Beryl was born in the fifteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Endymion VII, to the Grand Duke Ulrich and the Grand Duchess Sofia of Grand Fenwick. They were very proud of her, for a little while. .
Let's just tick off all the important things about her, shall we? She had red hair, she had eyes the color of which reminded you of nothing so much as frozen cat piss, and I guess you might've called her pretty, except you would've been lying. She was striking, no doubt about that -- it helps, being seven feet tall when you're still only seventeen -- and she kept herself reasonably well-scrubbed, so pretty soon she had all the young studs of the lesser kingdoms of Earth panting after her. .
Her mind was keen and sharp; she knew her geography and her arithmetic and her physics and her magiscience and her history; she knew her etiquette and her fencing and her cooking and her fancy sewing and her ballroom dancing. She was pretty well-educated, even for those times, and she repaid her loving parents by not even becoming a Socialist. You know how these high-bred women are, you get a little bit of edification into 'em and they turn into pinko Socialists. It's, like, a law of nature. Beryl was, of course, a member of the Divine Right Party of Grand Fenwick; she believed that the gods had ordained a certain person to rule over everyone else, and everyone had jolly well better fall into line if they didn't want to get seriously fucked over by the gods. .
This was, by the by, an extremely popular sentiment of the day, held by people from Queen Moment of Pluto to Queen Sagacity of Mercury. More on them in a second, OK? .
Beryl was one of the most highly-born, highest-ranking women on Earth; her personal fortune was vast; her parents were doddering old sots due to die any day now and hand the grand ducal coronet over to her; and she was getting marriage proposals by the thousands. .
Nice, eh? Don't see anything she has to be bitter about? Oh, just you wait: it's coming and it's a doozy.