Of course, nobody is ordinary under their skin, not really. But my Bella thinks that she’s ordinary and, worse, feels she’s failed.
She was supposed to be the adventurous one in the family, taking after her explorer father and a grandmother who saves the rainforest. But Bella has just spent a year volunteering on a tropical island, and she knows now that it’s not the life for her.
Now she’s back in London, with no job, nowhere to live, a tendency to bump into the furniture and no idea what to do next. So she does what we Ordinary Girls do at that stage - she phones a friend.
One scented bath, a bottle of wine, and a lot of female confidences later, Bella takes stock:
- Immediate past, pluses: the beach, the stars, the addition to her job history, a light golden tan and sun streaks in her blonde hair.
- Immediate past, minuses: incompetent boss and dead loss not-quite-boyfriend (same guy).
- Immediate tasks: sign up for temp work; buy warm clothes at Oxfam.
- Nest week’s tasks: write new CV, stressing flexibility. See family. Resume Life.
But her friend Lottie has to go to a smart party and wants Bella along. Sisterhood rules, so she adds a party dress to her Oxfam shopping list, ignores jetlag and reminds herself not to drop the glassware. . .
Being Heir to the Throne is a full time job. You can do it well or you can do it badly. No one is going to sack you. Richard likes to do things well.
So he works hard. He’s conscientious, responsible and (mostly) rather reserved. His younger brother says he is no fun. But then Prince George’s idea of fun is riding a motorbike dressed as a banana. And he knows he can rely on Richard to get him and their sister out of their frequent scrapes.
Richard himself doesn’t get into scrapes, ever. He chooses his friends carefully and his girl friends even more so. He’s courteous and charming but he puts his work first. He’s always scrupulously straight with his girl friends about that.
So there you have him: good friend, great brother, ruled by duty, tells the truth. He isn’t carried away by passion and he doesn’t do reckless.
And then he meets Bella Greenwood. . .