Chapter 25: Margaret, Queen of Norway June, 1290 There had been another Margaret who had been Queen of Norway before her. Margaret saw her image every time she walked passed her step-daughter’s room. The painting made the woman look very beautiful, and from what she’d been able to find out about her, she had been, both in spirit and looks. Her husband rarely spoke about his first wife, he rarely spoke at all. But when he did, he always smiled when he spoke of her. On occasion when she missed home terribly, Margaret would find herself wondering why Father had sent her here, to this far away land, to a man who had loved another woman. She would find herself wondering why Mother had agreed to it. And then there were times like now, where she was with her ladies, some of whom were Norwegian others who were English and she wouldn’t mind just so much. Especially when they all got along. Her chief lady in waiting was a lady who shared her name, Margaret, whose husband Bjorn was her husband’s chief advisor. He was also Count of Bodo in the furthest part of Norway. Margaret listened as the Countess spoke in hurried Norwegian, a language she had just begun to understand properly and speak fluently with some mistakes. “So, there I was, waiting for Bjorn to come down the steps for the evening meal, when I hear a mighty roar and a thud. I go running to where the noise is, and I find Sven, our steward wrestling with Hilga’s brother, it turns out they’d been having an affair.” Margaret gasped. “You mean Hilga, daughter of the Count of Meldal?” Meldal was a powerful man and an ally of Eric’s brother Haakon. “The very same.” The older Margaret said. “It seems they’d been carrying on for months now.” “How did Hilga’s brother find out?” Margaret asked. “He saw Hilga and Sven together the other night during the feast of St John and he put the two together at earlier occasions.” Margaret the Elder said. “So, what did you do?” Margaret asked. “Well I ordered them apart, heard what I had to hear and then ordered Hilga’s brother back to his chambers, and I spoke with Sven. I told him that Bjorn would deal with him.” Margaret the Elder said. “What do you think Bjorn will do?” Margaret asked. “I think he will reprimand Sven and that will be that. The Count of Meldal can’t do anything about it, not without angering the King.” Margaret the Elder said. “How so?” Margaret asked. “Well, Sven and King Eric were milk brothers, and were close friends after that. Sven’s father had served as a steward to King Eric’s father and when he died fighting the Danes, King Eric’s father took Sven in. From there, well they were as thick as thieves. King Eric would’ve appointed Sven to his own household, but his mother stated that it would be better for Sven if he served elsewhere.” Margaret the elder said. “How so?” Margaret asked. “Something to do with rumours. I’m not sure what they were. But Bjorn was more than happy to take Sven on. He’s a good man.” Margaret the Elder said. Margaret nodded, she had not known that story, despite having met Sven several times. She didn’t say anything though, she didn’t want to make it appear as though there was discontent between her husband and her, especially when her husband went out of his way to make her feel as welcome as possible. As she mulled this over, there was a loud crash from outside. One of the guards, went to the door and opened it looked outside, he barked an order at someone and then closed the door before coming back to stand against the wall. Margaret raised an eyebrow. The guard shook his head. “Someone dropped something, Your Majesty.” “I see.” Margaret said. Helda, Countess of Ler in her own right spoke then. “How are you finding things here then Your Majesty?” The way the question was phrased made Margaret think the woman was not just referring to Norway. “Well enough.” She answered guardedly. “Indeed, you know if you ever need advice in handling your husband you need only ask. We all saw him grow up.” Helda offered. Margaret was tempted to ask, but then remembered she was a daughter of Edward and Eleanor, King and Queen of England, she would not ask. “I will keep that in mind.” She said instead.