She did all the things young girls were supposed to do. Read books about animals; listened to music; saw ruins and historical sites. Well – maybe her life was slightly unusual. Not odd enough to include a Fairy Godmother or a basement of gold (which would have been useful) but just odd enough to make it hard to make friends with the other girls.
Our Princess lived a life on the move. Every couple of years she moved on with the King and Queen (who were successfully pretending to be normal people) and had to learn to start again. New school. New friends. New terrors. As she grew up she grew into a beautiful young woman. Of course, having the most fabulous manners, she had no idea that she was beautiful, but it is apparent when you look back at the secret state photographs (secret, because no one realised they were taking pictures of a Princess.)
Her life became as normal, externally, as it could be, and not a soul knew she was a Princess, gliding through their midst. She made friends and started to create a life just like any other woman of her age. But somewhere, deep in her heart, she knew she had always been a Princess. She knew she just needed to meet her Prince and life would become the grand gala it was always supposed to be.
She did her best to find her Prince, but (and you may not know this) they are few and far between, even in Far, Far Away. She met plenty of men who believed they were Princes. And plenty of men who believed they deserved a Princess on their arm. Even maintaining her childhood routine of moving on every couple of years, she still didn't meet any Princes (it's true, they are a dying breed)
Sometimes she would fall for someone and they would treat her as though she were stupid and needed to be taught how to behave. This was all well and good, until she had learned all they had to teach and craved more. They had nothing left to offer and the monster they had created needed feeding. These relationships failed.
Sometimes she would meet someone and they would see her as someone who could provide for them; social standing; money; cleaning service; company; entertainment; sex. All too soon, though, she would become restless and desire to be seen as an entire human being, worth something in her own, unique right. These relationships failed.
Sometimes she would meet someone and they would be simply destructive. Almost as though, seeing something beautiful and independent, they needed to enslave or smash it to feel complete in themselves. Almost as though the sight of her had to be removed to prevent them making a comparison and finding themselves wanting. This could not be her problem, and these relationships failed.
Finally, our Princess decided that she was comfortable with her own company, that she did not need another human being to make her feel complete. She decided it was actually too difficult, too painful, to try to have a relationship with another person. This being decided, she was free to have friendships with all sorts of people without running the risk of having to become vulnerable to them. People who are your friends are much easier to walk away from, if they become destructive . It is much easier to speak with them clearly and openly, as they tend not to try to use emotional manipulation to make you behave in a way which will best suit their needs. She was finally at peace with her plans. She would not seek a significant other, rather appreciate and love those friends she felt close to, and remain independent, aloof and free.
We might take a step back here, and see our Princess as a feral cat. Needing no one else to maintain her basic needs and mixing only with those she actually liked, and whom she felt liked her simply for her nature and personality. She may not have experienced the highs of deep bonding and sharing, but, by the gods, neither did she risk the lows of isolation, guilt, failure and starting again, as yet another relationship (home/life/stability) fell apart.
Life, as she will, took her own turns and presented her own interesting side routes and culs-de-sac. Our Princess spent time walking interesting paths and staying a while here and there as the whim took her. She was content. She was peaceful.
Then, one day, she and a friend had a great idea. Why didn't they meet? They had spent some time communicating: laughing at the same jokes; chatting about things which interested both of them; mixing in a similar circle; enjoying each other's company. Why not get together and spend a weekend laughing and chatting? It was a wonderful idea.
It was life changing.
I don't even need to tell you the end of this tale, do I? Our Princess realised, almost immediately she and her friend met that he was the one. Not a Prince, or even a Knight. Neither was he a blackguard or a pretender. This, she realised, was her Duke. Her War Lord. This man was the one who was content to let her be herself (after all, he reasoned, isn't that who he fell in love with?). He was the man who would allow her to defend herself unless she asked him to help, in which case no one would stand against his Lady. This was the man who had fallen for her personality, humour, intelligence and wit. This man had not taken in the packaging and thought she would make a nice ornament. He had absorbed the essence which was her and found it complimentary to his own. This was a man who loved her for simply being her, and for no other reason.
So, one day very soon after, our Duke took his Princess home with him. Racing between counties, overnight, on a 800 mile round trip, he scooped up his love and took her home. And there she has stayed ever since.
And from all this she has learned several very important facts.
No one can love someone who does not love themselves. If you are not complete in yourself you cannot expect to be made complete by another person.
Love does exist, but it is like a butterfly. You will only find it by ignoring it. It loathes the stench of desperation. Heavy boots and a large hammer do not make butterfly collecting easier.
Life can be a Fairy Tale, but all Fairy Tales are cautionary tales. Fairy Tales are not Disney, they are Grimm.
Life is surprising and will defeat all planning, sensible and level-headed or not. Do not try to over-simplify life.
'Happily ever after'!