Manual for a Princess

I’ve often wondered why I feel so cozily at home in London and it has just recently dawned on me that it was somehow genetically inevitable. I owe my name – Diana – to Princess Diana, whom my mother deeply admired and whose ,,cult” she passed onto me.

I visited Kensington Palace two weeks ago and I would deeply recommend it to all of you. The ,,Enchanted Palace” exhibition is something you cannot be fully ready for. It’s not an exhibition, but more like a maze-meets-fairytale kind of experience. As you walk from one dazzling room to the other, you must discover the names and the stories of the seven princesses who once inhabited the palace. You will find old inhabitants of the castle swirling by, telling jokes, reading the poems aloud to you or doing some sort of chore work. It’s the fantasy of my childhood turned true: opening a fairy tale book and having all the characters jump out around me.

There’s a catch, however: no happy ending involved. All the stories end either in madness, death or heartbreak. But that doesn’t make the experience less interesting.

What you will absolutely love are Mercedes Kemp’s poems (tailored for each princess). They are beautiful, romantic and dreamy.

For example: ,,The Woman of the Royal Sorrows” (Princess
The Woman of the Royal Sorrows
takes the greatest care in ensuring
that the vessels of grief
are left unstoppered.
It is well known that, as the tears evaporate,
their source will be forgotten,
and that is her dearest wish.
But the small bottles just seem to get fuller


And find below my favorite one, called ,,Manual for a Princess”:

A Manual for a Princess

(by Mercedes Kemp)
First, find the right door.
It is hidden under the bed.
Knock on it three times.
It will open up.
You must have courage.
You must be nimble footed.
Be sure to wear your dancing shoes.
Step down the stairs
under the bed
and into the woods.
You will go
through an avenue of trees
where all the leaves are gold.
Do not linger.
Do not fear the wolves:
they WILL hound you; it’s in their nature.
But they can do you no harm.
You will find a shadowy pond
where ugly toads
weep.
Kiss them all.
They rely on your kindness
to break the spell.
They do not want to marry you.
Next there is a forest
where all the trees
have leaves of diamond.
No point in staying with the dwarves.
They just want you to do their housework.
You will find ailing creatures along the way.
Help them if you can.
They will not forget.
Mice, birds and rabbits are friendly
and happy to assist.
But beware of the swans.
Their eyes are flinty and their beaks savage.
They are really spellbound girls
tired of waiting for true love
The old woman has clues.
The password is:
I am the queen of hearts.
Do not, I repeat,
DO NOT try on the glass slipper.
It is a trap.
At length you will arrive
at a lake
and in the lake
there is an island where moonlight
is constant upon the silver trees

This is your final destination

Tied to the shore
there is a boat with sales
pale as air
The boatman is mute
and angry looking
but he is not deaf
Speak kindly and politely
and he will carry you
across the water

When you arrive
at the island
you will be safe.

To be
a beautiful princess
dancing
in the silvery woods,
wearing out
your slippers
with the joy of it:
This is what you were born for…

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