Connie Glynn has always loved writing and wrote her first story when she was 6 with her mum at a typewriter acting as the scribe. It was at university that Connie started her hugely successful YouTube channel Noodlerella (named after her favourite food and favourite Disney princess). Her book, Undercover Princess is about a fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin who starting at the infamous Rosewood Hall, where she was not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty – a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal.
Let’s read an excerpt from the book:
Princess Eleanor Prudence Wolfson, sole heir of King Alexander Wolfson and next in line for the throne of Maradova, did not live in one of these spaces, nor was she one of these people, but she was in desperate need of both.
‘I am going to this school!’ Eleanor slammed the brochure on the table with a loud thwack, causing the cups of breakfast tea to wobble on top of their saucers.
Alexander Wolfson didn’t even look up from his newspaper to reply.
‘No,’ he said blankly.
‘I am next in line for the Maravish throne. I think the teeny-tiny decision of which school I attend is something I am capable of managing myself.’
Alexander looked up at his wife, Queen Matilde, who was sitting across the table from him.
She shrugged. ‘She does have a point, Alex,’ she said amiably, delicately dropping a lump of sugar into her teacup and stirring it slowly while stifling a smile.
This was not the parental solidarity King Alexander had been hoping for.
‘See?’ said Eleanor. ‘Even Mum agrees with me.’
Alexander remained firmly fixated on his newspaper, feigning an image of complete composure. He took a sip of tea.
‘ Edwina –’ he gestured to their maid – ‘would you kindly take the empty plates to the kitchen, please?’
‘Of course, Your Majesty.’ Edwina expertly stacked the crumb-covered trays and exited the dining hall with a skilled smoothness, her feet barely making a sound on the oak flooring. The large double doors closed behind her, creaking softly as she eased them shut.
Once Alexander was sure she was a reasonable distance down the hall, and safely away from any domestic outbursts, he looked back down at his newspaper and said, ‘My answer is no.’
Eleanor let out an exasperated screech and stamped her foot. ‘You could at least look at the brochure!’ she snapped, snatching the newspaper from her father’s fingertips.
Alexander was forced to look up at his daughter.
Eleanor had always been a challenging child. She was anything but a typical princess; she would take fiery political arguments and sneaking out to loud, rowdy concerts over mild polite conversation any day, and more than anything she despised elaborate formal functions – or at least she assumed she did, having refused to ever attend one. But she was smart, she was confident and she was passionate – and for Alexander that was all far more important than any of the traditional values expected of her. Although occasionally he did wish she’d watch her language around her grandparents.
As much as he wanted Eleanor to be happy and live a life free of the commitments of royalty, the fact remained that she would be queen one day and would eventually need to accept that responsibility. He was determined to find a way to make his daughter realize she could enjoy her royal obligations; something he’d had to learn himself when he was younger.
‘What on earth are you wearing?’ Ollie’s sarcastic tone drifted into Lottie’s bedroom. He stood leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed as he watched Lottie pack up the last items in her room.
‘Ollie!’ Lottie’s hand rushed to her chest in shock at the sudden appearance of her best friend. ‘How did you get up here? And how many times do I have to tell you to knock?’ Lottie was huffing slightly from trying to squish down her suitcases. Ollie was fourteen, the same age as Lottie, yet even though he was taller than her he’d retained his baby face, which reminded her of soft-serve ice cream on the beach and other happy memories.
‘I had to sneak past the wicked witch. Did you know her skin’s turned green finally?’ Ollie said with a devilish smile.
Lottie giggled, but she couldn’t ignore his comment. She looked down at her outfit, brushing down her dress self- consciously. ‘And what exactly is wrong with my outfit?’ she said indignantly.
Ollie laughed, grinning at her with his signature cheeky smile. Clumps of dog hair dotted his jeans, a permanent feature that he never seemed to care about.
‘Isn’t it a little too fancy for the first day of school?’
‘Too fancy?!’ Lottie couldn’t believe he’d suggest something so ridiculous. ‘Nothing is too fancy for Rosewood Hall. I need to fit in. I can’t have my clothes making me an outcast on the first day.’
Lottie began picking at a non-existent spot on the collar of her dress. ‘Most of the students probably have their clothes tailor-made out of gold or something.’
Ollie casually strolled into the room, taking a seat on Lottie’s bed. He pursed his lips as he glanced around the bedroom. Usually so alive with Lottie’s special brand of handmade quirkiness, it was now stripped bare, everything she owned crammed into two pink suitcases.
‘Well,’ Ollie began, reaching into his pocket, ‘if you can take a moment off from worrying about what other people think of you . . .’ He pulled out a crumpled envelope and a worn-out Polaroid that Lottie recognized from his bedroom wall. ‘These are for you.’
Lottie reached out for them, but Ollie whipped his hand back.
‘You can’t open the letter until you’re on the train.’
Lottie nodded with an exasperated smile and he slowly placed both gifts in her hand. It was a photograph she’d seen thousands of times: the two of them at the beach, their noses covered in ice cream and beaming grins on both their greedy faces. Even though the colours had begun to fade to sepia, you could still see the tiara on Lottie’s head and the horns on Ollie’s. As children, the two had demanded to wear these fancy-dress items every day and everywhere. Ollie had declared he was the fairy Puck from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream after they’d watched an open-air performance at the beach one evening. He’d been completely infatuated with all the mischief the character got away with and assumed he too could get away with being naughty so long as he was wearing his horns. Lottie’s tiara, on the other hand, had a less happy – go – lucky origin. Her thumb lingered over the accessory in the photo, a little pang striking her heart as she remembered the day she’d received it.
‘I’ll give you some time to say goodbye,’ he said, before effortlessly picking up both her suitcases and carrying them down the stairs to the car. When he was gone she thoughtfully placed Ollie’s gifts with the rest of her most important belongings, which she’d laid out on the now-bare bed so as not to forget them. She put each item into her handbag: first the weathered Polaroid and letter from Ollie, followed by her favourite sketchbook, her most loyal stuffed companion, Mr Truffles, a framed photo of her mother, Marguerite, in her graduation gown, and, finally – looking very out of place among the other objects – a crescent- moon tiara, her most valued possession. It had taken Lottie all of sixty minutes to pack her entire life into two pink suitcases, one denim backpack and a small over- shoulder handbag with a sturdy white strap. She looked over the now- empty room.
I did it, Mum, she thought. I got into Rosewood just like I promised.
Copyright © Connie Glynn, 2017