Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Epilogue - A Royal Wedding

A/N: Yes. You read that right. Epilogue. As in...the end.

After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided that I need to round this story out. It’s been nearly four years since I started this journey with Harry, Alex, and Emma and while I love them more than I could ever express, there are other things I want to do that I simply can’t commit to all the way without closing this story out and letting my beloved characters live their lives.

I know that some of you were looking forward to seeing Harry with the babies (and seeing Emma with her baby brothers), but I think that every one of you can imagine that without my help. You all know Harry and you know Emma and you know just how amazing each of them would be with Charlie and Spencer...and with the other children Alex and Harry will have.

I hope that this finale gives you a good glimpse of how everything turns out with the Sussexes. I hope that it leaves you with a sense of peace and allows you to say good-bye to them.

And most importantly, I want you -- my readers, my supporters, my friends -- to know how much I love you. I want you to know how much you’ve inspired me and how I just couldn’t have written as much of this story as I did without you. So thank you. From the absolute bottom of my heart. You are amazing.

Now...enjoy :)


She took a deep breath as she stared at her reflection in the full length mirror placed in this room especially for this day. The reflection that stared back was one that no doubt matched her surroundings; formal, ornate, and incredibly classic and beautiful. From the tips of her Louboutin clad feet, up through her pristine Alexander McQueen designed gown, and ending in the tiara that meant so much to her, sitting delicately on top of the elegant updo holding together her thick blonde hair -- for the first time she felt every inch the princess that she had come to be nearly twenty years before..

“Bet you never thought you’d end up here,” she whispered to the reflection, afraid that if she tried to speak any louder, the emotions bubbling right under the surface might break free. “In fact, I know you didn’t think you’d end up here.”

Her mind began to wander then, back over the years since her royal life began. Over her parents wedding, growing up in the spotlight, being a teenager and learning how to deal with the intense focus on her, even as she was testing limits and trying to figure out exactly who she was herself. A faint smirk crossed her lips as she thought of her first young love, whom she thought had understood the intense focus on her life, but in the end hadn’t really understood the ties that held her to her responsibilities that her life entailed.

And then...her mind drifted to her next love; her current love. Her always love.

He had always been her friend; one of her best friends. She had never really thought twice about it. Until an occasion much like the one today brought the possibility crashing to the forefront of her mind…



“Whatcha doing out here?”

Emma smiled before she even looked up to see Christian, she would know his voice anywhere.

“Getting some air,” she sighed. “And taking a break from getting my toes stepped on out on the dance floor.”

“Ha!” Christian laughed as he moved in to set next to her on the bench. He held out a champagne glass for her, she happily took it, and he poured them each a glass from the bottle he’d snuck out before he set it on the ground and turned to smile at her. “I know I didn’t step on your toes.”

“No, you didn’t,” she shook her head. “But your father did. Seriously, how has your mother not taught him how to dance without destroying a woman’s feet?”

“I don’t know if she even notices anymore,” he chuckled. “I think she lost feeling in her toes a long time ago.”

Emma giggled, took a sip of her champagne and then settled back against the bench. She leaned into Christian, her friend whose steadiness and warmth was always such a comfort to her.

“Cold?” he asked, his arm moving around her and his hand rubbing up and down her arm to warm her up.

“Not really,” she shook her head. She settled against him, leaning her head on his shoulder. It was easy to settle into him, to relax with him. It always had been.

“I can’t believe Bella is married,” she murmured.

“Me either,” he replied softly, chuckling a bit at the thought of his spunky, independent sister. “She’s still so young. I certainly never thought she would be the first out of the three of us to get married.”

“Nope,” Emma laughed. “Wait…who did you think would be the first?”

“You,” he smirked. “Of course I thought it would be you.”

She wrinkled her nose. “What?”

“Come on,” he chuckled as he turned down to look at her, finding her big blue eyes staring up at him with amusement. “You were with Cruz for what? Five years?”

“Six,” she corrected with a sigh. “We were together for six years.”

“And yet you wonder why I was sure you would get married first.”

“Hmmm…” she smiled and her eyes shifted back out to the expansive lawn in front of them. “You know that’s why it ended.”

“Because you wanted to get married?”

“No,” she laughed and shook her head. “Because we both didn’t.”

Christian’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “I’m confused.”

She turned her gaze back to his and she shrugged. “In the beginning we were what? Sixteen?” She paused to take a deep breath and a sip of champagne. “It was fun and new and…all the things that love is when you are sixteen. We grew up and things just stayed good. We were with the same people, we did the same things, and we went to the same parties and same social events…year after year after year. And it would have stayed that way forever. Cruz is…he likes that about that life and he didn’t want to marry me because he knew things would change. I’m an active working royal -- that’s my job and I love it and I always will. He knew he would have to take on some of that and that didn’t really have a life that meant having to miss whatever must attend social event was going on that weekend. And the truth is...I can’t marry someone who lacks the sense of adventure that my life requires.”

“Sounds like a bit of a relief,” Christian observed. “For you, not him.”

“Actually, it was a relief for both of us when it ended I think.”

Christian took a long, deep breath and his fingers squeezed her arm. “Well, he’s a dumbass.”

“Ha!” Emma laughed and shook her head against his shoulder. “It’s just who he is. And it was fun when we were younger, but at some point I had to grow up, you know?”

“I do know,” he nodded, his lips twisted up wryly, his own recent steps to becoming more of a responsible adult flashing across his mind. She leaned into him and he held her protectively against him as the comfortable silence they always seemed to be able to have with each other settled around them for a long moment.

“You know what wasn’t very grown up of us at all?” Emma said, a giggle slipping from her lips and breaking the silence.

“What?” he asked as he drained his glass of champagne and then reached for the bottle, refilling up his glass and topping off hers.

“Remember when we used to try to make Bella believe there was something going on between the two of us?”

“Oh God,” Christian groaned into a laugh, his chest rumbling with it. “She hated it. She could never decide if it was true or if we were fucking with her. I’m not sure which idea she hated more, that we could pull one over on her or that we had been fooling around.”

“Oh, the idea that we had been fooling around was absolutely worse for her,” Emma said, her lips curving up into a smile. “She used to get so mad at me when I wouldn’t tell her I was joking. One time, as much as it pained her, she even went so far as to ask me if I thought you were a good kisser. She was hoping I would break down and tell her I didn’t know.”

“You didn’t break down, did you?”

“Hell no,” Emma laughed. “I lied my ass off.”

“Good girl,” he grinned, moving to clink his champagne glass with hers. “I’m assuming you told her it was amazing.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Come on now, obviously I didn’t want to go overboard.”

“Ohhhhh,” he chuckled, his head tipping back with his laughter before he pulled forward and turned his gaze to her, leaning in a bit closer. “I’m sure you just relayed what it would have been like in the fantasies you had of me.”

“Jesus,” she snorted and then took a sip of champagne. “You fucking wish.”

“Ha,” he shook his head and when his eyes turned back to her,. “Maybe I do, Em.”

“Maybe you’re full of shit,” Emma retorted, her lips twitching with the banter.

“Well, you already knew that,” he said. His eyes were dancing with humor, but Emma sensed a subtle change in him somewhere. Something was softer; sweeter “But you can’t tell me you never thought about it.”

She smirked and shook her head and although she sensed the shift in the conversation, the slight shift in the air around them, it didn’t make her pause. It didn’t make her the least bit uncomfortable.

“Are you telling me that you’ve thought about it?” she teased.

“Of course I have,” he answered immediately and Emma’s eyes flashed wide for a moment. “Are you kidding? You were always so sassy and funny and let’s face it, incredibly pretty.”



“You said were,” she smiled, her head tilting to the side. “As in you don’t think those things anymore.”

He smiled then, sweet and soft and only a tiny bit smug and it made Emma’s breath catch. He reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and leaned a bit closer. “Aw come on, Em. You know I still think all of those things.”

“Sure,” she sighed, relaxing back onto the bench with a smile and wink at him. “Just like you think those things about Bella and Josephine; sassy and pretty and very much like your kid sister you tolerate on occasion.”

Christian couldn’t help the surprise burst of laughter that fell from his lips. “No,” he shook his head and her eyes pulled right back to him. “No, no, no. No. The way I think of you is not at all how I think about my sisters.”

Emma blinked, her mind racing to wrap around those words, to try and make sense of the fact that the way he had said them made her heart race at the thought that he thought of her that way.

“But…” she stammered, not really knowing what to say.

“But what?” he chuckled. His eyes were bright but soft as he reached out to her, his fingers finding hers. He squeezed them gently before letting them go to trace his fingers up her arm, watching as her skin flushed and as her lips parted just slightly. “How could I not think of you that way? How could I not spend all that time with you and not wonder what it might be like to…”

“To what?” Emma pressed, her voice barely above a whisper. She was completely taken in by this moment, by the way his fingers traced electricity up her arm to her neck, by the way his eyes seemed to darken as they held steady with hers.

“To kiss you,” he murmured, his lips tipping up into a smile as his fingers curved around her jaw. “I’ve always wondered what it might be like to kiss you, Emma.”

Her breath sucked in at his words and at the way he was touching her, at how close he was to her. They were so close; if he just leaned forward and tilted his head just so, their lips would be touching.

And then it hit her; she wanted him to kiss her.

Like a jolt of lighting the realization flashed fire through her entire body, igniting a want – a need – in her that couldn’t be ignored. And in a moment that stunned Christian and sent his life careening into a direction he had only ever dreamed of, Emma reached up, curled her fingers into the lapel of his tuxedo jacket, and then with wide, innocent eyes and a deep breath, she tugged gently and brought his lips down to hers.



A soft knock at the door interrupted her reverie and she started just a bit, blinking quickly before looking up to see the big, ornate door open in the reflection of the mirror in front of her.

“Mum,” she sighed, a feeling of calm, peacefulness settling over her at seeing the face she’d known longest of any in the world.

“Emma…” Alex’s smile pulled high and wide as she moved into the room, shutting the door softly behind her. “Look at you, my darling.”

“Ha!” Emma kissed her mother’s cheeks in greeting, hugged her gently, and then shook her head softly as she pulled back. “I clean up nicely sometimes.”

“You are stunning, Emma Rose. Absolutely stunning,” Alex said firmly, her eyes holding her daughters as she took her hands. “He’s going to fall over when he sees you.”

“Which ‘he’ are you talking about?” Emma’s eyes sparkled mischievously.

“Both of them,” her mother laughed, the same sparkle lighting up her own eyes. As always, Emma was amazed at just how much her mother looked the same now as she had for as long as Emma could remember. Sure, there were soft lines that marked her face and other subtle difference that had appeared through the years. But she still possessed those same wide blue eyes, pink cheeks, and brilliant smile that Emma knew were near mirror images of her own features.

“You look beautiful, Mum,” Emma said, her eyes sweeping over her mother’s own gown, a soft, light blue number that Emma had helped her select. The Strathmore Rose tiara sat on top of her perfectly styled updo and the tears nearly welled up again in Emma’s eyes, knowing that this was the first time that her mother had worn it since her own wedding two decades before.

“I had to,” Alex smiled, her fingers reaching up to gently brush against the diamonds and gold. “When he had the final piece of yours place, he had this one restored for me for today.”

“What a fantastic man,” Emma grinned. “Maybe you should keep him.”

“Ha! We’ll see, won’t we?” Alex laughed. “Now tell me, it’s about time for me to leave. Is there anything you need from me before I go?”

“I don’t think so,” Emma said as she took a deep breath. “Charlie and Spencer are already gone?”

“Unless they convinced their driver to detour to a pub along the way, they should be arriving at the cathedral right about now,” Alex sighed as she thought of her eighteen year old sons -- spitting images of their father and possessing his cheeky, try-anything-once qualities. “I wouldn’t actually be surprised if they did just that though.”

Emma rolled her eyes slightly and sighed. “I don’t know how you don’t have more grey hairs from raising those two.”

“Me either, luckily your sisters were easy. As easy as you always were,” Alex smiled as she laid her hand softly on her oldest daughter’s cheek. Emma’s smile matched Alex’s as she thought of her two younger sisters. Fifteen year old Princess Elizabeth of Sussex, whom everyone called Ellie -- resembled her older sister not only physically, but in personality as well -- though she had a quieter, softer side that Emma had never quite been able to master. Ten year old Princess Sydney had been quite the surprise when she came along, but an incredibly delightful one. With her father’s bright red hair, a fireball of a personality, and the biggest, kindest heart Emma had even seen, she was no doubt the treasured baby of the family.

“Speaking of your sisters, I need to go join them so we can head to the cathedral.”

“Okay,” Emma nodded, biting her lip as the emotions welled up again. “Mum? Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course, darling. Is everything okay?”

“Yes. Of course. I just…” Emma took the tissue her mother produced seemingly from nowhere. “Were you...when you married Dad...were you nervous?”

“Yes,” Alex answered softly. “But not about marrying him. I wouldn’t have let anything stop me from marrying Harry.”

“What were you nervous about?”

“Mostly I was afraid I’d get to the Abbey and sprint down the aisle instead of walk in time with the music as I was supposed to.” When Emma laughed, Alex smiled and squeezed her daughter’s hands gently and her face grew serious. “It’s normal to be nervous about stepping into a life like the one you’re stepping into, Em. Of course it is.”

“But I’ve always…”

“This is bigger. The life you’re stepping into, the role you will eventually step into, it’s bigger. Especially being who you are. It’s going to be big. But you, my beautiful, strong little are going to be brilliant.”

“You have to say that,” Emma rolled her eyes slightly, even as they filled with more tears. “You’re my mother.”

“Except that you know they’re true, Emma Rose,” Alex smiled as Emma handed her the tissue and she dabbed quickly at the tear that escaped from one of her eyes. “And my God, Emma. Christian. He loves you. He loves you like Harry loves me. I knew it the first time you brought him home and I saw him look at you like he does. I recognize that look, my darling. And with a love like that, you can do anything. Absolutely anything. Trust me, baby. I know.”

“I know you do,” Emma agreed with a soft nod and a sweet smile. And as if he had known that was his cue, a swift knock at the door signaled his arrival and then he stepped inside, drawing big, bright smiles from both of the women standing inside of the room.

At fifty years old, The Duke of Sussex was still tall, fit, and as handsome as ever. The bright red of his hair had faded -- and receded a bit -- over the years, but it never diminished the appeal of him. Not to his wife and not to anyone else it had seemed. Dressed in his formal uniform, he reminded Alex so much of the man that had stood at the end of the aisle on her own wedding day nearly two decades before and it made her breath catch slightly as she watched him look at their daughter, his daughter, ready to become a bride herself.

“Don’t you dare cry,” Emma said, her own lips trembling as she pointing an accusatory finger at her father. “Mum is already trying to take me down in here and if you try too that will be so incredibly unfair.”

Harry’s lips quirked up at the sides and he glanced from his daughter to his wife, sharing an amused look with her before pulling himself together and walking further into the room. “As you wish, Your Royal Highness.”

“Ha! There you go,” Emma laughed, feeling the anxious feeling inside of her break just a bit.

“I’m very good at doing what I’m told. Just ask your mother,” Harry grinned as he moved to his wife’s side. Emma’s heart swelled as she watched the way her father looked at her mother, like he’d always looked at her. The way that she knew the man waiting on her at the cathedral looked at her.

“They’re waiting on you, love,” Harry said, his hand moving gently to Alex’s back. “I think someone is going to have a stroke if you don’t leave on time with Ellie and Sydney.”

“Okay. Okay, I’m going.” Alex turned and pulled her daughter into a tight, fierce hug before pulling back and sniffing at her own emotions. “I love you, darling. I am so proud of you.”

“I love you too, Mummy,” Emma whispered. She leaned in, kissed her mother once more, and then stepped back to let her father do the same -- watching as a look of love and absolute pride passed between them before her mother hurried from the room, leaving her alone with Harry for her final few moments before she left to find her future.

Harry shook his head slightly and then smiled at her, and managing to swallow back the emotion for the moment. “I have a surprise for you,” he finally said, he smile pulling wider.

“Okay,” she laughed, looking around. “Where is it?”

Harry chuckled. “Sorry, it's just down the hall. Care to accompany your dear old dad to the drawing room?”

Her head tilted to the side. “The drawing room?” she narrowed her eyes, trying to figure it out, but after a moment she just shrugged and took the arm Harry offered to her, curious to what her dad was up to. “We have to leave soon, Dad.”

“I promise I will not make you late. I wouldn’t dream of it.”

They made their way out of the room and quickly down the hall and when they reached the door Harry took a deep breath, smiled down at his daughter, and then pushed the door open.

“Dad!” Emma gasped as she stepped into the room, looking at the elaborate tea that was set up on the table in between the two ornate couches. “What is this?”

Harry stepped in behind her and shut the door softly as she took in the setup and then turned to him, a wide smile on her face.

“We haven’t had a tea party since you were much younger,” he said softly. “And I thought…maybe we should have one for old time’s sake before I give you away up at that altar today.”

“Daddy,” Emma whispered, her eyes welling up as she took in his words and then looked at the setup again.

“Don’t cry,” Harry shook his head and pulled a wide, happy smile. “Your mother will kill me dead if your makeup gets messed up.”

“I know, I know,” Emma laughed, blinking in an effort to hold the tears back. She smiled when Harry pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it to her. She dabbed at the corners of her eyes, careful of her makeup, and then she took a deep breath. “I can’t believe you did this.”

“Well, it’s going to be a fast tea party,” Harry chuckled as he motioned for her to sit.

He handed Emma a large napkin as she sat, knowing she would want to be careful of the yards and yards of pristine white satin of her dress. She took it gratefully, spreading it over her lap and then taking the cup of tea he offered to her.

“I am going to miss the constant tea breaks living in Denmark,” Emma sighed, enjoying the warmth of the tea as she sipped.

“Maybe you’ll find a way to make it a new national pastime,” Harry teased, biting into a small cookie.

“Maybe,” Emma’s lips twitched at the sides as she watched her father; the man she had adored and looked up to nearly the moment she met him. “I’m sorry that I have to leave England, Daddy.”

Harry’s eyes flew to hers and he blinked as her words hit his heart. “Emma,” he shook his head as he swallowed the lump in his throat and tried to find the right words. “I am going to miss having you so close, you know that. But as much as it may make me sad that you’re not living in London anymore, that we can’t just pop in and see you whenever we’d like, or that your children won’t be raised just down the road from us...I can’t help but be so incredibly proud of you. You’re going where your heart goes. You’re just like your mother when it comes to that. It’s something I’ve always loved about her. It’s something I’ve always loved about you.”

“I wouldn’t do it for anyone but Christian,” Emma whispered, leaning forward to set her teacup down so Harry wouldn’t see the way her hands shook just the slightest bit as she spoke. “You know that.”

“I do know that,” Harry said, smiling softly at his daughter; his little girl. “I think I knew that the first time you told me about him. Do you remember that?”

Emma’s smile slowly pulled wide and she nodded as her mind wandered back to that day. “Of course I do…”




Harry looked up from the notes he was reading over and a wide smile moved across his face. “Hey Em,” he called out. He tossed the notes on his desk and stood, moving around his desk to go greet her.

“Sorry to interrupt,” she said, her smile matching his as she stepped into his office.

“You’re not,” he chuckled. He kissed her cheeks and pulled her into a tight hug. “You know you can interrupt me anytime.”

“I know,” she nodded. He had always dropped everything for her; had always been there for anything she needed.

“What’s up? Your mum is at a meeting but she should be back in a bit,” Harry offered. He hadn’t known Emma was coming by and he wasn’t sure if Alex had either.

“I know,” she smiled. “I was actually hoping to talk to you…and that you might have some ice cream in the freezer?”

His lips tilted up. “I always do.”


“Okay,” Harry said as he slid into his seat at the table across from Emma. “Want to tell me what’s up? The last time you were so quiet before an ice cream session, you were about to tell me…”

“About that awful story that they ran in The Sun,” Emma groaned, rolling her eyes.

“You were shitfaced at a polo match,” Harry lifted his eyebrows and pulled a spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.

“Oh, I know,” Emma nodded, taking a bite of her own ice cream. “And so did the entire world.” She grimaced as she remembered the pictures that had run and how hard the press had come down on her. “Luckily this isn’t anything like that.”

“Okay…” Harry drawled, his head tilting to the side. “Then what is it, Em?”

She took a deep breath and then set her spoon down gently in her bowl. Her eyes lifted to his and something about the look in them made Harry pause and all of his attention was drawn directly to her.

“Dad…I’ve met someone. It’s actually been going on for a little while.”

“Yeah?” Harry’s voice was soft, encouraging her to keep going.

“Yeah,” she nodded. “I think…I think we’re ready to stop hiding it, but I wanted you to know first. It’s going to be…it’s going to be a big story, Daddy.”

His head tilted to the side as he regarded her. “Who is it, Emma?”

“It’s Christian,” she said, clear and precise before she clarified further, “Crown Prince Christian of Denmark.”

Harry’s eyes widened and he set his spoon down in his bowl, letting it clink against the glass. He sat back in his chair, his gaze holding hers the entire time. “Wow.”

“Dad, it’s not just some fling,” she rushed to assure him. “It’s not a rebound from Cruz. Maybe at first when we saw each other at Bella’s wedding and it was just this casual fling, but…”

“Okay, okay. I get it,” Harry chuckled, holding his hand up to stop her.

“Sorry,” Emma bit her lip with a giggle.

He smirked and then took a deep breath, some definite questions on his mind about a relationship that had big potential to be an explosive news story – as well as big potential changes for his own family. “So, if it’s not a fling then I’m assuming it’s somewhat serious.” His eyes were wide interested and Emma relaxed, realizing he was genuinely interested.

“I…I’m in love with him,” she said softly, her voice catching as she spoke the words. “I tried so hard not to be. I tried to keep him at arms length. But damn it, I couldn’t help myself. He just…” She shrugged and the look in her eyes and on her face wasn’t even a little bit lost on Harry. “As much as I tried to insist that I wouldn’t, I went on ahead and fell in love with him anyway.”

Harry was quiet for a few moments, letting the information settle before leaning forward and meeting her gaze. “And does he love you?”

“Yes,” she answered immediately, her voice filled with such certainty and pride that Harry couldn’t but smile. He knew that look; that certainty in her voice. He’d had the same look, that same certainty once. When he’d met and fallen in love with her mother. And he knew; this was it. As much as she hadn’t been expected it, as much as she hadn’t gone looking for it, it had found her anyway.

“Well…” Harry said slowly, picking up his spoon again and scooping a bite of ice cream. “I suppose there is only one thing to do then.”

Emma’s eyes were only slightly wary. “What?”

“You’ve got to bring him home. It seems that Christian and I need to have a little talk.”


“Your dad wants to talk to me?” Christian asked later that evening as he stood alone with Emma in the kitchen of the Sussex’s apartment at Kensington Palace. When Emma had called him earlier that day and asked him to join her family for a short notice dinner, he’d agreed right away. The truth was, he’d been delighted to do so. To take the opportunity to let Emma’s family in on what was happening between them.

Emma’s eyes swung to Christian’s and her lips twitched. “Yes. Are you scared?”

“No,” he shook his head with a chuckle as he leaned in to kiss her. “Dinner went well, at least I think so. So I’m not worried. I mean, I don’t think he wants to warn me about protecting your virtue or anything.”

“Ha!” Her head tilted back with her laughter. “I think he’s over that hurdle when it comes to me,” she giggled, remembering the fallout of that particular discovery when she was seventeen. “I’m sure he just wants…”

“Emma!” an adorable little voice called out, interrupting them, before Emma’s five year old sister Sydney came bouncing into the kitchen, her red head wet from her bath. “Emma, Mummy is making me go to bed.”

“She does that sometimes,” Emma teased.

“I know,” Sydney rolled her eyes. “But she said that I could ask you to read me my bedtime story.”

“She did?!” Emma grinned. She flashed a wink at Christian and then bent down to her baby sister, tickling her quick and drawing an adorable giggle from her. “Well Sydney, I don’t think there is any way that I could turn that opportunity down.”

“Me either,” Sydney shook her head and both Emma and Christian laughed. “Come on!” She reached out for Emma’s hand and tugged, turning to pull her from the kitchen.

Emma giggled and let her, turning to wink at Christian and to mouth, “Good luck,” as she rounded the corner out of the kitchen.



“You know, he’s never told me what you talked about that night,” Emma said, her expression just the slightest bit sly as she took a delicate bite of a small dessert.

“And he never will,” Harry grinned. “That’s between me and him, my darling.”

Yet another knock at the door sounded out, signaling that it was time. And though both of them were excited to move forward with this day, there was no denying that there was just a slight bit of disappointment that this special few minutes together was over.

“I wish we could spend more time here,” Emma sighed as she stood, making sure that there was no lingering crumbs on her immaculate dress.

“I think you have more important places to be,” Harry said with a smile as he stood to follow her from the room. He stopped in his tracks when she turned around to face him, her eyes filled with tears again. “Hey…no crying…” he murmured, even though he could feel his own eyes grow wetter. And then suddenly Emma was rushing forward, throwing her arms around him and hugging him incredibly tight. “Whoa…Em…are you okay?” he asked as he hugged her back.

“Daddy,” she said as she took a deep breath and then pulled back to look at him. “I just want you to know…that even though I’m getting married today, that the place you have in my heart is just as important as the place he has in mine. Just…don’t ever doubt how incredibly important you are to me. Don’t doubt that I’m so grateful for the day you walked into our lives, for how you’ve loved Mum and us kids over the years, for how happy our home was growing up. It’s been…” She choked up and even though she knew her makeup artist was going to have a fit, she let the tears fall. “It’s been everything to me.”

And despite his own tears, despite the way his heart beat furiously in his chest, Harry’s smile was so big he thought his face might split in two. “Me too, Emma Rose. Me too.”


When Emma would look back on her wedding day, when she would sneak onto the computer and pull up the videos on YouTube to watch for herself, it would never fail to amuse her of how much she actually missed on that day. Though she knew the order of the events that day, though she was aware in the back of her mind that despite the quiet, calm order about her that morning that the scene at the cathedral was anything but that, it didn’t change the slight amazement she always had when she went back to watch it for herself.

While she was having those private, heartfelt moments with her mother and her father before it was time for her to leave for the cathedral, her fiance was already there, standing at the end of that aisle as members of royal families from all over the world arrived. The media outside captured every moment as the crowds cheered for every arrival. Queen Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden along with Crown Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. King Haakon and Queen Mette-Marit of Norway joined by Crown Princess Ingrid Alexandra. King Philippe of Belgium, whose wife had passed away only the year before, joined by his daughter Princess Elisabeth. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who was one of Emma’s personal favorites.

And then came her family, sending up a cheer from the crowds waiting outside that never failed to make Emma smile.

Her Poppy, Michael Emerson, walking proudly into the cathedral, gallantly escorting her Granny Molly on his arm. Though they had always been friendly, after Donna had lost her battle with cancer five years before, they had become closer friends and highly enjoyed each other’s company, though it made everyone in the family roll their eyes at the speculation that they had become more. Neither of them were interested in that particular scenario, and Emma knew that her Poppy still felt the loss of the love of his life right down to the very core of his soul. Just like she knew that Donna would have loved every moment of the day; would have loved watching her first grandchild marry the love of her life. At least, Emma always thought, Donna had been able to meet him before she had passed and though she had been sick and weak, Emma had known that her Mimi had approved of her choice, even if Emma hadn’t even know herself that he was going to be her choice all those years ago.

Her Uncle Matt and Aunt Charlotte entered with Michael and Molly, along with her cousins. Cooper, at nineteen years old, was a spitting image of his father at the same age and was usually up to no good with her brothers, the three of them having grown up together and remained a tight knit group. His seventeen year old younger sister, Blakely, shared not only her mother’s name and bold, straightforward personality, but also her dark hair and features, with the exception of her startling bright blue eyes -- which were all Emerson.

The King and Queen of the United Kingdom arrived next -- her Uncle Will and Aunt Kate, who had only become so just the year before, after the unexpected death of her grandfather, King Charles III. As regal and as poised as ever, they stepped from the car and stopped to wave to the crown; King William dressed in uniform and Queen Catherine in a lovely dark blue gown. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara sat atop her dark hair, now liberally streaked with grey. Prince Henry, the Prince of Wales and Princess Charlotte stepped out just behind them, just as tall and as good looking as their parents were.

And finally, the last to arrive were also her family; if in spirit if not by name...yet. Josephine stepped out of the car and then came Isabella and her husband Lucas. Bella had been and would forever be one of Emma’s closest friends, and it was her wedding to Lucas that had been ultimately responsible for bringing her and Christian together. Their young son, Jonas, was already at the cathedral, playing the role of pageboy for the wedding.

And then came the final guests to arrive, the guests who were stepping out of their car just as Emma and Harry had been stepping into their car at the Palace.

Fred and Mary as she called them -- otherwise known and King Fredrick and Queen Mary of Denmark. Their appearance always made her smile, she absolutely adored them and she knew that they felt the same of her. And from the shot of Christian’s face as he waited at the end of the aisle with his brother Vincent next to him as his best man, she knew he could see the same thing as she did as he looked at them enter the cathedral that day -- a couple that they hoped they could one day be; as adoring and as in love as they had been the day they married in that very same cathedral.

And then, after everyone had been seated, as the crowds lining the streets had reached a fever pitch, the car carrying The Duke of Sussex and Princess Emma of Sussex finally pulled around the corner and had slowed to a stop in front of Copenhagen Cathedral.

The roar of the crowd that went up as Emma stepped from the car made her heart beat fast and brought a wide, delighted smile to her face. She stopped to wave at those waiting while her father rounded the car to her. His smile was warm and proud as he reached her, his arm extended to take hers, ready to take her to escort her into the cathedral, to bring her right to the love of her life.

“Are you ready?” he whispered softly, his hand coming over to rest reassuringly over her where it rested on his other arm.

“Always,” she whispered back, bringing a quiet chuckle from his lips as his fingers patted hers gently. She let out a small, slightly nervous giggle, took a deep breath, and then...the doors opened.

The music was the first thing to hit her. The beautiful, nearly magical tune that her and Christian had spent hours and hours selecting for this moment filled her senses. While she breathed it in, her eyes scanned the cathedral, taking in the flowers, the candles, the people, and then finally...Christian.

He stood tall and proud and handsome and damn it, the tears that filled his eyes took the breath clean out of her chest. She nearly laughed as her own vision grew clouded with tears, understanding exactly what her mother had meant when she had said she was afraid that she had been nervous that she would sprint down the aisle to Harry instead of walk at the pace she was supposed to. Emma had never had an urge to run in her life like she did right in that very moment; the urge to run right into Christian’s arms.

But she took a deep breath, clutched onto her father’s arm, and somehow found the willpower to stay put, to walk down the long aisle of the cathedral as she had rehearsed seemingly hundreds of times. Her eyes held onto his as she made her way down and as she got closer, there was nothing on earth that could have forced her to look away. His eyes, still slightly damp, danced with happiness and excitement as he rocked on his heels, impatient for her to get there. That smile of his nearly split his face in two and in that moment, she couldn’t help but remember the first time she had seen that smile that wide, that happy.

The day she had agreed to marry him.



“Tired?” she laughed, watching as he stretched out on his back across the bottom of his large bed. His eyes closed as he undid the knot on his tie, pulling it open and sighing at the relief of finally being done with it for the day.

“You have no idea,” he groaned. His eyes pulled open to her as she crawled onto the bed and up his legs, straddling his lap and looking down on him with a smile. “Sorry it took so long, Em. I couldn’t wait to get back here to you.”

“It’s okay,” she shook her head, a soft smile on her lips. “I know how that goes.”

“I know you do,” he smiled warmly. His hands moved to her hips, and just as he was going to pull her down to him he noticed she was hiding something in her hands. “What's that?” he nodded toward her hands.

Her lips tilted up at the corners, she took a deep breath, and then she opened her hands, unveiling the object she was hiding.

Christian’s eyes widened in surprise and snapped to hers. “Where did you find that?”

Emma laughed and turned the small, blue velvet box in her hands. “You know exactly where I found it. Your sock drawer? Come on, Christian. I thought you were original than that.”

“I…” he stuttered, all words seeming to elude him. He sat up then so he could be closer to her, so that he could look right in her eyes. “I’m...not sure what to say.”

“You’ve had this for quite a while,” Emma said softly. “I found it over a year ago.”

He blinked, his cheeks flushing a bit as he swallowed at the lump in his throat. “Wow. I…yes. I’ve had it for a long time.”

“How long?”

His eyes searched hers for a long moment before he decided to jump, to go for total honesty. “I bought it after the talk I had with your father five years ago.”

“Wow,” Emma blinked in surprise. “I mean...were you planning on giving it to me ever?”

He chuckled and reached for the box, his eyes narrowing at her playfully when she pulled it back, refusing to let him take it. “I didn’t have a set plan, no. I know it’s been hard for you sometimes...the idea of becoming more....well, more royal than you already are -- for lack of a better term. But I was hoping at some point you might be ready for…”

“Christian…” she whispered, watching as his eyes softened with the tone of her voice. “It hasn’t been as hard as you think it has.”

“No?” he asked, his voice hoarse and his blood starting to race in his veins with her admission.

“No,” she shook her head and bit her lower lip slightly. “And I think...I really think that you should give this to me.”

His lips parted and his heart slammed into his chest. “When?”.

“Now.” She held the box out to him with steady fingers. She was sure. Absolutely sure.

"Emma," Christian murmured, his eyes flashing down to the ring box and then back up to hers again.

"Unless you don't want to," she shrugged, her eyes dancing playfully.

"Give me that," he said with a chuckle, snatching the ring box from her fingers before his eyes turned serious. "Are you sure you want this?"

"Maybe you should ask me and find out," she teased, lifting an eyebrow and making him laugh.

"Maybe I should." His eyes held hers for a long beat, taking in everything about this moment. The way she looked, beautiful and happy with love shining in her big blue eyes. The way he suddenly wasn't anywhere close to tired anymore, how his body was alive with surprise and excitement and the hope that the things that he had wanted for so long were about to become his.

With the ring box held firmly in his fingers he shifted, moving to lift Emma from his lap and move off of the bed.

"What are you doing?" She asked as she stayed put and refused to let him out from under her.

His lips tugged up at one corner. "Getting down on one knee?"

"No." She shook her head gently. "Like this..." She waved a hand between them, at how they sat so close together. "I don't need the whole thing on one knee. I just want this. I want us."

“God I love you,” he murmured as he relaxed back onto the bed. His hands moved to her and he adjusted her legs around him. “I hope you know that, Emma. I hope you know just how much I love you, how amazing I think you are; how I consider myself the luckiest man in the world to have you in my life.”

Emma couldn’t help the way his words made a lump form in her throat. He hadn’t been planning this – there was no formulated speech for this moment. He hadn’t even hesitated when he spoke the words; they just flowed right out so naturally and it made her love him that much more.

“I do know that. And I love you too,” she whispered, her voice refusing to do anything other than that over the lump in her throat.

“I know,” he smiled. He reached up and brushed a piece of hair from her face. “Just as I know that there could never be anyone for me but you, Em. I could never want to spend my life with anyone but you. And if you had never wanted this – if you had wanted us to remain how we are – I would have still loved you forever. I would have been yours forever.”

“Christian…” She blinked at the tears in her eyes and her hands moved to his face, rubbing at his cheeks, pulling him closer.

A wide smile broke out on his face and his eyes crinkled up at the sides in that way she loved. “God. Do you know how happy you are making me right now?”

Yes,” Emma laughed and nodded her head, which only made his smile grow wider and his heart beat faster.

“Good,” he said, his voice growing soft. “And you know what would make me even happier?”

What’s that?” Her head tipped to the side and her eyes danced with excitement. Her hands slid from his face down to his shoulders as he pulled back from her and held the ring box up between them. Her breath held as he flipped it open and the beautiful diamond came into view.

“Emma my darling, it would make me beyond happy…if you would agree to marry me. Will you? Will you marry me? Be my wife?”

She leaned forward, her hands moving to his cheeks as she pressed her lips to his. She kissed him soft and sweet and then whispered the one simple word against his lips that made his entire life complete in an instant: “Yes.”


Though Harry had thought it was be hard, though he thought he would feel a sense of loss when he gave away his daughter at the altar, it didn’t turn out to be either of those things. When he shook Christian’s hand and then passed Emma’s hand to the young man’s who obviously loved her more than anything else in the world, there was none of the sadness he had expected there to be. And as he turned and walked slowly towards the empty seat between his wife and their second eldest daughter Ellie, he didn’t feel at all like he had lost anything; instead he felt the most immense sense of happiness and absolute pride wash over him. When he took his seat, he sat tall and straight and without any hesitation whatsoever, he reached over and took his wife’s hand and wrapped it firmly up inside of his.

“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Alex whispered, her shining eyes turning up to her husband, watching him watch their daughter with such love and pride.

“She’s amazing,” Harry murmured back, his fingers squeezing hers. “We did so good, Alexandra. We did so good with her. I’m so proud I got to be part of who she is.”

“Oh no,” Alex breathed, already reaching up to dab at the corner of her eyes with the tissue in her free hand. “Now I’m really going to be a mess.”

“And just think, my love,” he leaned over and whispered softly. “She’s only the first one. You get to go through this with me four more times.”

Alex had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. Her eyes cut to the side, throwing her husband an amused look. “Shush, Henry. Watch your daughter get married,” she whispered.

Harry grinned at her humor and pulled her hand to his lips, kissing the back of it softly before pulling it back down to his lap. Determined to just as she asked him to do. As he always would.


“My darling...shall we dance?”

Alex turned at the low voice in her ear, smiling as she turned to find her husband and his damned cheeky grin standing behind her, his hand held out to her.

“I think that can be arranged,” Alex smirked, sliding her hand slowly into his and then letting him lead her out to the dance floor and take her into his arms. The music was slow and the mood was warm and romantic, lit by candles that bounced sparkling light off of the abundant amount of jewels and tiaras around the room.

“Have you seen any of our children lately?” Harry asked as he tightened his arm about her waist and pulled her other hand into his chest.

“Well...I think Ellie is with Blakely, admiring all of the young men in their tuxes.”

“Oh, yikes,” Harry grimaced. “I’m not ready for that I don’t think.”

“Ha! Neither is Matt, I’m sure. Though Charlotte finds it amusing.”

“Of course she does,” Harry said with a roll of his eyes.

“And Sydney took it upon herself to be the babysitter for the young pageboys and flower girls. I’m sure she’s currently plotting to use them as her army in a quest to take over the world somewhere.”

“Lord help us,” Harry grinned as he spun his wife and then brought her back to him.

“And…” Alex’s lips twitched up at the sides as she glanced quickly around. “I’m fairly certain I just saw one of your sons trying to hit on the daughter of a diplomat.”

Harry nearly stopped in his tracks on the dance floor. “Wait. Which one?”

“Which son?”

“No,” he shook his head and then looked around quickly. “Which diplomat? It doesn’t matter whether it’s Charlie or Spencer, I’m afraid that whomever it is is about to cause an international incident.”

Alex’s head tipped back as she laughed and then she tucked herself closer into her husband’s chest. “They’ll be fine. They’re just like you and you never caused an international incident.”

His eyebrows lifted, his cheeks flushed slightly, and his lips curled up at the sides. “That you know about anyway. I’m a very smooth talker.”

“Oh really now?” Alex giggled and shook her head.

Harry shrugged and then winked down at her. “Maybe I’ll tell you about it at the next wedding.”

“Maybe,” Alex sighed. “Though I think that maybe the next big event we’ll be attending will probably be a christening...judging by the way our daughter and her new husband are looking at each other right now.”

Harry’s eyes turned to where Alex was looking and he grinned, watching the Crown Prince of Denmark hold the new Crown Princess of Denmark close to him on the other side of the dance floor.

“You think so?” he asked, unable to help the way his face lit up at the idea.

“I know she wants to,” Alex said slowly. “And he does too. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if they got started right away.”

“I can’t say that I wouldn’t be over the moon if they did,” Harry grinned. “Though I can’t believe that it’s Emma that we’re talking about -- having babies. Sometimes she still an adorable little six year old in my mind. Watching Disney movies and eating macaroni and cheese on the couch in between us”

“Macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dogs,” Alex corrected with a grin before she sighed. “But I understand what you mean. Sometimes it surprises me that she’s a grown woman. And now a Crown Princess...a future Queen.”

“Ahhh...but you know…” Harry grinned as he dipped his wife unexpectedly and brought her back up to him, chuckling at the peal of laughter that left her lips. “I think she’s where she was meant to be. We all are. You, me, our babies. We’re all right where we were meant to be.”

“With each other?”


“Awww, Henry Charles,” Alex sighed up at him. “You always were such a sap.”

“HA!” His laughter filled the air around them as the music changed, the tempo and the energy picking up around them. “Fair enough, my love.”

“Harry…” she said breathily, her eyes turning soft as she pressed herself closer.

“Alexandra…” he responded, his hands tightening on hers.

“Are you going to kiss me now?”

He smiled, surprised and amused at her -- just as he had been the very first time she had said those words so many years ago. “I think so, Alex. I mean, I’ve wanted to kiss you all night.”

And then, he spoke words that she hadn’t heard in nearly twenty years. Words that made her breath catch right in her chest, made her want to cry but also made her want to rip the uniform he was wearing off without a second thought.

“I don’t want to push you though. I know this is fast, we hardly know each other, but I want…”

“Harry,” she said, cutting him off.


“Quit making excuses.”

He laughed. And then, because she was right, because she was always right, he stopped making excuses.

The mood grew serious. The beautiful song played softly in the background, filling the air around them. He pulled her a little tighter against him, and she went, leaning into him. She tilted her head up, and as he leaned down to her upturned mouth, her eyes fluttered closed, followed by his.

And his lips met hers.