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It's a long way to the top...


Gallambria

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The King's Private Apartment
Later that afternoon

Sir Jock Spurgeon-Price, the King's Private Secretary, walks up to the King's Private Office, and knocks on the door...

KA2 - "ENTER!"

Sir Jock enters, bows.

JSP - "Afternoon, Your Majesty. Have you got a few moments?"

KA2 - "Yes Jock, what is it?"

JSP - "Sir, My office has just received a phone call from a Ms. Penelope Buckmaster from The Gallambrian, saying she knows about the Duke's condition and is threatening to release an article for tomorrow's paper, if the Palace doesn't release a press statement."

KA2 - "Oh Jesus. What exactly did she say she knows?"

JSP - "All she said was that she knew that the Duke was in the Bexley Wing at King George III Hospital, and that he was admitted to the Oncology Ward."

KA2 - "Oh for f*cks sake. What are our options?"

JSP - "Well I've talked to the staff at the hospital and also the medical staff here at the Palace, and they all say they haven't talked to anyone in the media. My suggestion would be to consult with the Duchess as well as the staff at the hospital and ascertain the full story as to what the Duke's condition is and if the Duchess is comfortable with the Palace releasing a statement, then we release a statement."

KA2 - "Let's do that. Call the Palace Physician and have her here in 10 minutes."

King Albert picks up the phone and dials through to the Duchess' private suite.

KA2 - "Alex, it's Albert, can you come up to my apartment please?"

Alex - "Sure, I'm just getting Harry down for a nap, I'll up soon."

King Albert hangs up the phone.

A few moments later.

The Duchess of Wessex and Lady Peta Henley, the Palace's Chief Physician, are standing at the door ready to knock on the door, when all of a sudden, Sir Jock opens the door.

JSP - "Come in, don't worry about formalities."

Both women walk in, acknowledge the King.

KA2 - "Thank you for coming. Now Sir Jock has just informed me that a Ms Buckmaster from The Gallambrian has contacted his office, informing him that unless we release a press statement she will release the information she has about Michael in tomorrow's edition. Peta, do we know what the full extent of Michael's condition is?"

PH - "Sir, yes we do - I talked to the oncology team at KGIII this afternoon, the team are currently reviewing the latest rounds of MRI's and this afternoon's biopsy, however they initially believe it to be Glioblastoma Multiforme."

After hearing the diagnosis, Alex dropped to the floor, breaking out in tears.

ALEX - "WHAT IS THAT? WHY?"

PH - "Your Highness, unfortunately, Glioblastoma is a form of brain tumour that, in Michael's case, can originate from previous instances of Astrocytomas."

ALEX - "How long does he have?"

PH - "That, we do not know. We won't know till we have the results back from the tumour resection."

Alex gets up from the floor, and storms out of the King's study and returns to her room.

JSP - "Peta, are you happy for us to release a statement, saying something along the lines of the Duke currently undergoing tests in relation to his previous history of tumours?"

PH - "Yes."

KA2 - "Alright, Thank you Peta. Jock, can you write something up and get it out before 10pm?"

JSP - "Yes Sir, Do you want me to forward it to you for approval or just send it out?"

KA2 - "Just send it out."

Lady Henley and Lord Jock leave the King's apartment, then carry on to Jock's office to write  the press statement.

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Its 1400hrs on Wednesday afternoon - senior medical staff at the Palace still had not reached a verdict as to what the Duke's condition was like. There had been conversations happening, within not only the Royal Family's inner circle, but the King's Privy Council and the inner Cabinet

Parliament House
1600hrs, Wednesday Afternoon
.

Prime Minister, Nadia Burnett is sitting at her desk in the PMs chamber at Parliament House, when her phone rings.

Nadia Burnett (NB) - Hello, Nadia Burnett speaking.

JSP - Hi Nadia, It's Jock - are you free for a chat?

NB - Hi Jock, yeah go ahead.

JSP - The King has asked me to convene an extra-ordinary meeting of the Privy Council for tomorrow morning.

NB - Slow down Jock. What the hell is happening? You've kept us out of the loop on what's happening and then all of a sudden your asking us to come to the Palace for Council? No Way. I'm not sending the other House Councillors into a ambush because you haven't told me what the hell is going on.

JSP - Jesus Christ Nadia ... you've never let down have you? We're only just finding out now. So pull your head in.

NB - Sorry, I'll tell the others, see you tomorrow morning.

Line goes dead, Nadia hangs up the phone.

Santhope House
Thursday Morning

JSP - Morning Councillors, now the King is running a little late, he's been at the hospital all night with the Duchess. Now a few ground rules. One, no questions are to be asked about the Duke. Two, no questions are to be asked about what our "plans" are. Understood?

ALL - Yes.

A few moments later...

The King walks into the council chamber. Everyone rises and bows.

KA2 - Morning everyone. Take a seat please. As you are all aware, The Duke of Wessex has been hospitalised, after experiencing a relapse of his previous health condition that he was battling a few years ago. At this point in time, specialists from both King George III Hospital and my own private medical staff, have ascertained the severity of his condition and have determined that he now has developed, Jock, correct me if I get this wrong, a Glioblastoma Multiforme, which is an aggressive form of brain tumour and unfortunately, they have given him four to six weeks to live.

With a collective shock within the room, no-one dared speak up or say anything.

JSP- The reason the King has asked you all here this morning, is that we need to start thinking about how we're going to approach the impending death of the Duke. Not just internally, but politically, legally and publicly. On behalf of the King, I've already asked the Lord Suffolk to commence with establishing a planning committee for the Duke's funeral, and I will be approaching other members of the council over the coming week to assist with the committee. Secondly, Prime Minister, the King has directed that the Parliament should, without delay, proceed to submit amendments to the Regency Bill of 2013, allowing, The Princess Royal, to become Princess Regent, should the King predecease Prince Harry's ascension to the Throne. Are there any questions?

Everyone in the room shakes their heads.

JSP - Also folks, in the advent of the Duke's death, you will all be notified with the code phrase "Bremerton Park". Protocol for dissemination of such information will follow those outlined in "The Speakers Corner".

KA2 - Thank you Jock, and thank you all for taking time to come here this morning, if there are any matters arising from the current situation, please contact Sir Jock. Thank.

The King stands up, followed by the Council, and he leaves, head drooped, evident of preparing himself for a hard and tumultuous few weeks ahead.

Jock walks over to the Lord Suffolk.

JSP - Peter, milad, thanks for doing this - I know you worked on Bertie's funeral, you're the only one I could think of.

PLS - No worries Jock, If I run into any issues, I'll get in contact.

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Sir Walter Burnie Building
1230hrs, Friday

The Prime Minister had just returned from having lunch with her husband, when she finally, after the busy last couple of days she's had, found time to sit down and collect her thoughts. Realising that she hadn't sorted out who the Military representatives on Lord Suffolk's committee would be, she reaches for her phone and dial's out to Jock.

NB - Jock, It's Nadia, what service did the Duke serve in?

JSP - Hi Nadia, He was Army.

NB - Thanks, see you in half-an-hour.

Realising she's only got half-an-hour to get an Army representative, ready and briefed, and down to the Master of the Household's office, she starts frantically searching for people to contact.

NB - SUSIE! Can you get me General Martin-Powell on the line.

Nadia's phone starts beeping. She picks up. It continues to ring for a few minutes.

Sebastian Martin-Powell (SMP) - Prime Minister?

NB - General, the Sergeant Major of the Army served with Duke, Correct?

SMP - Yes ma'am

NB - Good, can you spare him for a week? 

SMP - That shouldn't be a problem - I know he will be tied up with the TRIDENT Conference next week with General Perry-Marsh, but he's all yours ma'am. What's the reason?

NB - State and Ceremonial. But thanks Sebastian. Hey listen, are you free today? You might need to come along too.

SMP - Sure, see you in twenty minutes?

NB - Sure, I'll let Graham downstairs know to send you straight up.

Twenty minutes pass. Susie McMahon (SM), the Prime Minister's Private Secretary, knocks on the door.

Nadia mumbles to herself.

NB - Bloody Army. All ways on time.

General Sebastian Martin-Powell and Warrant Officer Stanley Johnson (SJ), enter and greet the Prime Minister.

NB - General, Warrant Officer. Thanks for coming. Now just a quick run down. I'm not sure if you're fully aware of the Duke of Sussex's current situation, but over the last couple of days, his condition has worsen. The Royal Family's physician and the doctors at the Hospital have determined that he has a massive tumour in his brain, and that he's been given four to six weeks to live.

SJ - Shit! Oh, Sorry ma'am.

NB - Now worries Stanley, I know you two served together, that's why I've asked you to come today. Now Stanley, you can say no if you want to, I have no problem with that, but I want you to be the Army representative on the Lord Suffolk's Committee. I know you have have the TRIDENT conference next week, so don't feel pressured to say yes.

SJ - I'll do it ma'am. It would be an Honour.

NB - I knew you would say yes. You have 5 minutes to get to the Palace, so get moving. General, go along with him. Just for today.

SMP - Yes ma'am.

Both the General and Warrant Officer get up, come to attention, and pay the appropriate compliments to the Prime Minister and head of for what some would see as a normal day. 

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King George III Hospital
2130hrs, Tuesday 3rd October

The Tanoy Chimes ... 

"Dr Henley, You are required on the 3rd Floor, Dr Henley."

Dr Henley, looks down at her pager, realises that there's no Code page. She walks over to the nearest Nurses station.

PH - "Nurse, could you dial me the 3rd floor nurses station please?"

The nurse hands Dr Henley the handset.

PH - "Hello this is Doctor Henley, I was paged over the Tanoy, yet haven't received a Code on my pager. Is it urgent?"

The voice on the other end of the line only uttered two distinct words.

"Bremerton Park".

Dr Henley throws down the handset, and starts running to the elevator, she gets there and starts mashing the buttons.

PH - "Come on you piece of shit." 

She reaches for her phone, and calls Sir Jock.

PH - "Jock, it's Peta, Bremerton Park! f*ckING BREMERTON PARK!"

The elevator calls, she hangs up the phone and gets in, calling the elevator for the 3rd Floor.

The elevator arrives at the 3rd Floor, and the doors have just barely open, and Peta is sprinting straight for the Duke's room.

PH - "What happened?"

Nurse 1 - "We don't know Doctor, he was sitting there eating food, I left to go get his PM meds before he went to sleep, I came back and he was coding - we attempted resus but there was no response."

PH - "Shit. Ok, what time was this?"

Nurse 2 - "It was roughly 21:05."

PH - "Thanks."

Dr Henley walks out to the corridor, and closes the door. Takes out her phone and calls Jock again.

PH - "Jock, it's Peta"

JSP - "Hi - what's the word?"

PH - "He's gone. We don't know what's happened, and we probably won't till I do an autopsy."

JSP - "Can the family come across?"

PH - "Give us half an hour? We'll make him presentable."

JSP - "Ok, see you then."

 

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