|A Royal Marriage
Author: bluegirl-783 PM
What if there was an alternate universe, and Joseph is a royal prince of Genovia as well as Rupert, and they meet a girl named Clarisse... A different royal marriage... and how would it play out? Just something different...Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 27 - Words: 105,535 - Reviews: 154 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 08-06-10 - Published: 04-28-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5929928
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: I'm back! I know it hasn't been long but I've been working on this story while finishing the other one.... hope you like it.... it's rather different but I've always been intrigued and wondering what would have happened if Joseph and Clarisse had been married for most of their lives?
The Princess Diaries doesn't belong to me at all.... I'm just experimenting a little!
It was ten o'clock in the morning in the morning in late July in Genovia, a small but proud country situated between France and Spain, and the day was bright, warm and clear- the perfect summer day.
While the rest of the country (including three quarters of the royal family) had been up and about for several hours, His Royal Highness Prince Joseph of Genovia, 24 years old and the second son of King Henrik and Queen Alexandra, was just emerging from his bed for breakfast.... only to discover, along with his hot coffee and cereal, that his older brother, the Crown Prince Rupert of Genovia, was waiting for him.
"Good morning little brother," Rupert teased as he watched Joseph collapse in a chair opposite him and blearily reach for his mug of coffee. "Yet another big night on the town?"
It was hard to believe that they were brothers, Rupert again reflected as he watched Joseph sip his coffee and try to wake up- while they were both good looking men, wanted by most women in Genovia and competitive in some aspects, they were two very different individuals... Rupert, the heir to the throne of Genovia, was almost 29, was tall, blonde, serious, intelligent and respected, and expected to marry the girl his parents would pick out for him and make the ideal future King and Queen of Genovia.
Joseph, on the other hand, was nearing 25, was also tall but had dark hair and eyes (although, much to his disgust, his hair was already thinning slightly) with an earring (much to his mother's horror), a propensity for dark clothes and the darling of Genovian high society, flirting his way through the female population, partying every night and generally lacking direction in his life.
His parents were concerned, and had made it clear on several occasions, but Joseph (or Joe to his friends) didn't care- he was only the second son, the 'spare', the playboy, so expectations weren't quite so high for him, unlike Rupert....
"So.... party went on till all hours?" Rupert tried again as he watched his brother wake up and Joseph nodded slightly as the hot liquid loosened his tongue and erased the fog in his brain.
"Yes... it was a good party," he added with a grin as he remembered the previous evening....
There had been many beautiful women there, all of whom had flocked to him, especially when they knew who he was... and while he appreciated and often loved being the centre of attention and had enjoyed a number of flings, he was beginning to tire of the vacuous, social climbing women who flirted with him because of who he was and dreaming of being a princess...
He was soon to be 25, and while he was still not ready for marriage and family (or at least he didn't think he was), his parents edicts had begun to sink in... he was longing for a serious, committed relationship with a woman who loved him for himself, Joseph, rather than his title and status....
Of course, if he ever admitted that to anyone, he was certain they would all laugh at him, so he had concluded that it was just better to pretend that he was a playboy, while secretly watching the horizon....
"Did you meet any potential brides?" Rupert teased as Joseph, feeling more like himself, started on his toast.
"No, but there were a few fairly attractive women there...you should have come with me!"
"Thank you, but no.... a late night on the town with lots of pretty ladies may be up your street, but I still have a reputation to maintain... I am supposed to be the serious, intelligent heir to the throne."
"While I'm still the lovable rogue of a second son," Joseph added with a grin. "You don't need to insult me, Rupert, I know what I am... so, what brings you to my suite at this hour of the morning?"
"This hour of the morning? It's ten in the morning, and we're supposed to be meeting the parents in half an hour for our weekly meeting...."
Joseph groaned, his headache suddenly returning at the thought of the weekly meeting with their parents- it was time when the ''four core members of the family' (as his mother put it) met to plan and confirm their schedules, coordinating events where they would all be attending and discussing the latest political, economic and social issues that affected their country.
It also gave their mother (Henrik, while a forceful and respected monarch, preferred to stay in the background) a chance to lecture her sons on the so called 'transgressions' they had 'committed' during the week... Joseph was usually the focus of her attentions during that time, but while Rupert took his rare criticisms to heart, his younger brother didn't care- he was young, enjoying life and NOT heir to the throne.
"Still, we do expect you to have some sense of decorum!" Alexandra had scolded him only just the last week.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Mother doesn't give you a lecture on last night," Rupert said conversationally as he waved towards the papers on Joseph's desk, and Joseph shrugged.
"Oh well, it makes her life more interesting if she tells me off at least once a week."
"But don't you just want to.... try a little harder?" Rupert asked a little hesitantly, afraid to offend his brother, but Joseph just smiled at him.
"I do.... but sometimes... it just seems like....things get out of control, so why worry about all of that?"
"I know you're going to be King someday, but don't you just wish you could have a day where you didn't have to keep up appearances?"
"I do... but with you being the royal rogue, it's up to me to keep some stability in the palace!" Rupert sounded serious but Joseph saw the smile on his face and knew he wasn't meaning to be serious.
"She's also probably going to start on you finding a wife of your own," he added with an impish grin as Joseph rolled his eyes.
"Please! I'm not even 25 yet, so she's wasting her breath... besides, I was thinking about enlisting in the navy or the army or something."
"That would be an excellent idea," Rupert said encouragingly- while his future was pressure filled but assured, he had also been secretly concerned about Joseph's lack of direction- he may be the spare, but he had gone to college and was very smart- it was just that his drinking, partying and flirting were spiralling out of control....
He didn't want something to happen to his brother whereby he ended up dead, ruined or in a loveless, arranged marriage that he often suspected his parents' to be, and what he would end up in.
"I suppose, but I haven't really thought about it yet..."
"At least you have an option and choices about what you want to do with your life," Rupert said bitterly. "I think our parents have a short list of potential brides for me to peruse, and the thought is somewhat depressing..."
Joseph paused in his breakfast to stare at Rupert- self absorbed as most people perceived him to be, he had often wondered how his brother was feeling about everything- as the good first born son, he would eventually be King, ruling an entire country (which Joseph knew he would do very well) but, in the meantime he was expected to find a suitable bride, marry her and have a family, producing heirs for Genovia, an idea that was clearly weighing heavily on him...
He, on the other hand, was the easy going, charming, flirtatious second son with very few responsibilities and even less expectations....
"I'm sure they haven't but, look on the bright side- I'll probably get into more trouble than you because of last night...."
"And Friday night, and last Wednesday night...."Rupert added teasingly as he listed some of the other nights Joseph had gone out with friends, and Joseph blushed slightly.
"But thanks for the support Joey," he added, using his childhood nickname. "I'm glad I've got you onside...."
"I suppose I had better get changed," Joseph sighed as he stood up and stretched. "I hate these meetings but, since we have to go.... I'd rather not be here, but I know Mother would kill me..."
"That she would," Rupert chuckled as he sat back in his chair to wait for his brother, who paused at his desk to scan the front page of the top paper and couldn't help but grin.... as usual, he was beaming at the photographer, obviously somewhat tipsy, and surrounding by women, the two surrounding him almost sprawled all over him, his arms around them....
Hardly the most impressive, positive image of the royal family (especially what his mother wanted to project), he reflected guiltily, and Rupert was right- he was probably going to hear about it this morning..... and she would definitely not like the headline: "PLAYBOY PRINCE STRIKES AGAIN- HOW MANY WOMEN IS TOO MANY?"
Their Majesties were already waiting for them in the throne room, and Alexandra looked pointedly at Joseph as the two young men sat opposite them with their notebooks and diaries opened in front of them.
"How are you feeling this morning, my dear?" she asked quickly, emphasising the 'my dear' in a way that made it obvious that she was displeased with him, but Joseph shrugged it off with a smile. "I imagine that your head must be pounding somewhat."
"Good morning Mother, and no, I'm perfectly well..... coffee and breakfast goes a long way to clearing the head," he said jovially, ignoring Alexandra's sniff of disapproval- he knew that it would annoy her, and some perverse part of him liked annoying her.
Rupert, on the other hand, was often taken aback at how cheeky he was with his mother- it was so wrong, so disrespectful.... but he also suspected that, while Alexandra was stern and often cold, she secretly liked the irreverent way Joseph addressed her in private, although he was always respectful in public.... Rupert wished that he could be like that too....
"Besides, life's too short to be doing stuffy things all the time!"
"Well, the next week or so is going to be busy enough for you not to go out on the town and enjoy life so much," Alexandra retorted with a sharp look. "I see that your schedule is very busy.... But before we discuss anything else, I want to talk to you about this...."
She tossed a paper across the table to him and Joseph gave a small smile when he saw it was the very paper and the very headline that he had just glanced at in his suite. Rupert quickly began to thumb through his diary as his father did the same... this was between mother and son....
"You are starting to get a reputation, Joseph, for being a playboy!"
"I've been seen as a playboy since I was 18, Mother.... this is hardly new!"
"No, but it's starting to get embarrassing to your father and I, especially when we have international visitors or diplomats from France or Spain.. they see this paper and I'm sure they'd wonder what sort of parents we are, allowing the second son of the King and Queen to allow young women to.... sprawl all over him!" she spat the last words out as she glared at her son. "It's time you grew up and started to realize that you are a prince and have a reputation to maintain, as well as loyalty to the crown."
"I'm not going to be King, so I don't understand why I can't have a little fun!"he smirked somewhat, although he hated to be lectured to by his mother- he wasn't going to be King, so he didn't understand why his life had to be micromanaged and watched as heavily as his brother's. He was still struggling to accept that his life was not his own, and now he had to accept that his behaviour and actions were watched by everyone!
"You may not be Crown Prince, young man, but your behaviour is still reflecting on the royal family and, one day, it may reflect badly on you when you're married and have a family of your own!"
"So? It's not as if I'm getting married yet!" Joseph grinned at his mother, although he was starting to get annoyed and bored at the constant lectures aimed his way....
"No, but we would both like you to settle down and apply yourself to something... anything.... what about your application to the navy?"
"I'm considering it..." he mumbled and Alexandra finally looked appeased. "I spoke to someone in the navy, and they're very interested in me... apparently they seem to think that I would be a good asset to the navy, seeing that I'm in very good shape... thanks to many visits to the gym...."
"Good," she nodded briskly before turning to Rupert with a slightly kinder expression. "Rupert... your father and I have been talking and we think we may have found a number of young ladies that could be potential brides for you...."
"Fantastic," Rupert said with an almost sincere smile. "But why now.... I'm still learning, studying under Father... couldn't we put this off for another year or so?"
"Rupert," Alexandra said in an even softer voice as Joseph felt sorry for him- he was like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. "You know what I'm going to say... you're thirty next year, and it's essential that you marry and have a family to continue the stability of the Renaldi throne and the continuation of the Renaldi blood line.... Your father and I have been more than reasonable, allowing you to have a few years to do what you need to do... but now... the time is right for you to find a suitable bride...."
Her expression turned earnest yet intense, and Rupert couldn't help but shrink from it a little.
"I'm sorry, but that's the way it is now... parliament is beginning to wonder when you will marry, so we must stop questions being asked.... you do understand that, don't you?"
"Believe me, your brother," she glanced quickly at Joseph for a moment. "Will be going through the same thing in a few years, so you won't be alone in this....Anyway, we do have a few girls that seem suitable, and the first girl and her parents will be coming this afternoon....."
She rummaged through the Manila folder in front of her and pulled out an A4 sized photograph which she passed across the table to Rupert.
"Her name is Clarisse LeRoche... she's 21, the daughter of the wealthiest landowner and the member of parliament we all know....and very pretty.... a graduate from Pyrus University with an English Literature degree and she seems quite nice... She and her parents will be visiting this afternoon, and I expect you both," she gazed pointedly at Joseph again. "To be there to meet her...."
Rupert passed the picture to Joseph and he glanced quickly at it, feeling sorry for his brother... Yes, Lady Clarisse LeRoche seemed fairly pretty, with bright blue eyes, a strawberry blonde ponytail, a pretty smile and a smattering of freckles on her face.... very suitable for a bride.... but still, poor Rupert....
"Now," Alexandra interrupted his train of thought with a decisive cough. "Now that we've had a talk, it's time to discuss our schedules for the week....
As Henrik, silent until then, began to talk about the latest session of parliament, Joseph listened intently, but his thoughts drifted back to the pretty girl that could be Rupert's bride, and Rupert himself.... the two of them didn't know what they were getting into and he couldn't help but feel sorry for the pair of them.....