The King died. Long live the King. And then the Queen died. She
was buried beside him. The King died and then the Queen died of
grief. This was the posted report. And no one said a thing. But
you can't die of grief. It can take away your appetite and keep
you in your chamber, but not forever. It isn't terminal. Eventually
you'll come out and want a toddy. The Queen died subsequent to
the King, but not of grief. I know the royal coroner, have seen
him around, a young guy with a good job. The death rate for the
royalty is so much lower than that of the general populace. He
was summoned by the musicians, found her on the bedroom floor,
checked for a pulse, and wrote "Grief" on the form.
It looked good. And it was necessary. It answered the thousand
questions about the state of the nation. He didn't examine the
body, perform an autopsy. If he had, he wouldn't have found grief.
There is no place for grief in the body. He would have found a
blood alcohol level of one point nine and he would have found
a clot of improperly chewed tangerine in the lady's throat which
she had ingested while laughing. But this seems a fine point.
The Queen is dead. Long live her grief. Long live the Duke of
Reddington and the Earl of Halstar who were with me that night
entertaining the Queen in her chambers. She was a vigorous sort.
And long live the posted report which will always fill a royal
place in this old kingdom.