Corona Princess Diaries Day 6
Hello, everybody! I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.
Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you!
*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis.
I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now. If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.
And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many of whom will deliver books to your home during this crazy time) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.
I hope you enjoy this sixth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.
– Royal Bedroom –
Genovia has our first official case of the virus!
And it is someone we know.
By “we” I mean Grandmere. Grandmere knows him. Grandmere knows him very, very well.
That’s right. The first person in Genovia to come down with the virus (that we know of) is none other than Chad (last name withheld for reasons of privacy), of Gainesville, Florida – Chad, the University of Florida student with whom Grandmere was partying on the Royal Yacht!
The Prime Minister says Chad was found by a dog-walker (isn’t that always how it happens on Law & Order?), shivering beneath a towel on one of the lounge chairs at the beach, surrounded by empty cans of White Claw (exact flavor unknown, but I personally prefer grapefruit so I hope it was that).
Chad’s friend Derek was sitting nearby, eating a calzone and playing Fortnite on his phone. He was not at all alarmed by his friend’s condition, but seemed very much alarmed when he saw all the Royal Genovian medical personnel in Haz-Mat suits, who quickly descended upon him and took his temperature.
According to reports, both Chad and Derek surrendered peacefully.
“Fortunately, Chad’s symptoms are mild,” I told my family tonight at dinner. “And Derek has tested negative. Chad is resting comfortably in an isolation room at the hospital.”
“Chad?” Grandmere cried, nearly dropping her Sidecar. “Chad of the University of Florida?”
“Yes, Grandmere,” I said. “Chad. You do know what this means, don’t you?”
“Of course,” she said. “We must send poor Chad a get-well fruit basket at once. And perhaps some nice magazines. Do we have the latest Vanity Fair?”
“No! Well, yes. But just how intimately are you acquainted with Genovia’s ONLY coronavirus patient (so far)?”
Grandmere tried to act coy. “Not much. Hardly at all. He and the Baroness and I shared a few laughs, and maybe some crudités. He didn’t seem at all ill, however. He might have said something about his allergies acting up, but you know how the pear trees are in bloom. Everyone’s feeling a little under the weather – ”
“That’s it!” I threw down my napkin. I’d had all I could take. “You’re going into self-isolation, too, Grandmere, just like Michael!”
“How dare you, Amelia!” Grandmere rose dramatically from the table. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will!”
I glared at her. “Are you seriously quoting Jane Eyre at me right now?”
“And why shouldn’t I, when you’re treating me as if I were a madwoman? But I won’t be locked in any attic. Philippe, are you listening to a word your daughter is saying?” Grandmere whirled on my dad. “She’s trying to cage me!”
“What’s this?” Dad finally looked up from his iPhone, where he’s been feverishly looking for sports scores since this whole thing started. But there are none. “What did you say about a cage, Mother?”
“All I did was make some new friends,” Grandmere complained. “I can hardly help that, I’m a dynamic woman, and everyone is attracted to me! And now Amelia is cruelly trying to punish me for it by forcing me to stay in my rooms.”
“It’s for the public good, Clarisse.” My mother tried to help. “You could be carrying the virus and not know it. What if you infected the children?”
“The chances of that are highly unlikely.” Grandmere reached for her Sidecar. “I had my flu shot this year.”
“This isn’t the flu, Grandmere,” Olivia looked up from her own phone to say. Since we’re living through a global pandemic, I relaxed the rule about no phones at the table. In this way, I hope to keep from going insane. “The flu is caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses. This outbreak is caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, for which we currently have no cure or vaccine.”
We all stared at Olivia for several moments.
“Thank you, Olivia,” I said, at last. Perhaps I was wrong about allowing phone usage at the table. “That was very informative.” To Grandmere I said, “Now do you see why you need to keep to your own wing of the palace, Grandmere? This is a very serious situation.”
“But what about Derek?” Grandmere cried. “Who is looking after him?”
“Who cares?” I asked. “He’s an American college student. He can go back home, to America.”
“Uh, actually, he can’t,” Lilly said, looking up from her own phone. Remember the days when no one had a cell phone, and we all fully focused on one another as we ate? I do. I remember when all I wanted as a teenager was a beeper, for Michael Moscovitz to kiss me, and not to be the Princess of Genovia. Well, I got one thing I wanted. “They’re not letting people who’ve been traveling in Europe back into the US. Or rather, they are, but if they’ve been somewhere that has an outbreak of the virus, they have to self-isolate for two weeks when they get home. Or something. It seems to be changing hourly over there.”
“You see?” Grandmere cried triumphantly. “Derek must stay here, and we must offer him our hospitality!”
Now I was really sure she was a madwoman. “What? Why?”
“Because we’re royals, Amelia. And that’s what royals do. We offer up our homes to strangers in times of duress.”
“I am not offering up a room in this palace to some college student I’ve never met who may or may not have SARS-CoV-2.”
“But I thought you said he tested negative!”
“He did. For now. But who knows – ”
“If Derek comes to stay with us, and I know the sweet little lamb is safe, then I will make the supreme sacrifice, and self-isolate in my own quarters as you suggest, Amelia.” Grandmere laid a hand upon her bosom. “Let it not be said that I did nothing for my country during this time of unparalleled disaster and desperation – ”
“Oh, my God, all right already.” I rolled my eyes at the footman who was standing nearby, trying to keep a straight face. “Could you please let the major domo know we need to get a room ready for our new guest, Derek . . . ?” I looked questioningly at my grandmother for Derek’s last name.
“Derek of Gainesville, Florida!” she cried. “Student at America’s number one university!”
Fortunately my own phone rang at that point, saving me from having to continue the conversation. It was the Prime Minister again. She wants me to give a live televised address to the nation about the virus, now that we have our first patient.
Which is all well and good and completely necessary, but . . . .
Dr. Khan told me under no circumstances was I to let anyone who hadn’t been screened for the virus come near me, and that includes my hair stylist, Paolo.
Obviously hair is the last thing anyone should be thinking about at a time like this.
But one does want to look good for one’s country, even in a crisis.
Come back tomorrow for the next entry of THE CORONA PRINCESS DIARIES