FF – Gilded Cage

Another post from afar, hence the lack of photo and the haste of writing / posting. You can see it at Rochelle’s FF homepage. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

Gilded Cage

It was a storyline that filled his wife’s shelves in the library: forbidden love. A girl of lowly birth who falls for the son of a Duke, but is forced to marry a blusterer while her true love enters a ‘proper’ marriage with a woman his social equal.

Teddy wondered if Diane’s sympathies for the lovers ever stepped off the page; if she ever thought of him and the gilded cage that she represented. He did, daily. And every time he read a story about Lois’ horse breeding business, he wondered whether his story would share the novels’ happy ending.


A brief extroduction…

Our excellent prompt photo this week, courtesy of J Hardy Carroll, reminded me of a thought that’s been mulling about in my head recently regarding the British royal family: Prince Charles and Camilla really need a better spin doctor. Because theirs is a love story.

Years ago, ten years before he had even met Lady Diana Spencer, the young Prince Charles met and fell in love with Camilla. The match was frowned upon and eventually he was married off to Di while she was dispatched to Captain Parker-Bowles. Maybe they went willingly, maybe not; we can never know.

The story we have been sold is that that should have been an end to it: Charles should have accepted his lot, and with it his beautiful, upper class and appropriate wife, leaving the less ‘correct’ Camilla in his past. But love stories don’t run like that, and in fiction most of us don’t want them too. Furthermore, until really very recently, royal Princes weren’t expected to be faithful to the trophy wives chosen for them by ‘the machine’ – and the trophy wives weren’t expected to mind. Charles and Diana happened to live at a tough time for the royal family, when automatic deference was dead, but people still wanted them to be greater than human and without our failings or feelings. Under intense scrutiny and modern expectations, I suggest neither came out particularly spotless. I certainly don’t defend any party’s actions during their respective first marriages.

But Diana has been dead 20 years and Charles has now fulfilled the romantic, love story ambition of a happy ending. He and Camilla may not be innocent, or beautiful, or particularly easy to put on a pedestal, but I suspect they are better for each other than either’s first spouse ever was, and I for one , wish them all the very best in the final act of their love story.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

21 responses to “FF – Gilded Cage

  1. Dear Jen,

    Interesting perspective on forbidden love. It seems those stories always come from the woman’s POV. Well done. My heart went out to all involved…particularly Teddy. I hope he’ll realize a happy ending. Enjoy your time away.



    • Thanks, Rochelle. I agree about the POV – I guess the main audience are women, but I do imagine there are a lot of difficult emotions for the male leads in these circumstances too. If I have chance, I have an extroduction for this one!

  2. Teddy doesn’t seem like a bad sort, so I hope his fears are for naught.

  3. Interesting how you make us feel more for the man than the woman who is in a cage, albeit gilded.
    Nicely done.

  4. Lynn Love

    Sad for all concerned, to be railroaded into an unwanted marriage. Better to be poor and be able to pick your mate! Nicely told tale

  5. Interesting story, though I couldn’t quite get behind where Teddy’s at. Is he the poor husband of rich Diane or the rich but unhappy husband of Diane, wanting Lois?

    As to Charles and Camille & Di, that’s a whole ‘nother tale. As I remember, Camille was already divorced — that was the issue. He was having an affair with her (and had affairs with quite a few before her, one might add.) And he definitely wanted to marry her, but the public outcry against the Crown Prince marrying a divorcee was loud and long.

    Charles opted to fit the mold. He wasn’t forced to, though the pressure would have been great. His Gr-Uncle Edward bucked the trend and Charles could have, too. History says Edward was weak, a playboy who chose his love over the throne — but he got a certain respect for it. and the life he wanted. (And people who lived during that time say it was the best thing for England.)

    Charles chose Di. He wasn’t forced to. Sorry, but I’m old fashioned. He could have married Camille, but once he chose Di that should have been the end of his interest in Camille. Yet he and Di were on such a different wavelength I think they both felt like they were drowning.

    But I totally agree with you that Camille would have been far better for him in the long run. And really, it wouldn’t have mattered one speck if he had married her in spite of pressure. He’s still not king. And opinion has changed so much that nobody’s going to fuss now.

  6. Marriages of convenience, or for political reasons, make for great heartbreak stories. Romantics love the thought of “giving it all up” for love. After all, happiness can’t be measured in pennies and pounds. You captured the theme well. I enjoyed the extroduction too.

  7. I liked this twist on the old love stories. I hope Teddy will find the courage to be honest with himself and his wife – neither of them deserve to be trapped in a cage. I hope both will fly towards what will truly make them happy.

  8. A repeat scenario throughout the history of royal families and the nobility, I fear and doubt it will be the last. Poor Diana was not cut of the cloth that acquiesced easily to having [quote] “a third person in the marriage”, as she told the whole world via a BBC interview. A tragic tale. And we may yet see the one-time divorcee become Queen Camilla.

  9. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    Loved how the one in the gilded cage was the husband. Nicely done and I really like you POV in the extroduction

  10. I’m not sure who I feel more sorry for. a lot to think about in you hundred words.

    Click to read my story

  11. It is easy to judge over the airwaves. It’s when we humanize people and learn their stories that compassion begins to flow.

  12. Sarah Ann

    Good to see this from the male’s POV. Let’s hope Teddy gets his happy ending, although I feel his Diane might be resistant to any change in their situation.

  13. Lovely sentiments. The future King, I am sure would approve.

  14. Nicely told, I like the way he cannot be sure she feels the same or takes any message from the books.

  15. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Hello Jen,
    Was perusing through some old posts, saw your name, and thought I’d drop by for a cuppa.
    But you are away, it seems. Oh bother, as Winston Churchill would say. Or was that Winnie the Pooh?
    Good to see that you are still here (recently anyhow).

    • Helena! Delightful to hear from you. Yes, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing in favour of some real-world activities. I’ll be back; I miss it. But I’m enjoying family, school council activities and learning to tap dance in the meantime!

      • Helena Hann-Basquiat

        Well, aren’t you the dilettante! Learning to tap dance. It’s amazing to learn that you can always learn something new. Enjoy yourself. You’ll have lots of time to write about your experiences when life slows down.

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