Regina wasn't happy. She placidly sat in her chamber and let her maids dress her, prepare her hair and even chose which slippers she would be wearing.
State affairs were not what she liked going to, all the fuss, and the crowds, it was something Regina always dreaded. And now, all dressed up, the princess knew that everyone would be comparing her to her Aunt. Queen Aurelia had been a good regent, helping rule her kingdom until Regina was of age and could be coronated. Not only that, she was a caring Aunt that was always supportive and caring.
But, one look at Aurelia and you forgot everyone else in the room. Her composure, her demeanor, it was so regal, the way she glided into a room. And she was never confused. She had her own way of running things at her own home, but even here in Regina's castle she never seemed out of sorts.
Even now as the last maid finished her hair, Regina saw the door open and her lovely Aunt move to her bed, and sit there serenly. She patted the bed beside her, and Regina moved to her side.
"You have grown so much in the last year." She took her neice's hand in hers.
"Let me tell you one of my best secrets....
"Every time I see you, you are so much more grown up, soon you'll rule on your own without my help.
She gazed out the window lost in thought for a moment. Then snapped her attention back to the talk at hand.
"My mother sat me, and your mother down and said the same thing to us at your age. We worshipped her, she knew just exactly what to do in every situation!"
She laughed, with her delicate feminine laugh. The one that hinted that there was so much she wasn't telling. But the warm smile was still there encouraging her charge.
"I thought that all adults just knew so much, there was no way I could learn enough to do my job.
"Wear this crown with that dress, sit with so and so to your left, and such and such to your right...
"You know, all the protocol stuff your advisors tell you when you dont' have time to keep track of it?
She took a breath.
"It all was driving the two of us royal children to distraction."
"Then your grandmother sat us down and had a serious talk."
"The Queen mother said, 'when you're out there, pretend you know what you're doing. And what ever you do, act like you are enjoying it!"
She took the brush and tucked a loose hair in on Regina's coif. Then satisfied leaned back again.
"Regina, adults don't always know everything. But while you figure things out, you can always pretend you do, and not be surprised by things. Just try to stay dignified and no one will notice.
"Do you think you can do that?"
Regina looked at her Aunt. The perfect Lady pretended at her age? It was remarkable, and it was something she could do.
And the court opening was a good place to start.
Standing tall, and Regina accepted her cape from her maid the two women moved to the door. Things would work out.