The garden was blossoming with the first signs of Spring. Tiny flowers were pushing through the soil, reaching towards the weak Northern sun. The Queen smiled at her Maid in waiting as she touched their petals gently. She did not know how it was possible to feel happiness, but this place was peaceful and through the cold months of winter, had become a kind of refuge rather than a place of exile.
Her husband had remained at the castle, visiting infrequently. His obsession with her had waned which had brought her an uneasy peace. She was free to live a quiet life, with her Maid for company. He was still her husband and she was still the Queen but she had other priorities now.
She placed a hand on her hugely rounded belly and smiled again.
The baby came when the garden was fully blooming. The birth was a difficult one, but the Queen was strong and she found physical hardship mush easier to endure than the emotional pain of the last nine months. And when he had been placed on her chest, and she had seen his thick black hair, she wept tears of joy.
He grew, happy and strong through the summer, his eyes darkening from blue to brown. The King, she had heard, was overjoyed to have a son and heir, and the Queen thanked God that he had not seen him yet. But despite this niggling worry, her joy was absolute. She had a daily reminder of her first and only love.