By HM Queen Anna
One of my most important life lessons was at the Kingdom of Vesterland, a prosperous and militaristic realm, when its king challenged me about my purpose in life. At the time, Elsa said that I was our kingdom’s natural ambassador – but in my heart of hearts, the fact that I had no formal duty or job made me question just how useful I was to others. I wanted to spread happiness and peace. I’m not ashamed of retaining that idealism even now, but the king’s disrespect cut me deep.
Deep down, I knew that he wouldn’t be the only one to dismiss me if I wasn’t able to stand on my own two feet. As much as I adore and kind of worship Elsa, I had to be my own woman, not just Elsa’s guardian or Kristoff’s fiancee. That’s why Elsa passing the torch of the monarchy to me was the greatest blessing she’s ever given me.
I have vivid memories of Vesterland for another reason. I had an amazing series of adventures with the king’s daughter, from Arendelle all the way to Vesterland. We even took on an ice trader whose name was Lars as well, but he was a petty and nasty smuggler: as unpleasant as Lars Krogh of Skau-Krogh, but hardly a threat on the same scale. Her name was Mari, and she was a lot like me: lost, searching for purpose, and fierce and open about her opinions.
I don’t know where you are now, Mari. Are you well? Are you still the same princess I adventured with, or have you changed or ascended the throne, like me? In my daydreams and reminiscences I sometimes hope, pettily, that you might pick up The Arendelle Guardian and come across my column or news about me. Or maybe Vesterland’s newspapers might have mentioned Arendelle, and made you think of some fond memories too.
I hope you haven’t forgotten me, because I sure haven’t you.
If you’re reading this column, like many of my fellow citizens, let me update you. I’ve never faced a greater challenge in my life than now. I’m not afraid to show you my true feelings, and I’ve always been honest about the problems Arendelle faces. We’ve been at peace for a very, very long time, but for the first time our economic sovereignty is under threat. And for what? For a greedy merchant prince like Lars Krogh to replace Kristoff’s company, Bjorgman, as the Princely House!
Critics think I’m trying to help Bjorgman just because its owner is my fiance. You remember Kristoff, right? He made me an engagement ring. Eeek! Anyway, since Elsa made Kristoff our Ice Master, Bjorgman hasn’t only become Arendelle’s largest company, but also served as our primary trade interface with the Great Qing. I beg my critics to look beyond my love for Kristoff and see that if Skau-Krogh replaces Bjorgman as the Princely House, it will trigger a much more serious consequence: Lars’ investor, the American First Family heir Harrison, will use Skau-Krogh as his entry into negotiating away Arendelle’s trade privileges with the Qing – the empire that has brought us prosperity for over a century.
I’m trying to extend Bjorgman’s credit so that it can compete head-on with Skau-Krogh. Already their commercial war is in full swing, with spices, ice, tea, real estate, shipping, and so many more fronts. Bjorgman has lowered prices for its unrivalled ice products to undercut Lars’ new market, there’s been fierce bidding for dockyards in ports around the world, and stockbrokers in Amsterdam and London have been mauling each other for shares in either company. The ferocity and pace of this corporate contest is overwhelming to me.
Since Elsa made a public appeal to His Imperial Highness in her column (don’t apologize for doing what you thought was best for me, darling), I’d like to do something similar.
At this juncture of my reign, Mari, my government could really use your help. Arendelle needs Vesterland to join the alliance.
I ratified my Entente of Small Kingdoms in response to Skau-Krogh’s challenge to Bjorgman, because make no mistake: Harrison is the man behind it all. Alone, Arendelle doesn’t stand a chance against an Exalted member. The harsh reality is that none of us smaller kingdoms do. But together, we can fight him off, for all our sakes. It would be my honour if you chose to join me.
If you see this appeal, please reach out.
I miss you.