My Royal Visitors

Frances Gapper


Members of the Royal Family have invaded my garden, paying non-official visits to my feeders. It’s the next best thing to being royal myself. I was lonely, but now I have company.

The Queen pecks a bit (state banquets ruined her appetite) and wears her feathery crown every day. I’ve trained her to perch on my finger. Kate loves hulled sunflower seeds; I don’t know where she puts them. The Duke of Edinburgh shits in my terracotta bird bath. Harry shares parenting and foraging with Meghan, who kept close to the nest during Trump’s visit. All I need now is Camilla, to complete my set of major royals.

Of course, I know I’m not the only person to receive royal guests. Pest control websites offer advice on dealing with an infestation. Anti-royalists use spike strips.

Next door only attracted minor royals, until they enticed my Prince Charles. He dithered on the wall, but their mealworms proved too great a temptation.

In a tit-for-tat I netted their Princess Anne and popped her in a gilded cage. Nervous at first, now she chirps and preens. The other royals gawk – Anne getting attention! It was hard for her to be the unpretty princess, but she stuck at it: husbands and kids, visits to sausage factories and packaging plants. Equestrian events. Now at last someone’s treating her as special, the One. Maybe life can still be sweet.

In any case, I’ve still got William, and he’s the future of the monarchy.


Frances Gapper’s three story collections are In the Wild Wood, The Tiny Key and Absent Kisses. Her story ‘Farmer’s Wife’ was shortlisted for the Desperate Literature prize 2019 and published in the booklet Eleven Stories. ‘Plum Jam’ won FlashBack Fiction’s 2018 microfiction contest and appeared in Best Microfiction 2019. Her flashes have been published in Splonk, Cafe Irreal, The Citron Review, New Flash Fiction Review, Spelk, Meniscus, Ellipsis, Wigleaf and Litro.



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