August 13, 2011 in E
The number on his wall currently stood at 4,681. Each of the digits took up a whole sheet of paper that he’d printed out and blu-tacked to his bedroom wall. Every time there was a change he would print off a new sheet, never reusing the old ones, and adjust the number accordingly. The recent change had been a seven place increase which completely ruined his day.
The jump from 4,574 came about because a family in Wales had their lineage confirmed, which officially put them ahead of him in the order of succession and bumped him back a full seven places. Even their snot-nosed 3 year old, who was too young to know what the word “genealogy” meant, was now closer to the throne than he was.
He remembered the day he’d traced his own family tree and realised he was descended from Royalty. He could document his lineage back to King George the Third. He would while away hours tracing his finger on the paper from his own name up through his ancestors to Prince Adolphus the Duke of Cambridge and then to his father the King. It gave him great pleasure but there was always a patina of regret when he considered all the names he passed on his ascent up the tree, the names who were closer to the throne than he was.
The lineage became his obsession. He traced the ancestors of all George’s children and spent hours ascertaining which ones were ahead of him and which were behind. The initial number he came up with was 4,012. Regular births into the families of George’s older children had pushed him gradually back up the chain until he was dangerously close to 5,000 but he’d managed to jump 300 places when he finally proved the illegitimacy of an obscure branch of the Windsors. Since that day he kept a close eye on the social pages and celebrated the death of every duke while lamenting the birth of every child with blood more royal than his.
At first the engagement of Prince William had been disastrous news but eventually he realised it was actually a golden opportunity. A new, smaller countdown appeared on his wall marking off days until the royal wedding. And new books started appearing on his shelves along with the commemorative plates. Books about bomb making and powerful explosives.