Story Saturday: The Royal Academy

"The Royal Academy"

Once upon a time, a little girl named Lucy lived on the edge of the village where she gazed upon the Royal Academy every night. This imposing structure towered over her little town and glittered with large stained-glass windows of royal crests, books, scrolls, and other symbols of the education she desired so fervently. She wanted to do more than toil in the fields with her family. Lucy longed to read and make important decisions like the princesses, princes, and nobles that attended the school.

One day, when Lucy was performing errands for her family in the market, she was surprised to see another girl around her age wearing a student uniform. Royals and nobles never stepped foot in her little village, especially those who were supposed to be in school.

"Who are you?" Lucy asked the girl in the uniform. "Do you go to the Royal Academy?"

"I'm Princess Lucinda," said the girl. "My parents tried to force me to go to school, but I don't want to, so I ran away. I'd rather learn about the world outside my castle."

"You're lucky," said Lucy. "I'd give anything to read about history and art and all sorts of other important things."

"If you want to go so badly, why don't you just take my place? Then my parents won't have to know I ran away."

Just like that, the princess peeled off her uniform and shoved it into Lucy's hands. She wore a simple pink dress underneath.

"Wouldn't they notice I'm not you?" asked Lucy.

"It's the first day. They don't know what I look like yet."

Before she realized what she was doing, Lucy was so enthralled by the uniform that she had already put it on over her clothes. Before she could attend school, she decided to do the responsible thing and talk to her parents. The princess told them that she had invited Lucy to attend the Royal Academy due to her impressive intellect. In exchange, she would like to learn what it's like for them to work in the fields. Lucy's parents were so proud of her and this wonderful opportunity she had been offered that they agreed to it without a second thought.

Lucy's name was close enough to Lucinda's that she was able to attend school without changing it. The next few months were like a dream. She learned all sorts of things about running a castle, interpreting important documents, and negotiating with other kingdoms. Her eagerness to learn earned her some of the highest grades in her class. When the king and queen got word of how well their daughter was doing, they were pleased and sent her gifts of fudge and plushies that Lucy treasured.

When the semester ended, the king and queen decided to pay Princess Lucinda a visit. They were shocked to find that another girl was staying at the school in her place and demanded to know where their daughter was. Lucy took them to her home in the village, where Lucinda was playing with the village children and teaching them how to make dolls and embroider dresses. They were horrified to see their daughter living like a peasant and insisted on taking her home immediately. Lucy's parents assured them that Princess Lucinda hadn't caused any trouble and asked how Lucy was doing in school. When they learned of her wonderful performance, they were so pleased that the king and queen began to reconsider the restrictions on attending the academy.

Princess Lucinda told them it wasn't fair that only royals could attend school when peasants like Lucy had done so much better than she ever could have dreamed. Though the king and queen were still angry, they brought Lucinda back to the castle and made arrangements for Lucy to continue attending the academy. This time, however, Lucinda would have to attend as well. Lucinda was not pleased with their decision but agreed to do so only if the other girls from the village she had befriended could attend with her.

And so it was decreed that all children in the kingdom who desired an education would be permitted to attend. Soon, the kingdom began to thrive with better workers and stronger decision-makers. Lucy was so successful that she went on to become Queen Lucinda's royal advisor, and they all lived happily ever after.


Sugar said…
So cute! I detect a bit of "the goose girl" there lol.
A middle grade fiction type novel would also be nice about how a simple peasant girl turns out to be the best student in a school for royalty, showing that the most important thing to be a good princess is not being born into royalty.
Lisa Dawn said…
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale had a plot that was similar to that.
Lady Culturina said…
I studied closely royal schools in fiction (I love the trope and launched it on TV tropes), but a "Prince and pauper" swapping is a rare and original setting. Usually, main characters there are naive princesses less instructed than the others for some reason (They were raised a commoner like Aurora, from a poor and small kingdom, recently adopted by a king, etc). Or commoners who are there as such (everyone is and the top of promotion graduate into princesses, or they are there to be lady royals, or on a scholarship.) The "commoner incognito" is a novelty to me, so good idea.

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