Darkness descended upon the graveyard as I made my way towards my mother’s final resting place. The gravestones stood silently like soldiers long forgotten. As I neared my destination, a scream shattered the silence. I looked around trying to determine who was imposing on the solitude, but perhaps I was alone.
Finally, I stopped in front of an elaborate headstone. The name on the grave was Lady Diane, the woman that I once called mother. It had taken three years for my father to tell me the truth about Lady Diane. All my life I had heard the rumors about Lady Diane not being my true mother. The rumors had even gone so far as to say she was once the king’s mistress.
Father felt that my time had come to join the other noble ladies at court. Since the woman, I knew as my mother had passed away it was becoming more difficult for my father to be around me. Everyone in our household claimed that I just reminded him too much of her and only made his grief worse. I knew he just wanted the chance to gain a new wife and more lands.
Lady Diane had raised me to fear the court. She told me it was a place full of sin and lies. My husband, she claimed, would come from the country and would adore me. Now, since her death, it seemed like I could not escape my fate.
“Mother, for I know not what else to call you, I have come to say goodbye. Father is forcing me to take my place at court,” came my tearful confession. “I do not want to face the very people who would tell me that you are not truly my mother.”
In the distance I can begin to hear the footsteps of my father, he is growing impatient. Father never understood why I could sit here at this grave and bear my soul to the heavens. He could never understand the fear in my heart at having to lose not only my mother, but also my home.
“Father is sending me to serve as a ladies maid to our queen. You must remember her mother. Once you served in her court as well. I know that is how you met father, but you always promised I would marry a country gentleman and not a court dandy,” it was becoming harder for me to get the words out.
“I wish that you were here to defend yourself, Mother. They are saying that you were a mistress to the king. No one will defend you, they are all saying the prince is your son. How can I go to court and face these rumors?
The hardest part for me to understand is where I fit in. I am the same age as the prince. Some people are saying that the queen gave birth to a girl. They claim that she forced you to switch us at birth so that she would have the heir. Oh mother, if this is true how can I face her.
If all of these rumors are true, then I have lost more than just you and my home. I will have lost my birthright. If you are not my true mother, then that means I am the crown princess.
Mother, it’s time for me to go. Father is waiting to take me away. I’m not sure when I will be able to come back to see you. I will do my best to ignore the rumors, but mother one day I will know the truth.”
I rise from my mother’s grave and turn towards the path where my father is waiting. As I look up from brushing the dust from off my dress, I notice my father standing in the shadows just behind me. From the look on his face, I know that he has heard everything I confessed to my mother. He makes a move to approach me as if to offer comfort. There is something in his face that betrays his thoughts. It is at that moment that I know the truth. I am not the child I thought I was. At that moment I realized I lost more than my family, I lost my rightful place. I am the rightful heir to the throne, and it is time for me to take my place. Losing my mother helped me to find myself.