Chapter no 4


IT WAS SUNDAY. So, as always, we went to church.

Crathie Kirk. Walls of granite, large roof of Scottish pine, stained-glass windows donated decades earlier by Victoria, perhaps to atone for the upset she caused in worshipping there. Something about the head of the Church of England worshipping in the Church of Scotland—it caused a stir, which I never understood.

I’ve seen photographs of us going into the church that day, but they bring back no memories. Did the minister say anything? Did he make it worse? Did I listen to him or stare at the back of the pew and think about Mummy?

On the way back to Balmoral, a two-minute drive, it was suggested that we stop. People had been gathering all morning outside the front gates, some had begun leaving things. Stuffed animals, flowers, cards. Acknowledgment should be made.

We pulled over, stepped out. I could see nothing but a matrix of colored dots. Flowers. And more flowers. I could hear nothing but a rhythmic clicking from across the road. The press. I reached for my father’s hand, for comfort, then cursed myself, because that gesture set off an explosion of clicks.

I’d given them exactly what they wanted. Emotion. Drama. Pain. They fired and fired and fired.

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