The infant Prince slept in a bassinet at the foot of his mother's bed, rather than in his nursery. She had even turned away a wet nurse, for on her home island of Avalon, the women always nursed their own babes. They believed it promoted greater health and happiness in the newborns.
And though the new parents loved spending every moment with their son, the Queen's friend Lady Eloiza Somerset finally convinced her to take a much needed night away. She and her husband Lord Richard came over for dinner to give the royal couple some adult interaction.
“ You knew I was looking for a new steed! I can't wait to meet him! And now I suppose you expect me to give you your present early as well!” He gave her a wink. “I've been thinking...now that our family is growing, we need a more suitable residence...”
“ Lorenzo? Request my presence? That is a laugh. Besides, he's not even supposed to be here. He has been visiting his family in Italy. Does he mean for us to travel to Italy tonight?” King Eric asked, sarcastically. “Whatever the issue is, it can certainly wait until morning.”
“ Apparently he has returned to England quite suddenly, your majesty. The messenger would not supply more details than that, however he did say he was instructed not to return home without you. I am sure his grace would not call for you if it was not truly urgent.”
Don Lorenzo spoke with difficulty. “The Contessa Francesca de Medici, formerly Dama Francesca Valenti of Florence. And myself, formerly a Don, am now a Conte. A little wedding present to us from my uncle, the Doge of Venice.
“ I suppose this is where I need your help.” He took a deep breath. “I know how this looks. I just want to find a way to introduce her to our society here without too much fuss. She doesn't deserve a damaged reputation, and you know how the other ladies can be...”
“ I suppose they are. And did you see the Queen's new son? How lucky we are to have such a prolific royal couple. She continues to produce sons, yet I still have none. It's strange you haven't even been able to conceive since Matilda.”