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His Grace Wertperch, Duke of Orleans

"As a socialist, I find it all rather discomfiting" - wertperch

This morning I awoke a little before the maid brought my tea. I enjoy that time of reflection in the morning, before the ripples begin to spread across the lake of daily life. The first stone cast dispels the calm, and my routine leaves little time for introspection. The tea is a blessing, as ever, and I sip and ponder.

Today it is time to consider both my station and the way I arrived in this lofty place; it troubles me from time to time. After all, as a (mostly) socialist republican (note the small 'r'), the Duchy oft sits uneasily with me. I cannot accept full responsibility for my place - the title is mine as an accident of birth, not by any act on my part.

A Tale In The Telling

It was my great-great grandmother who brought this very French title to an otherwise English family. In service to the then Duke at his London home, she fell to his power and charm. He was (by all accounts) a bit of a lad with the ladies. A randy git, in other words. Not satisfied with his lovely wife, he would rob the household maidenheads at every opportunity, and so it was with g-g-grandma. Well-rogered, she became pregnant at the same time as the Duchess, and was delivered of a healthy boy at around the same time as the Duke's son.

In such families, tales of changeling children are not uncommon, and so it was here. The Duke's heir was born with a club foot, and was swapped with the bastard child. The maid was dispatched with a pension and returned home with her adopted son, who she raised as her own. The rest of the tale follows naturally, the legal heirs to the Duchy growing up in England, each new generation telling the next.

When the day came for my father to tell me, of course I did not believe it. Family legend is just that, a fireside tale to tell, and no need to take it seriously. Imagine my surprise when the Fourth French Revolution broke out, along with the resurfacing desire of the people to accept a monarchy! As the media scoured the world for scions of old Royalty, imagine my surprise when my DNA showed itself connected to the Duchy. I will spare you details of the legal cases - suffice to say that I was chosen as the most likely candidate for the coronet.

Thus today, I sit in the ancestral home, lands and title restored. But not for long - apart from the discomfort of having French blood in my veins, my socialist loathing of aristocracy could not permit me to keep this status, and I am in the process of dividing my lands and distributing them to the commoners. The new Co-operative Duchy will take over directly I accept my US citizenship and am obliged to "...renounce the title...and the order of nobility to which I have heretofore belonged". I hope the Committee bears the crown well.

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