20 April, 2021

Queen of All She Surveyed #AtoZChallenge Q

The Queen stood at the broad window looking beyond the velvet curtains, to the gardens below. There were ducks in the pond, and it appeared one family had recently hatched their eggs. She'd have to spend some time down there checking them out. Although wild, she considered them "The Queen's Ducks" and therefore she took an interest in them. 

"Excuse me, your bath is ready, ma'am." Ah. The maid. The Queen appreciated Madge. A good, strong woman, she knew her business, and knew how to keep the Queen's business to herself. One must have a solid sense of discretion to be in service to royalty.

"Thank you, Madge. Please let Trevor know I'll walk the gardens after breakfast." A little advance notice was so often appreciated by the help, so they could ensure all was perfect. Not that she'd complain if something was out of place, but she felt that it might make him feel bad. The Queen tried to always think of those beneath her with compassion and consideration. It set a good example, as one must.

In the bathtub, the Queen leaned forward to allow Madge to scrub her back. She was of an age where it was silly to try to pretend she could still reach her back. That was another reason she treasured Madge: she didn't make it seem awkward that she was in need of assistance. She washed the royal back, then stood aside to ready the Queen's bathrobe.

As they re-emerged into the Queen's quarters, there was a light tap on the door and a kitchen maid poked her head in, "Excuse me, what does she - her majesty - want for breakfast?" It was clear that Sheena didn't see her royal highness when she first looked into the room. Sheena. A ridiculous name, but one couldn't fault a child for their parents' taste. Sheena must, the Queen assumed, be good at her duties or she would be let go.

Madge had a quiet conversation with the girl and returned to attend the Queen. "She didn't curtsey," noted the Queen. It was an observation, not made with malice, but to point out an area where Sheena needed training. "Yes, your highness. An oversight." As Madge assisted with the clasp on the Queen's pearls, she was told, "I'd like the silk brocade jacket this morning, I think." 

"To breakfast?"

"I'll go through the gardens after breakfast. There may be a chill. You did alert Trevor, yes?" There was plenty of time during the Queen's bath when Madge might have called down to the gardener.

"Ah, yes." Madge retrieved the jacket from the wardrobe and slid the sleeves up the Queen's arms. 

"Thank you, Madge." Some may say pearls and silk was "overdressed" but opulence was second nature to royalty. The Queen smiled at her appearance in the gilded mirror and nodded to Madge.

Madge escorted the Queen from her quarters to breakfast. On the way, the Queen nodded acknowledgement to those they passed. She did not see Dr. Carlisle catch up with Madge from behind, and therefore was oblivious to his inquiries as they continued moving. "How is Ingrid today?"

"The same. Cheerful, as far as that goes."

"Still thinks she's royalty?"

"Apparently. Sheena didn't curtsey when she asked about breakfast, and it was noted."

"Ah." Dr. Carlisle looked down at the neat, white French twist on the head behind the walker. He smiled. "Well, it's a common enough delusion. As long as she's not hurting herself or anyone else, let's not be too concerned."

"As you say, Doctor." The doctor turned off into an office before they reached the dining room. As Ingrid sat down, Madge fixed the collar of the chunky beige cardigan which, in the code of Ingrid was "silk brocade". Sometimes Madge wondered what Ingrid saw in her world.

Thanks for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! All month I'll be writing flash fiction, with the theme "Audience Participation".
Now it's your turn, lovely audience member. Do you have a writing prompt to suggest? Don't worry about choosing a letter of the alphabet, just leave me a word, a thought, a place, a concept... anything! and I'll add it to the list.

"Queen of All She Surveyed" came from the prompt "Opulence" provided by Anstice Brown of Curious Daydreams, in a comment left on my F post, here.


  1. Try as I might, I can't convince people of my superiority. I need to retire where she did so they will at least pretend.

    1. That's just because everyone is too busy thinking they are superior to everyone else.

  2. Nice that the staff played along.

    1. I don't know how it would happen in a real retirement home, but it worked for the story.


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