Context: In his "Prelude" to this story, Thackeray tells how at one Christmas in a foreign city he drew a set of Twelfth-Night characters for the English children and then composed The Rose and the Ring as a story to accompany the pictures and serve as a Christmas pantomime for the English children and their parents. Chapter I of the story, entitled "Shows How the Royal Family Sate Down to Breakfast," introduces King Valoroso XXIV of Paflagonia; his queen, humorously called by her husband Mrs. V; and their daughter, Princess Angelica. The king, left alone when his wife and daughter finish breakfast, falls to drinking many egg-cupfuls of brandy to raise up his courage for his conscience bothers him. He is really a villain, despite his kind treatment of his queen and daughter in matters of gifts and allowances for parties and dresses, for he has usurped the throne from Prince Giglio upon the death of the late king, Valoroso's older brother and Giglio's father. Following his consumption of several draughts of brandy, King Valoroso sits down at the table again, to complete his breakfast and read the newspapers. The queen, meanwhile, wonders whether she should go visit Prince Giglio, who is convalescing from an illness; she considers the matter to herself:
". . . Not now. Business first; pleasure afterwards. I will go and see dear Giglio this afternoon; and now I will drive to the jeweller's, to look for the necklace and bracelets." The Princess went up into her own room, and made Betsinda, her maid, bring out all her dresses; and as for Giglio, they forgot him as much as I forget what I had for dinner last Tuesday twelvemonth.