Chapter 1: Claire Talks about the Palace
Claire wondered what that sound was as she put the phone aside. It was coming from the dining room area. Was Master George coughing or choking? Why was he eating alone?
“His wife should stop galavanting around with movie folk," Claire complained. She didn't like to attend to him when he was like that. He was irritable when he wasn't well.
“Phil, the butler should attend to him. He has all the patience in the world," Claire told herself before picking up the phone again.
“Yes, I have worked in the palace from the age of twelve as a chamber maid. It is a second home to me. I fell in love here and got married here, in fact" she laughed.
“That's interesting," the interviewer on the other end of the line commented.
“So, the royal family are like my own family except for the fact that I work for them," Claire continued.
The palace was high up, halfway up a high hill. There was a lake beyond it in the distance. The children loved to play there and even sail on small boats sometimes.
“I actually witnessed the regent Prince's wedding and was there when the twins were born," Claire stated excitedly again.
“Two beautiful boys," she continued. “But then the one went missing. A tragic event," Claire sighed over the phone. She was speaking to a historian who wanted to know the royal family's history from a faithful servant's point of view.
“Very sad," Claire said commented as she spoke about that event which occurred about twenty years ago. Tears filled her eyes again now as she spoke.
“Sad indeed, one should be aware of all kinds of danger at all times," the interviewer replied.
“The other twin was abducted straight from the palace garden during a morning walk with their two nannies. Someone had entered the gardens and had sprayed pepper spray into the eyes of both nannies," she added.
“When their eyes were cleared after a palace gardener had brought them water to wash their eyes, they discovered that one of the twins was missing," she said.
“Oh no! How terrible," the interviewer exclaimed.
“Inside the palace, the surveillance video was missing, so there was no evidence of the actual abduction. The abductors obviously had some help from inside the palace. But who was that person or group of people?
For a while the security staff at the palace had suspected the nannies themselves, but in the end, the Prince Regent, the father of the twins had felt that it was double punishment for the nannies because they were also missing the baby boy. Also, they felt terrible about failing in their duties. The twins were like their own children to them. This was a well-known fact in the palace; the nannies were very loyal.
So, they could not be punished for losing the one twin," Claire continued.
“I see," the interviewer responded in a sympathetic tone of voice.
“They could also not be accomplices when they themselves had literally grown up in the castle and were totally loyal to the palace and the royal family. They knew nothing else," Claire explained.
“You're right there," the historian agreed.
“The search for the missing twin went on for months until all parties concerned hoped that the child would just show up again and all would be back to normal. Some thought that this was an act of faith. Well, others saw it as a sign of insanity because of the terribly vulnerable state of the parents. They were almost sick with worry, you see.
All that is so long ago now that it feels like a dream," Claire stated sadly.
“So it was a tragic event because nobody knew whether the other twin was alive," the interviewer stated in a dismal tone.
“Definitely. It was sad until the twins' parents recently died in a vehicle accident. More tragedy. So now, only the remaining twin boy, Raven is left together with his two siblings, a younger boy and girl, although they are now in their late teens already," Claire continued.
“That's right," the interviewer agreed on the other end of the line.
“Well, since the children's parents died, Sir George has custody of them, as you know. But he is middle-aged and he tends to indulge the kids because he has no children of his own.
The remaining twin, Raven is a handful. He was like that even when his parents were alive. His friends are wild and they dress strangely. I don't understand them. Their hair is sometimes blue, green or even orange. Are they just being modern? Or perhaps insecure?
My husband and I do not understand Raven. He has a temper as well, so most of the staff avoids him. They try hard to stay out of his way, especially when he is drunk," Claire concluded.
“Since when is he drinking alcohol?" the historian asked.
“He had started drinking alcohol from the age of fourteen," Claire replied.
“Oh, my goodness!" the interviewer responded. “But thank you very much for all this for now. I will be in touch again soon," he concluded.
“You're welcome, Sir," Claire responded before ending the call.
She sat down to think about everything that she had said to the historian. He was compiling material for a surprise documentary. That was why he did not come to the palace in person. She herself had only short breaks between her duties and activities at the palace, so she could not ask permission to be away for hours on end, travelling to a studio, doing the interview and then traveling back again.
The royal family custodian had given Claire permission to do the interview since she knew the royal family well and for such a long time. Who else knew them better?