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The Tiara Club at Ruby Mansions 5: Princess Lauren and the Diamond Necklace
We were so excited! We were being taken to the Annual Exhibition of Dazzling Diamonds for Royalty, Peers, and Princesses, and the coaches were lined up out-side Ruby Mansions's front door. Lady Harris (that's our principal's assistant) was checking her lists as we came hurrying out of school.
"Is the Poppy Room all together? That's excellent," she said as we skipped down the steps. "Please take coach number four. Hurry along now—Queen Fabiola doesn't want you to be late today of all days."
Princess Chloe and I looked at each other in surprise. "Excuse me, Lady Harris," I asked. "Why is today special?"
Lady Harris shook her head at me. "Really, Princess Lauren!" she said. "I can tell you didn't check the bulletin board this morning. It's Queen Fabiola's birthday! We go to the exhibition every year to celebrate, and there's a wonderful lunch party for the queen and her brother and her closest friends, and all of us are invited as well."
"That sounds wonderful." Chloe looked very impressed.
"Is it just an exhibition," Georgia asked, "or can people buy things while they're there?"
There was the teeniest twinkle in Lady Harris's eyes as she answered. "Well, yes, you can buy things. Queen Fabiola's brother usually asks her to choose something for her birthday, and I suspect she enjoys that very much."
"We're going to buy new tiaras," said a voice behind us, and Princess Diamonde pushed rudely in between Chloe and me. "Aren't we, Princess Gruella?"
Gruella waved a little pinkvelvet bag in the air. "We certainly are," she agreed. "Mommy's sent us tons of money. She says we should buy the best tiaras we can find! Come on, Diamonde." She pulled her sister's arm and they flounced off toward the first coach.
"Were we supposed to bring money with us?" Princess Jessica asked as we stared after them. "It didn't say we should on the bulletin board."
Lady Harris gave a little cough, and I had the feeling she didn't approve of the twins. But all she said was, "Queen Fabiola wants you to concentrate on the exhibition rather than buying things." She paused and gave a wistful sigh. "There will be some very beautiful crowns and tiaras there. . . . Now, into that coach, my dears."
We scurried across to the fourth coach. Princess Alice and Princess Daisy from the Rose Room were already inside, and they smiled at us as we stepped in.
"Hooray!" Daisy clapped her hands. "We're so glad to see you."
"We got split up from the other Rose Roomers," Alice said, "and we were scared stiff we'd end up sharing a coach with Gruella and Diamonde."
Princess Olivia made a face. "They rushed off to get into the first coach. They want to buy themselves tiaras."
Alice looked shocked. "Queen Fabiola won't like that very much. We're supposed to be studying the exhibition so we don't mess up when we have our Royal Rules and Requirements lesson."
We all sat bolt upright. "Nobody told us about a lesson like that!" Princess Georgia squeaked indignantly.
"Nobody told us either," Daisy said. "But Alice's big sister was here last year, and she warned Alice to pay attention."
Alice grinned. "My sister got so many minus tiara points! She just wandered around the exhibition thinking 'Oooh, that's nice!' and then the next day she discovered she was supposed to know exactly what sort of tiara to wear to a wedding!"
I pulled my notebook out of my bag. "Right," I said. "We're going to earn ourselves lots of tiara points. Does anyone have a pencil?"
Jessica waved one under my nose. "Here you go. And, hey, maybe we'll actually get more points than Diamonde and Gruella!"The Tiara Club at Ruby Mansions 5: Princess Lauren and the Diamond Necklace. Copyright � by Vivian French. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.