The King is Dead
The Prince's Pawn Chapter 2
You can read Chapter 1 here.
When I first traveled to America at the age of nine, what most struck me was their informality with each other. The sight of a former U.S. President pausing between bites to thank his serving staff for bringing him a fresh beverage was immediately shocking. So shocking in fact, I’d summoned my nanny to my side, interrupting her meal of course, so she could explain what on earth I’d just seen.
In my defense, decorum forbade me from asking either our host or my father. He was the king, after all. I would have to wait for him to address me if I wanted a conversation with him. And nine-year-olds aren’t known for their patience. Certainly not spoiled princes.
Rebekkah, my lovely Nigerian nanny, had quietly whispered into my ear that Americans insist on pretending all people are equal, that no one is better than anyone else.
“But we are better,” I whispered back. “My father is a king.”
Her response left me even more shocked. “Americans don’t believe in royalty, your royal highness.”
When we’d returned to our limo after the meal, my father had taken off his shoe and slapped my legs for talking out of turn, but it was worth it. My fascination with Americans and their refusal to acknowledge hierarchy was born and I’d been borderline obsessed with them ever since.
Now nearly twenty years later, I marveled at the group of Americans waiting for me in the conference room, entirely oblivious to the cameras I had placed in there.
If I didn’t already know who the supervisor was, I would never be able to guess from their body language. The two men—one white, one Indian—chatted casually, laughing about some video game they both played. And the woman sat off to the side, her back to the camera, piping in from time to time. No one used titles or interrupted anyone else.
On the contrary, whenever I enter a room, everyone stops their conversation and stands. We don’t bow here, that’s more of an Asian thing. But we don’t really need to. You can look at any group of men and know immediately who’s in charge and who the leader likes best in the group.
With Americans, you had to work a little harder to figure out group dynamics. It took more time and usually several one-on-one conversations.
With this group, I was glad to see they’d brought a woman with them, even if it was probably just as set decoration. They didn’t need her here; the CEO just wanted to make a statement about diversity.
But given the new king’s behavior in the last year, I could hardly blame them for wanting to make a statement, even if only a subtle one.