Sep. 26th, 2012

kitchen_maid: (Queen and Mother)
It is an absolutely perfect day for the christening of His Majesty's Flagship, a fact for which Amy is profoundly grateful, as this is not the sort of event that gets rescheduled or even postponed for nasty weather. And while Queens do not complain, Amy cannot say she was looking forward to sitting on an observation platform in a downpour.

The guests and dignitaries have already left the palace, and most should be in their seats by now. The King's Carriage goes rolling out of the Palace courtyard, the windows open so that they can wave to the people gathered along the route to the shore.

Caspian and Marian have very good seats waiting for them. Marian still tips her head a little every now and again, when she gets a little surprised to have anything on her head, no less a small white sailboat made into a hat. Which causes her to flush, and stiffle a laugh and a bright smile any time Caspian, with his much larger hat, caught sight of these smallest movements of hers.

His smile is rueful back, but even the resignation with which he wore the hat (a really big hat, Jack might say) can't disguise the interest in his eyes. He straightens as they near the pier, waving when Marian nudges him and reminds him to, making him laugh as the absurd boat teeters in her hair.

The Royal Carriage rolls to a stop at the foot of the stairs that lead to the platform. There are ever so many steps, as the platform must be high enough to allow the assembled crowd to see the King and Queen, and to allow them to reach the top of the ship's prow when it comes to smash a bottle of champagne against it.

They make their way slowly up the stairs and then arrive on the platform to a great blast of trumpets and something of a gasp from the crowd. His Majesty is, of course, resplendent in the naval uniform he almost never has an excuse to wear, and Her Majesty's tiara has been selected as especially suited to catching the sunlight, but Amy suspects they are reacting to the fact that the Princess Royal is between her parents, holding their hands. She's wearing a blue dress decorated with gold braid that's meant to evoke (but not minic) a sailor's uniform, and her hair shines brighter than her mother's tiara.

Susan has appeared in public before, of course. The Royal Family attends services at the Cathedral and Susan goes with her parents to football games and so on. But she has never made an Official Public Appearance before, unless you count her own christening, and somehow, no one does. Her Appearance today has been the most closely guarded secret in Ambergeldar for several months -- there aren't a dozen people who knew she would be accompanying her parents.

Her uncle beams proudly, hands behind his back, and winks at the Princess when no one's looking.

Marian raises a hand to her lips, without making a sound, but the surprise and joy brightene her entire countenance. The three of them shining, beloved and beautiful.

The ceremony opens with a long Invocation by the Archbishop, followed by a longer Address by the Admiral of the Fleet. Amy and Perry sit with properly attentive expressions (though Amy will not remember more than a sentence or two of either in three hours' time). Susan squirms a bit, but only people who are watching exceedingly closely (and know what to watch for) will see the King slip his daughter a piece of toffee halfway through the Address.

Marian might be used to long stuff speeches back home, about crushing peasantry, but there is something almost insufferable about the droning on of so many on such a golden glorious day, in front of the huge mysterious ship, seperated from friends and enjoyment of it yet.

Caspian, for his part, certainly looks attentive, and indeed, those who do not know him well might suggest Her Majesty's brother had been most obliging throughout the speech. Those others who do know him might note that his eyes are firmly fixed not on the speakers, but on the ship herself, and that from time to time his fingers drum impatiently. He claps most politely, however, when it ends, and it would be impossible to say what he turns to say to Marian, drowned out as it is by the scatter of applause.

When the scattering of applause comes to an end, Perry rises to speak. He thanks a long litany of people (the Archbishop, the Admiral of the Fleet, the assembled guests, the men who built and will sail the ship), but otherwise keeps his remarks as brief as is possible without upsetting the people who have come to see the King.

He finishes by introducing Amy and Susan, despite the fact that there probably isn't a person watching who doesn't know who they are. Together, they approach the curtain that has been hung in front of the ship's figurehead and name.

The show of attentiveness Caspian put forth earlier is shamed by his true eagerness now, making Marian smile as he leans close again, hand sweeping through the air as he comments on the vessel. Around them, murmurs rise and fall, excited before being hushed.

Perry lifts Susan up (and she gives a very unregal giggle) and together they pull the cord that drops the curtain down onto the dock below. The figurehead's hair doesn't shine quite as brightly as Susan's, but it comes as close as paint allows.

Susan, still in her Royal Papa's arms, and Amy take the bottle of champagne offered by the Admiral and announce (Amy's voice carrying rather better than her daughter's), "We name thee The Princess Royal."

The bottle obligingly smashes, and there's a great cheer from the crowd.

It is a good round of surprises, perfectly concealed and revealed. Marian finds herself laughing and clapping with the waves of joyous celebration that ripple through the crowd.

All around them, people are smiling, laughing, applauding, and Caspian is no different. 'Tis a fine name for a fair vessel, after all.

Reception

Sep. 26th, 2012 07:36 pm
kitchen_maid: (Queen of Ambergeldar)
There's a bit of a breeze coming off the sea, which Amy finds quite welcome, just as she is happy to have the shade of the pavilion.

They've finished their tour of the ship, and a drowsy Susan has been taken back to the Palace for a well-earned nap. There's no such respite for her parents, though. They are hosting a reception for the many Important Personages who have come for the christening of The Princess Royal.

(And when it is over, there will be just barely enough time to rush back to the palace and change for tonight's Ball. Amy is very grateful that ships do not often require christening.)

There are just a few minutes of not-quite-downtime now, as she and Perry were the very first people to tour the ship, and most of the other attendees are not quite done. She's hoping there will be time to grab a cup of tea and maybe even a sandwich or some such before she's needed in the receiving line.

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Amy

October 2013

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