Alright then! I have survived my first few weeks at Uni and am going to write this as I literally have nothing else to do sitting here watching a film. So, I was thinking, nut wants drama and the only way I'm going to get drama is to skip forward to November 1926. So you will have drama, but also an introduction to KGV at the same time! Enjoy.
Alice sat quietly in the chair, watching the grey-haired, moustached man who sat across the desk from her, paying particular attention to his hand as it scribbled relentlessly across the forms in front of him. She wondered what he was writing, wondering what it was he had found. She turned briefly to see David sat on the leather bound examination bed behind her, he glanced up at Alice and smiled gently before casting his eyes back down to his feet.
Alice then admired the scenery of the room. It was fairly bland; a dark, wooden floor and pale walls which were barely decorated. Except the wall that faced Alice, that was adorned with five mahogany-framed, signed, official certificates from various institutions. One was from the British Medical Association, Alice noted, and another from Cambridge University, obviously the man's alma mater.
She turned her head back to him as he cleared his throat, her hair pinned underneath a black wool cloche hat, as he said "If you'll excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell," he stood up from his chair and picked up the forms and notes he had been formatting "I am just going to discuss your tests with a colleague. I shan't be long." He moved from his desk and slipped through a door behind him, closing it gently.
"This is ridiculous!" David exclaimed as he moved from the examination bed, pacing barefoot around the office "Why are we here, Lissy? Why are we he-?" He interrupted himself as he hissed quietly "We can conceive a child perfectly well without help from anyone! Least of all him!" He nodded to the door which the doctor had disappeared behind.
"If that were true, David," Alice looked up at him with wide eyes "If that were true, if we could conceive a child perfectly well...if that were true then I'd be pregnant by now," she paused "And since, obviously, that isn't the case, well, then-."
"Then we just keep trying!" David interrupted her, turning to face her he pointed to the examination bed "Do you know how humiliating that was?! Hmm?! To be prodded and poked by some perfect stranger who then tells you that you've-"
"I was hardly comfortable with the entire experience!" Alice hissed up at him "God knows what he was doing because I certainly didn't!"
David quietened down, continuing to pace the room in his suit and socks, before adding "And I've no idea why Fairfax made the appointment for us under the surname Mitchell! That doctor would have to have spent the last year living under a rock for him not to recognise us!"
"That's not the point, David," Alice retorted, turning so she faced him "You're right that the doctor probably isn't fooled, but it's the principle of confidentiality. We are his patients. He won't tell anybody else our real identities. And if a reporter for some newspaper happens to walk in and demand the list of patients for this place then he'll think nothing of Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell, will he? They won't make the society column! But if Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales were on the list of appointments then that would sell papers like hotcakes!"
David stopped and stared at her, his arms folded across his chest "Alright, you've made your point," he walked a few steps toward Alice before stopping. He ran a hand down his face before muttering "I thought we'd done it in Egypt, you know? I really did. I thought we'd finally done it. After all that trying-."
"We've been trying since the wedding, David," Alice interrupted him again, her apathetic voice gaining in emotion as she exclaimed "We've been trying for seven months with nothing so what on earth makes you think that last month's visit to the Valley of the Kings made any difference?!" Her voice cracked as she told him plainly "I want a baby, David, is that too much to ask?!"
"And I need one," David replied as bluntly "Is that too much to ask, Alice?" He then shouted at her, the infamous Windsor beast manifesting itself from inside him as he bellowed "Why can you not give me the one thing I need?!"
Alice, who was almost in tears after her husband's outburst, replied "Who's to say it's me that's the problem, hmm? Why is it automatically my fault?!"
David had stopped listening to her and was concentrating on the door, he then pressed his finger to his lips and hurriedly returned to his spot on the examination bed.
Sure enough, almost instantly, the doctor reappeared with another smartly-dressed medical professional behind him.
Alice, who was dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief at the time, looked up and sniffed as the second man held out his hand confidently, though he blinked in surprise as he introduced himself "Hello, Mrs. Mitchell, my name is Mr. Harding. I'm the chief consultant here at the clinic."
"Oh," Alice took the outstretched hand "Hello, Mr. Harding," she smiled slightly "I do apologise for my being so emotional on our first encounter."
"Ah," the tall, lean Mr. Harding brushed her statement away with a simple enunciation of his deep voice "Not to worry, Mrs. Mitchell. You have more than a right to be emotional about a problem which is," he paused and sighed "Which is so tragic. I see couples on a daily basis who, like you, are in desperate want of a child."
"In desperate need of a child is more like it," Alice heard David correct him, she could hear his feet on the creaking Victorian floorboards as he walked over to Mr. Harding and offered his own hand "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Harding, my name is Mr. Mitchell."
Harding nodded firmly as he shook 'Mr Mitchell's' hand and then he turned to his colleague "Well, Mr. Barber I think you can leave the Mitchell's with me for now."
"Certainly," the other man said "Mrs. Mitchell," he turned to Alice and shook her hand and then did the same to David before taking his leave through the back door of the office.
"Now," Harding began "I'm firstly going to start by asking you both some questions, and then I'll-."
"Are they the same questions that your most revered colleague asked us?" David butted in; Alice turned her head to see him tying his shoes back up over his feet as he waited for a reply.
"Yes, Mr. Mitchell," Harding replied coolly "But that's only so I can form my own opinion on what it is that may be preventing you from conceiving-."
"I can tell you what it is that's preventing my wife and I from conceiving," David interrupted him, he was standing now and headed for the coat rack by the main door "People like you. People like you interfering and thinking-."
"David!" Alice snapped suddenly "Sit down!"
"No!" David retorted as he pulled his coat on over his shoulders and fixed his hat over his smooth, parted hair "No, Alice, I won't sit down! I'm not having that man there tell me how to conceive a baby! Other people do it on a daily basis, why not us-?"
"Mr. Mitchell, please!" Harding begged him "I'm really not here to interfere I would just like to give you what you so desperately want-."
"What I so desperately need!" David corrected him loudly as he stood by the door "Believe me, Sir, if I only wanted a baby I wouldn't be half as worried as I am now!"
"David!" Alice tried to reprimand him again.
"Mr. Mitchell," the doctor tried again to persuade David not to leave "Please, sit down, we can-."
"I'll be waiting in the motor, Alice," David coldly interrupted the doctor for a final time as he stood with his hand on the doorknob "Don't be too long will you?" He looked up at the doctor "It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Harding, but alas, I don't think I shall be requiring your services anymore."
"Mr. Mitchell," Harding sighed "If only I could make you-."
"You can't," David snapped and then smiled "And don't make yourself out to be stupid, Harding. You know full well that I'm not Mr. Mitchell any more than you are the German Kaiser," he paused and opened the door "Goodbye."
Alice winced as David slammed the door behind him, and if she craned her neck to stare out the window she would soon see a lithe, dark shape slide into the back of a waiting Rolls Royce.
She opened her eyes and looked at the man sat opposite her "I am so terribly sorry, Mr. Harding. My husband, he...," she shuddered "He likes to believe that none of this is happening."
"It's quite alright, Mrs. Mitchell," Harding said calmly, smiling at Alice "Denial is a common way to deal with such a problem. Maybe Mr. Mitchell just needs time to accept that he cannot conceive a child by natural means."
Alice then smiled "Please, Mr. Harding, I respect your intelligence. That's why I'm here. Call me as my title dictates. I'll feel much better then."
"Very well," Harding nodded. He then reached out onto the desk for a pen, dipped it in the little pot of ink it sat beside, and then returned it to his paper before beginning his questions "Now, Your Royal Highness, could you tell me how long it is that you've actively been trying to conceive?"
"Since our wedding," Alice answered him firmly "We've not used any form of contraception whatsoever."
The consultant nodded as he wrote across the blank page in a scrawl "And, if you don't mind my asking, Ma'am, how often do you and your husband engage in intercourse? On a weekly basis?"
Alice blinked and answered again "Well, on a normal week it would be almost every night."
"And you're menstruating on a monthly basis, yes?"
"Yes, every month like clockwork."
"Mmm," the consultant muttered. He finished his scrawling "That's all I need to know at the moment," he replaced the pen in it's well and raised his hand towards the examination bed "Now, Ma'am, if you'll care to go behind the curtain and undress then I shall see if everything's present and correct as it should be."
Alice smiled, removed her hat from her head, and then stood and walked across to the examination bed and drawing the privacy curtain around her so she could undress.
Little over forty minutes later, David was woken from his doze by the slam of a motor car door. He glanced to his left to see his wife sat next to him, adjusting her gloves over her hands with an expression of irritation on her face. She glanced up briefly at him, meeting his eyes, before staring down at her lap again, drumming her fingers on the leather of her handbag.
David remained silent as he heard Mr. Wilson, their chauffeur, shut the driver's door behind him and then turn the key in the ignition, the engine roaring into life. The car began to move, pulling away from the pavement and rolling back onto the road of Harley Street.
The car had been on the roads of London for a while when the Prince of Wales was forced to look up as his wife said indifferently "That was a performance, my dear, I'll give you that."
"I'm sorry, darling," David was defiant as he sat with his elbow resting on the armrest and his head against the window, his breath forming white clouds on the cold glass as he spoke "But I'm not going to take back what I said."
"It was embarrassing!" David heard Alice's reply as he wrote his name in the clouds on the window "And what's more is that you never gave Mr. Harding a chance to-! Are you even listening to me, David? David?!" David then felt Alice's fingers slap down on his wrist. He turned back to see his wife staring at him, her eyes serious "You're incorrigible!" She exclaimed "If this is your attitude to trying to have a baby, God knows what you'll be like if we ever actually manage to do so! I doubt you'll do anything beyond look at it, nod, and then return to being Peter Pan!"
David looked up with furrowed eyebrows "Excuse me?!" He scoffed "Peter Pan?! Who do you think you are calling me that?! What do you mean by that?!"
"Arrgh!" Alice shrieked in frustration before turning in her seat and explaining to David plainly, as one might a child "What do you think I mean, David?! Peter Pan! Neverland! The boy who never grew up! That's you!" She motioned to where David continued to write in the window "Take that, for instance! What sensible, mature man writes on the window of a motor car?! What man who is supposed to be, or rather who is the heir to the throne, does that?! You're the Prince of Wales, for God's sake, grow up!" She threw herself into the corner of her seat, folding her arms across her torso and jutting her bottom lip out like some sort of spoilt child.
There was silence for a moment longer between husband and wife, Alice curled up on one side of cream leather seat, David sprawled across the other, his head still leaning on the window, tapping his fingers on his left kneecap.
"Do you know who you sounded like there?" David flicked pieces of fluff from the trousers he was wearing, his eyes flitting momentarily to Alice as she moved her arms back down to her sides "Hmm? Do you?"
"No," Alice mumbled as she rifled around in her handbag for her vanity case "But I suppose you're going to tell me?"
"You sounded like my dear Pappa," David told Alice methodically "Do you know he says that to me on a weekly basis? 'Grow up, David, you're the future King!'" He bellowed out an impersonation of his terrifying father and then chuckled "He makes me laugh, he really does. He tells me to grow up but he, by his own doing, was never really a child. He was born standing to attention."
"If he makes you laugh that much then you'll look forward to tonight," Alice reminded him quietly as she shut her handbag with a click before falling silent again.
"What?" David asked.
"Your father and mother have invited themselves over for dinner, don't you remember?" Alice spoke quickly, she looked up with her arched eyebrows to see David's face before adding "I take it you don't?"
David cleared his throat and then answered her question with a question "What have you told Monsieur Félix to prepare?"
"Nothing special," Alice mumbled "The usual courses; soup, fish, a main, and then a dessert. I've asked Félix to make that saumon aux champignons which you keep nagging him about for the fish."
"Mmm," David murmured, still not looking Alice in the eye as he remembered how he had been hounding the French chef at Lancaster House, the Parisian-trained Lyon-born Monsieur Basile Félix, who the Prince and Princess of Wales had snatched up on their way back to London from their honeymoon. Félix was a magician in the kitchen, able to serve the most breathtakingly exquisite and aesthetic French culinary concoctions, all prepared in the calm of his kitchen, which he ran like a well-oiled machine. He employed male staff instead of kitchen maids, and he had arranged it with the butler, Mr. Glynn, that he would be the one to interview applicants for vacant positions in the patisserie petit.
Of course, Lancaster House had its own typical English grand-house chef. Named Mrs. Tulley. She was responsible for the food when less flamboyant creations were needed; she could manage a simple luncheon or a treacle pudding, but she was not up to the standards of Monsieur Félix. And David was sure, although it still hadn't been confirmed, that Mrs. Tulley and Félix were bitter rivals when it came to authority. Mrs. Tulley had been outraged when Félix had been given his own staff and his own kitchen space, when she was struggling with five kitchen maids. Apparently, according to Mr. Glynn, Félix had told her that he was the chef and she was the cook, and that the natural hierarchy should be obvious.
David laughed "Don't you remember, darling? Pappa doesn't like mushrooms," he said, brushing the top of his hat with his hand as it sat on his right knee "He said so at Balmoral. Well, he threw a tantrum akin to a small child and then scared the life out of the poor footman by roaring at him to fetch something without mushrooms."
"I don't see why you two can't get on better, really," Alice still didn't look at David as the motor turned a corner and the great facade of Lancaster House came into view.
"You don't see?" David's eyes narrowed "Well, amongst other things, Lissy, I like mushrooms. In fact, compared to Pappa, I love mushrooms and I-"
"What I mean, David," Alice said firmly "Is that you're both as childish as each other. You just admitted he threw a tantrum and you, well, you've been drawing on the window for near enough the entire journey. You're as childish as he is. You'd do well together if you both saw that you needed to grow up."
"And you need to shave before tonight," Alice butted in again "Your chin is getting bristly," the motor rolled through the open gates and came to a stop on the forecourt "And about your Pappa not liking mushrooms..," Alice began.
"Hmm?" David looked up at his wife to see her smiling as she prepared to go inside, as he felt his chin, finding the bristles Alice was talking about "What about my Pappa not liking mushrooms?"
"He's going to have to like them tonight," she answered him with a coy smile "I'm the Princess of Wales, this is my house, and he'll jolly well eat what's served up in front of him. If he doesn't, well," she shrugged as Wilson came round and opened the door for her "I'll make him suffer the wrath of Monsieur Félix."
David smiled and then laughed wickedly as he watched Alice slip out of the door and stand up straight. He called after her in an impression of their chef "Je n'aime pas que vous êtes le roi d'Angleterre et l'empereur de l'Inde, vous mangerez de mes champignons! Ou bien!"
He was warmed inside when his wife turned back to him with a beam on her face, her eyes twinkling. Whether Alice had forgiven him outright was irrelevant, the fact that she had superficially done so was enough for David.
He then opened his door and stepped out of the motor, coming to stare up at the facade of the magnificent Lancaster House.
Nestled in the St. James district of the West End and close to the Palace of St. James, Lancaster House was built in 1840 for the second son of King George III and was originally known as York House. It changed hands from the Royal Family to dukes to baronets to politicians before it was finally bought back into the Royal Family by George V when he purchased it in 1922 as a prospective London residence for David when he married. And so, when he did finally marry Alice, they were given Lancaster House as their official residence in London; all correspondence, engagements, and official documents to do with TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales came with the Lancaster House headed paper.
The interiors themselves were less depicting of a house and more of a palace. All those who stepped into the grand, three-storey high entrance hall commented on how Lancaster was more suited to a King than Buckingham Palace would ever be. It was easy to see their logic; with ornate marble decoration and a sweeping grand staircase, the Grand Hall was indeed an awe-inspiring architectural achievement, and one which suited the Prince and Princess of Wales' lavish lifestyle down to the last speck of gilt on the elaborate balustrades.
David walked into the Grand Hall and handed the waiting footman his coat and hat, coming to stand beside Alice as she stood in the middle of the vast space, staring up at beautiful ornate ceiling.
"I feel so small," Alice sighed "Everything is just so big!"
David smiled at her, glancing across to the back wall and to the one of the two large biblical paintings fixed into it, each on either side of an even larger painting depicting a scene from the New Testament. He nodded to the painting on the right "What would you say to changing the paintings? Mmm? Make this place at bit more modern," he suggested "A bit more us?"
"Hmm," Alice nodded "I don't see how you could though, besides ripping half the wall out."
"Well," David shrugged "If we can't do it here, we'll do it at the Fort."
Alice snorted "That ugly place? You can do what you like to that, I'll have no input, thank you. Seaford is my own little canvas to paint how I wish."
It was David's turn to scoff as he crossed the red carpet, past his wife, and began to ascend the magnificent staircase "Seaford doesn't need any more painting, it's got enough decor as it is!"
Alice laughed as she too went to climb the stairs to the first floor, but she took the staircase opposite to David as she replied "Let me be the judge of that."
Later that evening, Alice sat at the vanity table in her dressing room, applying perfume and making sure her drop earrings, the latest design bought for her by her older brother and sister-in-law for her recent twenty-fourth birthday, were perfectly snug in her ears.
Her reflection smiled back at her; her hair was crimped to faultlessness by her young maid Milly, who had been an English-born French-trained present hired for her by David after their honeymoon.
She stood and smoothed out the dress she was wearing; it was luxurious devore velvet in a beautiful royal blue shade; it floated shapelessly over Alice's slim figure and the hem sat just above her ankles, showing off her petite feet in their heels. Along with the luxurious velvet, two long strips of chiffon in the same shade of blue were attached to either arm, making some sort of exotic sleeves for the Princess.
Sitting again, Alice finished her evening's look with a splash of red lipstick; she smacked her lips together and then smiled, saying to herself "Little Lissy Cavendish, you do scrub up ever so well."
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
Alice shouted towards the closed door without turning round "Come in!"
David appeared red-faced in the mirror, wearing a pair of tails that made Alice giggle in amusement "What on earth, David?! Where did you find those? They look as old as me," she turned round on her seat as David, looking uncomfortable as he fiddled around with the button of his stiff collar and wearing a pair of tails which still looked to be covered in mothballs, approached her "Or perhaps maybe even older."
"I think this collar is!" He grimaced with effort and then exhaled in defeat again "I can't get this damn thing done up!"
"Here," Alice stood and faced him "Let me try," she batted his hands away and took one end of the stiff collar in either hand, trying to force the little metal tag through the corresponding hole without suffocating her husband.
She heard David breath in before telling her "They're probably as old as you, saying that. God knows where Allen managed to drag this out from! I suppose I can only blame myself though, I spilt red wine down my new one and my one from Paris is with the tailors because I've apparently put on weight."
"Apparently?" Alice echoed him sarcastically as she tried to force the stiff collar together again; but her second attempt was once again thwarted, she even managed to catch the metal tag just beneath her finger nail, causing a little drop of blood to appear.
"Oh, crumbs!" she muttered, slipping away from David and heading towards the dresser where Milly kept the little cotton pads for such disasters "And you're saying Allen dragged it out? Why? Where's Fairfax?"
"He's..," David inhaled again as he tried to do up the collar himself via the mirror "He's...I said he could go back home early. Mary, his daughter, she's got scarlet fever."
"Oh God," Alice sympathised with the ten-year-old daughter of her husband's personal secretary "The poor thing. I hope she's alright?"
"Mmm," David nodded, glancing briefly at Alice "She's fine. The doctor got the vaccination into her at around lunchtime...," he groaned in frustration at the stiff collar "Bloody thing! But, where was I? Oh, yes, now, I didn't realise that both my good sets of white tie were nowhere to be found, and it's not Allen's fault either. So he found the next best thing which wasn't a dinner jacket, because I'd rather a white tie which is too small than a dinner jacket with Pappa, and it just so happens that the white tie he pulled out of the cupboard was around for the coronation of my Grandpappa."
Alice watched him struggle for a few moments more, dabbing beneath her fingernail every so often, and then saw as David growled and brought the collar back round off of his neck "It's useless, Lissy, you'll have to make something up. Say I've caught the plague or something interesting like that," he twisted the collar through his hands, trying to stretch it before attempting again to do it up "That way the old codger won't ask questions. And Mamma won't want to catch it so she won't invite herself up to see me. It's the perfect plan."
Alice stepped back over to the vanity table, watching David's expressions in the mirror as he tried to force the collar together, and she said "I'm afraid, my love, you'll have to go downstairs whether you like it or not. Having just me won't do and it'll inevitably lead to one or both parties getting upset," she smiled as she turned to leave "You can't get out of it."
"Can't get out of it?!" David repeated her as he struggled "I can't bloody well get into it at the minute!"
And then, as if on cue, the metal tag slipped through the hole, Alice heard David's little cry of success and turned back to see him smiling in the mirror at himself, making quick work of the tie. He turned to his wife and asked with his effortless smile "How do I look?"
"Like you've stepped out of an E.M. Forster novel," Alice told him honestly, to which he smiled and walked across to her, offering his wife an arm which she took.
"You see, my dear," David told her as they walked through Alice's dressing room into her sitting room "All it takes is a little bit of effort," he paused by the door which led to the hallway and whispered "Now, no doubt Pappa will make some sort of reference to a pregnancy or an heir, or lack thereof tonight, but!" He paused "But we are going to ignore it because we, my darling Alice, are going to do this how we want," he clipped her under her chin "Aren't we?"
"Yes," Alice smiled and patted his now smooth cheeks with her hands, catching the smell of his cologne on her fingers "Yes we are, my very own time traveller!"
She laughed and opened the door, watching David's expression change from curiosity to realisation as he clocked what she was saying before moving into the hallway.
"Now, now," David caught her by her waist and spun her round "That's not very nice is it, Lissy?" He stopped spinning her and made her look into his eyes as he reminded her resolutely "Don't let him bully you."
Alice's eyes changed from playful to serious as she pushed her husband away by shoving him in the chest "I won't," she turned for the stairs and told her husband as firmly "But I still expect you to protect me if I don't realise that he's being a bully."
Half an hour later, David and Alice were stood waiting in the light of the Grand Hall, watching as Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary were helped out of their thick overcoats by Mr. Glynn and two of the liveried footmen in the vestibule. The King was wearing a set of tails that looked newer than David's, to which Alice heard her husband grumble something under his breath, whilst Queen Mary was wearing her usual pastel-coloured evening gowns with a high neck and long silk gloves reminiscent of the Edwardian era.
The door from the vestibule was opened and the King and Queen made their entrance into the Grand Hall, the King marvelling at the biblical paintings which David had been intent on destroying.
King George V, the second son of Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark, was a peculiar figure, and an even more peculiar monarch. But, Alice supposed, as she watched him study the paintings, his furry eyebrows furrowing over his misty blue eyes, he had a right to be. He was the king who was never meant to be-becoming heir to the throne after the death of his older brother Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, the man reported to have been Jack the Ripper in his lifetime-and he was now the last remaining of the three great rulers of Europe who were all related by blood. Himself, the German Kaiser Wilhelm, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, had been the three most powerful rulers in Europe in 1912 besides the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef. But now, twenty four years later, the Kaiser had been deposed and the Tsar assassinated. He had a short temper which could explode without warning, terrifying even the most seasoned equerry, he was blunt to the point of spiteful , and rarely expressed any warmth to anyone except his grandchildren. But Alice was sure that, somewhere inside him, was the ability to look at his children, especially the eldest son he despised for being so similar to his own father, and say that he loved them.
Or at least Alice hoped that that ability was somewhere within him.
The King shook David's hand politely, as one would a business partner, and then shuffled across to Alice, muttering in a voice which was usually accustomed to speaking loudly "Alice."
"Your Majesty," Alice saw David watching her out of the corner of her eye as she sunk into a curtsey for her father-in-law, her head bowed. She remained low momentarily before standing again and leaning in towards the King so that he could kiss her cheek, she closed her eyes and grimaced as she felt the bristles of his beard on her skin. She saw David smile.
Her eyes then turned to her mother-in-law, the cold and distant Queen Mary, who had been, according to David, 'as useless as mother as the old bugger had been a father.' The Queen's cognac brown eyes settled on her daughter-in-law and she stepped forward, murmuring "Alice, dear."
"Your Majesty," Alice adhered to protocol again for her mother-in-law and curtseyed for a second time.
She then heard David say happily "And here's a sight for sore eyes!"
Alice had stood and kissed her mother-in-law in enough time to see Prince George, David's youngest surviving brother, emerging from the lobby, his cheeks red from the cold. George smiled and took David's stretched out hand, shaking it briefly before pulling his big brother into a hug, much to the bother of the King, laughing he said "It's so good to see you, David," the brothers broke apart and George patted David's shoulder "You're looking well."
"As are you," David smiled and demanded "You must tell me everything you've been up to since we last saw one another!"
George nodded as he made his way across to Alice, looking fine in his tuxedo "And you must tell me likewise," he then turned his gaze onto Alice "Hello, Lissy."
"Georgie," Alice smiled as George kissed her on both cheeks twice "How lovely it is to have you here."
"You sound surprised to do so," George laughed.
"Well," Alice began as she accompanied the King, Queen and their sons into the Green Drawing Room for drinks before dinner "I didn't know you were coming, so I suppose I am a little."
George chuckled slightly, helping his mother into a seat "I didn't know I was coming until David invited me on Wednesday," he stood straight and then snatched a coupé of champagne from the footman's silver salver before asking with a grin "I hope dinner will stretch."
"Oh, yes," David reassured his brother as he wandered across to the mantelpiece, leaning on it with champagne in one hand and freshly lit cigarette in the other "Félix is a magician. He'll make it stretch and if he can't he'll certainly make it look like it has."
George smiled and then turned to his mother "Didn't you have a French chef at Balmoral once, Mamma?"
"We did, Georgie, yes," the Queen answered him "But he left soon afterwards saying he couldn't possibly work in such conditions or some such like."
"I wonder why?" David asked sarcastically, turning away from his mother he puffed on his cigarette and threw the remaining champagne in his coupé back down his throat.
"Though I don't see why you have one," the King answered his son, turning round in the chair he sat in so that David was forced to look at him "You barely eat anything as it is because you're one of those dandy's who hold their appearance in higher regard than anything else."
"Well, Pappa," David's voice sounded strained as he replied to his father "Dandy's also like to entertain and only a French chef will do. And what's more is that Alice's family appreciates Félix's mastery when they dine with us."
The King then turned to Alice, who briefly saw David roll his eyes, and asked her "How is your father, my dear? The last I'd heard from him he was recovering well from his stroke."
Georgie looked up at this and asked Alice another question "Gosh, a stroke, Lissy, I am so sorry! When?"
"Oh," Alice batted her hand in the air and informed her brother-in-law about her father, the Duke of Devonshire "It was in August, but it was fairly mild, he's lost mobility in his right arm that's about all," she then turned to the King "And he is better, thank you, Sir. The thing he is most annoyed about is being unable to hold a rifle properly."
The King smiled behind his moustache and laughed "I can imagine!" He then looked up "I was planning on paying him a visit, possibly next weekend. Do you think your mother would mind if the Queen and I stayed?"
Alice smiled "Not at all no, Sir," she saw David watching her with steady eyes as she told her father-in-law "Mother will be overjoyed to have guests. Especially since they've just restored the chapel to its former glory."
The King smiled at his daughter-in-law "Wonderful. We'll get Barker to telephone ahead, of course."
Then, all of a sudden, Glynn, who had appeared from nowhere cleared his throat "Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, if you would like to make your way through to the dining room."
Alice waited for her parents-in-law to begin walking back across the Grand Hall towards the dining room before joining David, who brought up the rear of the group behind George.
She tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and whispered "I should think Mother will be overjoyed at the prospect of Their Majesties staying."
David sniggered and patted Alice's hand as they crossed the red carpet of the Grand Hall again, the elaborate dining room in sight with David's chair at the foot of the table visible, he whispered back "You make it sound as if she'll be disappointed."
"She will be if nobody informs her beforehand," Alice giggled, the thought of annoying her mother, the aloof Evelyn Devonshire, exciting her like it would a rebellious child.
"Now, now," David retorted, tapping her knuckles before saying "Only a few more hours, dear, then we'll be rid of them," he smiled before they turned into the dining room and added "And Pappa hasn't even mentioned a baby yet."
A few hours later, it was all over. Monsier Félix's four course extravaganza had been timed to perfection and had gone down a treat with George, who had been living off of meagre sailor's rations for the past four months as he had served as a Midshipman on various Naval ships. Conversation had inevitably turned to babies, particularly because Queen Mary was infatuated with her new little granddaughter Lilibet. The King too, had softened at the mention of his granddaughter, calling her "a little cherub." Alice had become distant during this period of the dinner, looking entranced to such an extent that David had had to reengage her by asking her how her work with her patronages was coming along.
The King and Queen had left fairly soon after dinner had finished, the both of them thanking Alice for the evening before climbing back into their Rolls Royce to be driven the minute up the road back to Buckingham Palace. Georgie had stayed later into the night, sitting in the Scarlet Drawing Room laughing, smoking and drinking with his brother and sister-in-law.
Alice had left early, at around midnight, hoping to entice Georgie into leaving and David into coming upstairs to bed.
It was about half past one when she lay propped up in bed, reading, lo and behold, an E.M. Forster novel A Passage to India, when she heard laughing from downstairs.
Slipping out of bed, Alice decided she would investigate. She was wearing just a pink night slip, so she reached over to the chair for her dressing gown, wrapping it round herself so she was a bit more presentable to go downstairs in.
The laughing grew louder as Alice made her way through her rooms to the landing, walking down the stairs to see her husband and his brother standing in the middle of the Grand Hall with their white tie replaced for dinner jackets and both of them looking worse for wear.
Alice smiled and spoke loudly "Had fun, have we?"
David, who was beaming, looked up at Alice and slurred "Well, not just yet," a few strands of hair fell in front of his face as he continued "Georgie and I are going out to the Cafe de Paris," Alice's face visibly fell at this.
On noticing, George turned and asked, clearly a little more sober than his brother "You can join us if you'd like?"
"Can't you see?" Alice snapped angrily, throwing her arms out to demonstrate "I'm not dressed."
"You could go out like that," David raised an eyebrow "But you would most definitely freeze to death!" He laughed and then noticed Alice's expression "Oh, don't look at me like that, Lissy," he stumbled up the flight of stairs to where Alice stood and cupped her face in his hands, kissing her on the lips he announced with a sheepish grin "I'll be back before morning, my love."
"You'd better be," Alice growled in response.
But it was David's reply that scared her; he leant forward and whispered "And what if I'm not? Mmmm? What will you do then?"
Alice's face crumpled and she whispered desperately to him "I want a baby, David! And you need one! The only way that it' s going to happen is if-."
"Come on, David," Georgie exclaimed "It'll be shut by the time we get there!"
David, seeming to completely ignore Alice's plea, turned and smiled, almost hopping down the stairs "And at least we are both dressed for the occasion now, however, you're lucky you bought yours with you!"
"And you're lucky that you didn't spill anything down yours," Georgie grinned, reference the old tails David had been wearing at dinner that hadn't gone unnoticed "Otherwise God knows what you would've ended up in!" His remark left both himself and David howling with laughter as they began to walk towards the front door.
And all Alice could do was watch from the stairs and say "Have a marvellous time!" as her husband and Prince George, holding onto each other, stumbled through the lobby and out to the waiting car.
She returned to bed defeated, hoping that David would be next to her when she woke up.
But Alice would be disappointed.
Done! Hope you all enjoyed! :) What did you think of the whole difficulties-getting-pregnant thing? Did you like it? I hope it added more drama. See you next time!