Fort Belvedere bedroom, where all the fun took place
Previously in the novel: Novice mercenary Leon fails in kidnapping the Archbishop of Canterbury because of David, better known as Edward the Prince of Wales. Also in the world of espionage is socialite Wallis Spencer. Wallis, in quick succession, dumps first husband Winfield, kills Uncle Sol and marries Ernest. In the meantime David has an affair with Freda Ward and Thelma Furness. MI6 wants him to seduce Princess Stephanie of Austria.
The next morning they descended the staircase for breakfast. David dressed in casual checkered slacks and a dark turtleneck sweater while Stephanie wore her wrinkled evening gown with pearl necklace. He called the butler aside to give discreet instructions about arranging for a bag of clothing to be brought out to the fort while Stephanie instructed the cook on how she liked her pancakes fixed. After breakfast, while waiting for her clothes to arrive, they walked in the garden.
David paused by the fish pond. “Eventually I’m having that replaced by a swimming pool.” He then nodded to the right. “And over there I’m building tennis courts.”
“Please don’t bother to continue,” Stephanie interrupted. “I am not interested in—how shall I put it—outdoor activities.”
“So you are more interested in pleasures that are available indoors.” He smiled slightly. “I completely understand.”
In the next few days, they enjoyed meals together. Stephanie appreciated how the cook adapted the cuisine to her tastes. The couple spent early evening hours listening to the radio or records and played the game of guessing the names of acquaintances they might share. Late evening hours were filled with intimacies in the master’s bedroom. David stifled a laugh when Stephanie, upon reaching orgasm, screamed out “Seig heil!”
Each morning they slept in later and later until they accepted the reality that their first meal of the day was going to be luncheon. After the servants had left the dining room, David leaned to whisiper, “I think I have surmised your favorite indoor activity.”
“As it is yours, my darling prince.”
He bit into a scone and mumbled, “Perhaps.”
One particular afternoon they lounged about in David’s library. Stephanie ran her fingers across a few of the titles.
“Have you read Herr Hitler’s Mein Kampf?”
“No, I haven’t gotten around to that one yet.”
She turned and smiled. “I can get an autographed copy if you wish.”
At the end of the two weeks, David felt he had accomplished his assignment. He had Stephanie’s complete confidence. He learned that Harold Sidney Harmsworth, first viscount of Rothermere, had a mole on his left buttock which had a long, solitary hair growing through it. She kept insisting Herr Hitler was not as terrible as the rest of the world thought.
“He has a unique sense of humor, that’s all,” she said.
That last night they lay naked in front of the fireplace in David’s bedroom. Well, Stephanie was not completely naked. She still wore her string of pearls, which glistened in the flickering fire light. Her fingers glided across his smooth chest.
“I can tell you are of Aryan blood.” Her eyes softened.
“Yes, my great-grandmother Victoria married Albert Saxe Coberg Gothe.”
Her head went back. “What a glorious name. Why did your family change it to Windsor? That’s a castle, isn’t it?”
“Well, during the recent unpleasantness with Germany, the English people wanted us to sound more English.”
“But when you become king, you can change all that,” she purred. “Think of it, England and Germany, bounded together.”
“You mean bound together, don’t you?” David interrupted.
“Bounded together, well, means something entirely different.” His voiced oozed cynicism.
“Oh. You’re such a tease.” Stephanie slapped his bare shoulder. “But if you married a German princess….” Stephanie let her sentence dangle as leaned in to kiss David’s chest.
He tensed. David was not expecting her to press for marriage. He assumed she–and Hitler–would be satisfied with an intimate relationship with possible access to government secrets. The notion of actual marriage presented a new set of complications. He decided he needed the rest of the night to extricate himself from matrimony while maintaining close contact with Hitler’s inner circle.
“Suddenly, I feel fatigued.” David fell back on his pillow and yawned.
They arose early in order to have breakfast before David’s chauffeur drove her back to Mayfair. David eyed her as he took a bite of toast.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said last night.”
“Yes?” Her eyes brightened.
“I think I do want to marry you.”
“Who said I would say yes?” Her voice overflowed with playful mischievousness.
He ignored her question. “Of course, the government would object because you are a divorcee and you have a child from your previous marriage. Then there’s the matter of religion.”
“I have no religion,” she replied flatly.
“There you have it. But that should not deter us. These two weeks have convinced me I am capable of true, profound love. We will marry and say to hell with the rest of the world. I own four thousand acres of ranch land a few miles south of Calgary. We can marry, retire to Canada and raise cattle the rest of our lives. Your son will love it.”
Stephanie’s mouth was agape for a full minute. “Are you serious? You would give up the throne, give up everything to marry me?”
“Of course.” David observed her eyes and knew he had won.
“My dear, foolish prince. I am an important person in my country. I could not disappear to—to Calgary.”
David reached out to clasp her hand. “I suppose you’re right. But we will always remain close, intimate friends, won’t we?”
He pulled out a tiny stuffed teddy bear from his slacks pocket, put it in her hand and closed her fingers around it.
“This is for you. Always keep it with you. From time to time, pull it out and look at it to remind yourself of the one brief moment when the Prince of Wales was completely sincere.”