Queen of Deception is the first novel by Danish royal author Trine Villemann. It’s a dark and shocking tale which focuses on the death bed regrets of the Queen of a small anonymous northern European kingdom, as well as the self destructive escapades of the country’s Crown Prince Franz.
Queen of Deception offers an unedifying glimpse of life behind the Palace walls, where the cancer stricken monarch, a victim of the most horrifying cruelty, has sacrificed her own happiness in order to fulfill her royal duty. Prince Franz is determined not to follow in his mother’s footsteps.
Sensitive and weak Franz is a reluctant heir to the throne. After a miserable childhood, living in fear of his strict and violent father, Duke Alfonso, and ignored by his cold mother, Franz fights tooth and nail to avoid his royal responsibilities. He seeks solace in alcohol, drugs and casual sex, and alarms his minders by surrounding himself with a sometimes criminal entourage. Franz falls in love with a nurse, but his desire to marry her is thwarted by the Palace and he ends up succumbing to a highly ambitious foreign commoner called Vicki.
In her final days, the Queen realises that the web of deception she has spun is about to undermine the very institution that she has sacrificed everything to protect.
What are the main themes of your book?
The main theme of my novel is trying to humanize the royals of today. We always see them on parade, smiling, waving, cutting ribbons and making speeches, but I am convinced that there is much more to a royal life than just that. We idolize princesses like The Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, to name a few, but what kind of life do these young women actually have? What kind of sacrifices do they have to make to fit their duty into their existence? Can Queens like Elizabeth II and Denmark’s Margrethe even allow themselves to be human? And who helps a Queen if her husband is abusive and violent? I wanted to create a story that explores the human being behind the royal handshake.
Who or what inspired your story?
I am a former Royal Correspondent for various magazines, newspapers and TV-stations and when you have that job you are, once in a while, allowed a glimpse of life behind Palace walls. Those rare glimpses got me thinking.
What do you like best about your primary characters?
Their humanity. At the end of the day when the Queen is lying on her death bed she is as human as you and me. The same goes for one of my other main characters, Crown Prince Franz. He is simply unable to adapt to his royal life, but wants freedom. His sensitivity, I think, is very endearing.
What are their worst peculiarities?
As a commoner it is perhaps difficult to comprehend why the Queen for so many years put up with her violent husband, Duke Alfonso. It is peculiar that she, as the Queen, could not put him in his place, but at the same time it does show – again- that a Queen is also a woman, the only difference being that she once in a while has to wear a tiara.
How does your main character evolve?
The Queen in my novel travels through her regrets, because she wants to end at a destination called Forgiveness. I think it’s something all mothers struggle with, the need to know if we are doing the best for our children. The Crown Prince definitely evolves from being a weak character burdened by his destiny to a somewhat more forceful person prepared to do what he believes to be the right thing. The Crown Princess also evolves from a Main Street Girl to a royal. It’s a transition I want to explore even further in my next novel.
What’s the principal message you want to send to your audience?
First and foremost, I hope the readers will enjoy the story. But perhaps also reflect on the destiny that lies in wait for the Queens of the future generation. Sweden, Norway, Holland, Spain will all have reigning Queens in a generation or two. Feminism, women’s right and equality have come a long way in most of our societies, but has it managed to penetrate the palace walls of the world? I don’t think so.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about your book?
I got this five star review on amazon.com.
Where can we purchase it?
About Trine Villemann
Trine Villemann has earned a reputation as a controversial critic of Denmark’s Royal Family. Her first book, 1015 Copenhagen K, which exposed Crown Princess Mary’s in-laws as being a family of dysfunctional freeloaders, was a best seller in Denmark. Her second book, the King and Queen of Greenland, argued that Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian wife should go on an apprenticeship to Greenland so that they could prepare for the day when they would inherit the throne from Denmark’s Queen Margrethe.
When Queen of Deception was first published in Danish in February 2012, it was critically well received, as “a rivetting and entertaining read.”
Trine Villemann is a journalist and a former Royal Correspondent. She is a frequent contributor on royal matters on Danish TV. She lives in Copenhagen with her family.