Thursday, March 15, 2007

10. Mission accomplished

On leaving the Palace, Leopold and I went our separate ways - he to find someone to breathe life back into his car and I to take a taxi over to Hoek van Holland, the port that lies next to the city of The Hague where I had planned to take a ferry over to England.

An hour or two after leaving Lange Voorhout, I stood out on deck as the ferry pulled away from the Dutch coast. It was a beautiful evening.
I reflected on the whole adventure from Leopold’s first telephone call to the last sight of Beatrix as she disappeared into that next reception room.

The mission had been accomplished. Despite the dramas, the hiccups, the problems that seemed insurmountable and the times when a miracle appeared to be the only feasible solution, despite all that, Beatrix got her holographic portrait.

And in a few days, or a few weeks or months, I thought, men in brown overalls would come from the Royal Vaults with instructions to crate up our holographic display and put a number on the side and place it in storage with the hundreds and thousands of other Coronation gifts Beatrix had received.
And, perhaps, some 50 or 100 years from now, someone would discover that crate, open it up and find an ancient hologram of Queen Beatrix, the last Dutch queen of the 20th century. But how it had gotten there and who had made it and why it had been made, those questions would remain shrouded in mystery because the true history of that hologram has only ever been written once and it lies here within these pages and nowhere else.

As Holland disappeared below the horizon, I noticed that the people standing next to me on deck were looking at me a little strangely. I don’t know how long I had been smiling to myself but I think it was quite a while.

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