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The Archduchess' Diaries

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2 November 1997

My name is Antonia and today I turned ten years old. Mama gave me this fancy notebook to write in so that I can get better at writing. I think I’m doing fine, thank you very much, but Mama says otherwise. Just because I’m not like my sisters! I don’t know how she wants me to be like them. I’ll never be like Christina however much Mama whinges. Everyone knows Christina is the fauveri fayvor faverit best liked child! Mama always squeaks and asks, why can’t I be more like Christina? Nevermind that Christina is twenty-three! The only thing stupid Christina has ever wrong was date a boy Mama didn’t like very much. First was Louis Eugene Wuttemberg (he always got mad if we left out Eugene) who Mama said wasn’t wealthy enough or well-connected enough. Maybe if he was an older brother, she would say. But now she’s engaged to stupid Albert Wettin and one day soon they’ll get married and have stupid babies.


That reminds me - today, I was so exit happy cause it was my birthday, and Carolina (my best sister ever!) bought me the Spice Girls new CD ‘Spiceworld’ and I got to play it on my stereo all day. My eldest brother Joseph got me the best doll in the whole wide world - the 50th anniversary barbie doll in porcelain! Elisabeth said she chipped in too but I don’t think she did cause all Elisabeth thinks about is who she’s going to kiss next. But anyway it was really fun and better than normal Sundays because my tutor let me have the day off which is good. But then Mama gave me her gift, that was this stupid diary because I need to get better at ritin writing. (I just had to ask Carolina how to spell it). Why does it matter? I don’t need to be good at writing to dance to the Spice Girls! Because one day, they’re going to need another Spice, and they’ll ask me to join, and I’ll be Blonde Spice or Austrian Spice.

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3 November 1997

Again, writing. I’m meant to write every day, Mama says. Carolina offered to buy a diary too, but I told her no. If I have to write, I want it to be just me. I ought to be something special for once. Mama, I think, loves everyone but me. Even Carolina gets in less trouble than I do, even though she thinks everything up. Mama says we’re thick as thieves and Joseph always echoes it. Anyway, look, I’ve written. This should keep Mama happy.

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4 November 1997

One of my sisters, Josepha burst into my room today, probably because Carolina was playing dolls with me, and she was crying. Carolina asked her what was wrong and she grabbed both our hands and dragged us over to my big mirror (it’s very nice - it’s a pink vanity with twinkling circle lights around the edge of the mirror like I’m a Hollywood starlet, maybe Marilyn Monroe) and jabbed a finger at her chin. She said she was dying, and then started crying again. I turned around and took a good look at her chin, and it really was disgusting. There was a big yellow head on it, probably filled with pus. I told her it looked like what Johanna had had (Johanna was another of my sisters, a year older than Josepha and five years older than me. She died of chickenpox a few years ago, because Mama said that if He didn’t want her to die then He would’ve made her well. Anna said He had given her a ‘fucking vaccine’ that Mama ignored.


I’m glad Anna is around. If she wasn’t, Mama would hate me most. Mama never makes Anna do anything because Anna is ‘useless’, in her eyes. I agree Anna isn’t very pretty but she’s very smart and Papa loved her very much, I think. Ferdinand sometimes teases me for being called Antonia, because my sisters who start with ‘A’, Anna and Amalia, are not very much liked by Mama. So I said he reminds me of Ferdinand Parma and then he started crying even though he’s eleven.


Josepha screamed when I said she looked like Johanna, so loud that Mama (even though, in our manor, she is all the way over in the west wing on the fourth floor and we’re on the east wing on the second floor) was soon puffing at us and howling about why was Josepha so upset. Josepha said she had acne and was going to die and Mama scolded her quick smart and asked why didn’t she just get acne cream? It would easily be arranged. Then they both left and Carolina and I giggled and giggled and giggled and both promised that if we ever got pimples we wouldn’t be so cruel. See, Mama? I’m smart, I know the word cruel (cause Carolina just told me, still.)


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5 November 1997

Carolina says in diaries you have to write out all your siblings especially if you have as many as us or else it will be confusing. I think that’s stupid because nobody else will read this but she kept annoying me about it because she wanted to go ask Amalia about something. So I guess I have to.

  • Anna. She’s the eldest and is twenty eight and she’s always always sick. She also needs a wheelchair. Mama is really mean to her and calls her embarrassing. She’s very good at science though and apparently won lots of competitions for science back when she was at school (because Mama wasn’t so crazy then) and some people think the Americans might have invited her to NASA had Mama not been so crazy. I think she might have liked that.
  • Joseph. Joseph is Mama’s favourite and he is twenty four. He’s set to inherit everything - even our super big manor! He works as a lawyer for now but if Mama has her way he will go into politics. He’s already on his second wife, Josie, who nobody likes, least of all him, and it’s kinda gross because she’s our second cousin. Isabel was much nicer and she’s the reason I have my little cousin, Teresa, but then she died and the doctors didn’t save her even when Mama screamed at them. Joseph likes to think he’s the best at everything and he kinda is.
  • Christina. She’s engaged and she’s pretty and smart and Mama always gives her expensive jewellery. Albert is her finan fion fyanci to-be husband and he has a sticky up nose but sends me dolls so I can forgive him for it. Christina is the perffffeeeecttttt daughter and Mama will die of happiness if we all turn out like her.
  • Elisabeth. Elisabeth is twenty-two and the prettiest daughter, Mama has never not said that. She kisses everyone, so people say, and loves to dance and be happy. She doesn’t like the Spice Girls though (shocker!) and says she is not too big a fan of the Americans. At least I know she won’t steal my spot.
  • Charles. Charles died in a car accident and as bad as it is I don’t miss him very much. I didn’t really know him. Nobody misses Charles. Mama said Charles was a bad egg.
  • Amalia is nineteen, nearly twenty and listens to some band called Nirvana and Mama says she’s a disappointment and a rebel and Carolina is much kinder and says she just likes being by herself. It’s not that she isn’t smart or anything - she always likes to prove that she’s plenty smart, because she was the first child of Mama’s that wasn’t allowed to go to a normal school. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life so she sits around the manor listening to music and Mama shoots her dirty looks.
  • Leopold is eighteen. Mama has gotten him engaged to Luisa Bourbon even though they’re both young because it’s ‘too good a match to waste’, as if somebody else will snatch her up. Leopold hates Luisa anyway, but he has to marry her otherwise Mama won’t let him have our country estate. She’s very pretty but I don’t know her very well and she’s Spanish and speaks mostly Spanish, which isn’t a problem for Mama who probably speaks every language in the whole world but it’s a problem for me. All I understand that she says is “Danke, Antonia,” or “Entschuldigung,” and even that’s with a strange accent. Leopold is cheating on her anyways and always has other girls over and he makes me say hi to them all. They all look the same and blur sometimes and I can’t really tell them apart, but it’s okay because they never last long. I don’t know why they all like Leopold, he’s really snappy and cold and when he gets mad he just doesn’t say anything for days.
  • Johanna died from chickenpox because Mama thinks that vaccines are the work of Satan which Amalia says is stupid, and all made up. Johanna and Josepha were really close and were only one year apart and Johanna was the oldest of all of us on the second floor, and organised all our games. I cried a lot for her. Everyone did.
  • Josepha is fourteen and, as you know, has recently got acne. Josepha always runs to Joseph for everything and probably would have if he was here yesterday (he’s at work). All she does is worry about things, like a little copy of Mama. She would surely cry if I said that to her face. That is never a good thing.
  • Carolina is my best liked sister. She turned thirteen this year and so now is a teenager but she still plays games with me. She lets me listen to whatever music I like and lets me use all her spare CDs for them, and watches really good American videos with me like Clueless and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Mama says she is too moody and stormy and she doesn’t usually listen to what Mama says, as she says she can make her own rules. Joseph says she’s a little like Mama and she spits when he says that!
  • Ferdinand is a year older me and is absolutely horrible just like all older brothers are. He is always putting too much gel in his hair and it smells very horrid and when we are forced to sit together at breakfast I nearly choke! And he likes the Backstreet Boys, but not for the right reasons. He thinks that when he’s older the Backstreet Boys will let him be in their band which is completely wrong because Ferdinand looks nothing like them!
  • Max is my only little sibling and he’s an absolute slime. He’s only a year younger and he’s always turning his nose up at things and ‘tut tuts’ and always looks cross. He really likes music though, but not new music - just the old classical ones! Is he a snore or what? Carolina and I are set on sending him to an old folks’ home.

Ow ow! My hand hurts now. Riting is evil.

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6 November 1997

My horrid horrid tutor was here today. Stupid Madame von Brandeis! We were talking about some of the world events, and she asked if I knew of anything of importance that had happened lately. I said, “my birthday?” and Carolina said, “Leo DiCaprio’s new movie was at a film festival?” Madame von Brandeis got mad at us both, as if we were, silly, and started shrieking. “No, no!” she yelled. “There was a Typhoon in Vietnam!” We both got into more trouble, because I didn’t know what a Typhoon or a Vietnam was and Carolina said it was too far away to care. Madame van Brandeis looked like she could’ve killed somebody then, and said that the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie had premiered in Tokyo, which is further away than Vietnam!

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7 November 1997

No! Mama is evil! This afternoon, after our lessons, she came and told me and Carolina that she had heard of our ecspl exploy stuff and that she wants us to be better. So tomorrow - a Saturday! - we have to spend the full day with Christina. Yes, Christina! Mama est mal! (That’s for Madame von Brandeis, who said I was abominable at French (Carolina, again, told me the spelling). Carolina is very angry now and has pulled out a doll, which we always play as being Christina, and is now hacking into its neck with a pair of scissors. I think it’s a bit mean, so instead I’m playing with a makeup kit that Josepha got me. My eyelids are all shiny white pink! Next I think I’ll crimp my hair. If only Mama would let me wear shirts that show my bellybutton! But she scoffs and says - ‘so improper’. You know what’s improper, Mama? Looking like a girl from the 1700s!

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8 November 1997

Sad. Christina made us work on our walks all day and then confiscated Carolina’s MP3 Player to show Mama. Now we can’t listen to music without carrying around the stereo which is so bad! And we had to look at all her stupid paintings. There must be a hundred of Joseph’s old wife Isabel. Christina and Isabel were best friends and were always together, even more than Joseph and Isabel ever were, which was funny.

Carolina isn’t very happy now and she’s properly ripped the head off the Christina doll, and thrown it into the bin. “I’m Christina, I’m so perfect, I’m in love with Alberttttttt!” That’s what she’s been saying. I’m trying to clean my flute because usually I play it well but the other day I got told it sounded messy. Now I’m making it not messy. And then my playing will be back to normal! And maybe Mama won’t be so angry.

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9 November 1997

Carolina is still angry at Christina and called her from the line in our room to Christina’s line, which is over on the west wing of the third floor, just below Mama. I listened in but it was a bit scary because Carolina was so angry. She swore a lot in French and I don’t know French swear words because I don’t get taught them. Some of the things she said in German and I understood those and they weren’t very nice. I could hear Christina kind of on the other end of the phone and she didn’t sound very mad, she just said that she was trying to help us jenn gynu really truly. Carolina slammed the phone down and stormed out of the room, screaming for Mama.


Teresa was here today though which was very nice. After Carolina went screaming out, Joseph came in and Teresa was hiding behind him. She had on a pretty blue dress that Josie got for her, with a big pink bow around the middle and her blonde hair all in little curls. We dressed up all my dolls, though I had to hide Christina from poor Teresa. I don’t think she needed to see her without a head. I think that would be so horrible, to die by losing your head. So very scary!


Teresa was still here when Carolina came back. Her face was very blotchy and red and ugly. I told her to go ask Josepha for some wipes for her face and she started yelling so much that poor little Teresa cried, and I had to take her hand and walk all around the manor to find Joseph and take her back. And then he scolded me for upsetting her! I was very mad then but couldn’t say anything, so I just ran down to the kitchens (where we aren’t supposed to go, but I do anyway) and made our cook whip me up some sweet treats. Elisabeth says my sweet tooth will rot out my pearly whites and give me acne like Josepha and turn me into a hag but Amalia disagrees. I decide to agree with the ‘A’ sisters. Sugar is yummy!

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10 November 1997

Yuck! Monday! My flute lessons went well (I am playing better now that I cleaned it out! Hurray!) but Madame van Brandeis was the worst again. Today we mainly focused on German and she says that I don’t pronounce anything right and that I speak like I am five. I am not five! How dumb! I was meant to be learning grammar, but Carolina and I got into a game of drawing pictures and the other guessing what it was supposed to be. She made it very hard on me and I lost most of the time but it was still good. And then after tutoring finished, we went to the little ballroom that Mama has for big parties. Frederick and Max were practicing their dancing and we partnered them. I could hear Carolina and Frederick arguing the whole time! Max acted all prissy but he is actually a good dancer considering he’s a boy, so it was good. The music was old fashioned, but I could pretend I was a princess, especially cause we were doing an oldish dance. And Joseph walked in! He said we were doing good and that he’d go tell Mama, which will make her happy. I broke into a happy dance then! Max shook his head at me, but Carolina and I swung each other round and even Frederick made some sounds with his hands (he calls it beatboxing but if it is, it isn’t very good).

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11 November 1997

Mama had some guests over so we all had to sit for a big fancy dinner. There were lots of yum foods and we even got allowed wine!!! Most kids aren’t allowed that because it’s alcohol but Mama says we are above that. Everything was so good. There was food of every different colour and good drinks. Anna wasn’t there but everyone else was, even Amalia. She kept looking sour and left halfway through, which I think is a bit rude. I know she doesn’t like Mama but she doesn’t have to be so down all the time!

One of the big fancy men in his special suit talked to me. I was so scared! He leaned over. “Antonia,” he said. “You look very beautiful (thank you, Carolina, for spelling!) tonight.” And I said, “Thank you.” Mama snapped at me after, as I should have been more modest, but I do not care much. I think I did the right thing. I was just spicing up my life! Aint nothin wrong wit dat!

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12 November 1997

Josepha is yuck! She came into our room today and leaned over, right in Carolina’s face, and squished her pimple. Yellow went everywhere! She said it was fair because Carolina had told one of the guests all about her acne problem. Carolina was screaming and said now she’d get pimples. Then Josepha started crying because she felt bad, and tried to hug Carolina, but Carolina just said she was going to talk to Amalia. Eugh. I hugged Josepha though. I know she felt bad. I still don’t wanna end up like her, but she doesn’t need to be screamed at.

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13 November 1997

What’s there to write about today? Nothing, nothing, nothing. It’s all boring. Carolina and Josepha won’t talk to each other. They’re making me run messages between them! Instead, though, I’ve been taking a super duper long time because I keep sneaking into Ferdinand’s room. I found out that he’s been hoarding macaroons - yes, really! My favourites are the strawberry ones because they taste nice and they’re pink. So each time I go to deliver a message, I try to sneak in there and grab one. He’s only caught me once. So far, so good!



So he caught me and had the idea of telling Josepha. Now everyone’s mad at me! I don’t know why, I was just trying to have some fun. At least they didn’t tell Mama. I have an idea to make them feel better, though! I’m going to convince Elisabeth to take me out tonight (she goes out every night) and while she goes and sees her friends, I am going to get all of my saved money and go to a florist and buy them each lots of pretty flowers. That should make them happy!

Even Later

Elisabeth said no. Stupid! She says it’s too dangerous. Humph!

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14 November 1997

Elisabeth told Christina! Do I have no luck? So now Christina is lecturing me about being perffffffffeeeeeeeecttttttttttttttttttttt and trying to help me. She says the first step is to make Ferdinand some more macarons. I feel so earthy, doing this! I’m like one of those poor women who have to cook their own food. Who would’ve thought? They’re gonna be good though. For once Christina is smart. She’s supervising. She looks too happy with herself, but oh well. I’ve got Carolina’s MP3 player back too, so that should make her happy. I don’t know what to get Josepha though. Hand satinzer? Sanitizer (I hate that word). She might like that. She’s terrified of getting sick. She’s always taking medicine for a thousand gazillion different things. I’ll have to think of something.

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15 November 1997

Aha! Gloves! I, Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna Habsburg-Lorraine, am a genius (but please, call me Antonia. Also, whew! That hurts my hand!). Of course Josepha would want gloves. It’ll stop any yucky germs from getting onto her hands (stopping her from getting sick) and they’re also really pretty and will cover her somewhat ugly hands (I don’t wanna be mean, but they just are, y’know?) So anyway, I’m going to convince Christina to take me out to buy her some beautiful (I found that from my old entry!) gloves, maybe with little pictures on them, all in colourful thread. That’s my big thing of the day, that I came up with a present for her.

I gave Frederick the macarons and he said they tasted bad but Christina said he’s lying because I took his in the first place, so I’m not super duper uber upset. When I gave Carolina her MP3 player back, she gave me a big hug and said I’m her favourite again (yay!!!!!!) and now we’re happy. We even had a sing-off to this song called ‘I Know Where It’s At’ by some group called All Saints. I think I’m a better singer, but Carolina really tries. Besides, she’s better than me at other stuff that Mama says is important, like writing and French. She says things to me in French if she’s really annoyed or really happy. I don’t like it, but I’m happy for her. And I’m happy we’re friends again.

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16 November 1997

Madame van Brandeis is horrible! She lined me and Carolina up, looked us right up and down, even though it’s a Sunday, and said that I am too small and skinny and Carolina too fat! Carolina went right red then and shouted some mean words, and I pinched my arms. I do not think I am too skinny. Everyone says I am very pretty for my age and that I will grow to look like Elisabeth or Christina. Madame van Brandeis said that Carolina is destined to turn out like Anna or Amalia and now she is very sad. She hasn’t eaten a thing all day since and it seems nothing will cheer her up, not even her favourite movies. Josepha is ‘sick’ and has stayed in bed, so I had to go visit my older sisters for fun, as my brothers would not do.

I really went and saw Anna. She was up in her room, reading through some scientific journals she had ordered. She smiled really big when she saw me, and wheeled herself across the room and gave me a big warm hug. I miss her sometimes. She showed me an article she saw about how they make lipsticks in case I was intrested wanted to know so I said thank you and listened. It was a bit boring but I am happy she thought of me and that she is not too sad. If my dearest sister does end up like her I don’t want her to be sad.

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17 November 1997

Mondays! Really bad! I woke up to Carolina hopping up and down, really really loudly to some fitness CD! “Up, two, three, stretch!” was what the woman was yelling. Carolina had dressed in bright yellow yoga pants, a matching singlet and a skinny pink scarf around her neck! She said she has to get fit so she doesn’t end up old and fat and ugly like Mama, and she jumped up and down again and again. I looked at the time and it was five past six in the morning! Truly! I asked why she had to get up so early and she just said that that is what really fit people do. I was super tired so I went down the hall to Josepha’s room (Carolina and me are the only ones who share I room cause we are best best super best friends!) and knocked on her door. She was asleep cause of her sickness but I woke her.  She made me listen to this music that Amalia told her about, some people called Radiohead. Ick! Who would want a radio for a head? That’d be so yucky and gross!

Anyway, the music was slow and sad, and it made me cry. Josepha said I shouldn’t cry cause I don’t even know what it is about but it sounded sad. She said she liked listening to it because she was sick, but Amalia actually said it’s about how computers will take over the world. How dumb! Computers can’t take over the world, they can’t do makeup! And where would we be without that? And they are really big and boring and confusing. Why does anyone like that silly music? I prefer Jill Sobule. Who doesn’t wanna be a SUPERMODEL? If she’s good enough for Cher, she’s the best for me!

Carolina is still walking around in that stuff! So embarrassing. And loud! Josepha and I are going to get Elisabeth to teach us some make up while Carolina gets over this fitness thingy. She says she’ll teach us lipstick and mascara and glitter! I really wanna be glittery.

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18 November 1997

So, beloved diary, I am going to teach you everything I know about make-up, thanks to Elisabeth.

The keys? Crimped hair (not really make-up but it WORKS) and METALLIC EYESHADOW . Elisabeth gave Josepha her golden one and me a pretty silver-pink one that apparently I look ‘smoking’ in!! I’m going to wear it every day for the rest of my life! When Carolina got up early to exercise, I wasn’t even angry, cause I got up and started putting on my eyeshadow. It’s a bit hard to control the brush so sometimes it gets on my eyebrows or the top of my cheeks but that’s okay, right? And now I’m about to go to Josepha’s room cause she’s gonna crimp my hair! Mama says it’s not good to wear make-up until you’re fifteen but it’s really not very easy to see, she won’t even know, right? We are SO smart! I loooooooooovvvveeeeeee Elisssaaaaaaaabeeeeettttthhhhh!


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20 November 1997

Mama wasn’t angry about the make-up.

Just that it was done badly.

“You girls,” she said, with an evil glint in her eye like a witch. “You look dastardly.”
We both started crying. It’s not a very nice thing to say.
“Pink? With your complecshion, complection complexion, Antonia?” she said, sounding angry. “And Josepha! The gold, I appreshiate but certainly not with that nightgown!” I stopped crying now but Josepha didn’t cause she was super duper upset. She patted us very firmly on the heads and said if we were going to ‘dabble’ in make up, we would not be learning from Elisabeth, who, while beautiful, is not age-appropriate or something. So now we’re getting a special make-up person to come in every so often to teach us how to look like ‘princesses’. I’m excited! Carolina was offered a spot too but she refused. I’m going to look so hot! Like a Spice Girl! Austrian Spice, here I come!!!!!

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21 November 1997

So, this morning I really actually got up early with Carolina. She did her get fit video and I put on a dancing video. If I’m going to be a Spice Girl, I have to know more than the dumb ballet Mama makes us do! And don’t even get me started on ballroom dancing (luckily Mama says it’s only fit for teenagers so I don’t have to do it. When Ferdinand has to do it I am going to go and watch, because he says a real man would never do that. But Max wants to do it really bad and sometimes, like today, he even comes in and asks if Carolina or I will dance with him! Ick! He came in today as I was learning a move called the belly twist (you go around in a circle while poking your belly out and in) and asked, sounding all adulty, “would any of you ladies like to dance with me?” As if! Carolina laughed so hard she fell down onto her fitness mat and I asked if he was siri serious.

Leopold bought home somebody else today, not Luisa. Which is good. I’m upset at Luisa. I know she didn’t mean it but still . Carolina called Leopold a bad word - hoor, I think. I asked her what it meant and she told me to ask Mama. If it’s a bad word, I don’t want to ask Mama, so I think I’ll ask Amalia instead. Even if she told on me nobody would believe her.

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22 November 1997

Our first makeup lesson today! Even though in the morning (ick!) we had French lessons with some new tutor Mama has got us. We were meant to learn adjectives. I remember petit, because there’s petit fours that we eat, I think, at tea. And then Mama burst in and said that she had to talk to Ferdinand, and dismissed the tutor, thank goodness. Carolina and I eavesdropped while Josepha told us that we shouldn’t and Max worked on some stupid French colouring sheet we got. They said something about Leopold and one of our estates, Tuscany (that’s what we all call it ‘cause it’s in Tuscany and it’s built all in this Italian type way), and then Ferdinand and Ercole d’Este, who worked with Father for a long time until Father died and then he sucked up to Mama. I don’t know what they were talking about because my ear started hurting, but Carolina said she had to know.

But all she heard that I didn’t was something about his daughter, Beatrice d’Este. She’s the same age as Johanna was. When the d’Estes come over now (which isn’t too much) Josepha is meant to look after her but they couldn’t be more different! Beatrice isn’t all worried about everything and really likes pasta. Josepha hates it! I don’t know why Mama would talk to Ferdinand about Beatrice though. Weird.

Anyway, Josepha and I went to make-up lessons, and we were taught how to properly apply eyeshadow, with the little brush and putting the right pressure on. So fun!

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23 November 1997

More French today. I hate French! The only good thing about France is the food and that stupid tower and also the castles are pretty. I love the castles. Not that our manor isn’t pretty, nothing beats Schroo  Sron  our place. Madame von Brandeis says I need to start paying attention or else she’s going to split me and Carolina up, which is hardly fair. I think I know why Carolina’s been acting all weird too; she found Mama’s photos from the 80s. Ick! She wants to be in the 80s now, with all that terrible music.

Also, I asked Amalia what a hoor was and she told me not to say it. I told her Carolina called Leopold one and she laughed so hard she cried. She said it described Leopold very well and she’ll tell me what it means when I’m thirteen. That’s so long to wait! I mean, why is thirteen the age? When I turn thirteen will I magically be grown up or something? Yuck. Grown-ups are normally boring.

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24 November 1997

Ferdinand found out I have been calling him Frederick and now, as punishment, won’t call me anything other than ‘Antoinette’, which is so mean. It is only because he is like horrible Frederick Prussia!  Really. What kind of person does that??????? And I told Elisabeth today about how she got us in trouble and she flicked her hair. Then she said that Mama is old, and how would she have a date tonight if she didn’t know what she was doing? Carolina’s eyes went all wide, and later she said that she bet lots of money that Mama didn’t know about the date. But Mama knows everything.


Anyway, Josepha is all happy today because she did well on some biology essay about germs. Straight away she was rushing to her bedroom so she could call Joseph at work and tell him she got an A. Madame van Brandeis even let her! She so totally likes Josepha better than me and Carolina. I don’t know why we aren’t her favourites - what do we ever do wrong? I mean, Carolina accidentally hit her with a rubber band (she was aiming for the back of Ferdinand’s head) but the welt went away pretty quickly.

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25 November 1997

Luisa was fluttering around our rooms today. Carolina and I had been fighting because I used her legwarmers as beds for my dolls, so she was quite mean, and when she saw Luisa, she shouted, “you two should be best friends, for Luisa knows as many words in German as Antonia knows in total!” and ran off. I guess Luisa heard her name, for she came over and asked me something, very brokenly, in French. “Um,” I said. “ Toi….Elle parlez….toi?” I didn’t know how to say, “she was talking about you meanly” in French. I hate French. For a moment I thought about inviting her into my room, but then I remembered that she dobbed me into Mama. So I turned away and slammed the door shut.


I thought I heard her knock on the door later, but it made me feel bad. Not even Leopold likes her. I’d hate it so badly, if I were her, and my fiance hated me. Luckily nobody will hate me, because I’m passingly pretty (Mama’s words).


26 November 1997

Carolina and I had a fight last night because she wanted to go to bed because she’s stupid and I wanted to keep the music on so I could dance. Anyway, she got all hissy and went off to sleep in Josepha’s room, and when I went to see her this morning, she said I couldn’t go in. Josepha didn’t even stop her! So I went down for breakfast all by myself (I woke up late) and Mama was there. She looked all nice and organised as usual in her long skirt and blazer and her perfect hair but her eyes were narrowed.


As soon as I sat down, she told me how late I was for breakfast, and now she would be late to work because she had waited for me, and didn’t I even care about what she does for us? And when I started eating, she said I was favouring sweet foods over the savorie savoury. It’s not my fault sweet foods taste better! But she was angry at me all through breakfast, and as she got up to leave, she said that there was a knot in my hair. Mama can be so mean sometimes. So I stormed up to my room, now Carolina free, and practised my dancing and even sung a bit to cheer me up.


Then Josepha had to ruin it by coming and telling me I had to go to lessons and Madame van Brandeis was angry with me for not being there already. As punishment, I had to write a paragraph in French! Really! And Carolina just sat there giggling at me, as they were both watching, and every time I forgot one of those little line accent thingies, Josepha would gasp and be in such a flutter that it reminded me. Then Madame van Brandeis made me read it out. Totally unfair! And I forgot lots of the articles, so apparently everything I said was very rude and vulgar. I don’t see why I need to know French. Something like English would be much better. Then I could listen to lots of cool music.


Carolina didn’t come back to our room tonight so I had to find something else to do. I jumped on her bed. It’s very springy and nice. Amalia came in and saw what I was doing and asked why. I told her Carolina wasn’t talking to me. She laughed a lot at that, and said that instead of jumping on her bed, I should drag both mine and hers together in the middle of the room so I could have one big bed. Then she helped me do that, and it was really comfortable and we both layed in it. She put on some of her weird music, and even though I didn’t like it I couldn’t say anything because Amalia can be a bit scary sometimes.