I wasn't always the queen. Before he married me, Xerxes - he's the king of the 127 provinces around here, and we live in the citadel of the city of Susa - was married to a beautiful woman called Vashti.
Xerxes loved parties. He still does, but he's not as selfish now as he was then. Mordecai says it's my good influence that's changed him. I'm not so sure. I think it was the shock of Haman's treachery.
Anyway, he announced that he was having this massive party. And when I say massive, I mean huge. It went on for six months: food, and wine, and pretty girls, and that sort of thing. Not really my cup of tea. At the end of it, he declared that there would be seven days more of partying. Feasts etc. Xerxes said that this would be so amazing, the rest of the party would be rubbish in comparison.
At the end of this, he decided he wanted to show off his wonderful wife. Vashti, that is, not me. I only heard about all this from Mordecai, who knows this kind of thing. So Xerxes hollers for Vashti. "Come and get some nice clothes on, and then come to my throne room, so that I can show you off to all my friends."
But Vashti doesn't like this. She's into women's rights, and doesn't think that Xerxes should treat her like she's just a piece of meat. So she refuses to come. "No," says Queen Vashti.
King Xerxes is very angry. He asks the advisors what he should do, and they say that Vashti should be banished. Personally, I think that's a bit harsh. I mean, I wouldn't like to be treated like that either! But they say that if she is allowed to get away with this, women all over the empire will start disobeying their husbands. (Good for them, I say).
So Vashti is sent away. Meanwhile, King Xerxes gets a bit lonely, and decides he needs a new wife. Which is, of course, where Mordecai and I come in.