Countess Edelsheim Gyulai senses our disbelief and herself describes the events surrounding her marriage as a fairy story, warning her readers that there are parts of it which seem too good to be true. Certainly her marriage to an Air Force pilot, the dashing son of Hungary’s Regent is the stuff of make believe; her dress, decorated with hand embroidered pearls - ‘not real ones of course’; their walk from the church beneath an arch of propellors; the sight of a hundred white pigeons against the world’s ‘most beautiful Parliament building’ and ‘the Danube with its lovely bridges’. Even perhaps prefiguring later Royal nuptials with the fabulous flowers in the dining hall of the Palace. - though not for them an E-type jag but at the airport their ‘little red Arado 79 sports plane [which] had one engine and no radio or blind-flying instruments. The cockpit was enclosed but visibility from it was excellent. Both seats were equipped for piloting and my flying lessons now began in earnest as we flew to Venice, Naples, Catania, Tunis, Tripoli, Benghazi, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Adana, Ankara, Istanbul, Sofia and back to Budapest.
We had the most wonderful aerial send-off anyone could dream of. Two fighter planes escorted us. Of course they were much faster than us, so the pilots shot off, circled and came back again, flying in graceful circles around our plane. It gave us a marvellous feeling of speed and comradeship as we set off into the distance with our whole future before us. The world, the modern world, was all ours to live in. It was still 1940, when despite the many worrying signs it was still possible to hope that things might settle down. [...] The fighter planes signalled goodbye and left us at the Hungarian border, and we flew on to Venice. The beautiful, poetic Italian city was to be our first stop. I remembered my visits to Venice with my parents when we were children. Little had I imagined then that one day I would fly back there with my husband in our own plane and stay in the Hotel Danieli on the first day of our married life. It seemed to me that nobody could possibly imagine how happy I was.‘
However, as they make their way across the top of Africa the growing rumble of war breaks into their idyll and she moves from her fairytale into a darker reality.