Gul could not describe the feelings of excitement and anticipation that she felt, as she hastily took her leave of her family, trying not to look too eager or undignified.  Her maid followed her, holding the package. As soon as she reached her chambers, Gul dismissed the maid, her hands going first to the gift, before halting and moving towards the letter instead. She wanted to know what he said, more than see her present. His letter read:

Dear Gul,

I was really happy to receive your last letter, but somewhat more puzzled by the contents. Of course you may “pry into the affairs of my nation” as you stated, it will be your nation as well soon enough. In fact my friends and advisors would be appalled if you were not given due deference.  

It is your right to know about the nation you will be ruling alongside me,so I have sent you a compiled account of my rule, with some history and background to make it comprehensible. It should be enough to give you a fair idea of the Empires’ politics; and you can ask me any questions you deem necessary. I am looking forward to the days when you will sit on a throne beside me and be able to freely advise me on matters of State.

Now as for your inquiries as to my preference of chinaware, I have been told on the best of authority that the bridegroom’s role in these sort of decisions is to steadfastly agree to anything the bride likes. Do not fret so much about it, my dear, I am absolutely certain that when I arrive for the wedding I will be far too preoccupied by gazing lovingly at my fiance to even notice the decorations. As to these people haranguing you for the minutest details, why not redirect them to your mother? I’m sure she would be happy to take them off your hands.

Also, I should ask you before I forget, did you like the necklace I sent? I had it made while I was in the north, the jewelers there are renowned for their work in lapis lazuli bonded with white gold. I know that it is a little unusual in design, but I wanted to have something made that combined your crest and mine. If you prefer a more classical design, I will have the palace jewelers make it according to your specifications. I know it’s a little late for a betrothal gift, but I hope you shall accept it anyway.  

Yours,

Mehmed.

This letter made her alternatively beam with happiness, flush with pleasure and glow with pride. He has actually said that he expected her to rule beside him as an equal! She knew how rare it was for Kings to take their wives seriously. They were usually expected to be demure and run the household, throw parties and play hostess, but their advice in the matter of politics was seldom welcomed.

Even her own father, though he loved and respected her mother, did not allow his wife any say in the important decisions. The world’s of the household and the court were strictly divided. Of course Gul had received all the same education in statecraft as her brothers, however, this was because her father believes in being prepared for any circumstances, not because she was ever expected to rule a nation. He believed that a princess must know as much as possible in order to be a proper companion to a man of high status.

Now however, Gul put the letter aside, finally turning to look at the parcel Mehmed had sent her…

To be continued…