The following item is included in Destiny. It was written by Paul Aurandt:
The Kingdom of Love
THE ROYAL EDICT was proclaimed near and far. The young prince, who would soon ascend to the throne, was seeking a suitable princess. All the noble families of the kingdom must escort their eligible daughters to the court, for from among them the future queen would be chosen.
It is said that two thousand highborn young ladies were brought before the prince, and that he was attracted to only one.
Many had come from nobler families. Others might have made a more politically advantageous marriage. Yet for the young prince there was an even higher consideration: He had fallen in love.
It sounds like the setting of a fairy tale. But it happened just that way, once upon a time, more than four hundred years ago.
It was the beginning of a real-life love story history almost forgot. And this is THE REST OF THE STORY.
In 1547, the young prince was crowned king. Shortly thereafter, he made the girl of his dreams his queen.
I know of no royal romance quite like it. For the benevolence of this young monarch’s reign was directly reflective of his profoundly affectionate marital relationship. It was as though the youthful king and queen, as a result of their devotion to each other, set out to transform their country into a kingdom of love.
There began a new era in that nation’s history, one in which the king was regarded as a father to his subjects and in which those subjects were restored to equanimity. A traveler in that land wrote home, “I think no prince in Christendom is better beloved.”
In the goverment’s high council, members were free to express any opinion no matter how contrary to the king’s.
For the first time ever in that nation, its poorest citizen had access through petition to its leader. Indeed, the king became a particular friend to the poor, a humanitarian devoted to charity and to the relief of suffering everywhere.
The king proved to be a godly man, a builder of churches, a humble ruler who fasted and prayed, a monarch who believed that the men in his government should be good men, and that the children of his kingdom should be set early upon the paths of righteousness.
To all such things which were good, the queen encouraged her king. It was her tenderness which had tamed the raucous boy and urged him into a manhood of dignity. It was her virtue which had inspired his godliness, her benevolence and understanding which had served as moral examples for the wisest leader that nation had ever followed. In turn, he, the king, loved her, his queen, as few men who have ever lived have ever loved.
And then one day, the queen fell ill. The king frantically summoned his finest medical advisers. The king wept. The king prayed. The queen died.
And the king changed.
The fairy tale was finished. A nightmare was only beginning.
For once upon a time, there was a king who threw himself into a life of dissipation and drunken revelry, who seized those who had been his friends and tortured them and impaled them on stakes and burned them alive, a sadistic beast of a man who murdered children, even his own.
History almost forgot the saint he was, remembering instead the demon he became. For after thirteen years of glory and goodness, that nation’s most benevolent ruler became its most evil. His mind, twisted by grief and determined to destroy the haunting memories, became in its torment the supreme instrument of destruction.
But don’t let it be forgot–that the kingdom bathed in blood was once wrapped in dreams. And that the king, more than a king, the czar of all Russia, with his bride by his side was Ivan the Wonderful.
Only when she, Anastasia, was gone–when the light in the czar’s heart was extinguished forever–the fiend that remained was Ivan the Terrible.