Apparently my muse decided it wanted to write all about Princess Theresa and her backstory tonight. So this happened.
idk if this is any good or where it came from but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Theresa has six sisters. Theresa has six sisters, and she is the oldest. She watched all of them come into this world, from babies to toddlers to little girls that clung to her hand as they stood behind their parents. Theresa has six sisters and she is the oldest and she knew from an early age that she had things she would need to teach them all in turn.
Theresa has six sisters and she is the oldest, but one day a brother arrived and he became king. All of a few minutes old and the country was his to rule. Theresa loves him dearly, but honestly.
When Theresa was still a teenager, the movie The Princess Diaries came out. It was a cute film about an ordinary girl finding out she was royalty. Theresa liked it. Three years later, Theresa was no longer a teenager and the sequel had come out. She watched Princess Mia step up and stand before centuries of tradition and say ‘no’. No, I don’t need a man to rule. No, a queen can rule just fine, thanks. Theresa watched Princess Mia become Queen and couldn’t quite help the twinge of envy.
When Theresa was a young girl, her parents taught her all sorts of things, both actively and not. Her mother taught her etiquette, guidelines, rules and regulations about people, but also stories, strength, cleverness. Her father taught her diplomacy and politics and finances, history and what ruling over people meant, but also compassion and gentleness and wisdom. And from watching them she learned about putting on a front, about elegance and poise, and how to straighten her spine and charm people she didn’t particularly like. Theresa listened and watched and learned.
Once her sisters were born, Theresa always made sure to arm them with the knowledge she had gained. Her parents were busy now, with many children and work to do, and the laugh lines around her father’s eyes were now competing with the lines of stress. Sister after sister came, and while her mother and father did not love them any less, they wanted an heir as well. Women were not as valuable, not as capable, not as important. Women could not be queen (some days Theresa remembered Princess Mia and her smile would tighten). Theresa knew that as the oldest, but she knew so much more. Buried in her gut and whispered in the privacy of bedrooms, she taught her sisters how to thrive.
This is (some of) what she knew:
- The cooks in the
kitchen will always give you sweets if you ask nicely.
- There’s a secret
reading nook in the library where no one will find you.
- The flowers in the
gardens are great for telling secrets to.
- The world can tell
you you are not important, and the world will always be wrong.
- Just because we are princesses, doesn’t mean we can’t be dragons.
Theresa was the oldest. There was weight in that distinction, and she bore it gladly on her shoulders. She had a duty to her sisters, to prepare them and care for them and teach them. Observe. Absorb. Be smart, be brave, be strong. They looked up at her with wide and eager eyes, faces small and round, and she loved every one of them, but their life was demanding. One by one, Theresa led them into it, striding forward as they followed in her wake, until they could be just like her. They present as a united front, a joined force, a single family unit, though Theresa tries to encourage their different interests and dreams, be it science or the arts or in her fifth sister’s case, fencing. (Theresa had dreamed once, of flying, but with each sister the dream got further away. She wants more for them than she had. She still occasionally casts longing looks at a passing jet, but she has no regrets.) Armed with makeup and clothing, shoes and jewelry, they let the world see what they wanted, what they expected and hid anything else away, quietly growing into young women with steel in their cores. Their mother taught them how to talk, to walk, to sit and act and smile. Theresa taught them to how to listen and learn.
When their brother came along and was crowned king, they simply smiled and stood behind him, just like they were supposed to. But he was just a child, young and naive, with shoulders that could not yet carry the weight of a country. Perhaps Liechtenstein wasn’t all that significant in the world, but a kingdom was a kingdom, and he was only a child, draped in a title too big for him and surrounded by a world that could very well eat him alive. But his seven sisters stood behind him, his sisters who had learned and listened and grown. Princesses yes, but also dragons wrapped in dresses and heels and smiles, who had turned themselves fierce so their baby brother didn’t have to. Theresa and her sisters watched their brother play and run and laugh, careless and free, and felt a sense of satisfaction.