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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)

TITLE: The Princess
By Karlene Jacobsen


Clay sat, riveted to the sofa. The television replayed the images of the wreckage that had been transporting the Princess; his Princess. Voices droned on unremarkably. He stared blankly trying to wrap his brain around the tragic death of this woman who represented the fairytale life many longed to live.

Monte sat next to Clay and grabbed his hand. She knew of his admiration of the Princess and felt a sadness, which no doubt was felt across the nation. “The People’s Princess” was her title. Diana had risen from shy school teacher to poised, sophisticated woman, mother, and wife; the Princess of Wales. She was once content to follow a pace behind her husband, and then she grew into someone endeared to many through her humanitarian efforts. Millions watched the fairytale wedding, complete with frills and horse-drawn carriage. There were millions who witnessed her wedding; those same people watched her marriage begin to decay. Clay and Monte knew the same would be at her funeral.

“It’s so tragic,” was all Monte could say.

Clay turned his eyes from the television and fixed them on his wife. His gaze drifted downward to her swollen belly. Placing his hand gently on Monte’s, he spoke in a caressing, yet raspy voice, through great control of emotion. “This is a girl, y’know.”

“What brought this on?” sighing she placed her free hand over his, held, and squeezed; he was shifting gears on her.

“I know, because the Princess is gone. This is our princess. I know it.” It was obvious from the redness of his eyes, he was choking back sobs.

Monte shifted her body and hoisted herself from the sofa, “Let’s go to bed, Clay.” The constant droning of the reporters recounting the tragedy did nothing but threaten to swallow the couple into unspeakable sadness. “It’s late. They’ll be talking about this all day.”


Monte woke before dawn to the sensation of a steel band wrapping itself around her waist, tighten, and then release. Previous experience told her this could be the beginnings of labor pains. She waited to be sure before waking Clay. Soon she was able to drift off once again to sleep, only to be awakened again shortly after. A look at the clock told her it had been fifteen minutes since the last episode. There was plenty of time.

She shifted next to Clay, trying to be gentle in movement. She really didn’t want to wake him if it was a false alarm. However, he sensed her movement and eyed her through one eye slightly cracked. “Are you alright baby-doll?” His voice betrayed his sleepy state.

“Umm, yes, I believe…” just then another pain gripped her, this time with a fierceness she hadn’t experienced. “Oooohhhh!” She winced.

He sat up, “How far apart are they?” He knew instantly his little princess was about to make her entrance.

Clay called the sitter to come be with their son while he took Monte to the hospital. He was certain they would be new parents again before the day was out. He watched closely his wife, who rarely allowed anyone to see her in a weakened state of pain. Her fortitude amazed him time and again; she was a strong woman.


Hours later, Clay gazed down into the pink face of his little princess. A single tear splashed from his eyes to her silky skin. Monte rested in the bed on the opposite side of the room. “Welcome to our family, my dear princess. One of these days, I’ll have to tell you the story of the woman who captured the hearts of many.”

Clay sensed the eyes of his wife watching. He looked up, tears pooling in the corners of his eyes, “Isn’t it just like God? As the world suffers this tragedy, He sees fit to allow us to celebrate the birth of our very own princess.” He smiled as he rose and placed Sarah Elizabeth in the arms of her mother.


This is dedicated to my brother who adores his princess.

August 31, 1997 at 4 am Princess Diana of Wales was pronounced dead after a tragic automobile accident.
August 31, 1997, sometime in the afternoon, Autumn Rachael was born to my brother and his wife in Falls Church, VA. He says the death of the princess was a sign to him that God was giving him a princess of his own to cherish.

*While this is based on a true story, names and actual conversations are fictional.

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This article has been read 833 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/30/09
As the mother of two princesses of my own, I could relate to the depth of feeling here.
Sonya Leigh02/03/09
I liked how you portrayed the husband as the one who had greater affection for the Princess...it was a nice change from the usual female expression. Keep doing changes like that, and keep writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/04/09
You did an excellent job bringing out the tenderness in your brother's story.
Chely Roach02/04/09
The was a tender piece...lovely. Well done.
Dee Yoder 02/04/09
I remember that day well, too, because we were celebrating my son's birthday dinner and had just finished the party when the news came over the TV that something had happened. Very sad. Nice story that inter-weaves the personal and public events of the day.
Diana Dart 02/04/09
Lots of great words choices here - "...caressing, yet raspy voice," "...a steel band wrapping itself around her belly," the tear splashing in the last paragraph. Ahhhhh, just good writing that engaged my senses. Oh yeah, the story was bittersweet as well! Great, great job Karlene.
Sheri Gordon02/04/09
The format worked very well, and I like many of your descriptive phrases.

I was skeptical of the emotion for the Princess' death shown by the husband...it was helpful that you included the footnote. (I guess some men were more deeply affected by this event than I realized.)

Good job personalizing a major event in modern history.
Karlene Jacobsen02/04/09
I just have to say, until I wrote this, I had forgotten why my brother has a difficult time saying "no" to his daughter. I'm glad I did this, I have a new and fresh appreciation for his devotion to her.
Myrna Noyes02/04/09
I remember hearing the tragic news of Princess Diana's death, and this story brought back some of those sad images. It was nice "seeing" it through someone else's eyes, too! You used some good,descriptive words in this enjoyable piece! :)
Leah Nichols 02/05/09
I wish you had more room to write! So much more detail here than 750 words allows. A very well-written piece....the emotions are vividly described and the unique story is quite endearing. Thank you for taking the time to share this.