Royal Highness takes place around the turn of the 20th century in the fictional German state of Grimmburg, which despite the efforts of Minister Trümmerhauff, Dr. Krippenreuther and Knobelsdorff is characterized by economic decline and high public debt. Agriculture is underdeveloped, mines are exhausted, the railroad is unprofitable, the university provincial. The income from the healing Ditlinden spring is limited, the castles scattered across the country lapse. The symbol of all this is a rose bush in the courtyard of the old castle, the beautiful flowers of which smell like mold. The novel is a sharp satire of a dying monarchy with a wonderful portrayal of a loveless childhood.