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24 September 2014

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The 60 Second Standard
Amazing event reunites family

King Leontes of Sicily and old friend King Polixenes of Bohemia are celebrating tonight after an astounding series of co-incidences and marvels brought the Sicilian ruler's daughter, thought dead, back to him. And long lost Perdita had a family addition of her own - she's engaged to be married to Polixene's son Florizel!

The young lovers had fled together, after Florizel's dad forbade their marriage, believing Perdita to be a low class shepherd girl. But now he knows the lowly lass is actually the heir to Leontes' thone he's more than happy to see the two hitched.

It's a miracle!
Perdita, Leontes and Hermione
"Be stone no more; approach"
Paulina, commanding Hermione (above right) to revive. Act 5, Sc 3

The unlikely saga began sixteen years ago, when Leontes had a sudden mad attack of jealousy during a visit by Polixenes. Despite everyone's protests, he accused his queen, Hermione, of having an affair with Polixenes, forcing the Bohemian King to flee.

Then, after his poor wife gave birth in a prison cell, he rejected his baby daughter as a bastard. Cruelly, Leontes forced faithful servant Antigonus to take the baby away and abandon her.

The shock of this, and the death of her son, was too much for Hermoine, who collapsed while defending herself in court.

Who's Who
King of Sicilia, Leontes loved Hermione, but allowed jealousy to take him over. This destroyed his family and drove him to despair. He and Polixenes were childhood friends.
King of Bohemia, Polixenes was a loyal and fair man, but could be harsh. When he thought his son was marrying beneath himself, he wasn't at all sympathetic.
Leontes' only heir, this good and faithful girl was brought up by shepherds after being left on the coast of Bohemia as a baby. Her loveliness and good character won over Polixenes easily.
Leontes' queen, Hermione was a good and faithful woman, steadfast and intelligent, and was respected by everyone. Even when accused of adultery in open court, she managed to stay dignified.

As her old friend Paulina took away the body, messengers arrived from an Oracle, and confirmed the tragic queen's innocence. Sadly, it was too late.

But the return of Perdita - left on Bohemia's shore with letters proving her identity, and raised by kindly shepherds, this sad tale is finally ended. Even better was to come when Perdita insisted on seeing a statue of her mother.


As the court gazed at the amazingly life-like statue, it moved - and Hermione lived again. A miracle? Or had Paulina secretly sheltered her all these years? We may never know.

"A sad tale’s best for winter: I have one
Of sprites and goblins."
Mamillius Act 2, Sc 1

"What’s gone, and what’s past help
Should be past grief."
Paulina, Act 3, Sc 1

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