Chapter Twenty-two

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The carriage arrived before the designated time

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The carriage arrived before the designated time. Benjamin looked at it briefly through the window. You would expect the carriage to be opulent, a splendor to behold but as no one was to know his connection to the King and Queen, he was being picked up in an ordinary carriage with some not so ordinary drivers.

The driver's were the Queen's personal guard, dressed in normal garb, instead of their usual bright colored uniforms. He pulled the curtain back into place and decided it best not to keep them waiting. Obviously, the Queen was anxious about something and the sooner he discovered what it was the quicker he could put her mind to rest.

The carriage took him through the bustling streets of London on a journey to Windsor Castle. Most guests' would have been brought to the Upper Ward and taken to the Queen's Presence and Audience Chambers however he was not an actual guest.

The carriage headed instead to the Lower Ward on the north side of the castle to where the spiritual home of the Order of the Knight's of the Garter resided, St. George's Chapel, the place never failed to move him. The Queen's Beasts stared down at him as he unfolded his limbs from the carriage and stretched, after not moving about for a few hours.

As a young boy, he remembered desperately wishing to be a Knight of the Garter but as they were only appointed by the Sovereign, his father told him it was a dream he may need to forfeit. Working now for the crown, he would have to forfeit many dreams of which being esteemed with a knighthood was just one. It would never happen as the order had been disbanded a few years back.

He entered into the Quire and had found her, his Queen, seated in a stall facing the altar. She seemed quite contemplative; yet serene would be the word he would use to describe her features at this moment.

She rose to greet him as he walked up the aisle. The guards stayed close by the door to ensure their meeting would not be interrupted.

Benjamin bowed deeply and was rewarded with her smile as he rose. "You must be wondering why the sudden need for such a visit?" 

She motioned for him to sit and she very unceremoniously sat across the aisle from him. This was undoubtedly one of the most informal meetings he has ever experienced with her Majesty.

"I have been troubled as of late, besides that of my husband's failing health, the unrest of my family with their endless arguing, I have recently received news which requires me to ask a favor of you, but first what news have you for me?"

Benjamin's mind raced at what this new request could mean. "As you know the restrictions have lifted. Your son's decision to keep the Tory government in place has made him very unpopular among the Whigs he use to call friends."

The Queen looked away from Benjamin's scrutinizing gaze. "He has done so under the sound advice of Sir Halford who strongly believes a change in government would kill the King should he recover."

"Will he..." Benjamin dared ask, "recover?"

Tear filled eyes met his. "No. Not as it stands. I do not believe so. In fact, I find myself praying nearly every day for the Lord to end his suffering. He calls out for Emily to rescue him often and take him from this world, into the next, and I find myself wishing it were possible."

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