Royal Kochsato, the White Duchess of Drakeshead, grew up in Skytower as the youngest daughter of the ruling family of Kingdom Come. With advanced degrees in psychology and political science, she established herself in the professional community at a young age with the publication of her treatise on the psychological effects of living in an arcology.
Although she still retains the title of Princess Royal, upon her recent marriage she became the White Duchess of Drakeshead.
1) Congratulations on your baby news! Are you excited to be expecting so early in your marriage?
They say it is good luck to conceive on your wedding night. Of course we are all thrilled! Now that I’m in my second trimester, the morning sickness is much less, and I’m able to enjoy being pregnant.
2) Only a few of your siblings have decided to go into service. What made you decide to enter the pool of noble candidates? Did it have anything to do with the fact your mother named you “Royal”?
Ha! I have been told my name fits me well. Some of my brothers and sisters abhorred the spotlight of growing up as children of the Kingdom, and some of them loved the attention a bit more than they should. But I have always felt that my life would be spent serving the Kingdom in one capacity or another.
3) How do you respond to critics who say you only received the offer of the new duchy because your mother, the White Queen, is the one who appoints Dukes and Duchesses?
I understand that, of course, some people will think the appointment of any child of noble birth must be nepotism. But the Kingdom has very specific requirements to qualify for the pool of noble candidates, and every person who has ever received a noble appointment has completed those requirements. As for who is selected from that pool, there are so many factors that go into making a match, not just for a duchy or a county, but for a marriage, it is impossible to guess why a White Noble selects who they select.
4) Speaking of selections, how are your own progressing?
Most White Dukes or Duchesses inherit an established duchy, where their predecessors would have made sure all positions were filled before they retired and handed over the responsibility to the new noble family. Since my appointment was in a brand new duchy, there were no established counties at all. I began working on selecting our Counts and Contessas as soon as I accepted my appointment, long before we were married. I’m still working on selecting just the right people to be Counts and Contessas in the Duchy of Drakeshead, including making sure I have a variety of ages within those selections so that we aren’t faced with the problem of them all retiring at the same time.
5) There has been a great deal of teasing and speculation regarding the fact that not just you, but all of your spouses have names that are related to their position. Charity, the Violet Duchess in charge of charities and social services, Grey is the name of the Grey Duke, Redford is the Red Duke, Lawson is the Black Duke in charge of law, Forrest is the Green Duke in charge of land management and natural resources, Braunwyn is the Brown Duchess, and Scholar is the Blue Duchess, in charge of education. As the daughter of the White Queen, can you tell us what your mother was thinking when she made the selection?
My mother definitely does have a sense of humor. And the eight of us did notice the trend in our names right away. But she would not have made the match for us if she didn’t believe we would not only perform our jobs well, but also be a good team both professionally and personally. And the last few months have proven that she was right on all counts; I love my spouses dearly and am eternally grateful that I will be spending my life and raising a family with such wonderful people.
6) What advice would you give to any young people out there who might be thinking about applying to the pool of noble candidates?
Make sure you know, honestly, what your reasons are for wanting to enter the pool. Of course, many people qualify for the pool just to say they did it, or to bump up their résumé. There is usually a place on a candidate’s profile that says what their goals are, and sometimes a so-called candidate makes it clear they do not wish to be offered an appointment, they simply wanted to prove themselves worthy. Many elected officials do that.
For those young people who want to enter the pool and hope for an appointment, their motivation should be a desire to serve the Kingdom in whatever fashion is best for the populace. Applicants who think that an appointment means wealth and fame will be sorely disappointed. It’s not about who most deserves the position; it’s about who would best fit the requirements.
7) Speaking of fashion, you look gorgeous today! Do you feel it demeans your professional position to be considered a fashion icon?
Thank you. As a Duchess, I am a figurehead, a politician, a role model, and so much more. I embrace all aspects of my position, and I only hope I can live up to the high expectations that have been set for me.
8) What was it like moving so far from home, to the wild lands of Drakeshead?
I grew up in Skytower, the largest arcology on the planet, and the seat of government for the entire Kingdom. On the equator, our weather is always hot. Drakeshead is in the southern hemisphere, with a seacoast and mountains. It is so beautiful here! Yes, it is a huge adjustment, but I absolutely love it.
9) How quickly will we see more counties opened in Drakeshead?
Growth is natural. We don’t want to rush things, but we want to make sure we keep up. The Kingdom built the basic infrastructure of the capitol city and main transportation routes. But now that the Duchy is open, we have to do most of those things for ourselves. Now that we have a handful of counties open, we’ll probably see a new county open up about once a year, depending on demand.
10) How do you decide what lands will become a county, and when that will happen?
Of course, the reason the ruling bodies of the Kingdom, Duchies, and Counties are marriages of eight is so that we can all work closely together. The land that will comprise a county is largely up to Forrest, the Green Duke, but we all have input in the decision.
11) How will Drakeshead distinguish itself? Is there anything special or unusual about the duchy?
The main attraction for many people at the moment is the aspect of a new frontier with rapid growth. We attract people who would like to carve out their own homestead in a wild, untamed land, and we attract the people who sell the tools to enable people to do just that.
Although this new frontier will last for decades, there will be a time when we are no longer the new, untamed land. I look forward to seeing what our citizens develop as we transition from a wild, new land to an established, civilized duchy.
12) How do you respond to detractors who say that humans should just leave the planet as it is, and confine themselves to the areas they already inhabit?
When the colony was established three hundred years ago, our ancestors had spent years of due diligence and careful consideration regarding our use of the planet. Some early colonies let themselves go, and spread rampantly over their planets. On Kingdom Come, we only open a new duchy once a decade, alternating between east and west, north and south. Drakeshead is on the western edge of the Kingdom, in the southern hemisphere. Ten years from now, another duchy will open in the northern hemisphere, on the eastern edge of the Kingdom. That is a very responsible rate of growth.
Even when a duchy or county is open, that does not mean we mow down all the landscape and pave it all over. The selection of sites for cities is partially organic, and partially planned. If a group of homesteaders happens to flourish in a particular area, the government will support them with an appropriate infrastructure.
13) What about the arts? You were a great patron as a Princess of the Kingdom; will that continue now that you live on the frontier?
Art is a necessity, not a luxury. But we’re not about to spend money to attract a theater crowd when we need that money to build hospitals and roads. Of course, personally, I continue to be a patron of the arts, and I trust that Drakeshead will flourish and we will soon have our own unique creations to share with the rest of the world.
14) Have you seen these?
Oh yes! It’s a fishing lure. There’s a man in Quay who carves those. Aren’t they adorable?
15) Have you ever been fishing?
Only twice in my life, and both those times were since I’ve been married! Forrest took us; that’s when we found these, in a little shop not far from the water. My husband was more interested in what lures would be most functional, but I was ecstatic to see that, even in a tiny town that has only existed for a few months, we’re already seeing local artisans take up their crafts.
16) Did you have any inkling as to who your mother would pick as your spouses? Did you know any of them before you were betrothed?
I knew Charity. Although we were never really close, we were friends. Her parents are the County of Finborough in Fallcastle, so we saw each other at various functions. Several other spouses were also the children of nobility, and I had met them briefly, but we never really knew each other beyond casual acquaintances.
My mother and I are very close. She knows me better than I know myself. But she is a consummate professional, and I had no idea I would be selected until the day my offer came.
17) How did the offer come?
Although most offers are presented via special courier, my mother spoke to me personally. The official documents, as well as the profiles of all the others in the proposed marriage were all in an ornate box, and I looked through them all with my mother. I was glad to be able to share my happiness with her; she never really gets to see people’s real reactions when they receive an offer.
18) Did it ever cross your mind that one of the proposed Dukes or Duchesses might turn down the offer?
Although I’m aware that is always a possibility, it rarely happens. I think it’s only happened two or three times in the past ten years. There is always a good reason, though. No matter how careful a White Noble might be about selecting spouses, there is always a possibility that some factor remains unknown, even to the applicants themselves. Of course, it causes a huge mess if someone turns down an offer. It’s never simply a matter of inserting a different person into that slot; it is possible that an entirely different team would be selected, just because one person turned the offer down.
19) That doesn’t seem fair. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I received an offer, accepted it, and then had it taken away from me just because someone else turned the job down.
It is not fair. Nor should fairness be the prime consideration when creating a noble house. I know many good, deserving people who would make excellent Dukes and Duchesses, people who have filled every requirement for the pool of noble candidates, and yet they have never received an offer. But creating a noble house is about selecting a set of people who would balance each other in many ways. They have to fit personally as well as professionally.
I have one or two stories on this blog that include Royal. My favorite is The World is Not Blue. It is very short, and includes a picture of Royal’s mother, the White Queen.
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