It was Thursday by the time Jez responded to Karabo’s email. Karabo had already researched Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar and found out all about her (or as much as the internet would allow). The queen was the last queen of Madagascar, exiled by the French who colonised the large island. The queen had married the Prime Minister — she was his third wife and the third queen he married. Karabo couldn’t believe that one man could marry three queens, and so she had double checked a few different websites to make sure she wasn’t being tricked. All her sources had agreed that indeed, the Prime minister had married three queens. Queen Ranavalona III had died in exile and was never remarried and had no children. Karabo had also found out that the young girl she had seen in the dream wasn’t the queen’s daughter, but her niece, Marie-Louise. According to the websites,
Marie-Louise had married and lived in France, and had been a nurse in the war, but then divorced her husband and lived on her own until her death in France. Marie-Louise had been the last member of the Royal Madagascar family, and upon her death there were no more royals from the island. Karabo found this sad — the end of a dynasty and royal heritage — and wondered how William’s mother could be related to these women and their tragic end. Karabo asked Jez how she was related to the queen in her email. The sangoma had been very clear: the queen was a member of William’s mother’s ancestry.
Of course, I do not mind explaining how we are related to Queen Ranavalona III. I am sure by now you have found her story on the internet. Most of it is true, however, Marie-Louise did not die childless. She did have a child, but in secret. During the war, she fell in love with a wounded Englishman. Her husband was a dreary farmer, and this young man, as my mother tells it, was full of poetry and song. By the time Marie-Louise found out she was pregnant, the young Englishman had returned home. She divorced her husband as she couldn’t bear to pretend it was his child, and she had the child in a nunnery in France. That child was my mother, and she was raised in secret by one of Marie-Louise’s friends – a kind gentle woman, also a nurse, who lived nearby. Marie-Louise was free to come and go as she liked, but Anna, my adoptive grandmother, enjoyed staying at home and caring for my mother. My mother grew up knowing only love and, although she knew Marie-Louis was her biological mother, she loved Anna like a real mother. When Marie-Louise died, my mother received all the documents relating to our heritage. Only then did she realise she was an illegitimate royal. My mother married my father, an Englishman too. So, I am possibly more English than Royal Malagasy. Growing up, we used to laugh about our ill-gotten heritage.
But I am rambling. There you have it. William is part royal, part pirate. An interesting combination, no?
I am sure we will speak more, and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you. I had to rush to Johannesburg. A client had a black-tie function and needed my help (I style important people!).
Keep well and I hope you are healing.
Karabo stared at the screen for ages after she’d read the email. She couldn’t believe it. William had royal blood. A Malagasy prince! Karabo giggled to herself. William was the most unlikely prince she had ever met. She wondered if he knew about his heritage. The way he had just fobbed her off, when she had tried to explain the dream, made her think he didn’t. There was no way of asking him now though. He was ignoring her completely. She had nearly bumped into him in the hallway yesterday, and he looked straight through her. It made her heart drop to the floor, and she felt as though she had to drag her heart around behind her the whole day. Isla had eventually coaxed it out of her and rolled her eyes dramatically when Karabo had told her how William had ignored her.
‘Karabo! It’s William English. The world’s most arrogant male. We all saw him have a temper tantrum and shout at his mommy, and then have a moment. Of course he is going to ignore you. He doesn’t want you to think he has a heart, never mind a soul!’ stated Isla, throwing her head back, and covering her heart with her hands to add drama to her statement. Karabo slowly dragged her dusty heart back up into her chest. Isla was probably right. William was too proud to let anyone know he was actually a good person.
Question: How would you feel if you found out you had royal blood?