Royal Di-lemma by author Mike Rollin, an incredible read for those who love mystery novels.
This Royal Family has always been an institution; generally theyfve been well respected, apart from a few glitches, such as the odd abdication, a trio of divorces along with a number of scandalous rumors, some proven others not.
They are what they are: A group of foreign imports, who dismissed their given name, then adopted the name of one of Englandfs finest historic castles.
Over the decades they have continued to prosper, recognized as one of the richest families in the world. Until recent years theyed paid no taxes whatsoever.
Of late their image had become somewhat tarnished, resulting from three divorces of their current generation, three sons and one daughter. Their dirty linen washed openly in public for all to see.
Of the current vintage, the first son and heir to the throne, married the daughter of a nobleman, in what seemed a fairy tale marriage watched by the whole world, but this marriage seemed doomed from the outset. However, his Princess was not so easily dismissed as the other two failed spouses had been. Although harshly stripped of her Royal title, her image and popularity grew beyond that of the dynasty. Worldwide she was the most popular and loved of all the gRoyals.h Until her tragic death where she died along side her lover, the son of a multi millionaire Arab.
This horrific event stunned the whole world. She died a sad horrible death in the back of a wrecked car down a darkened Paris underpass. WAS SHE PUSHED OR DID SHE FALL? Was this tragic death an accident or was she murdered?
Inspector Hank Marlin had been Princess Annafs personal bodyguard at the palace since her inclusion in the Royal Family. He was a highly trained member of the Royalty Protection Group, or A1 as it was also known. Hank suspected it was murder. So did Michael Meadows, Private Secretary to the princess.
Both men became determined to get to the bottom of their princessfs death, whatever the cost. They followed a trail of intrigue, treachery, murder and terror. They battled with massive odds coming at them from all directions, emanating from three different factions:
The Palace Mafia: Determined to put a stop to the princessfs run of overwhelming popularity, which now overshadowed the whole family and endangered its continuance. They were prepared to try anything maybe even to the point of employing foreign assassins. This was a contract of paramount importance. The aim: put an end to her relationship with her Arab lover at any cost.
Government Agencies: Instructed to bring an end to her frivolous relationship. They were informed that she intended to marry and could even be pregnant by her Muslim lover.
Her ex-husband John is the current heir to the throne. If crowned king, he would also become head of the Church of England. Annafs eldest son, George, is also a future king. Some say the monarch could abdicate, step over John and name George as king.
In either event, any offspring, male or female, would be a half brother/sister to this future King of England. The aim: succeed in stopping her relationship, whatever the cost.
The Royal Retreat, Scotland
The motorcycle wound along the dark country lanes of the Scottish countryside, eventually turning in to the road that led up to the ancient Castle, the Scottish residence of the Royal Family. In the distance, the rider could see the Royal standard way above the floodlight turrets fluttering in the night breeze, announcing to all that Her Majesty the Queen was in residence. The bike pulled up to the closed gates; there was a slight whirring sound as a camera zoomed in on the new arrival like the evil eye of a cyclops.
A small side door in the massive solid gate opened as a uniformed man came out and spoke to the rider of the bike who became very animated taking off his helmet and shaking his head emphatically.
gNo sir, I have to deliver this one personally to the Queenfs secretary.h he said in his broad Scottish brogue. The guard disappeared through the doorway. After a couple of minutes one of the big gates swung open. He was beckoned towards the guardroom. He and the motorbike were thoroughly searched. He was then given directions and sent up to the main building.
The Queen sat in her study reading a selection of evening newspapers from around the world. She was also watching televised coverage from Paris. She heard the knock on her door.
The door opened and her personal secretary, Sir Geoffrey Bowles, entered the room. gI have a special delivery for you, Mafam.h said the equerry, passing a large brown string and wax sealed envelope to the Queen. She took a paper knife and hesitantly, then fiercely, opened the envelope. She looked at the contents for some time then put the document down on her desk, taking off her reading glasses. She pinched the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger, both eyes closed and then stared down at the document again as though hoping that it had somehow disappeared. She leaned back into her chair and threw her spectacles down noisily on the surface of the desk in a gesture of despair and defeat.
gWill there be a reply Mafam?h
gNo reply, Sir Geoffrey.h
gShall I take the document, Mafam?h
gNo thank you, that wonft be necessary,h she answered, placing the palm of her right hand firmly and protectively onto it.
gIfll keep it here. That will be all, thank you, Sir Geoffrey.h She looked pale and worried, perhaps even a little frightened.
The door closed silently, as her private secretary left the room.
The Queen re-read the letter a few times before walking across and throwing it angrily, as though it were contaminated, into the centre of the glowing embers that burned in the fireplace. The glare from the flames immediately illuminated her lined face as she watched the paper change from white to bright red, then to black, as it disintegrated into small sparks that floated aloft into the dark cavernous chimney. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the involuntary thought came to her mind.
She looked above the fireplace at the portrait of her grandfather, King George V, who seemed to have a look of sympathy on his face, aptly befitting the current situation.
gI wonder what you would have done, Your Majesty?h she said aloud.
gThe family future was never jeopardized in your day,h she added as she turned and walked back towards her desk. I did warn the silly young fool, she couldnft say that she wasnft forewarned. God help us all.
Her thoughts troubled her as she heard the faint chatter of her two grandsons playing in the hallway outside her study. A large lump formed in her throat as she went to the door to speak with the future heir to her throne.