Corona Princess Diaries Day 16
Hello. I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy during these unsettling times.
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.
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 pandemic, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.
And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.
I hope you enjoy this sixteenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.
– Royal Bedroom –
The prime minister called. “I have good news and bad news,” she said.
“Of course you do,” I said. “Well, let’s get it over with. What’s the bad news?”
“You’re being sued.”
“I already know that,” I said with a snort. “The Genovian Hotel and Restaurant Association is suing me for shutting down all of their businesses due to the virus – even though of course we’re giving them full financial support.” I looked at my fingernails, which, since I haven’t seen Paolo in so long, had returned to their normal unsightly state. “What else is new?”
“No, this isn’t about that lawsuit,” the Prime Minister surprised me by replying. “This is a new one. This one is from a small, family-run Genovian bakery.”
“A bakery?” I was shocked. “But why would a bakery sue me? Bakeries are considered essential businesses. They’ve all been allowed to stay open!” And if anyone else has been eating bread the way I have lately, their sales have probably been brisk.
“That isn’t why they’re suing you. They’re suing you because they say your closing the country to tourists, including cruise ships, is adversely affecting their business. They say that last year at this time, when the ports and roads to Genovia were open, they were making 1,600% more in sales of croissants and éclairs than they are now.”
“Well, how can they blame me for that?” I exploded, startling Michael and the twins, who were building a pillow fort nearby. “I didn’t cause Covid-19! I’m trying to protect Genovia from it! And pardon me if Covid-19 has a nasty habit of being extremely contagious on cruise ships! You’d think these bakers would show a little gratitude to me for FORBIDDING cruise ships from coming here and bringing it to all of us!”
“Yes, well, that does not seem to be the attitude of the Paninis.”
“Wait a minute.” I could not believe what I was hearing. “These people own a bakery and their last name is Panini?”
“It appears so.”
“This has to be a joke.” Paninis are basically my favorite kind of sandwich. I love paninis of every kind – mozzarella, brie, chocolate, eggplant, even chicken and ham now that I’ve given up vegetarianism – I could go on forever. “This lawsuit is some sort of cruel prank by the paparazzi just to torment me!”
“It does not seem to be. Monsieur Panini says his family has owned a bakery here in Genovia for over six centuries, and it is only since you shut down the country that his business has suffered irreparable financial harm—”
“It’s only since I shut down the country that Covid has existed!” I thundered. “And anyway, what about the Spanish flu? You can’t tell me his business wasn’t affected by that! Let’s find my grandmother, she was probably around then, I bet she remembers this Monsieur Panini and his alleged bakery, she can probably tell us. Or maybe the Bubonic Plague years. How well were his croissants selling then? Let’s consult the royal tax ledgers! Did his ancestors sue my ancestors for shutting down the country during the plague?”
“Well, Genovia didn’t have cruise ships during the plague,” the Prime Minister was saying. “Do you still want to hear the good news?”
“What possible good news could there be?” I asked, as Michael got up from all the pillows the twins had buried him under and came to rub my shoulders, since he could tell I was having a very stressful day. But not even his strong, manly fingers could rub away my anxiety over the panini situation. “The people of my country are suing to get me to open up again to cruise ships and tourists, the exact things that will bring more cases of the virus here, and you think there’s good news?”
“Yes,” the Prime Minister said. “The Royal Genovian Academy’s graduating Class of 2020 would like you to give their commencement address. Of course they’re only having a cyber commencement due to the virus, but they’d be honored if—”
I stood up, inadvertently flinging away Michael’s hands. “I’ll do it!”
“Oh.” The Prime Minister sounded surprised. “You will? To be quite honest, I thought you’d say no, since you already have so much on your plate. And I do think you should know that apparently you were not their first choice. They asked Harry Styles first, and then some American individuals I’ve never heard of called Desus Nice and the Kid Mero. But apparently they were all unavailable.”
“Of course. Still, I’m happy to do it.”
“How wonderful. I’m sure the students will be pleased.”
“Thanks. And do get back to me about the baker if there are any developments.” Perhaps the Paninis made paninis. It would be nice to have some paninis for lunch for a change. Maybe if I ordered paninis for the entire palace staff, it would make the Paninis so happy, they would drop their lawsuit.
“I will,” said the Prime Minister. “Of course.” Then we said our goodbyes and hung up.
“What is it?” Michael asked. “What’s going on?”
“Mommy, mommy,” cried the twins. “Help us build our fort!”
“Not now, darlings,” I said. “Mommy has something very important to do for the good of the country. I’m writing a commencement speech,” I told Michael. “The Royal Genovian Academy’s graduating class of 2020 has asked me!”
“Oh,” he said. “Well, that’s great. Have you ever written a commencement speech before?”
“Not that I can remember. I’ve been asked, of course, many times, but I’ve always been so busy attending UN sessions and opening hospital wings and whatnot, I’ve never had a chance actually to give one.”
But we live on a different planet now. The UN is open only to virtual sessions and while many new hospitals are opening up, they aren’t wasting time with royal grand openings. They’re too busy getting to work saving patients straight away.
So what can I possibly say to the young people of 2020, heading out into such a vastly different world than it was a mere two months ago, much less than when I graduated, so many many years ago? The world seems to be on fire – in some places literally. What can I say to these graduates to give them hope and inspiration for the future when I can sometimes barely summon any for myself, and I’m a princess who lives in a palace in absolute privilege and luxury?
“Amelia!” Grandmere is pounding on the door to my bedroom. “Amelia, I need to speak to you. It’s about my wedding to Derek. It’s IMPORTANT! Stop avoiding me, young lady. You’re going to have to come out and talk to me about this sometime. Now, we’ve whittled down the guest list to merely two hundred in deference to social distancing. But we absolutely refuse to wear masks. It’s unseemly! Whoever heard of a bride in a mask? And we absolutely MUST have Elton John as our live entertainment during the reception, but if he’s not available, Derek says he’ll settle for Drake.”
And how am I even supposed to think while stuck inside with all this joyful toddler prattle, a newly bearded prince consort, and a love-crazed dowager princess, distracting me?
Think. I’ve got to think!
Come back soon for more entries in The Corona Princess Diaries!