By Elsa, Queen Emerita of Arendelle
Can you imagine my surprise upon receiving Anna’s letter from Gale about my most recent “elevation?” I told Anna that it was fine, that I didn’t need to be Queen Emerita, that it was enough that the various factions in the Great Assembly didn’t mind me visiting and advising her every weekend. In fact, no monarch in Arendellian history has ever been bestowed such a title; Anna just made it up (as she is prone to do so)!
But you know her. When she believes in doing something, not even the spirits can stop her. She saw a need for me to be recognised as a retired monarch and accorded honorary privileges that I don’t even know if I’ll ever need.
My ears were as red as an apple’s when reporters told me what Anna had shared with the press. Her being my star pupil? That she reflected my beauty, talent, or whatever she was gushing about me?
My Anna. You – oh, dear me.
As I was reminiscing about my three years as queen under Northuldra’s blanket of shimmering stars, I had an idea: to share with you, and whoever might give me their time of day, my true feelings about vacating the throne. Anna’s made me Queen Emerita now, so I might as well offer some perspective and advice. Perhaps it’ll be of use to you with your own goals.
Prioritise your strategic objectives.
When we lost Mother and Father, I was in despair from losing them so quickly. It was made worse by the fact that I hadn’t even the chance to say goodbye to them, to share with them how deeply I was hurting inside and needed them with me. More urgently, I was completely inexperienced in any kind of governance. I’d read lots of books, but I’m sure you understand how different that is. I was wheeled out in front of the kingdom’s power-brokers, politicians, and nobles that day in the Chapel, and made into something that I wasn’t prepared for in the slightest. I’d of course known in some abstract sense that my turn to hold the Orb and Sceptre would always come, but the way things transpired, our family was in – what would Anna say? – deep, deep snow.
Father and Mother’s sudden deaths left Anna and I floundering in a world where, for a small kingdom like ours, political connections and diplomatic networks meant everything. The first thing Kai, Chief, and many others taught Anna and I was to rebuild our support as quickly as possible: making peace with the Southern Isles and Weselton quickly and getting acquainted with as many leaders of other regions as possible. I wasn’t always the best at this, but Anna proved to be an excellent foil for me as we engaged the outside world. With the help of many, we rapidly shored up our global network and were firmly back in control of the many nodes of trade and commerce that help our small country see eye to eye with much larger nations.
Information provides knowledge. More knowledge, better judgment.
I needed to make the right shows of strength in the Great Assembly, because there were plenty of veteran politicians and scions of much older, more prestigious families that didn’t see eye to eye with me. I was limited in my movements within parliament, not because I had too many enemies, but because of my complete ignorance of Grandfather’s past and crimes against Northuldra. I was fortunate that I didn’t implement reforms anywhere near as radical as what Anna and Maren are pushing through now. Still, what might Anna and I have been able to accomplish if we had discovered Grandfather’s dark secret earlier? One can’t help but wonder.
In any case, you can never – ever – have too much information in such circumstances.
Surround yourself with trustworthy friends and empower them to help you.
I’ve suffered loss and loneliness for a very long time. I accept that reality and am kind to myself because of it. But I also don’t dwell or wallow in sorrow. In fact, I’m very fortunate to have had Kai to take care of Anna and me for so long, and he is still watching over Anna and her household now. I’m sure Kristoff will get used to that portly gentleman following him around at the palace.
Kai and other trusted courtiers, and more broadly, good-hearted ministers and jarls, made my reign much smoother and exerted a positive influence on me. Anna has General Mattias, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf now, but back then I had… well, I had Anna. I think it’s fair to say that she saw herself as my most loyal lieutenant. She got the loyal part right, but she was so much more to me, more than even she would credit herself for.
She was my hero. My guardian angel.
She still is.