Chapter 1

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England, 1926.

The ballroom of Berkeley Manor was buzzing with activity. A grand and lavish  ball was being held, and everyone was dressed in their finest. Couples danced along the dance floor, gentleman drank at the bar and played cards. Women gossiped.

Gazing around her, 19-year-old Diana Hamilton Felt as if she was suffocating. Yes, she was excited to be here, at a beautiful celebration in honor of her friend, Charlotte Smith, who had just become engaged to her long time sweetheart, William Francis. She was very happy for her best friend, and wished her well.  What she was not happy about was the man gripping her arm very tightly beside her.

Edward. Don't look at me that way, Diana. Do you not remember what your father told you? You must enjoy yourself this evening.

Diana felt as if her arm was going to fall off. It was already becoming numb, and extremely painful. I was having fun... Until you decided to come and invade my personal space, your majesty.

Edwards dark brown eyes bore into her green ones. Do not speak to me in that tone. You are to be my queen in one week. You're not to talk back to me in that manner again.  Do you understand?

Diana shivered, feeling the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Y-yes your majesty. Her voice was feeble.  She was petrified of her fiancé. She hated him. She didn't love him. This marriage that was supposed to take place in one week was her fathers doing entirely, not her own. She was already promised to someone else, had been promised for the last five years.  Unfortunately, as her father had told her, she was devastated to know that her betrothed was promised to another, also by force. By his brother.

Eventually, Edward released Diana's arm, allowing her to press her fingertips to the bruised artery. He pushed his dark brown hair out of his eyes, straightening his shoulders. Well, Madame, if you'll excuse me, I am going to take my leave of you and go play some cards and get a drink.

Diana. Be my guest, your majesty. Do as you'd like. She would do anything to get away from him.

Turning away from her, Edward strode towards the bar and gaming table. He was soon engrossed with a glass of wine in his hand, sitting at the table, and beginning to play around of billiards.

Exhaling with relief while still massaging her swollen and aching elbow, Diana decided to make her escape. Lifting the hem of her dark red satin gown, she made her way out of the overheated ball room, weaving her way through the multitude of bodies on either side of her, and finally managed to get outside and onto the terrace. As soon as she was alone, she moved to sit down on a bench in front of a fountain at the edge of the courtyard, inhaling large gulps of fresh air. She felt hot and anxious. She didn't want to marry King Edward of England. For one matter, he was much older than she was. He was 35, and very arrogant. He did not tolerate women very well, having chopped off the head of his previous wife for not giving him a son. He was very violent, especially when he was intoxicated. He was verbally and physically abusive. She didn't want to end up in his bed, much less in his life.

Diana closed her eyes, remembering the beautiful young gentleman who she did love, the one she had promised her self to five years earlier, and who had promised himself to her as well. She was hoping and praying that he was here, at this very celebration, but had no idea if that was possible. She moved a few strands of blonde hair out of her green eyes with the White silk glove of her hand. Her heart longed and ached for him, wanted him so badly. She was desperate to marry him, and knew that he felt the same way.

Abruptly, footsteps sounded behind her, and Diana gasped, turning around to see who had joined her.  Her heart skipped several beats as she noticed who was standing in front of her.

He was tall, with copper hair that went just a little past his ears, high cheekbones, strong and prominent features, perfect pink lips, and dazzling blue eyes. He was wearing a dark red uniform, trimmed with gold along the sleeve cuffs and shoulders.

Tears gathered in the corners of Diana's eyes as she stumbled towards him, easily being caught in his strong arms, and held against his chest.

The duke of Cambridge held her close, feeling their hearts beating together as one. He brushed his lips against her cheek. Diana, my darling beautiful Diana!

Diana was too overwhelmed to speak anything coherent. She can only manage one word, one single word that she had been dying to speak for the last five years. Spencer!

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