Guest Post with Kate Parker. We are talking Royals.
A Royal Wedding meets The Royal Assassin
The Royal Assassin, the third Victorian Bookshop Mystery, by Kate Parker, arrives July 7, 2015.
First off, thank you Shelley for inviting me to talk about weddings. Everyone loves a royal wedding. The bride is in a long gown with a flowing train. The groom is in a smart uniform. The male guests are in top hat and tails or wearing rows of ribbons on their uniforms. Female guests are dripping with jewels. The clergy are in resplendent ceremonial gowns. A pipe organ is filling the huge space with somber music. Choir boys in ruffled collars sing sweetly and don't fidget.
It seems to be a ceremony from another age. And in many ways, it is.
The protocol, the uniforms, the jewels, the ceremony, the cathedral itself, are all products of a time we can only read about. But the drama has always grabbed the attention of people who watched the processions from the street or read about and saw pictures of the events in newspapers. Now we are able to watch royal weddings live on television, but it fascinated our forefathers just as much.
In the Victorian age when royalty married others of their station, this frequently required much traveling back and forth and even more letter writing before an engagement was announced. Then there would be visits and planning on a vast scale to decide on the engagement photo, the guest list, and the difficult decision on the proper date for the ceremony.
Alexandra married Tsar Nicholas II two weeks after his father, the previous tsar, had died. They could have waited until official mourning was over, but then the new tsar would have been single for too long in the eyes of the Russians. Finally a date was decided on because it was the tsar's mother's birthday, lessening mourning for that day. Then the simple ceremony the couple wanted was scrapped in favor of a full royal wedding to proclaim the new tsar's status.
In my story, The Royal Assassin, two years have passed and Nicholas and Alexandra, along with their baby girl and a whole retinue, visit England to see Queen Victoria. Princess Kira, the great-granddaughter of a previous tsar, travels with
them to meet her fiancé, a great-grandson of George III of England.
Everyone is excited about the prospects for a royal wedding, but the young couple is facing some hurdles. They've only just met, the marriage having been planned by royals in both countries. He doesn't speak Russian, she doesn't speak English, so they have to communicate in French.
And then Princess Kira's bodyguard is murdered. The Russians suspect anarchists, the terrorists of the day, but the English think the bodyguard was specifically chosen for death. But why? Georgia Fenchurch and the Archivist Society are brought in by Whitehall and the Duke of Blackford to solve the crime.
Georgia is thrilled to be working with the Duke of Blackford again, but he inserts her into the Princess's entourage as her English speaking secretary and language tutor. Despite the language barrier, Georgia soon finds out the princess is keeping secrets. What those secrets are, and how dangerous they become, will keep Georgia and Blackford busy making sure the bride lives to see her wedding day.
Kate will be giving away an autographed copy of The Royal Assassin to one lucky reader, US and Canada addresses only. You will have until July 19th to leave a comment and email. Winner will then have three days to respond or another winner will be chosen.
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