Henry spoke first. “Grandmum, there’s an owl on the windowsill.”

“An owl, Henry?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes, Grandmum,” William confirmed. “It looks like it has an envelope tied to its leg and it’s tapping its beak insistently on the glass. Harry thinks it wants us to open the window.”

Remembering that the members of her Magical Kingdom used owls for delivering letters, Elizabeth walked across the room and over to the window, where she saw that what her grandsons had just said was true. Curious as to why a post owl would be at Balmoral, Elizabeth reached up and turned the latch on the window, opening it, much to her grandsons’ mutual shock.

Almost immediately, the barn owl flew into the room and perched on the back of a wingback chair, at which point it held out its leg expectantly.

Walking over to the bird, Elizabeth grabbed the envelope and examined it for a moment, before she turned to William and held it out to him. “It’s for you, dear.”

“Me?” William asked, with a look on his face that said he was beyond confused, “I don’t understand.”

Before Elizabeth could say anything else, the owl flapped its wings and flew back out into the pouring rain, at which point Elizabeth said, “Henry, dear, close the window.”

Once Henry closed the window, Elizabeth sat down on the couch and motioned for her two grandsons to join her. Once they had, she said, “Yes, William, the letter is for you,” as she handed it to him.

William took the strange parchment envelope from his grandmother and then proceeded to do a double take when he saw the strange way it was addressed. Not only did it completely ignore his title, which considering he didn’t really want to be King one day he really didn’t mind, but it was also a bit too accurate as to his location.

Mr. W. Windsor
Upstairs Sitting Room
Balmoral Castle
Scotland

The confused prince was just about to comment on the strange address, when his hand brushed over the back of the envelope. Flipping it over, the first thing he saw was a large purple wax seal and he couldn’t help but think, “Who seals envelopes with wax in this day and age?” Looking closer, he saw that the seal had a large letter ‘H’ in the center, surrounded by a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake.

Looking to his grandmother, who just nodded her head, William broke the seal and pulled out two sheets of parchment and began to read the top piece.

HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr. Windsor,

We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress

Rereading the letter a second time, sure that he somehow hadn’t read it right the first time, William said, “According to this, I’ve been accepted at a school I’ve never heard of that can’t possibly exist.”

“Really?” Elizabeth asked, as she did her best to hide her grin. She’d seen the seal, so she knew that the letter was from Hogwarts and as she was Head of State of Wizarding Britain, she knew what Hogwarts was. She just never thought that one of her family members would be attending. To be honest, she rather hoped that her son and daughter-in-law would consent to William attending the school, as it would give her a chance to become better acquainted with the magical populace of her country. “Why are you so sure it doesn’t exist?”

“A school of witchcraft and wizardry?” William asked. “That can’t possibly be real because magic isn’t real.”

“Yes it is!” Henry exclaimed, obviously upset over his older brother saying such a thing.

“Harry, you’re going to be nine in a few months,” William said. “It’s time to grow up. Magic is not real.”

“Actually, magic is real,” Elizabeth said, no longer able to hide the smile from her face, as Henry looked at William with an expression that basically said, “See? I told you!” while William, on the other hand, looked at his grandmother as if she had gone mental. The look didn’t last long, as he remembered that this was The Queen, but it was long enough that Elizabeth caught it, prompting her to say, “No, William, I have not lost my mind. Magic truly is real.”

“That’s impossible,” William said. He knew he shouldn’t contradict his grandmother, especially considering who she was, but magic being real?

“Nothing is impossible, William, improbable yes, impossible no,” Elizabeth said. “The truth is magic is real and there are thousands of practitioners of it living all over Britain, not to mention millions more in the other Commonwealth realms. You see, magical society tends to keep itself well-hidden from non-magical society, because not only do they fear a repeat of the witch trials, they also understand that the majority of the non-magical society would want to exploit their talent. The thought being, ‘You have magic, therefore it’s your responsibility to fix all of the world’s problems.’”

“Well, why don’t they?” Henry asked.

“Magic can’t fix everything, dear,” Elizabeth answered. “Besides, if people relied on those who could do magic to fix all of their problems for them, they’d lose the sense of accomplishment one feels when they fix their own problems.”

“I suppose that makes sense,” William said after a moment. “Magic is real?” He was still trying to wrap his head around that concept.

“Yes, William, it’s real,” Elizabeth said in a patient tone. She understood his reluctance to accept it, for she had been much the same way shortly after becoming Queen and finding out for herself. The only people in the non-magic government who knew about the Wizarding world were The Queen herself, the Prime Minister, and the still-living past Prime Ministers, all of whom were sworn to absolute secrecy. “I know it comes as a shock. I reacted much the same way when I was told after my ascension to the throne.”

“You didn’t know before then?” Henry asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Elizabeth answered. “Tradition states that only the reigning monarch and the Prime Minister know about the magical world. Thus, my father knew about it, but mother does not.”

“Grandmother doesn’t know what?” Charles asked, as he walked into the room with Diana. He hadn't heard his mother's first sentence, only the second, leaving him to wonder, “What are you three talking about?”

“Magic,” Elizabeth answered. “And the fact that it exists.”

“Now Mum, I wish you wouldn’t fill the boys’ heads with stories,” Charles said. “They’re getting too old for such nonsense.”

“There’s nothing wrong with stories, Charles, and they’re not too old,” Diana said, as she shook her head at her husband, a look of complete exasperation on her face. “They’re only eleven and eight. Please stop trying to make them grow up too fast and let them have a childhood.”

“I’m not telling them stories, Charles,” Elizabeth said. “I’m telling them the truth. Magic is real. Up until now only Mr. Major and I knew that, but it’s the truth, Charles. Well-hidden from the non-magical community, a second magical community exists right here in the United Kingdom and all of the other Commonwealth realms.”

“Let’s just assume for the moment that I believe you,” Charles said, who at the moment was not talking to The Queen, but his mother, as they were in private, “if this was a state secret known only to you and the Prime Minister, why are you telling the boys and us?”

“Simple,” Elizabeth said. “It would seem that William is what the magical community would refer to as a muggleborn. They call all non-magical people muggles, but it turns out that William here is a wizard. He has just received a letter telling him that he has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I’m told that it is, without comparison, the finest school of magic in all of Europe.”

“Is that the letter?” Diana asked, as she noticed the parchment still clutched in her eldest son’s hand.

“Yes, Mum,” William said, as he handed the top sheet over to his mother to read, while he kept the bottom sheet as he was curious what it said.

Henry obviously was too, as he asked, “What does it say, Wills?”

“It’s the list of all necessary books and equipment that was mentioned in the letter,” William answered, as he looked it over.

“Read it aloud!” Henry exclaimed, as he was practically bouncing up and down on the sofa, looking every bit the excited eight-year-old and not a prince who was third in the line for the throne of an entire country.

“Harry, control yourself,” Charles scolded.

“Now, now, Charles, the boy is excited,” Elizabeth admonished, before nudging William and saying, “Go ahead, dear, I want to hear this myself.”

HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

Uniform
First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils’ clothes should carry name tags.

Set Books
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble

Other Equipment
1 wand
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 telescope
1 set brass scales
Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS

Yours sincerely,

Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus
Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions

Before anyone could say anything, Prince Philip entered the room, holding a cordless phone and said, “Elizabeth, dear, the front gate is on the phone. Apparently, there’s a strangely dressed man and woman seeking an audience with you.”

“Did they give names?” Elizabeth asked.

“What are their names?” Philip asked into the phone, and listened for a moment, before he took it away from his ear again and said, “Professors Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall.”

“Tell the guard to send them in, please,” Elizabeth said with a smile.

Philip nodded and relayed his wife’s orders to the guard, before hanging up the phone. “They’ll be right up. Who are they?”

“Well, according to this school acceptance letter that Wills got,” Diana said, “they’re the headmaster and deputy headmistress of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

Philip looked at his daughter-in-law at this point as if she’d grown a second head and asked, “Excuse me?”

Standing up and smoothing a couple of wrinkles in her dress, Elizabeth said, “Philip, dear, magic is real. No, I haven’t lost my mind nor am I joking. It would seem that our second eldest grandson is a wizard.”

“Mother, are you sure it’s wise to see these people?” Charles asked. “They’re clearly crackpots.”

“I would watch what you say, son,” Elizabeth said, in a tone which clearly said she had made the switch between mother to monarch. “If you think that they’re crackpots for believing that magic is real, then that would suggest that you think I’m one as well. I assure you that I’m not.”

Coming further into the room, Philip took one of the empty chairs and remained silent. He had known Elizabeth longer than anyone in the room and he trusted her, so, as hard as it was for him to believe that magic was real, he was willing to keep an open mind. About ten minutes later, one of the guards appeared in the doorway and bowed his head to Elizabeth, before he said, “Your Majesty, Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall.”

“Thank you,” Elizabeth said, as Dumbledore and McGonagall entered the room. Immediately, Elizabeth could see why the guard had referred to them as being strangely dressed.

The man, whose long silvery-gray hair and beard reached down as far as his stomach, was dressed in long purple robes with intricate gold embroidery, along with a purple cloak and half-moon shaped spectacles, over his twinkling blue eyes. The woman was wearing emerald green robes, under a tartan plaid cloak, her black hair done up in a tight bun and was also wearing spectacles.

Both of them bowed to Elizabeth and said, “Your Majesty.”

“Professors,” Elizabeth said. “To what do We owe the pleasure of your visit this afternoon?”

“The pleasure is all ours, Ma’am,” Dumbledore said. “To answer your question, Professor McGonagall and I are here because young Master William’s name has shown up on the list of new students for the fall term at Hogwarts.”

“Yes, we were just perusing his letter,” Elizabeth said. “I’m afraid that my belief that magic is real has William and the rest of my family worried for my mental health.”

“I believe you!” Henry exclaimed.

Elizabeth smiled and said, “Thank you, Henry. Perhaps you could provide a demonstration to convince the rest of my relatives?”

Dumbledore nodded and said, “Certainly, Ma’am.” Turning his head to look at McGonagall, he asked, “Minerva, perhaps you could?”

“Of course, Albus,” McGonagall said, knowing what Dumbledore meant. Looking around at the various people in the room, McGonagall said, “I am an Animagus, which means that I can turn into an animal. Observe.” At this point, McGonagall’s tall frame got much shorter as she turned into a cat right before everyone’s eyes. Elizabeth had already seen such a transformation before, so it wasn’t much of a shock, however, most of the other occupants of the room had shocked expressions etched on their faces.

“Wow,” William and Henry said in unison, as Dumbledore pulled out his wand and said, “Now for another demonstration, I’ll show you a spell that Minerva usually teaches to her second-year Transfiguration students – turning an animal into a water goblet.”

Normally, McGonagall might have shifted back into her human form and complained about this, but she knew it was coming and she trusted Dumbledore not to mess up. After all, Dumbledore had been her Transfiguration professor sixty-odd years ago. Clearing his throat, Dumbledore pointed his wand at the tabby cat on the floor, flicked it three times and said, “Fera Verto!” Instantly, the tabby cat shifted into an ornate crystal goblet with a thick golden rim. With another flick of his wand, the goblet shifted back into a cat and then back into McGonagall.

“You mean I could learn how to do that?” William asked, as both his face and his tone clearly showed his wonderment. He had been skeptical at first, but, he tended to believe things after seeing them with his own eyes.

“As Professor Dumbledore said, I don’t teach the animal into a water goblet transformation until second year,” McGonagall said, “and Animagus transformations aren’t taught at all, as it is a highly advanced form of Transfiguration that very few witches and wizards master.”

“So what do you teach in first year?” Diana asked.

“We start out very simple,” McGonagall answered. “Transfiguring matches into needles, for example.”

“And how many years does one attend Hogwarts?” Charles asked. Much like his son, he had also been skeptical, but he believed now.

“Seven years,” Dumbledore said. “Most students start at the age of eleven and complete their training when they’re seventeen, at which point they will be considered to be fully-trained. After Hogwarts, it is possible to become an apprentice to a master in a particular subject to further one’s knowledge of that subject, though most former students go immediately into their chosen fields.”

“You said most students start at eleven,” Philip said, “I take it some start at a different age?”

“Yes, the rules clearly state that you must be eleven years of age by the first of September in order to attend Hogwarts,” McGonagall said. “Young witches and wizards whose birthdays fall after September First must wait until the following year, when they’re much closer to twelve to start.”

“My birthday is September Fifteenth,” Henry said, obviously a bit disappointed. “So that means I have to wait an extra year?”

“I’m afraid so young man,” Dumbledore said. “Of course, that’s assuming you turn out to be a wizard. The fact that your elder brother is one does not guarantee that you will be. There have been numerous times when a muggleborn witch or wizard has had multiple siblings and yet they were the only witch or wizard in the family.”

“William read aloud the list of books required earlier,” Charles said, “and it didn’t sound like a very well-rounded education to me. It seems like your school focuses only on magical topics and ignores the topics that William will need one day when he becomes King.”

“That is true, Your Highness,” McGonagall said. “A Hogwarts education is focused on the magical; however, it is certainly possible for you to hire private tutors to ensure that William gets the lessons not taught at Hogwarts. Many families also choose to home school their children in magic and not send them to Hogwarts.”

“I want to go!” William exclaimed. “Mum, Dad, please say I can go to Hogwarts.”

“Son, it does sound like a fun opportunity for you,” Diana said, “but, I do have to agree with your father. It really doesn’t sound like you’d be getting the kind of education that you need for your position in the non-magical world.”

“There is another option,” Dumbledore said, “one that might work out especially well in William’s case, considering his public status as a member of the royal family. I imagine it would be very hard for you to send him off to boarding school between September and June for seven years and not tell anyone where he’s attending.” At this many of the adult royals nodded in agreement. “It isn’t used often, but in the past, Hogwarts has had some high profile students in the public eye that needed to remain that way, but also desired to attend Hogwarts.”

“What Professor Dumbledore means,” McGonagall said, “is that there is a spell, which could be cast on William that would allow him to be in two places at once. It is essentially a temporary cloning spell, which would create an exact and perfect copy of William. The copy could then remain with the family wherever they are at the time and attend school as normal, while the real William attended Hogwarts. Then over the summers, when he comes home, the spell would be ended and the real William would gain all the memories and knowledge that the copy obtained over the course of the school year.”

“I understand it isn’t preferable to have a copy of your son living with you over your real one,” Dumbledore said, “but it would allow him to gain all of the education he’d need to thrive in the Muggle world, while also gaining the knowledge needed to exist in the Wizarding world.”

“At the very least, he will need some magical training,” McGonagall said. “As it is imperative that he at least be taught to control his magic, because if he were to grow into adulthood with no magical training at all, his powers would become so unstable, that he’d become a danger to himself and everyone around him.”

Dumbledore nodded. “Yes, wild magic can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous. It tends to connect with emotion, at which point if something made William extremely angry, for example, any number of things could happen. Anything from a light breeze blowing through the room when there’s no windows open, to the lights flickering on and off, or even anything made of glass shattering into a million pieces.”

Diana and Charles looked at each other quietly for a few moments, before Charles nodded and Diana said, “Well, William, you can go to Hogwarts, if you want to.”

“Thanks Mum!” William exclaimed happily as he jumped up from the couch and threw his arms around his mother’s neck and hugged her for a minute, as she patted his back. Once the hug ended, he stood in front of his father and said, “Thanks, Dad,” and held out his hand, knowing that Charles was a more formal person than his mother.

“You’re welcome, son,” Charles said as he grasped William’s hand and shook it for a brief second, before pulling him into a hug. Just because he generally acted cool and detached, didn’t mean he couldn’t hug his son in the privacy of their own home. He could also see how happy William obviously was over the prospect of going to Hogwarts; so, he couldn’t find it in himself to deny him.

When William jumped up to hug Diana, the list of school supplies fell to the floor and Philip stood up and picked it up. Going over the list, he asked, “Where does one go to get everything on this list?”

McGonagall smiled. “He can find all of it in Diagon Alley in London, sir. If you like, I can accompany him there today and help him get his shopping done. There’s still over a month before the fall term starts, so, the alley won’t be as busy as it will be in the week or so leading up to the first day of school, which is when most students do their shopping.”

“I believe we’ll take you up on that offer, Professor,” Elizabeth said. “However, I must insist that at least one member of the royal protection force accompany you, for security purposes. I know there's a few wizards on the force that I can have reassigned to William.”

“Of course, Your Majesty,” McGonagall said.

“I would like to accompany my son, if you don’t mind,” Diana said.

McGonagall nodded and said, “We’ll have to go through the Leaky Cauldron then. It’s a Wizarding pub on Charing Cross Road in the heart of London. It’s the only way that parents of muggleborns wishing to accompany their children shopping can access Diagon Alley. With your permission, Your Highness, I’ll cast a spell on you which will override the charms which hide the building from Muggle view, so that you’ll be able to see it.”

“You have my permission,” Diana said, at which point McGonagall pulled out her wand, pointed it at Diana and said, “This will tingle a bit at first, but it won’t harm you in any way.” Diana nodded, at which point McGonagall performed a complicated swish and flick movement of her wand, and said, “Ostendo Magicum!”

Glancing at the clock on the mantelpiece, Dumbledore said, “I have a meeting I must attend with the Minister for Magic, so, Your Majesty with your permission, I will take my leave of you now.”

“Permission granted,” Elizabeth said. “Thank you for coming, Professor. I look forward to many more meetings in the future.”

“As do I, Ma’am,” Dumbledore said, as he bowed and proceeded to walk backwards out the door, bowing to Elizabeth one more time just after crossing the threshold, before turning and leaving the castle the same way he’d come in.

“There’s a Minister for Magic?” Philip asked once Dumbledore was gone.

“Yes, Sir,” McGonagall answered. “Cornelius Oswald Fudge. Many in the Wizarding world would have preferred for Professor Dumbledore to take the job after Millicent Bagnold retired last year, but he didn’t want the job. He might as well have taken it though, what with the number of owls Cornelius has sent him asking for advice on practically every subject under the sun.”

“Are you saying that Minister Fudge is incompetent?” Elizabeth asked.

“That really isn’t my place to say, Ma’am,” McGonagall said. “All I can tell you is that, since Cornelius took office last year, he’s sent at least two or three owls a day to Professor Dumbledore asking for advice. I believe the highest in one day was fifteen, about two months ago.”

“I’m sorry, but owls?” Charles asked, who hadn’t been in the room when the owl delivered William’s letter.

“Yes, Sir,” McGonagall said. “In the Wizarding world, we use owls to deliver the mail.”

William was by this point getting a bit anxious to leave, because he wanted to see this Diagon Alley, so he asked, “Can we go now?”

“Yes, William, dear,” Diana said. “We can go. Though London is a rather long trip, I’m afraid it’s going to take awhile to get there from here.”

“Not as long as you might think,” McGonagall said. “The spell I cast on you earlier will also allow you to see the Knight Bus. Not my preferred method of travel, but, it will get us to the Leaky Cauldron very quickly. We’ll easily be able to do William’s shopping and be back here before nightfall.”

“How much will his supplies cost?” Diana asked.

“Well, in the Wizarding world we don’t use pounds,” McGonagall answered, as she pulled a money pouch out of a hidden pocket in her robes and removed one of each coin. “We use these – golden Galleons, silver Sickles, and bronze Knuts. It’s twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle and seventeen Sickles to a Galleon. One galleon is equal to five pounds. The goblins can transfer and exchange funds from any bank in the UK in about five minutes, so you don’t have to bring money with you – just an account number.”

“Goblins?” Philip asked.

“Yes, they run Gringotts’ Wizarding Bank,” McGonagall said. “Not the most pleasant creatures, in either looks or demeanor, but they’re very good with money, both in making it and in protecting it.”

“Well, I can see you’re anxious to go, William,” Elizabeth said with a smile. “So, go on. I’ve called down and there’ll be two of the magical members of the royal protection force waiting for you outside.”

“I want to go too!” Henry exclaimed.

“No, Harry, you have piano lessons today,” Charles reminded his son. “Now come along.”

“Yes sir,” Henry said, as he followed his father out of the room.

-o-0-o-

Five minutes later found Diana, William, and McGonagall downstairs, where they met up with the two members of the royal protection force that Elizabeth had ordered and McGonagall got a bit of a shock.

“Professor McGonagall?” asked one of the protection officers. He stood about six feet tall, with a muscular build, short black hair with blond streaks, and blue eyes.

“Mr. Wells?” McGonagall asked, clearly taken aback to be seeing him. Looking at the other officer, who was about five foot, ten inches tall, muscularly built, with dirty blond hair and silver eyes, “Mr. Ridley-Wells? What are you two doing here?”

“We could ask you the same thing, Professor,” the dirty blond said with a smile.

“You know each other?” Diana asked.

“Yes, Mr. Wells and Mr. Ridley-Wells were students at Hogwarts,” McGonagall said. “They were both in Ravenclaw House and two of my best students. I haven’t seen them though since Mr. Ridley-Wells finished Hogwarts twelve years ago.”

“Mr. Wells and Mr. Ridley-Wells?” Diana asked. "Are you two related?"

Nodding, the taller of the two said, "Yes, Your Highness. Same-gender marriage is legal in the Wizarding world and Thorne and I are man and husband."

“Yes, they got married over the summer between Thorne's 6th and 7th year,” McGonagall said, before turning to the couple, and adding “You know I am just a little cross that you didn't invite me to the wedding.”

“I’m sorry, Professor,” Thorne said. “Dylan’s parents had just passed away and as a result, we didn’t feel like having a big wedding, so we kept it very small - just immediate family and a handful of friends.”

“Oh, that’s right, I’d forgotten,” McGonagall said. “My condolences, your parents were good people.”

“Thanks, Professor,” Dylan said with a smile. “So, what are you doing here?”

“She’s taking mother and me to Diagon Alley,” William said. “I’m going to Hogwarts.”

Thorne looked at Dylan and said, “Well, that explains why Her Majesty had us reassigned to guard Prince William. She must know that we attended Hogwarts.”

“Must be,” Dylan said. “You’ll love it at Hogwarts, Your Highness. Thorne and I certainly did and Carter and Hunter can’t wait to go.”

“Who are Carter and Hunter?” Diana asked.

“Dylan’s and my twin boys,” Thorne said. “They’re starting Hogwarts this year, too.”

“I remember writing their letters,” McGonagall said. She just hadn’t realized that they were the sons of two of her favorite students at the time. “Anyway, I suppose it’s time to get going,” at which point McGonagall waved her wand to summon the Knight Bus.

A moment later a horn blared and a large, purple triple-decker bus appeared out of nowhere. As it came to a stop in front of the group, the elderly conductor said, “Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transportation for the stranded witch or wizard. My name is Sam Shunpike and I will be your conductor this afternoon.”

“Hello Sam,” McGonagall said. “Still haven’t retired I see.”

“No Professor,” Sam said. “I’m waiting for my grandson Stan to get a bit older before I do that.”

“I see, well, we need to go to Diagon Alley,” McGonagall said, as she waved William and Diana onto the bus and then got on herself, with Dylan and Thorne bringing up the rear.

“Right,” Sam said and then cocking his head and looking at Diana, he asked, “Is she a Muggle?”

“Yes, Sam,” McGonagall said. “This is Her Royal Highness Diana, the Princess of Wales. Her son, Prince William, here, is a muggleborn and needs to get his school supplies for Hogwarts.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Your Highnesses,” Sam said. “We’ve never had royalty on the bus before have we, Ern?”

“No, not that I can recall,” said Ernie Prang, the bus driver.

“Anyway,” Sam said, “For the five of you, it’ll be three Galleons and four Sickles for the trip to Diagon Alley. For another 10 Sickles, you can get hot chocolate, and hot water bottles and toothbrushes in the color of your choice for another 10 Sickles.”

“I highly suggest the hot chocolate,” Dylan said with a smile to Diana and William. “It’s made with Honeyduke’s chocolate, best you’ll ever taste.”

Looking around at the others, McGonagall said, “We’ll each take a hot chocolate, Sam, but we’ll skip the water bottles and toothbrushes.”

Dylan pulled out his money pouch and paid for himself and Thorne, while McGonagall counted out enough coins to pay for Diana, William, and herself, agreeing to let Diana pay her back when the princess insisted.

“Grab an empty armchair,” Sam said. “And hold on it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”

Mere seconds after the five of them had sat down, there was a loud BANG, before the bus lurched forward and both William and Diana were shocked when less than a second later, they looked out the window of the bus to see that Balmoral Castle was nowhere in sight.

-o-0-o-

“This bus sure has a queer way of traveling,” William said.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Dylan said with a smile. “I suppose outside the magical world, traveling in alphabetical order must seem extremely strange, but then it would also be highly impractical without magic.”

“I can see that,” Diana said. “I can’t say as I’ve ever used any form of transportation that can travel hundreds of kilometers in less than a second.”

“Do all magical people travel on this bus?” William asked.

“No, as Sam said before we boarded, the Knight Bus is usually considered emergency transport,” Thorne said. “So, we usually use other means. For example, Apparition, which is a form of teleportation, but much like driving a car, you can’t do it until you’re seventeen and have obtained a license.”

“Some wizards and witches also travel by broomstick,” Dylan said, “although that’s usually only for short-distance trips unless you have a good Cushioning Charm on your broom.”

“Another magical transport is called a portkey,” McGonagall said. “It’s an object that’s charmed to go to whatever place the caster was thinking of when the charm was cast. Some will take you to the location as soon as you touch it, others are time and date activated and will send whoever is touching it to the location at the specific time and date, and then some others are activated by a code word or phrase.”

“Finally there’s also traveling through the Floo,” Thorne said. “In the magical world, many fireplaces are linked up to each other via the Floo Network, which allows people to travel between two locations and also talk to others via what’s commonly referred to as a Floo-Call.”

“However, none of those methods of transportation will work for a Muggle,” McGonagall said. “The Knight Bus works for muggles, but only if they can actually see it, which they can’t without the spell I cast on you earlier, Your Highness.”

Continuing along on its alphabetical course, the bus made stops in Leake in Lincolnshire, before moving on to Leake in North Yorkshire, before Ernie Prang said, “Next stop the Leaky Cauldron in London.”

“This is where we’ll be getting off,” McGonagall said. “The bus doesn’t enter Diagon Alley itself. We’ll have to walk there, but it’s a very short walk.”

At this point, the bus came to an abrupt stop on Charing Cross Road, in front of the Leaky Cauldron, lightly hitting the back bumper of a parked car and causing it’s car alarm to start going off. A brown-haired Muggle who had just gotten out of the car and was heading into the bookstore next to the pub sighed in frustration. She probably assumed that the alarm was malfunctioning, as she obviously could not see the Knight Bus. Pulling out her key chain and pressing a button, she turned off the alarm before heading into the store as she’d intended.

Standing up, McGonagall pulled out her wand and said, “Before we disembark, I’ll just quickly cast Notice Me Not Charms on all of us so that we can get into the pub without any of the muggles noticing us.”

“That certainly sounds like a useful spell,” Diana said. “Especially if you want to avoid the press.”

“Yes, it is definitely useful,” Dylan said, as McGonagall cast the charms on them and they then got off the bus.

Diana and William were both still a bit shocked when they were able to stand in the middle of a busy sidewalk full of people and not get noticed. That was certainly not normal, because being members of the royal family, their faces were very well known and they’d definitely get noticed if not for the spell. Of course, it was a good thing that McGonagall had cast it, otherwise people would probably wonder how Diana and William had appeared out of thin air. As that’s what it would look like they’d done, since none of them would be able to see the bus they’d just disembarked from.

Motioning for a moment for the group to wait, Dylan entered the Leaky Cauldron first, doing his job and quickly scanning for threats before giving the all clear and allowing the others to enter the pub. It truly was like stepping into another world, at least as far as Diana and William were concerned. Dylan, Thorne, and McGonagall were used to it.

“Good afternoon, Professor McGonagall,” Tom called over from his place behind the bar with a smile, after McGonagall had cancelled the Notice Me Not Charms, as it would be impossible to go shopping with them on.

“Good afternoon, Tom,” McGonagall said.

“Don’t usually see you in here,” Tom commented. “You just missed Professor Quirrell, he left about ten minutes before you came in.”

“Sorry to have missed him,” McGonagall said, though in reality she wasn’t. She’d rather liked the man before he had taken a year off a few years back, but once he’d returned he’d become rather annoying. At first, she’d felt sorry for him, but his constant paranoia over all manner of dark creatures being after him got very annoying after awhile. Just last week, she’d given up arguing with Professor Dumbledore over his decision to move Quirrell from his previous job as the Muggle Studies professor to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts.

“So what brings you here today, Professor?” Tom asked.

Motioning towards William, McGonagall said, “I’m taking Prince William here shopping for his school supplies.”

“Why as I live and breathe,” Tom said, noticing William and Diana for the first time. “Two members of the royal family in my establishment. The last royal to enter here was Queen Victoria back in 1839, long before my time, though my great-grandfather spoke of it often.”

“Was she a witch then?” William asked.

“No, she wasn’t,” McGonagall said. “You are the first member of the direct line of the muggle royal family in all of recorded history to be eligible to attend Hogwarts. There’s been a few wizards and witches in the various branch lines, who are over a hundredth in line to the throne, and several in the noble families, but as you’re second in line, you’re the first wizard who is likely to live long enough to take the throne.”

After a moment of silence, McGonagall said, “Well, it was nice seeing you Tom. We’d better get moving, as I told Her Majesty I’d have them back to Balmoral before nightfall.”

“Before we go, Professor,” Dylan said, “there’s a few things that I think the Princess and the Prince need to know. Perhaps, we could sit down for a moment? It shouldn’t take long.”

McGonagall nodded and moved to a nearby table. Normally, she might have objected, but, Dylan was the Lord and Head of a Most Ancient and Noble House and she was only a commoner. To publicly disagree with him would be a bad thing to do. “Of course, Your Grace.”

Diana cocked her head at that and asked, “Your Grace?”

Thorne smiled and nodded, as he sat down at one of the more secluded tables, with Dylan, McGonagall, William, and Diana following suit. Once everyone was seated, Thorne said, "Yes, there's a total of twenty-one magical noble families here in Britain. You may have heard or seen some reference to the titles they possess, but you wouldn't have known that the families themselves were magical families, because like everything else in the Wizarding world, the magical noble families are protected by the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy."

"International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy?" William asked. "What's that?"

Dylan nodded. "It's a law that mandates that wizards and witches keep themselves hidden away from the Muggle world and not allow them to find out that magic exists. As the name suggests, it's an international law laid down and enforced by the International Confederation of Wizards, which is the magical version of the United Nations. Of course, unlike the UN, which has only been around since 1945, the Confederation was founded in 1664."

Thinking he'd seen such a body mentioned, William suddenly remembered his Hogwarts letter. "It was mentioned on my Hogwarts letter wasn't it?"

"Indeed it was," McGonagall said. "Professor Dumbledore is the Confederation's Supreme Mugwump, which is the magical equivalent of being the Secretary General of the United Nations."

"Anyway, the noble families," Dylan said. "As Thorne said, there's twenty-one magical noble families here in Britain. There were originally fifty noble families, but by the time of Queen Victoria's ascension in 1837, they'd all died out. When she took the throne, in order for a magical family to qualify as nobility, they had to live in Britain, and be able to prove blood kinship with an ancestor with the same surname, who also lived in Britain and was born at least 3,000 years before them. Thus, it was extremely hard to qualify as nobility, which is why all the noble families had died out."

"It's also why nobody complained about the Muggle Queen changing Britain's magical peerage laws," Thorne said. "Even the most fanatical of pureblood families who hated being under the rule of a Muggle supported the changes because they'd result in a number of them being ennobled. So, they decided to, at least temporarily, overlook their contempt for the Queen."

"Contempt for the Queen?" William asked, obviously confused. "Why would they hate the Queen because she's a Muggle? And what do you mean by 'even the most fanatical of pureblood families'?"

"Would you mind if we explained about the nobility first and then went back to those questions?" Thorne asked.

"No, I don't mind," William answered. "I'm interested to know more about both."

"Alright then," Dylan said. "Victoria kept the residency requirement and the proof of blood kinship with a person of the same surname requirement. However, she changed the number of years required to achieve noble status. She also made it so that instead of it being that there had to be that number of years between the living person and their ancestor, it would instead be based on her ascension year of 1837. She lowered the year requirement from 3,000 to 1,000 and made it so that the living person seeking noble status only had to prove blood kinship with an ancestor who was alive in the year 837 or earlier."

"By making this change," Thorne continued, "a total of twenty-one families that didn't previously qualify for the nobility now qualified. Interestingly enough those twenty-one families could be further broken down into three groups of seven each, with the age of the family line being older than 1,000 years but less than the 3,000 years originally required. Now, Arithmancy, which is the study of the magical properties of numbers and an elective you can opt to take at Hogwarts once you reach third year, says that the number seven is the most powerful magical number in existence. So, in keeping with that theme, Victoria created three different levels of nobility, each with seven families in them."

"At the lowest level," Dylan said, "you have the Noble Houses. The year requirement for these families is 1,000 to 1,499 years prior to 1837. Now, previously, the magical nobility had no standing in the muggle world and were nobility only in the magical world. Victoria, however, hoped to create some bridges between her muggle and magical subjects, so, she gave each of the families noble standing in the muggle world. Now inside the magical world itself, it would be rare for a titled wizard to reference their muggle title. The head of a Noble House is referred to in the magical world as His Lordship Bann and then whatever their surname is. Outside the magical world, the heads of the Noble Houses are held in the same regard as a Baron and are addressed accordingly."

Thorne said, "The seven Lords of the Noble Houses are Lords Carrow, Flamel, Malfoy, Nott, Ogden, Prince and Urquhart. As Dylan said, in the magical world, Lord Carrow for example, would be referred to as His Lordship The Lord-Bann Carrow, and it would of course be the same for the other families. In the Muggle world, however, Lord Carrow is Baron Trelawynd, while Lord Urquhart is Baron Swanwick. I'm not going to bore you with the titles of all of them, however, as it would get longer and more cumbersome as we move up to the higher levels of nobility."

"Why?" Diana asked. She didn't recognize Baron Trelawynd or Baron Swanwick, but she assumed that was simply because they likely chose not to attend any social functions in the muggle world.

Dylan smiled. "Because the families at the second and third levels have more than one muggle title allocated to them. The second level of the nobility are called Ancient and Noble Houses in the magical world and must have been in existence from 1,500 to 1,999 years by 1837. The seven lords at this level are the Lords Dolohov, Flint, Lestrange, Parkinson, Prewett, Weasley, and Zabini. Now, in the magical world, Lord Dolohov, for example, would be referred to as His Excellence The Lord-Arl Dolohov. However, all the lords at this level are both an Earl and a Viscount. Obviously they'd be referred to only as the higher of the two titles, but it provides for a courtesy title for their heir. To use Lord Dolohov as an example, in the muggle world he's The Earl of Sundrum and his heir is called Viscount Prestwick."

"So, I take it that means that you're on the highest level, Dylan?" William asked.

Nodding, Dylan said, "Yes, William, I am. The highest level are the Most Ancient and Noble Houses, who were in existence for 2,000 or more years by 1837. The lords at this level are the Lords Black, Burke, Longbottom, McLaggen, Ollivander, Potter, and Wells. So, I'll use myself as an example. Here in the magical realm, I'm His Grace The Lord-Teryn Wells. In the muggle world, however, I would be entitled to use the title of The Duke of Taleford, while my son Carter is my heir and would be called Marquis of Charwell. Now, unlike those on the second level, however, the lords on the highest level have three muggle titles, instead of only two. So, in addition to being The Duke of Taleford and The Marquis of Charwell, I'm also The Earl of Laynford. Thus providing a courtesy title for Carter's son should he have one while I'm still alive."

Noticing that the group seemed to be staying, Tom made his way over to the table and asked, “Can I get you anything? It’s on the house for such distinguished guests as yourselves.”

“A cup of tea, thank you, Tom,” McGonagall said.

“Perhaps a butterbeer for young William here, Tom?” Thorne asked. “I know my boys love them,” and then noticing the look on Diana’s face, he added, “They’re non-alcoholic, Your Highness.”

Diana nodded and decided that she could have tea back home anytime she wanted. While she was here in a Wizarding pub, she might as well try a Wizarding drink, so, she said, “My son and I will both have a butterbeer, Tom.”

“Of course,” Tom said with a smile, before turning to Dylan and Thorne, “and for you, my lords?”

“I’d order firewhisky but I’m on duty,” Dylan said, knowing that Tom knew about his job as a member of the royal protection force, even though he really didn’t need to work. “So, Thorne and I will have butterbeers, too.”

“Very good, coming right up,” Tom said, as he headed back to the bar to fetch four bottles of butterbeer and a cup of tea.

"So, what about you, Thorne?" William asked. "Are you a lord?"

"In the magical world, yes, I am," Thorne answered. "As Dylan's husband I'm referred to as His Grace The Lord-Teryn-Consort Wells. Of course, our marriage isn't legal in the muggle world, so, I don't have any rights to Dylan's muggle titles."

“I know you said earlier that same-gender marriage is legal in the Wizarding world,” Diana said, and Dylan and Thorne nodded, before she added, “Now, I have no problems with such things, but I do find myself curious as to how that came about?”

“Well, it's rather simple really,” Dylan said. “Same-gendered marriage has been legal in the Wizarding world for over a thousand years now. As you might have guessed, magic is capable of achieving many things otherwise impossible and that includes allowing same-gendered couples to conceive biological children together, thus there are no laws barring them from marrying.”

“Similarly to in vitro fertilization?” Diana asked and then added, “You can speak freely, William knows all about the birds and the bees and where babies come from.”

William smiled, “Unlike my brother, who still thinks that the stork drops babies off. Mum and Dad said they’d tell him the truth when he was ten.”

Thorne nodded and said, “Yes, in a way it is similar to in vitro. As you undoubtedly found out at Balmoral, Professor McGonagall is the Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts, which is the art of transforming one thing into something else. In the Wizarding world, healers, or doctors as they’d be called in the muggle world, are capable of transfiguring eggs or sperm into the opposite. So, when two women are together, eggs are harvested from both. Then one of the woman’s eggs are transfigured into sperm, which is then used to fertilize the eggs of the other woman. At that point they’re implanted into one of the women, who in turn carries a baby that is biologically hers’ and her partners’ to term.”

“So, then I assume it’s the opposite for male couples and a surrogate mother is used?” Diana asked.

Dylan smiled. “No, actually. The intervention of a healer is necessary for lesbian couples because their equipment doesn’t allow them to engage in intercourse. However, two wizards can, and thus no healer is necessary - their magical cores do all the work and nine months later, the baby is born.”

“Are you saying that wizards can get pregnant?” William asked.

“Yes, William, they can,” Thorne said. “You know that Dylan and I have twin sons, well, I carried them. When it comes time to deliver, a magical caesarean section that leaves no scar is performed.”

“So, since I’m a wizard, does that mean I could get pregnant?” William asked.

“Yes, William, you could,” McGonagall said. “If you are eventually so inclined as to have a relationship with another male, you could get pregnant. However, that relationship would have to be with another wizard. Only two wizards' magical cores working together can make one of the wizards capable of impregnating the other, so it wouldn't work if you were in a relationship with a muggle male, because they don't have a magical core.”

At this point, Tom came over with a tray and passed out the drinks, before heading back to the bar. Diana lifted the bottle to her lips and took a tentative sip, before she said, “Mmm, this is really good.”

“Yeah, it is,” William said, as he took his own sip.

“I should warn you,” Dylan said, “they don’t serve butterbeer at Hogwarts. You'll be drinking milk, water, tea, or pumpkin juice with meals.”

“Pumpkin juice?” Diana asked, after taking another sip of her butterbeer.

“Yes, we favor it over orange juice in the Wizarding world,” Thorne said. “It’s a bit richer and sweeter than orange juice and doesn’t have a citric taste, but it’s still good and extremely popular.”

William nodded. “So, what about my previous question? Why do some witches and wizards hate being ruled by a muggle? And you said something about purebloods?"

"The definition of a pureblood has changed over the years," Thorne said. "When Hogwarts was founded just over a thousand years ago, it was believed that if you had all magical parents and grandparents you were a pureblood. Nobody ever looked further back in your family than that. Fast forward about two hundred years and you had to have all magical parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to be considered pureblood. Now, the present definition of pureblood, is that you can't have any known Muggle or non-human ancestors in your family tree. Achieving that is next to impossible though unless you remove the unwanted individuals from the family tree."

Nodding, Dylan said, "Yes, remove the unwanted individuals and marry cousins so that you're always marrying into wizarding blood."

“So, in a way,” William said, “similar to how before my great-grandmum, all the royals were expected to marry members of other royal families?”

“Yes,” McGonagall said. “That would be a workable comparison," knowing that the Queen Mother, while being the daughter of a noble, was not a royal until after her marriage. Before that point, the royal family had a tendency to pick only members of the world's other royal families as their bride or groom, which often meant they were marrying a distant cousin.

"The main difference, however," Thorne elaborated, "is that without looking beyond the borders of Britain and Ireland, which few of the old, pureblood families actually do when looking for perspective mates for their children, there aren't many choices left."

"Further complicating matters," McGonagall added, "is the stance that some of the fanatical purebloods take in that having any Muggle or non-human blood anywhere in your family tree makes your blood less desirable."

"Sadly, that's true," Thorne said. "I'm actually considered to be a halfblood. My late father came from an old pureblood line. The Ridley family isn't old enough to be considered noble, but it's old enough to have earned a certain amount of respect. However, my father fell in love with and married a muggleborn woman he went to school with. That woman is my mother, making my maternal grandparents muggles. To some people that means my blood is polluted and not as desirable."

"You see, William, in the Wizarding world," Dylan explained, "nobody cares about your skin color, national origin, sexual orientation, or really even your gender. No, there's only two kinds of prejudice and discrimination in the Wizarding world. One type is against other intelligent races that aren't human, such as goblins and vampires. The other has to do with the purity of your blood. The pureblood fanatics think of themselves as being a separate and superior race to muggles. So, they discriminate against anyone who doesn't have pure Wizarding blood."

At this point, Thorne said, "You may have heard the saying 'Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.'" Both William and Diana nodded. "Well, there's a magical version of that saying, which was coined by the author and magical theoretician Hambledon Quince which says that 'Wizards are from Mars and muggles are from mushrooms.'"

William almost spit out the swig of butterbeer he'd taken moments before at this comment. He managed not to do so, but Diana handed him a napkin nonetheless as a small amount of it came out of his nose due to his laughter. Once he calmed down, he asked, "Mushrooms?"

"Yes, it's one of the more ridiculous theories," Dylan answered. "But it should give you some idea of the way muggles are viewed in magical society. Some view them as being inferior because they don't have magic. Now, the Wells family is one of the old pureblood lines and like some of the other more fanatical lines was pure of any Muggle blood until I fell in love with Thorne and we in turn had Carter and Hunter. By the old definition, they'd be considered purebloods because they have all magical parents and grandparents, but by the current definition, they're halfbloods because Thorne's mother is muggleborn."

"Are you a pureblood fanatic then?" William asked.

"William!" Diana exclaimed. "That's not something you ask a person."

Dylan shook his head, "It's okay, Your Highness, I don't mind. It's a fair question." Looking at William, Dylan said, "No, William, I am not a pureblood fanatic. From what I've been told, none of my ancestors going as far back as 1750 could be considered fanatical purebloods. You see, there are some purebloods who don't care for the prejudiced view that others take and try to help muggleborns and halfbloods. The more fanatical witches and wizards would call them blood traitors and think of them the same way they would a muggle, even if they are a pureblood."

"Now, as to the contempt for the Queen," Thorne said, "after everything we've just told you, it should come as no real surprise that some witches and wizards would hate being under the rule of a muggle. Now you may think that they should be used to it by now, and perhaps they should be, but magical Britain hasn't been under muggle rule as long as muggle Britain has."

"What do you mean?" William asked.

"Until the year 1697," McGonagall answered, "Wizarding Britain was considered to be a completely separate country from Muggle Britain, with its own government and its own royal family. You see until 1697, when the king died suddenly without an heir, Wizarding Britain was under the rule of the Royal House of Pendragon."

"Pendragon?" Diana asked. "Like King Arthur Pendragon?"

"Yes, Your Highness," Dylan said. "It may shock you to know, but King Arthur Pendragon was a real person. I know that in the muggle world he's viewed as a legendary or even mythical person that never actually existed. He was very real, however. He ruled over a united Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland centuries before muggles achieved the same feat. Now, the muggle Arthurian legends did get some aspects correct in that King Arthur did wield a sword called Excalibur, the existence of the Knights of the Round Table, Camelot, and also Merlin. However, in the legends Merlin is often depicted as a very old man when Arthur is young, while in reality Merlin was about a year younger than Arthur."

"Something else the muggle legends fail to mention," Thorne said, "is that King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were all wizards. They did fight with swords, but they also used magic. So, anyway, as Professor McGonagall said, Wizarding Britain was under Pendragon rule until 1697, when the last male of the Pendragon family died without a male heir. Now the King did have four daughters, but Wizarding Britain followed a very strict male only rule for the crown, because at the time it was believed that a woman couldn't effectively rule a country. That opinion did change overtime, but it wasn't until after the crown was passed into the hands of the muggle royal family."

"One very big difference between Magical Britain and Muggle Britain," Dylan said, "is the fact that Magical Britain is not a constitutional monarchy. The monarch actually does possess absolute authority, acting as both Head of State and Head of Government. This also further upsets the fanatics because they don't like the idea of a muggle having that much power over them. From 1697 until 1839, the Muggle monarch did their best to rule over both countries effectively. However, after two years, it became obvious to Queen Victoria that she couldn't relate to the magical populace enough to be an effective ruler."

"So, while Queen Victoria did retain the positions of Head of State and Government," Thorne continued, "she granted the Minister for Magic nearly complete autonomy to run the magical world in whatever way they deemed best. This hands-off approach to the governance of the magical portion of the country has continued since then, with every monarch taking the same approach. The fanatics still don't like having a muggle as their ruler, but as long as they stay out of wizarding affairs, they don't make too big a deal out of it."

"What would grandmother's title be in Magical Britain?" William asked. He was curious just how different it might be from the muggle version of her title.

Dylan said, "Her full title, which even if she played an active role in the government would be rarely used, is Her Majesty Elizabeth the First, by the Grace of the Gods, of the Kingdom of Albion, Iwernia, and the Dominions Beyond the Seas Queen, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Knights of the Round Table, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of Camelot, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of Merlin, and Empress of India."

"Her regnal number is different," William commented. "And Empress of India? I thought they gained independence in the 1940's."

"They did," McGonagall said, "however, only the Muggle section of the country was involved in the fight for independence. The Wizarding sections were happy under royal rule, possibly because of the hands-off approach that all the monarchs since Victoria had taken, and thus never petitioned or fought for independence. Like all Wizarding communities, they kept themselves secreted away and they decided that one Muggle government knowing of their existence was enough. So, they chose to remain under British rule, since not doing so would have required them to make themselves known to the Muggle Indian government."

"As for the regnal number," Thorne said, "remember, it wasn't until 1697 that the crown came into the hands of the muggle royal family. The muggle Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603. Thus in Magical Britain, your grandmother is the first monarch named Elizabeth and is thus referred to as Elizabeth I, instead of Elizabeth II."

"What do you mean by the Grace of the Gods?" Diana asked.

"Wizarding society is polytheistic," McGonagall answered. "Here in Britain, we worship the Greek Gods: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera and the others. Other Wizarding societies worship other gods, such as Egypt, who worships the Egyptian gods: Ra, Osiris, and Anubis, to name a few. Now, that doesn't mean that William will be expected to convert to polytheism, as most muggleborns and a few halfbloods adhere to the Muggle religions."

"The reason we worship the Greek deities," Dylan added, "is because long before England become a holding of Rome, we were a holding of Atlantis, before it sank. Poseidon was the patron of Atlantis, so, we were worshipping the Greek gods for several thousand years before Rome invaded. As Atlantis actually pre-dated Greece, one could even call them the Atlantean gods, who happened to be called the same names as they were later called by the Greeks."

"Going back to the subject of pureblood fanatics for a moment," Thorne said, "William, there is a word that you may here. It's a rather cruel nickname that some of the pureblood fanatics use and while I don't think anyone would use it to your face because of who you are, I think you should know what it is and what it means before you hear it. The name is mudblood, which is a slur literally meaning dirty blood and it is unfortunately how some of them view muggleborns."

"Speaking of nicknames that you will undoubtedly hear," Dylan said, "there's two more commonly used nicknames for a specific wizard, who has long been believed to be dead. There are some people, however, including Thorne and I, who do not believe that he's actually dead, as much as we may wish otherwise."

William nodded, and asked, "Who?"

"You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," McGonagall answered in a low voice, so as to not be heard by the other patrons. "Unfortunately, not all wizards and witches are good. Some go bad and this particular wizard went about as bad as you can possibly go. He recruited followers, who are called Death Eaters, and staged a war for pureblood supremacy, desiring to kill off all who were not of the purest blood because it's a commonly held belief among pureblood supremacists that muggleborns possess stolen magic and that it's the duty of any right thinking wizard or witch to take it back, by killing them."

Noticing the look of worry crossing Diana's face, Thorne said, "You don't have to worry, Your Highness, as this particular wizard, as I said, has been gone now for years - ever since the night of October 31, 1981. A majority of his followers are now locked away in Azkaban Prison. Besides that, Hogwarts Castle itself is one of the safest places in Wizarding Britain, protected by very powerful and ancient wards transcribed by the founders of Hogwarts, all of whom were apprentices of Merlin himself."

"Plus, Albus Dumbledore is the only wizard that You-Know-Who ever feared, so, William will not be in any danger at Hogwarts," McGonagall assured.

"Anyway, we'd better get into the alley now," Thorne said as he finished his butterbeer.

Dylan nodded, as he finished his butterbeer and said, "One more thing, before we go. As Gringotts' is our first stop, a few quick words on goblin etiquette. Rule #1 - don't waste their time. Time is money and they do not appreciate small talk, so get straight to the point of your visit."

"Rule #2 is to bare as many of your teeth as possible when speaking to them," Thorne added. "They're a warlike race and appreciate toughness and bravery. In the same vein, they have no use for cowards."

"And finally, they have a very strange, at least by human standards, idea of what constitutes polite conversation," Dylan said. "Basically praising them and their house and wishing them financial success is a good thing, as is wishing pain, humiliation, death, and financial ruin on their enemies. When talking to them about money, say gold, not pounds. They will either say gold or silver, depending on who they're talking to. Gold for royalty, nobility, and other goblins and silver for everyone else. If they ever say bronze instead, then you know that you've insulted them and that is something you most definitely do not want to do, else they may decide to make bad investments for you."

"Speaking of investments," McGonagall piped in, "It's important to note that Gringotts' does not pay interest on money deposited with them. The goblins view paying people to keep their money in their institution to be a ludicrous Muggle notion. Instead, they will assign you an account manager who will in turn make investments with the money in your account. Get on their good side and they'll do their very best to see that you make a fortune and lose nothing."

Thorne nodded and said, "Get on their bad side, however, and you might as well kiss your money goodbye, because they'll make sure you lose every Knut. They remain neutral to most wizards and witches who never bother learning how to get on their good side, which results in fair gains, but also occasional losses. Of course you can specify how much of your money they can invest. Personally, Dylan and I have a 25% limit set on our accounts, so they'll only invest up to 25% of the total liquid assets in our vaults."

Diana nodded. "Interesting. So, since they don't like wasting time, how much money should I withdraw from the royal bank for William?"

Dylan thought for a moment, before he said, "I'd suggest enough for his tuition for at least his first year of Hogwarts. It's 1,500 Galleons per term, so 4,500 Galleons total for the year. The tuition will remain the same until 4th year when it doubles to 3,000 per term. Now, for school supplies, I'd suggest another 300-350 Galleons. So at a bare minimum you'll need to withdraw £24,250, but should probably take more than that so that there's enough in the account to allow for at least 1,000 Galleons or £5,000 to be used by the goblins for investments. Less than that and they're unlikely to consider it to be worth their time. That'll ensure he has more than enough money for some investments to grow his balance, and to pay for tuition, school supplies, and give him some extra spending money, which may come in handy."

"For example, you might want to buy a few extra sets of Wizarding clothing over and above what's stated in your letter for your uniform," Thorne said. "You don't have to wear the uniform on Saturdays and Sundays or when you're not in class. When Dylan and I were in school, we noticed that some of our classmates who would usually look down on muggleborns would treat them a little better if they consistently wore Wizarding fashions over Muggle fashions."

"How does Wizarding fashion differ from Muggle fashion?" William asked.

"Essentially, it's as if you've taken a step back in time," Dylan explained. "Picture clothes from the 16th through the 19th centuries, maybe even the early 20th, say before 1920. We also often wear robes and rather than a coat, we prefer cloaks. Well made suits from Savile Row are acceptable, however, as long as the design is classical and traditional. Something extremely modern, such as the very latest in haute couture from the runways of Paris or certain retro items, like bellbottoms or platform shoes would make people stare at you as if you belonged in the mental health ward at St. Mungo's Hospital and treat you accordingly."

"Other items to avoid are jeans, t-shirts," Thorne revealed, "anything paisley or tie-dyed and open-toed footwear."

"Okay, we'd better get going," McGonagall said as she finished her tea and stood up. "I promised the Queen we'd have William back at Balmoral by nightfall."

Dylan and Thorne nodded and stood, as did William and Diana and the group headed towards the back alley and the entrance to Diagon Alley.

-o-0-o-

Just as the group was about to enter Gringotts', there was a sudden flash of flame, as Fawkes appeared briefly and delivered a note to Professor McGonagall, disappearing as quickly as he'd appeared.

"What was that?" Diana asked.

"Fawkes," Thorne answered. "Professor Dumbledore's familiar - a phoenix."

Reading the note, McGonagall looked at Diana and William and said, "I'm afraid something has come up at Hogwarts and I must go help Professor Dumbledore deal with it." Then turning to Dylan and Thorne, she asked, "I trust you two can make sure William gets everything he needs and get him and his mother back to Balmoral safely?"

"Of course, Professor," Dylan said, as Thorne nodded and said, "It's our job, after all."

McGonagall nodded and then with a crack, she was gone, as she Apparated to the edge of the Hogwarts wards.

Noticing the looks on Diana's and William's faces, Dylan smiled and said, "That was Apparition. You can't actually Apparate into Hogwarts itself, as there are wards that prevent that. You can only Apparate to the edge of the wards and then walk up to the castle, which is about half a mile."

"Well, let's get into the bank and get William setup with an account, shall we?" Thorne asked. "Then we can get his shopping done and get you two back to Scotland."

Walking into the bank, Diana and William both couldn't help doing a double take upon seeing the goblins, although they did their best to hide it, not wanting to offend the creatures. Dylan walked in front of the two royals, with Thorne walking behind them. Arriving at a free teller, Dylan cleared his throat to announce his presence.

The goblin teller finished writing something down in the ledger in front of him before he looked up and said, "Lord Wells, welcome. How can Gringotts' serve you today?"

"I'll need to visit my family vault," Dylan said, "however, I am also escorting His Royal Highness Prince William and his mother, Princess Diana. William will be attending Hogwarts in the fall and needs to acquire a vault."

The goblin nodded, before looking at the two royals and asking, "Have you brought gold to deposit or will you be transferring funds from another bank?"

Stepping forward, Diana handed the goblin a bank card, and said, "I wish to transfer £84,000 from my son's account at Coutts into a trust vault and we'll need 450 Galleons for shopping today."

The goblin nodded and took the bank card from Diana, before hopping down from his stool and motioning for the group to follow him. Entering a small private consultation room, the goblin said, "I'll be back with the necessary paperwork shortly. Someone will be in momentarily with refreshments."

And with that the goblin left the room, as the two royals and their bodyguards sat down at the table in the center of the room. A moment later, a second goblin entered carrying a silver tray with a tea service and a plate of scones, which he put on the table silently, before he bowed and left the room.

"I should warn you," Dylan said, "that William will need to sign the papers that are brought in with a blood quill."

"A blood quill?" Diana asked.

"It uses blood instead of ink," Dylan replied. "The writer's blood. It won't hurt him, but all Gringotts' contracts are signed in blood, as it makes the contracts binding and completely unbreakable."

Looking at William, Thorne said, "It'll feel like a pinprick and you might feel a little drowsy for a few minutes afterward, but as Dylan said, it won't hurt you."

William nodded his head and said, "Okay."

"The contract will require two witnesses to sign it," Dylan added. "Thorne and I will do that, as you will be unable to do so, ma'am. A magical core is necessary in order to use a blood quill, so, muggles can't use them."

Diana nodded in understanding, just as the first goblin came back in with a small stack of parchment and a large ostrich feather quill. Setting the contract on the table in front of William, the goblin said, "This is the standard contract for a trust vault. Despite being muggles, your parents will have control of the vault until your seventeenth birthday and all withdrawals must be cleared by them. Any questions?"

"Just one," William said and the goblin nodded. "You said I'd get full control at seventeen?"

"That's the age of majority in the Wizarding world, William," Dylan said. "I know it's eighteen in the Muggle world, but it's seventeen here."

"Ah, okay then," William said, as he picked up the quill. "Where do I sign?"

"Before you sign," the goblin said, "some details need to be discussed." He then turned to Diana and asked, "How much of a limit did you want to place on the vault in terms of investments?"

"For now I think 10%," Diana answered. "I realize that won't provide a very large sum for investments, but while I have been told of your races' prowess with gold, I prefer firsthand proof over secondhand assurances."

The goblin nodded. "A wise and shrewd decision, Your Highness."

Diana nodded and said, "If after a period of time I am pleased with the results, I shall talk with my husband about adding more money to William's account and possibly raising the limit. Is there a time frame you would suggest?"

The goblin stroked his goatee for a moment, before he said, "£84,000 equates to 16,800 Galleons, minus the 450 you're taking with you today brings that to 16,350 Galleons, so, 10% of that would be 1,635 Galleons. I think six months should be long enough for that amount to pay dividends."

"Then six months it is," Diana said as she smiled and made sure to show as many of her teeth as possible.

The goblin smiled back at Diana, showing a wide mouth full of sharp teeth, before he leaned over the table and made a few notations on the contracts, before handing the quill to William and indicating the first of five places that he would have to sign.

Before the tip of the quill touched the parchment, Thorne spoke up, "William, make sure you sign your name with your title. Wizarding law requires all titled individuals to use their full title when signing any legal document."

The young prince nodded before looking at the goblin and asking, "Do I need to spell out His Royal Highness or can I write HRH?"

"HRH will suffice, but you must sign your full legal name," the goblin answered.

Nodding, William gripped the quill in his left hand and turned the contract slightly so that it was at a more comfortable angle, before he signed 'HRH Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales' on the line the goblin indicated. Since he knew it was coming, he ignored the sensation of a pinprick and the blood red ink, knowing that it wasn't really ink.

Once William signed his name in all five of the required places, the goblin asked, "I assume Lord Wells that you and your husband will sign as witnesses?"

Dylan nodded as he took the quill from William and signed his name on the appropriate line as 'His Grace The Lord-Teryn Dylan Prescott Wells,' before Thorne signed as 'His Grace The Lord-Teryn-Consort Thornton William Ridley-Wells.'

Once the contracts were signed, the goblin handed William a small golden key and said, "This is your vault key. Make sure not to lose it because it can't be replaced and you can't access your vault without it." Once William nodded in understanding, the goblin said, "Thank you for your patronage, Your Highness. Gringotts looks forward to a long and profitable relationship with you. Now, if you will all follow me to the lobby, we will get someone to take you down to your vaults."

In the lobby, the goblin called out, "Griphook!"

A moment later, another goblin came over and the first said, "Take them down to Vault 670 and Vault 814."

Griphook nodded as he motioned for the group to follow him. Coming into the tunnel, Thorne pointed at the cart that would take them down into the bowels of the bank and said, "Quick warning - these carts only have one speed and that's very fast. So, you'll want to hold on tight."

Diana and William nodded as they climbed into the cart, followed by Dylan and Thorne, and finally Griphook, who hadn't been the first into the cart, because he had to grab the clankers before getting in the cart, as they would be needed for the visit to the Wells Family Vault.

A moment later, the cart was plummeting down into the depths of the bank. Dylan and Thorne were quite used to the speed by now and thus it didn't bother them. William was enjoying himself immensely, thinking of it as being like a rollercoaster, and Diana was feeling just a little bit queasy. Coming first to William's new vault, Griphook exited the cart, along with William and said, "Key please."

Handing his key to Griphook, William watched as the goblin placed it in the lock and turned it, producing the sound of the numerous tumblers moving, before the vault door swung open to reveal a pile of golden galleons. Resting on top of the pile was a rather plain-looking black leather pouch, which Griphook pointed to and said, "You can put your coins in that pouch, Your Highness. It's charmed to be weightless, so, you won't be weighted down from the coins. Also, as this is a trust vault, the pouch won't allow you to put anymore coins in it than what your mother allowed for today's withdrawal. Any coins above that amount that you try to put in the pouch will automatically reappear on the pile."

William nodded before he grabbed the pouch, opened it, and began filling it with galleons. Once he had the amount allotted to him, 450 galleons, he closed the pouch and tucked it into the pocket of his coat, before exiting the vault and getting back into the cart as Griphook closed and locked the vault. Once William had safely tucked away his key, Griphook started the cart again, as it lurched forward to go even further down.

When the cart stopped, there were no vault doors nearby, only a platform and an archway. As Dylan and Thorne exited the cart, Dylan grinned and said, "You two may want to come and see this."

Thorne nodded his agreement and said, "Yes, I think you'll enjoy it. But, please stay behind Griphook at all times and once we get into the vault area, don't touch anything."

The two royals nodded their understanding, before they exited the cart and the small group followed Griphook through the archway, as he took out the clankers and began to vigorously shake them, producing a sound similar to that of wind chimes. Diana and William both gasped when they saw the huge creature in the room. It was easily twenty-five feet tall and probably weighed somewhere in excess of five tons. It's green scales were flaking in spots, but it was still clear to anyone who saw it what it was.

As they watched, the huge animal hung it's head and seemed to cower in fear, as it moved out of the way of another archway. The room shook slightly as it moved along, dragging an equally large chain which chained it to a nearby wall behind it. Once the creature was out of the way, Griphook led the group through the archway it had been blocking into another hallway, which contained five huge doors, each with a different crest prominently displayed on them.

"Was that a dragon?" William asked, finding his voice.

"Yes, it was," Thorne replied. "A Common Welsh Green, although, normally their scales are a bit more brilliant. Living underground, however, with no access to sunlight makes them significantly duller than normal. It's also the reason for the flaking."

"Dragons guard all of the high security vaults," Dylan explained. "These particular vaults all belong to Most Ancient and Noble Houses and are among the oldest and largest vaults at Gringotts." Pointing at the vault nearest to the archway they'd just come through, he said, "This is my family's vault. The others belong to the Potter, Burke, Longbottom, and Black families."

William and Diana nodded, as they watched Griphook place his hand on the door to the Wells vault. After a moment, the entire door dissolved, revealing a cavernous room filled with a pile of golden galleons so large that it made the pile in William's vault look smaller than an anthill. There were also several trunks, shelves, tapestries, paintings, and bookcases crammed into the room, leaving very little space to walk.

"You have a very impressive amount of gold," Diana commented.

"Well, the House of Wells is the fifth richest family in Wizarding Britain," Thorne explained as Dylan made his way into the vault. "Surpassed only by the Potter, Black, Longbottom, and Malfoy families, in that order."

"So, four Most Ancient and Noble Houses and one Noble House?" William asked.

"Indeed," Thorne said, with a nod of his head, at which point they all silently watched Dylan moving about inside the vault, where pulled a black dragonhide pouch from inside his pocket and filled it with a number of galleons. He then put it back into his pocket and walked over to one of the nearby trunks and opened it to reveal an impressive collection of jewelry. Searching through the trunk, Dylan pulled out three intricate golden medallions, each engraved with the Wells family crest, surrounded by a ring of alternating sapphires and rubies. Tucking them away in his robes, he closed the trunk.

Heading back towards the door of the vault, Dylan paused at the bookcase and scanned the spines of the books, grabbing three large volumes which he quickly shrunk and put in his pocket, before finally exiting the vault and motioning to Griphook that he was finished.

Passing the dragon, as Griphook again shook the clankers, the group got back into the cart and headed back upstairs to the lobby of the bank.

"Well, let's get you your supplies, William," Dylan said. "We'll stop in at Madam Malkin's first to get you fitted for your school robes and any other wizarding attire you wish to buy. By going there first, she can have a few items in your order ready for pickup before we leave the Alley today."

"Cool," William said, as they left the bank to begin his shopping.

-o-0-o-

To be continued.

Edited May 2, 2017 - Changed Hogwarts tuition fee, Wills' bank deposit, and a few other minor changes/corrections.