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The Gaffe of the Old Princess

In the blue room of the Royal Palace in Brussels, reserved for members of the four princely families of Belgium: Croy, Merode, Ligne, and Arenberg, all the talk was about the Spanish flu. Early in the 20th century, the epidemic was ravaging Europe and horrifying the people, nobody knew how to deal with it.

The old Croy tried her best to hear what was being said. She was a princess of this famous family, very old, still single, and nearly deaf. She moved her hearing cone from left to right, hearing nothing but death, dying, sorrow, and tragedy, as the sickness spared no one, killing young and old alike, across all classes. She was more and more terrified of what she heard, so much so that she hadn’t realized the conversation had changed. Then King Leopold II entered the room, the cruel, shameful architect of the Congo. He was shown respect by those present, who feared him but showed him no sympathy. He was a miserly and sordid man, and the banquets at the Royal Palace were seen as both sparing and foul, everyone dreaded them. King Leopold, with his beard laying over all his decorations, approached the old Croy who was still lost in her thoughts of the flu. The king asked her, “Dear Princess, have you already gone to the buffet?” The princess replied trembling, “Oh no, your Majesty, fortunately I was spared.”


by  Prince Michael of Greece

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