Gwendolyn ni Cunedda
|Gwendolyn ni Cunedda|
Gwendolyn ni Cunedda is the elder of High King Owain's two younger sisters. She is heir presumptive to the throne of the Resurgent Dream. Constitutionally, she is first in line to the throne of the Resurgent Dream but third in order of precedence, after the High King and the High Queen Consort. She is second in line to the throne of Marlund but fourth in the order of precedence.
Grand Duchess Gwendolyn is known for her extensive charity work and her sponsorship of the Evangelical Methodist Episcopal Church. She also performs a wide range of royal duties for the Danaan Royal and Excalbian Imperial families as well as all of the duties of the chief of state of Shieldcrest.
Gwendolyn ni Cunedda was born in at Tasat in Shieldcrest. Her parents were Peredur ap Cunedda and Ygraine ni Cunedda, the Duke and Duchess of Tasat. She was baptized by the Lutheran Rev. Daind Landeck. Her godparents were Adal Madler, then Duke of Magel and current Prince of Thorlund, and his wife, Jessica.
At her birth, Gwendolyn was only entitled to the title of Countess Narich by courtesy. She did not bear any other title prior to the Shattering. Many of her current royal titles became hers by right after her elder brother became High King. Others were created by the king for her or were obtained through her marriage to the Excalbian Prince Peter.
When Gwendolyn was only eight years of age, her father was killed in the Battle of Narich during the Danaan Civil War. He was considered one of the heroes of that battle and of the cause of High Queen Agwene. He was especially considered a hero for humans and Christians both because it was the rights of those two groups which were primarily threatened by the insurgency and because of the traditional role played by the Duke of Tasat as the most prominent of human leaders during the Gwydion Dynasty.
In the absence of a father, Gwendolyn formed an especially strong connection with her older brother, Owain, who she looked to as her protector. Although she had been under the care of a nurse prior to her father's death, her mother began to raise all of her children personally after the event.
Like most children of her class, Gwendolyn's education was in the hands of a governess, Cain Parry, from the ages of five to eight. At the age of eight, Gwendolyn's education was placed in the hands of a group of tutors, headed by Mabane Pennant. During her early education, Gwendolyn was instructed in French, English, Latin, Greek, Welsh, geneology, heraldry, etiquette, music, and nursing. She was also given a general introduction to the classics, politics, and Lutheran theology and a tiny smattering of science and math.
Gwendolyn attended the University of Public Virtue. She is the only one of her siblings to have done so. Both High King Owain and Grand Duchess Morgan attended the University of Public Duty. Gwendolyn earned a Bachelors of Art in History. She had a grade point average of 8.1, a fairly good, but not excellent, average according to the Danaan scoring system.
For most of her time at university, Gwendolyn had a reputation as something of a party girl, much to the dismay of her mother and brother. However, during her junior year, Gwendolyn's car broke down not far from where a pastor of the Evangelical Methodist Episcopal Church was hosting an outdoor revival meeting. Gwendolyn had a conversion experience that day and has been known for her religious devotion ever since. In Excalbia, she is especially known and sometimes criticized for her views on Temperance.
Created Grand Duchess of Shieldcrest
Gwendolyn was entitled to the style of grand duchess as soon as High Queen Agwene left Earth for the Dreaming, making her brother the High King. It was only one day later that the new High King created her Grand Duchess of Shieldcrest by royal writ. However, her formal investiture ceremony was not until 9 December 2005, at Narich.
Although there was a small protest by republicans, the ceremony went smoothly and was received well by the people of Shieldcrest. Two days later, Gwendolyn delivered the Speech from the Throne at the first post-Shattering state opening of the Shieldcrest Assembly.
In 2005, Gwendolyn married Peter, Prince of Kuldiga, a member of the Excalbian Imperial Family. The wedding took place in Covenant Evangelical Methodist Episcopal Church. It was presided over by Bishop Ieuan Lewis. In attendance were numerous chiefs of state and government, including the Sovereigns of Pantocratoria, Excalbia, Marlund, the Dominion, Euroslavia, Sakkra, Scolopendra, Weyr, Lavenrunz, and Tartarus, as well as the Prime Minister of Knootoss. The royal couple took their honeymoon in Pele.
Thus far, the marriage of Gwendolyn and Peter is generally regarded as a happy one. Gwendolyn was particularly supportive of her husband during the constitutional crisis in Excalbia created by the Emperor's stroke in 2006. Gwendolyn famously insisted on accompanying her husband throughout, even though he himself objected for her safety's sake.
Gwendolyn enjoys riding, chess, fychell, and surfing. She has also become a fan of baseball and of Excalbian popular music since her marriage. The Grand Duchess is also something a poet and has had at least one book of poetry published.
Gwendolyn cares deeply about issues of ecumenism, Temperance, and education. She is the president of 38 charities. Most famously, she heads the Commonwealth Education Fund which provides assistance for children with special learning needs. Many of the Fund's moneys go to help former slaves in Marlund who were until recently denied an education catch up with other children their age.
Gwendolyn is also issued in rural and environmental issues. She has been personally involved in promoting sustainable farming in the Resurgent Dream. She has also given her patronage to several organic farms, although she has offerred no more serious support to the organic food movement than that.
One of Gwendolyn's greatest intellectual interests is modern history. She has studied and spoken on the modern histories of the Resurgent Dream, Pantocratoria, Excalbia, Finara, and Marlund. Gwendolyn recently commissioned a historical study of the last 20 years of Danaan history, to be published in August of 2006.
Gwendolyn's official residence is in the Resurgent Dream is Saise Palace in Narich, Shieldcrest, in Excalbia Kuldiga Palace in the town of the same name, and in Marlund Gaebler Palace in Lutherstadt. Gwendolyn also enjoys rights in all official royal residences in the Resurgent Dream and in Marlund.
Media and literature
Gwendolyn was caricatured on the comedy show Style and Flair. She was portrayed by actress Gaynor Caddock as a self-righteous, frigid prude. The program was considered extremely offensive by many conservatives in Shieldcrest until Caddock was invited to perform at Saise Palace by the Grand Duchess. Gwendolyn limited her comments to a statement that it "was all in good fun."
Gwendolyn has appeared several times on the children's television program Neighbors. In one appearance, she read fairy tales as they were enacted on screen by puppets. In another, she helped two children learn a valuable about sharing.
Gwendolyn has also made a number of more ideologically driven appearances in television commercials warning against alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, encouraging charitable giving, and promoting ecumenism. Most controversially, Gwendolyn appeared with Princess Maria Theresa of Kagerlund in several commercials denouncing Pink Bunny Cola which were aired in Corral, Kadoki, and Pele, the only principalities where the product is legal. This appearance was publically condemned as incendiary by the Governments and Princes of the principalities where it aired.