J. Pullins, ENGLISH Q2 Benchmark, Sci-Fi Story


            In the hills of Manchester lied the symbol of the Royal Government, the headquarters of the Queen, and the birth home of many of the elder HRH’s: Holygrove Palace. It stands in splendor, amongst the other buildings of the government, but much grander. The palace sat in a square, designed for the public, complete with fountains, statues, and Her Majesty’s Gardens. Great, wide steps lead a visitor to the front of the palace, where the gates denied them a chance to get too close, but also gave them an opportunity to see the splendor of Holygrove, adorned with regal brilliance of a royal line dating back centuries. Palace guards, there more as symbolism than protection, lined perfectly against the perimeter, standing in their summer outfits opposed to the usual, as despite this being a day in late October, it was sunny and mild in weather, favoring toward the warm. In the palace, Her Majesty the Queen was adhering to official Royal protocol swiftly attended to and aided by her assistants and aides. Her husband, the Duke of Ely sat in one of the many drawing rooms of the palace, quietly reading the newspaper. Amongst the nation was the issue of the couple; three royals, two princes and a princess, all with the intent of service on the behalf of Her Majesty. Of these issue, many bore their own line of issue, creating branches of the family tree known collectively as the Royal Family. The grandeur and lavish the Royals faced was that of imagination to the common man. They were treated with respect and dignity that many could only dream.


            Her Majesty the Queen, the head of the Royal Government, is briskly walking through the palace hallways. The Royals were holding one of their annual fall garden parties today, and it requires immense planning and preparation to allow for it to be swift and successful. An attentive ruler she is; Her Majesty felt it to be her duty to watch over all events of her realm, especially ones of importance, such as these.

“I’m not quite sure if these should be here. It would give obstructed access to the Grand Staircase,” the Queen said, her accent clear and her wisdom evident.

“Of course, Your Majesty,” her assistant, Roger Barnes.

“I just feel it would be more at place here, as all.”

 “Of course, ma’am” said Barnes, who quickly called an usher to side to tell him the new arrangement, which was changed with haste.

The garden parties were important to the Queen, it gave her a chance to mingle with the “commoners”, her ever-faithful subjects, many of which born under her long tenure as Queen. Yet, it also serves a purpose to the family, separated by all of their official duties as Royals, who now see each other less often than they used to. The parties are their duties, and so all attend the event.


            It was now 12 o’clock; the party began a 1 PM sharp. The ushers and organizers swiveled through Holygrove Garden, placing the final touches to make it to perfection. There are always the guests who arrive too early, and now there were a great amount of people outside of the gates of Holygrove, waiting for their entry into the most prestigious party imaginable. If the staff found that they were complete, then they would allow for the guests to enter ahead of schedule, which would allow for ease of the entire evening. Suddenly, from the road’s horizon, clearly visible from the slight plateau that Holygrove Palace was located on, a black car could be spotted, donning the official Royal seals. Behind the initial car, followed another, and one more, a total of five cars in all, the third, middle car was the largest, it was a limousine to be exact, and in addition to the seals, it had the two flags at its hood, one the Royal Coat of Arms, and the other the nation’s flag. This was evidently the motorcade of a Royal, and this was confirmed when Palace guards opened the gates for the vehicles, which briskly enter the open courts of the Palace’s interior. Once inside the gates, the formation was broken, so that now only that one, largest car headed toward the Palace inner-gates, and into a tunnel, which included a door that lead to hallways and corridors that made up sections of the Main House. The tunnel was added to give the Royals protection and privacy when they enter the home, which at times, and especially depending on the Royal, was quite essential. Yet today, there was no concern of the prying eyes of the public, as the only spectators didn’t watch with the intentions of intrusion but instead of awe of who was inside the car. The Royal’s identity was kept a secret until the car reached inside the tunnel, where the Queen’s eldest stepped outside, with no fear of the public spotting his presence.


            HRH Prince Alexander, the Crown Prince was his official title, the “Crown Prince” section was actually a privilege, and tradition states this title is reserved for the eldest son of the Sovereign. A fairly young man he was, in his forties yet still very handsome and young-looking for his age, and quite tall and with a nice build, the Crown Prince stood there, only a few feet or so from where he exited his state car, yet towards both his left and right we’re guards and Secret Service agents for his protection, the guards in their usual outfits while the agents dressed in their standard, black suit and tie combinations. The Prince’s suit was black as well, yet one could see the faint pinstripes in a certain light, and one could also see well the suit fit his body, how it was cut and tailored in its appropriate places. He stood there, as if to allow all the marvel in his splendorous presence, then he gave a few, Royal waves to the adoring public, watching his every move. After doing this, guards guided him to the tunnel door, and he entered to the sight of Barnes, who received word of the Prince’s planned arrival at this time the previous day.

“Good afternoon, Your Royal Highness. It appears you arrived on time,” said Barnes.

“Of course, I did. Is Her Majesty available?” said Prince Alexander, terse and sharp.

“Why, yes, of course” answered Barnes, with a few stutters prior.

The Royal Assistant led the Heir to the Royal Throne through the hallways of the Palace until he reached the study, where the Queen, his mother, was currently working in one of Holygrove’s many drawing rooms.

With a quick stand, the Queen stated, “Alexander! It’s been too long, it has.”

“Yes, Mother,” said the Prince, who greeted his mother properly with a steady bow from the neck, “it has been quite some time.”

A attendant in the room pours a cup of tea for the Prince, who takes a seat across from the Sovereign.

 I’d say about a few months or so, yet I believe that the Royal duties of the Heir to the Throne would suffice of being the reason of our absence from each other.”

“Of course, of course. Your responsibilities are far greater than those of your siblings, and also are more imperative, as they will teach you how to become a proper monarch.”

“Yes, they will. So all is well?” Alexander quipped.

The Queen dashes a familiar, mothering look, and then said, “Yes, all is fine here.”

There was a silence after that. The Prince’s face smirked of hesitance, and the Queen could clearly see it, and pondered at its presence. The Prince instead sat on one of the chairs in the study and gently clasped his hands together in the proper manner. With that, Her Majesty sat at the desk and continued the final revisions. At last, after she sat, the Prince finally gained the courage to speak.

The Prince gulped, and with his voice faintly cracking, “I’m sure you’re wondering why I arrived so early. To be honest, I chose to arrive earlier than the others would.”

“And by ‘the others’, I’m sure you truly meant Jacob?” said the Queen, sure of her response.

“Why, yes. Jacob, my son, your youngest grandson, and third in line to the Royal Throne. And from the lack of television cameras or photographers outside, I’m assuming he hasn’t arrived yet?” The sarcasm was evident with this Royal father, speaking of his son, a media deity and target.

“Why, no, not yet,” said the Queen, equally sarcastic in her voice as well.


            HRH Prince Jacob of Wales is the younger of two boys of Prince Alexander, and his lineage to the Heir of the Throne has him at third in the Line of Succession. He was the Queen’s grandson, and his looks, as well as his persona caused for much public and media attraction, and at times scrutiny. Though the likelihood of Prince Jacob becoming King was very small, in order to do that, he would have to survive the reigns of his father and his older brother, HRH Prince Andrew of Wales, yet his public appeal was unprecedented, yet at times his behavior was despised by his family.


            Nevertheless, Prince Jacob was a member of the family, and was treated as such. The Queen and Prince Alexander continued their conversation; the opinions clear in their speech. As they talked, their solidarity in their perspectives of Prince Jacob’s celebrity status was prevalent.  The speeches of the elder Royals ceased, however, when Prince Andrew arrived in the room.

            His Royal Highness Prince Andrew of Wales was Prince Jacob’s elder brother, and the two were very close. The straight-laced future heir to the throne was very in tune to his brother’s sense of fun and freedom, as he would never have to endure the responsibility of the Crown, and often defended his brother’s behavior and conduct.

“Father, grand mum” the Prince greeted his elders.

“Andrew, how are you, darling”, the Queen uttered in clear delight, as Andrew walked across the room to greet his grandmother in the customary fashion.

Prince Andrew swiftly pours himself tea as he takes a seat next to his father and across his grandmother.

“I believe that today will call for a very pleasant party,” stated Andrew cheerfully.

“As do I,” his father chimed in with delight.

The young prince sat with his elders.

“You know, I was talking to a man in crowd the other day during some of my military training and above all else he couldn’t stop talking about what the monarchy meant to him. It really makes this all seem worth while.”

“So before, did it seem like a waste of time?” Prince Alexander joked.

“No, father”, Prince Andrew chuckled, “However now, I think I see what the monarchy truly does to the morals of this country”.

“I see that the Crown will rest safely on your shoulders, Andrew,” the Queen stated.

“Thank you, grand mum,” Andrew concluded as he placed his finished cup of tea on the coffee table. He rose to leave.

“I’m sure everything will go exactly as planned today; it’ll be great. I’ll be off now.”

The second in line to the throne proceeds to exit, but stops at the door.

“Has Jacob arrived yet? I’d like to practice some polo with him before the game today.”

“I suppose you would know where he was more than we would,” the Queen stated sharply.

“I haven’t the slightest clue. Father, do you know?”

“No, I have not,” stated the Crown Prince.

“Predictable, I suppose. Your brother does have a reputation for such behavior.”

The Prince was very willing to defend his brother, as he often does, but didn’t. He was wise enough to know not to argue not only with the Queen, the Sovereign, but his grandmother. Instead, he said his good-byes and went off his way.

Prince Andrew was very popular not only amongst the public, but with many of the palace workers and government official as well. To them, the Prince represented the new monarchy, with his younger, looser approach to certain aspects of duty. His blend of dedication to duty as well as ability to modernize had many very optimistic as his future as King. This unique method of duty was evident on the day, as the Prince spoke with many of the staffers of the Garden Party, giving his input and sharing his suggestions when needed. Soon after, other members of the family arrived.

Prince Benjamin, the Duke of York, Andrew’s uncle, arrived first, with his children, Their Royal Highnesses Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and Prince Robert. The Duchess of York completed the set of the family. Another one of Prince Andrew’s strong suits is his indomitable ability to socialize. Within minutes of greeting his cousins, a polo game was already in the works, between the two young princesses and the Princes Andrew and Jacob; even if he hadn’t arrived yet. Prince Andrew soon became a bit concerned; he had enough faith in his brother to believe that he wouldn’t arrive late, and he did know that he had a Royal engagement earlier today, but feared for the worst, as he usually did. The Prince had no more to fear, however, as His Royal Highness Prince Jacob arrived.

Prince Jacob had no flashy entrance, as he knew such a thing would be frowned upon. In fact, his arrival was less ostentatious than many of the other members of the family earlier. His exit from the car, and subsequent entrance to the palace, however, was conducted much differently than all previous Royals, as it was a very rushed ordeal; both the Prince and the guards knew that absolute media frenzy would ensue should a photographer spot the popular Prince. When Prince Jacob arrived at the Palace, there was a different aura than that of his brother. With Prince Jacob, it almost felt as if one was in the presence of a celebrity instead of royalty. There have been many occasions when one forgot to greet Prince Jacob with the customary bow upon meeting him. However, as a member of the Royal Family, he was treated with the respect due.

The Prince was lead through the halls by Palace guards, in the search for his older brother. He and his brother’s close relationship was highly evident at social events, as one could often see the two sticking together. After a while, the Prince spotted Andrew outside, with their cousins and greeted him with a hug, a break in formality.

“The traffic was dreadful today,” the Prince said, excusing his nearby tardiness.