Dear Lettie

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Spanish Crown Prince Felipe is set to marry former television presenter Letizia Ortiz this morning…Long one of Europe’s most eligible royals, Felipe chose as his bride a 31-year-old divorcee who was a rising star for Spain’s most popular news broadcaster before saying yes to a proposal that means becoming queen of Spain some day.

— Reuters, Sat 22 May, 2004

Madrid, March 12, 2004

Dear Lettie,

Please don’t flip out — I know I’m late with the alimony and I apologize. I owe you four months, so here’s one check for the entire amount. Sorry for the delay, but I was out of the country — I’ve been in Afghanistan researching a documentary since before Christmas and there was no way to get word to you. Then when I finally got a week off to come back to Madrid, this funny thing happened: I ran into Antonio in the airport and he asks me what I think about you getting married again! Well of course I didn’t know anything about it, but when I pressed him for details he got this weird, sort of embarrassed look on his face and mumbled something about how he figured I’d know by now. So what’s the deal? In any case it’ll let me off the hook in terms of alimony, so I guess I should be happy, right?

Still, I know how impulsive you can be and I can’t help but wonder if you’re sure you’re doing the right thing here. For starters, I hope this guy you’re supposedly in love with knows what he’s getting into. He better be in really good financial shape if he thinks he’s going to be able to afford your spending habits. Does he know how much you blow on clothes every month? Does he know that he’s going to have to practically shower you with jewelry? Does he know that you’re going to need practically a goddamn palace just to store all your goddamn coats and dresses and shoes? I hope for your sake he’s got a good, stable job. With the economy like it is now, he could get laid off at any time, and then where would you be? Have you even thought about that?

Also, does he know how much you love giving orders and being waited on hand and foot? I’ll bet you’ve been hiding that little side of your personality so far. Boy, is he in for a surprise. Hey — tell him about how I used to call you “your highness” and “your majesty.” He’ll probably get a big laugh out of that one.

Another thing: I don’t know how well you think you know this dude, but have you really checked out his background? You can’t be too careful, you know. A lot of guys these days say they’re some kind of big important bigshot, like a business executive or film producer or a way-distant relation to some aristocrat or something, just to impress women and get them into bed. What if your fiancĂ© turns out to be some kind of pretender? You better know for sure that your Prince Charming is who and what he says he is or you could get royally screwed. I’m not kidding!

So I suppose now that you’re such a megastar newscaster you’re going to want a big fancy formal wedding that you can turn into a media circus. It’d be just like you, wanting to see your picture in the tabloids all dolled up in a designer gown, parading around in front of hundreds of people like you’re some kind of freaking princess or something. But just one thing, OK? When you get desperate to pad out the guest list, don’t even think about inviting me. I know how you’d make it sound like some kind of noble cause and everything, but you can just count me out.

Hey, whoa, I’m sorry — I’m getting kind of carried away. But it’s only because I still care about you. Really, Lettie, I do. Sometimes I even think about us getting back together. Crazy I know, but hey — it wasn’t all bad, was it? Yeah, I can be a jerk sometimes, but you never know — maybe your new guy will turn out to be a king-sized pain in the ass. And admit it: you can act like a real infanta sometimes too. But deep down I’m basically a good person — you know that. Just think about it for a while. Take a step back and reflect. Keep your options open. It’s never too late to back out with this whozis, whoever he is — Antonio says he isn’t even sure what his full name is, this nobody that nobody ever heard of. And if you ever want to call me, just to talk or whatever, I’ll be there.

Please, Lettie, do this one last thing for me, for old times’ sake. Before you jump into something and make some rash decision that you might regret later, stop and consider: what’s this other guy got that I haven’t got? Just think about it, is all I’m saying.

Fondly,

Miguel

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