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Week 48: Elin & Ingrid


“We have to talk. You know that, right?”

“I know,” Christian replied.

“If we had a choice, I wouldn’t bring it up, but they need it on paper, Christian.”

“I know. So does Amalie,” he said of his wife.

“Oh, sorry. I can come back,” Ingrid said when she walked into Elin’s office and caught them at her desk, talking.

“No, it’s all right,” Elin said. “You can come in.”

“This affects you, too, technically,” Christian added.

“You’re talking about…” Ingrid said without finishing as she closed the door behind her.

“With our father’s death and you and I not having any children, the pressure has started to mount from, well, everywhere to name a successor on paper,” Elin explained as Ingrid walked over and sat down next to Christian.

“And I have three kids,” her twin brother said with a nod. “They’re too young for this, Elin.”

“So were we,” she replied. “Lillian is married, but she doesn’t have any kids yet, Christian. And Mari is in Denmark. Her son is the heir to that throne.”

“She’s pregnant now. Can she maybe loan us the next one?” he joked.

Elin wanted to laugh, but she was supposed to be acting as the Queen right now and not the sister to her brother, who was older than her by mere minutes and who should be King right now. Instead, Christian had chosen a career in the military. He was about to be promoted again, which was amazing, but with Lillian and her husband struggling to get pregnant since their marriage, and Mari marrying into another monarchy – her children technically being heirs to Denmark and Norway, but primarily Denmark – that meant that Christian and Amalie’s three children, who were all under the age of ten years old, were the presumptive heirs.

Unfortunately, the presumption would only cause issues if something happened to Elin before they made everything official. Once they’d done that, though, the line of succession within their immediate family would be secured, and they wouldn’t need to worry about the extended family.

“You realize that technically, because we’re basically all somewhat related, we could steal Leif from St. Rais one day to run this country, or literally any other secondborn who isn’t needed in their own country,” Christian said.

“Christian…” Elin replied, shaking her head. “I know this is hard for you. Father removed you from the line of succession, which means your children aren’t technically in it at all. I need to at least reinstate them into the line.”

“Won’t that put me there by default?”

“No. I’ve discussed it with our advisors,” Ingrid spoke up. “You abdicated years ago, so you can’t rule.”

“There. You’re safe. Happy?” Elin teased.

“I don’t want this for my kids, Elin,” he said and rubbed his hand over the beard he’d kept for the past several years. “They live basically private lives. Most people forget they exist unless there’s some royal event I have to be at, where I bring them with Amalie. We have a modest house. They go to normal schools.”

“I know. And if and when Lillian has a child, things might change. Do you really want me to have to talk to every other monarch to see if they have an heir they can spare? Or for us to go with cousins who have no training or understanding of how this works? To be a King or Queen of the country you love so much, you fight for it?”

“No, of course not. I suppose I thought that you and Ingrid would change your minds. I support your decision not to have kids, to be clear. It’s your decision to make. And you’ve made it, obviously. I guess I thought you’d change your mind, though.”

“I was never supposed to be Queen, Christian.” Elin leaned over her desk and looked first at her wife and then, at her brother. “This was supposed to be our father’s job for a lot longer than it was. Then, you decided to abdicate. That is and was your decision, and I respected it, even though it meant that I had to adjust to this being my life now. I don’t regret it, and in a way, I’m grateful, but had you not done that, me having or not having children wouldn’t have been an issue at all. Ingrid and I both decided before we even met each other that we didn’t want to be parents.”

“I’m aware. And like I said, it’s your decision. It just puts my family into a tricky position right now.”

“Christian, you’ve known this was a possibility all along,” Elin returned.

“Maybe. But I didn’t know that Mari would marry the future King of Denmark when I joined the military and decided to have a career there. I didn’t know that Father would get sick and need to retire young. I didn’t know for sure that you would not be having children. I also didn’t know that Lillian would struggle to get pregnant, and I know she wants a family of her own, Elin. Amalie and I have a life. It doesn’t involve the monarchy.”

“Your life will always involve the monarchy,” Elin replied, getting a little upset with her brother now. “You’re a born Prince, Christian. You’re still a Duke. You receive money from that title. And I’ve seen to that even though Father didn’t think you should. You need to start acting like the Duke you are, at least, if not the Prince, or else, I will start to act like a Queen more than the sister who loves you and wishes that things didn’t have to be this way. Even if Ingrid and I changed our minds on children today – which, to be clear, is not happening – it wouldn’t make a difference, considering how long the process would even take. So, right now – at least, until Lillian tells us that she’s finally pregnant after years of trying – your children are next in line. I can avoid putting it on paper for a little longer, and if you really insist on them not being heirs, I will remove them from consideration altogether, but that means that I will have to remove the title I gave you and the money and everything else that comes with it. That modest house you mentioned, for example – it’s not yours. It’s technically mine as sovereign. It’s part of your duchy compensation, but just attending royal events isn’t enough anymore because your family needs you. So, either you tell me you want to give all of that up – and if you do, you know what you’ll lose, but I will respect your decision – or, you talk to your wife and tell me that you’re okay with your children being in the line of succession should we need them one day. Those are your options. And I’m sorry to have to say all of that, but years ago, you sat me and Father down and told us that you didn’t want to be King. You’ve had all of these years to avoid that responsibility, and you’ve still benefited. Time’s up.”

“Elin, they’re your niece and nephews,” he pled.

“I know that. Do you think I want to be having this conversation with you right now? Christian, I love you. I love those kids. I know they’re young. And I know you don’t want this for them, but this is our reality. I just need you to tell me yes or no. If it’s no, we’ll have to talk further about the duchy because it’s not fair to the people if you’re not–”

“Why did you give it to me, then? The title, the house, the money?” he asked angrily and stood.

“Because you are my brother, and you were supposed to be King,” Elin argued.

“I lived without a title for a long time when Father took everything away.”

“And when he died, you lost yourself,” Elin stated. “I watched you sink. So did Amalie. I grieved, too. So did Mother, and Lillian, and Mari. But you grieved differently. You didn’t want to talk to anyone. You stayed on your base instead of at home with your wife and children for months, Christian. I thought being brought back into the family fold a bit might help, and it did. You’ve been better. But I can’t keep giving, and you can’t keep taking without having to bear at least some of the responsibility.”

Her brother nodded and seemed to calm down a bit.

“I miss him,” he admitted.

“I know. We all do,” Elin replied. “But he wouldn’t want this for you. You know how important he believed duty to be.”

“I know,” Christian said and ran a hand through his hair. “I need to talk to my wife. I can’t sign our children up for this without discussing it with her.”

“Can I suggest something?” Ingrid asked.

“Of course,” Elin and Christian said at the same time, reminding Elin in that moment that he was still her twin brother.

“What if we put them in the line of succession conditionally?”

“What do you mean?” Christian asked and sat back down next to Ingrid.

“Right now, Elin is getting pressure because Lillian, who wants her child or children to be heir to the throne one day, hasn’t been able to have that child. But she’s been working on it. That sounds strange.” She chuckled, and Elin smiled at her wife. “They’ve met with the best doctors in Europe over the past year, and while adoption wouldn’t work because of the bloodline, they have entertained the idea of surrogacy if she’s unable to get pregnant after this last try. We should know more very soon, is my main point, but if we add your children to the line of succession paperwork, we could do so on the condition that if and when Lillian’s children are born, they will supersede yours, as would their heirs. We could also make some alterations to the general succession plan now that has Mari’s children ruling Denmark one day.”

“How would we do that, exactly?”

“Well, as you said, she is pregnant right now, and Denmark has plenty of heir options. It’s possible that we can negotiate that her secondborn also supersedes your children in line. Mari loves Norway. She can’t help that she fell in love with the future King of another country. All I’m saying is that just adding them doesn’t mean they will start being little Queen or Kings right now. We have options. We just need to be able to have these conversations, Christian, because we’ve avoided it for too long, and Elin is getting a lot of questions that we need to start providing answers to.”

“I get it,” he said and looked at Elin. “Let me talk to Amalie, all right?”

“Of course,” she replied.

“And I do understand my responsibility, Elin. I always have. We’ve just always looked at it differently.” Christian stood. “That’s what makes you the better monarch.”

He left the room without a goodbye.

“Well, that was awful,” Elin said.

“I disagree. I think you did a great job.”

“I just argued with my brother about forcing his children back in line.”

“No, you were a Queen telling a subject that he needed to accept the responsibility he’d had all along but had been able to avoid. You were firm, respectful, but you were also empathetic and gave him space, Elin. I think you handled it beautifully. And he’s right.”

“About what?” Elin sighed.

“You are the better monarch,” Ingrid said with a wink.

“You only think so because you’re my wife.” Elin stood and walked around her desk.

“Not so,” Ingrid insisted. “Because I’m your wife, I think you’re beautiful, strong, amazing, and great in bed.”

Elin promptly ran into the small trash can, knocking it over on her way to Ingrid.


Ingrid laughed and bent over to pick up the trash can.

“I do love that I still make you clumsy, Your Majesty. Even after all these years.”

“I’m sure that’ll always be true. You said something about how nicely a dress fit on me last week and made that motion with your hands.” She outlined her own breasts. “And I was holding a pin for the tailor. I poked myself, Ingrid.”

“I know, my love. I kissed that spot on your finger.” She stood up and pulled Elin into her. “I like that you are clumsy, but I don’t want you to get hurt, all right?”

“I can’t always help it when you do things like that. The tailor was in the room. So was my sister.”

“They didn’t see anything. And I think it’s a very good thing that, even after we’ve been married these many years, I still find you completely irresistible. Did you wear these suspenders just for me?” She pulled on Elin’s suspenders.

“You weren’t even supposed to be here today.” Elin laughed a little and wrapped her arms around her wife’s neck. “You were at Sarah Anne’s restaurant. That’s what was on the schedule for you, anyway.”

“I was. We were making Skolebrød with the kids. And I brought you some, but you’ll have to come home to get it because I didn’t bring it here.”

“You brought me Skolebrød?”

“They’re in our rooms. I made a huge batch and gave only a few of them to the kids so that Sarah Anne wouldn’t kill me. The rest are all yours.” She kissed Elin’s nose.

“Any chance her kids want to be King or Queen of a country one day? Maybe we can make an exception on that whole blood thing.”

“He’ll come around. Now, are you done here? Can we go and have a nice evening together?”

“What will we do first? Have cookies or take off the suspenders?” Elin teased.

“Oh, I’ll be getting these suspenders off you long before you reach that plate of cookies.”




“Your Majesty.”

“Oh, come off it, Mari. What do you think?” Elin asked her baby sister, who had traveled from Denmark to Norway for this very important visit.

“I think that I have no idea. I don’t know how to work all of this. I’m only four months along. We haven’t even found out what we’re having yet. We don’t want to know this time, and it’s driving all of the future grandparents crazy. Our mother complained that she needs to know so she can plan properly. What on Earth is she planning for, Elin? Just get neutral colors. What is gender anyway, you know?”

Elin smiled at her sister.

“Would you be opposed to us talking to the other side of your family about it?”

“No, I’ll bring it up with them. But this is all strange, isn’t it? Talking about what country my future child can be in charge of, but not really because it’s a constitutional monarchy, and they’re not really in charge of anything. I’ve given Denmark their heir, and there are other options after my son, but Norway would get this one.” She placed her hand on her stomach. “It’s strange to be talking about this.”

“I agree. And it’s likely it won’t come to that. We just want options.”

“I understand. Is Christian still being Christian?”

“He’s talking to Amalie.”

“Dad’s death really did a number on him, huh?”

“I think he never fully made things right with Father; in Christian’s eyes, at least. He was a Prince and was supposed to be King. He was raised for the job, and Father did not like him leaving it to me. I think he was proud of Christian in the end, but I don’t think Christian sees it that way. I hoped bringing him in closer to us again might help, but he accepted his new role with the understanding of what came with it, and he hasn’t delivered. You didn’t even want to be royal or live a public life, but you married the future King of Denmark, and you understood what came with that.”

“What do you think he’ll do?”

“I hate putting him in this position.”

“I know. But as much as he likes to pretend like it’s not the case, he’s been given everything due to being part of this family. Even his first commission in the military was an honorable one that Dad got him. That wasn’t something he earned. He’s earned all the rest, but he might not have been put in the position to do that had he not been given an honorable medal for his chest. We’ve all contributed in some way, and it’s time he starts, too.”

“It’s not him, though; it would be his children. They’re not at fault because of something their father did.”

“You know they wouldn’t have to do anything today. It’s not like their lives would change all that much. You’re young and healthy. At this rate, God willing, no one but you will be on that big chair for another fifty or so years. My kids will have kids by then. We’ll have options. Hell, the monarchy might even not be around by then.”

“I know,” Elin replied. “But thank you for understanding. We should probably go downstairs for dinner now. If we don’t, Ingrid will just come in here soon and get us. Sarah Anne cooked tonight, and we’re all here, so we shouldn’t be late.”

“Christian’s here, too?” Mari asked.

“Yes, the whole family. I was surprised he agreed, given that he knows I need an answer soon.”

“Maybe he’s got one for you.”





“I didn’t have to come get you. I’m surprised,” Ingrid said when Elin walked into the room with Mari minutes later.

Elin walked over to her wife and gave her a quick kiss.

“How did it go?” Ingrid asked.

“Mari is open to it.”

“That’s good. Sarah Anne has dinner ready. It’s nice to have everyone here. I feel like it’s been a long time.” She moved to Elin’s side, letting Elin wrap an arm around her waist and pull her in against her.

“Yes, it has been. Where’s my mother?”

“Kitchen, with Sarah. She’s helping her bring things out.”

“Elin, can I talk to you?” Christian asked as he approached, holding hands with his wife.

“In a minute, Christian,” Lillian interjected. “I need her first.”

“What do you need me for?” Elin asked her sister.

“To help me pick out the drapes in our house, obviously. I’m tired of the old ones,” Lillian joked.

“Sarcasm is a defense mechanism, Lillian,” Mari noted.

“Sarcasm is just sarcasm sometimes, too, Mari.” Lillian gave her sister a playful glare. “Can I just talk to my sister, the Queen of Norway, without all of you bothering us, please?”

“Lillian, what is going–” Christian started.

“Oh, my God! Fine! I’m pregnant. We’re pregnant. Finally, we’re having a baby. Are you happy now, big brother? You’re off the hook again.”

“You’re–” Christian smiled wide. “You’re pregnant?”

“Yes. You don’t have to worry about–”

Christian pulled his sister into a bear hug.

“I don’t care about that right now. Lil, I’m so happy for you. I know how much you’ve wanted this.”

Lillian looked at Elin in confusion, but Elin only smiled.

“Congratulations,” Elin said. “I love you.” She winked at her little sister.

“How far along are you?” Mari asked.

“We just got the positive test from the doctor, so we don’t want it getting out to the public yet, but we’re three weeks along. I wasn’t sure because I’d had so many false–”

Mari pulled Christian out of his hug with Lillian and pulled Lillian into one of our own.

“Our babies will basically be the same age,” Mari said. “Instant best friends.”

Elin laughed.

“I guess so,” Lillian said and hugged Mari back.

“I was going to say yes,” Christian said to Elin softly.


“I was going to tell you that I’m ready to accept all of my responsibility and that Amalie is as well. We understand that our children should be in line and that they likely won’t be needed at all, even without Lillian’s good news. It’s time, Elin.”

She smiled at her brother.

“Father was proud of you, Christian.”


“You think he was still upset with you, but he wasn’t. He got to see the man you became in the military, the husband, and the father you became, too. He loved you. He didn’t always know how to show it, but he was proud of you.”

Tears welled in his eyes.

“Thank you.”

Elin nodded.

“Now, let’s celebrate Lillian’s amazing news, and after that, I want to play with my nieces and nephews.” Elin ran over toward Christian’s three kids, Mari’s son, and Sarah Anne’s two little ones.

They all laughed and ran away from her while she pretended to scare them. Soon, they had all eaten, and they were sitting in the living room, with children either all the way asleep or almost out, strewn over various laps. Elin was sitting on the floor by the fire with Ingrid between her legs. There were several different conversations going on, mostly about Mari and Lillian’s future babies.

“Do you regret it?” Ingrid asked her.


“Not having any of our own.” She turned her face to Elin a little.

“Do you?”

Ingrid shook her head.

“I like it like this.” She tightened her grip on Elin’s arms around her waist. “We get to have kids around, and we can watch them grow up, play with them, have fun, but also give them back.”

Elin laughed softly into her ear.

“And, at the end of the night, we get to go to bed and hold each other without having to worry about taking care of any of them,” Elin added.

“Exactly,” Ingrid replied.

“I love you so much.”

“I love you, too,” Ingrid said.

Elin kissed her neck and looked around the room at her family. Her brother seemed better already. His children would still go into the line of succession, but only after Lillian’s and, likely, Mari’s now as well, which meant that, at least on paper, they wouldn’t ever be called to the throne. Mari had a loving husband, a beautiful son, and another baby on the way, with even the possibility of more after since she’d mentioned wanting a big family like the one she’d grown up with. Lillian and her husband were finally about to have the child they’d wanted all along, and Elin hoped to be Queen for many more years to come and to share the experience with the woman she loved.

“Have you thought of names yet?”

“I found out I’m pregnant today, Mari,” Lillian said.

“I know. But you’ve been trying forever. I assumed you two have a list of names at the ready.”

“Honestly, if it’s a girl, I was thinking about naming her after Mom.”

“Me?” their mother asked, sounding surprised.

“Yes. And one of her middle names would be Elin.”

“Me?” Elin asked, sounding just as surprised.

“Yes. Maybe even Elin Mari, if Mari doesn’t piss me off between now and then.”

Elin laughed, feeling Ingrid laughing as she held her.

“And if it’s a boy, will you name him after me?” Christian asked his sister.

“No,” Lillian replied quickly.

Wrap-Up: Appointing
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