Four weddings: (1) A spanner in the works

The kingdom’s pride having been dented by the turn of history, and its reputation tarnished by scandals it was decided a wedding was in order. The elder prince, having been the cause of the scandals, was passed over. Prince Oliver would be the one. He’d been linked romantically to a pretty enough girl. The palace went into overdrive recreating her as Lady Alice, the nation’s dream princess. In the same way that, in days of old, public spirits had been lifted by war, so they would be lifted now by love, and the problems of the realm would be forgotten for a moment.

Ronald Quinn was the royal mechanic. His task was to ensure the fleet of vehicles that would ferry the guests to the cathedral were in tip-top condition.

By the time the festivities began he was back at home—there were no invitations for workers like him. He settled in front of the television.

As the motorcade snaked round the final corner a puff of smoke issued from the lead vehicle. It spluttered to a halt and burst into flames. Guardsmen converged on the princess’s car. The decorum of the afternoon was shattered.

Erica Quinn squeezed her husband’s arm. They had not forgotten the atrocities of this same royal house on their homeland three hundred years before.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (