My Father’s Daughter (Wars of the Roses)

Sansa 1

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter

I took a deep breath and sighed staring at the mirror in my bedchamber. The day that I had feared for some time now was coming to pass. She had called us both to court. She wished to meet the York girl as my husband, the Duke of Exeter, had so lovingly stated. For the first time in my young life I was truly afraid for I knew the real reason. If I was at court and under her watchful eye it was a warning to my father to be careful. The King was steadily declining in health, and the Queen was looking for any new advantages she could find in order to protect herself, while awaiting the birth of the King’s heir.

As Constable of the Tower of London, my husband for the last year and half had become close with the King and Queen. They were grateful to him for his work at the Tower and in the previous year when he had sat at the counsel in Northampton. He had assisted the King along with other nobles in preventing the demonstrators in East Anglia from joining my father in support. They had even urged the King to write to my father forbidding him to make any moves that might be considered rebellious. But, while my husband had betrayed my family and was becoming a rising star at court, I was the enemy. I was my father’s daughter.

My hand trembled as Meryl, my maid servant, slid my wedding ring on. I hated wearing that thing. “It’s alright, Madam. You look beautiful.” The older woman said smiling.

“That is not my worry.” I sighed.

“Oh hush now. Everything will be fine. What his grace, the Duke of York, did has nothing to do with you.” Meryl adjusted my veil. “The Queen will see that you are just a young girl that’s all. Besides, you are the Duchess of Exeter now and your husband is a loyal noble at court.”

“Will she?” Those last words made me sick to my stomach. Meryl was naïve, but my only trusted ally in the coming den of enemies. She had been like a second mother to me since my marriage, and I was grateful that Henry was allowing her to come with me. I nearly jumped out of my chair hearing the sound of horse hooves in the court yard. I ran to window seeing my husband below, dismounting his horse and barking orders. Meryl stopped packing my things and looked up at me. I nodded back. They were not going to break me.

 

 

NEW001

 

 

Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter

Ex1

I dismount and hand my noble steed to the groomsmen, ” Make sure he is washed, fed, and brushed till his coat shines.” The servants and men all come to me at once, a bunch of sycophants and I just wave them away. I am in no mood to hear any of their problems or squabbles. One is more incompetent then the other. I should sack the lot of them and hire good, men who know how to carry out their master’s commands. I enter the hall way and throw my dusty coat on the nearest chair. At least the servant has finally learned to hand me an ale as I enter my home. I drain it quickly and poke the fire, as I warm my feet. I finally sigh in contentment, things could never be better, the king and especially the queen are more then happy with my good counsel, they know my loyalty is with them and not my foolish father-in-law. This marriage has been nothing but a curse, of all people to be married to, the traitor, York’s daughter. The thought of my journey with her fills me with disgust, she will be such a hindrance; let her lag behind. I will have have groomsmen in the back for her protection, though I would be grateful for any thieve that took her off my hands.

I see one of her ladies and call out to her ” BRING ME YOUR MISTRESS NOW! ” she scuttles away and shortly I hear Anne making her way to me. I grin ” How beautiful my wife looks today, I trust you are resting comfortably and feeling well for our trip to visit their Majesties. I know the queen is waiting in anticipation to finally meet my esteemed wife.” I smile wickedly, ”Listen Anne and listen closely because I will not tolerate one bit of your insolence. I expect you to be humble, respectful, and in awe of our esteemed queen. Do not dare do anything to remind her that you are York’s daughter. Do not dare do one thing to risk my good standing with their Majesties for I shall beat you and lock you in your chambers for months if you make one tiny mistake. Have I made myself clear to you? Do not give me a reason to beat you, though; I will miss the pleasure of taking the rod to you.”

Sansa 2

 

 

 

Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter

Listening to Henry’s orders, I rubbed my backside remembering the last time he had beaten me. The bruises were healing, but I was still sore. The littlest things could always set him off, but Henry never beat me enough to do damage, he just did enough to make me uncomfortable. Ever since the Queen had requested that I come to court the beatings had lessoned to a point that Henry had almost stopped all together. I had to be presentable at court after all.

“I am not feeling well, Henry.” I stepped back as his eyes narrowed. “I have not felt well for a few days.” I lied. “If you are so concerned then perhaps it is best that I not go to court. The Queen is pregnant after all, and I do not wish to make her sick or cause any stress where she could lose the child. It would be a tragedy considering this is the Queen’s only child with the King.” I moved behind a chair watching Henry’s face. That cold stare of his always made me feel uneasy. I often wondered if that was the same stare he gave to prisoners in the Tower just before they were tortured. “You know the Queen will be unable to forget that I am my father’s daughter.” I looked at Henry straight in the eye, “You never have. That stress alone could case her to miscarry.”

 

Henry Holland, Duke of ExeterEx2

I walk outside and listen to Anne asI lean against a stump and coldly look at her as she tries to wiggle her way out of coming with me to court. I even allow her hag to come and attend to her every desire and this is my thanks. I should have known better and let one of my men drag her from his horse. Damn this woman, no matter how high I rise; she will make sure I come tumbling down with her and her treasonous family. I run my hands through my hair and try to control my temper.

” Prithee madame for what will our beloved queen say when she see’s that the traitor’s daughter is not there to pay homage to her? Has that thought ever entered the little thing you have called a mind? I did not think so. Do you take me for such a fool that I would believe any excuse you had? Or to even care? For if you did then you are even more of an idiot then I believed. Well I am sorry that my York wife is not up to traveling and worries for our queen’s heir. Tell it to your father! Madame, how many gold coins did I spend to cover your body in finery so that you could even be in her Majesty’s prescence?” Barks out angrily ” You cost me more then gold, you cast me in the same light as a traitor. Now listen for I will not repeat myself. Get yourself on your palfrey now! We will not go any slower for your comfort, we will only stop when I say so and when you meet her Majesty you will look as best to your ability given what you have to work with. You will be gracious, with impeccable manners. You will make her forget you are a York and bring honor to Exeter. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR!!!”

 

S11

 

Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter

Sometimes I wonder why Henry ever speaks to me at all. As usual, the moment I opened my mouth he walked away outside, and I like a fool followed. At least he had bothered to listen this time. I tried to keep my temper when he was cruel but at this moment I was finding it very difficult, especially when his words insulted my family. I could feel the anger rising within me and my fists tightened against my side. How dare he yell at me!

Meryl must have seen this because she moved in between us and curtsied to the only traitor that I could see. “Your grace, everything is loaded and ready.” She said and swiftly moved to my side as Henry barely acknowledged her and turned away from us. “No Madam.” Meryl turned to me. I felt her frail but gentle hands grasp both my arms. “You must not.” She whispered. “Remember who you are and have patience. You will not get your point across by giving him an excuse to strike you again.”

“I know.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath looking back at Henry as Meryl led me to my palfrey. “Do not worry, Henry. I will bring honor to my house.” I grinned at him and put my head down. “If I am such an ugly York cow, he should get an heir from one of his whores and leave me alone.” I mumbled under my breath as one the groomsmen helped me up. I notice my husband’s men who were to guard Meryl and I cover their mouths trying not to laugh. Meryl just sighed and put her head down.

 

Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter

I overhear what Anne says as my grooms laugh but to take the time to give her the beating she deserves would just delay her humiliation more. I tightly hold my reigns to my steed to stop myself from exploding in front of all of my men. I give Anne a look to let her know that I will get my revenge on her when we stop for the night; I will not be showing her any mercy tonight. I shake my head thinking how disasterious this marriage turned out, the daughter of a traitor. I call out keeping my eyes on Anne ” MOVE ON ” I make my steed gallop as fast as he can to ride off this anger, get Anne out of my head and think of the pleasure that will come as our queen lays her eyes on Anne. I chuckle at the vision in my mind.

 

Ex 5

— PART II  (AT COURT) —

Church~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter

I watched quietly as Henry paced back and forth in our chambers. He had not said much to me during our journey, except when he had needed me to warm his bed or when I received that slight beating for my comment back at Exeter. This was the first time since our arrival at the Palace of Westminster that I had seen him at all. I sighed watching him. What was he pacing about? I am the Duke of York’s daughter, not him. I am the one who upon our arrival to the Den of Lancaster, everyone watched with interest. I will do my best to present myself well. I had not wished to go at first, but I am a bit curious to see the Queen now that she is with child. The last time she and I had seen each other was eight years earlier when she had stayed with my family in Rouen before her marriage to the King. Back then, my father had been serving as the King’s lieutenant in France. Memories have faded a bit but the Queen had caught Edward, my younger brother, and I having a very serious dispute over a favorite toy at the time while mother tried desperately to make us behave. I frowned. That was also around the time plans had been set into motion for my marriage to Henry. Of course, I could not put the blame on the Queen for that. Henry had been my father’s ward and it appeared like a good match at the time. My eyes moved to the doors of our chamber, ”Do you think they will be summoning us soon, Henry?”

Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter

Henry could hear the anxiousness in Anne’s voice. If he wanted her to please Queen Margaret; he had to calm her down and at least pretend to be supportive. He walked to Anne and caressed her face. ” You look lovely my dear, here drink some wine to warm you. We just have to be patient and wait for her summons. If you please her Majesty perhaps you will have an audience with King Henry himself. Anne, you have to accept that your father has lost any power he may have had and has lost the favor of their Majesties. This is not just for me Anne but for us and the children we will have.” He takes her hand and pats it, ”why must we suffer because of your family? You are the Duchess of Exeter, your role is that as my wife. You have to forget your past life and think only of our future.” Suddenly a servant appeared with a summons from the queen, he waved the servant away and took Anne’s elbow strongly. ” It is time Anne, I ask you, no I demand that you do not ruin this for us.” He gazed into her eyes so she could see how serious he was.

P004

Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeterinterior

I winced as Henry pulled me closer and squeezed my elbow tighter, “You need not worry, Henry.” I looked back at him. “I understand my role perfectly. I promise not to embarrass myself, you or my family.” I felt his grip tighten at those last few words but then it loosened again. He was only supportive when he wanted something. But, I knew he was right as we walked through our chamber doors and down the Palace corridors. I am his wife whether I liked it or not, and my fate rested in his hands. A man loyal to the House of Lancaster is now my only protection. If I wanted to survive at court, I would have to conform. Every part of me screamed to fight back against those that speak ill against my family but the feelings had to be pushed aside. There must be no question. There can never be one as I come face to face with the devil herself. My nerves were beginning to get the better of me that I found myself squeezing Henry’s arm tightly. We stopped in front of the throne room doorway, and Henry removed his arm from my grip. He raised his arm. I lifted my arm and rested it upon his taking a deep breath. I knew Henry was watching me, but I continued to stare straight ahead as we stood in the doorway waiting to be announced. ”I am fine.”

  photo2

Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter

The herald announced us, the duke and duchess of Exeter. As he called our name; I could see Anne take in a big breath as we walked side by side, until we reached Queen Margaret. She sat rigidly in her ornately carved throne, as the polished wood gleamed in the sunlight. The walls were adorned with an array of tapestries, while much of the furniture and surrounding items were French and obviously brought by the queen. The smell of lavender permeated the rooms from the fresh rushes. I knew that some lords took offense to the land that was lost in France for the negotiations of the marriage between King Henry and Queen Margaret. They were foolish to protest, she is our queen and carries the heir. As we reached her Majesty; I bowed and kissed her extended hand. ” I thank you your Majesty for honoring us this morrow; I trust that his Majesty is in good health. I would like to present my wife, Lady Anne; I believe you have met in the past. She is most humbled to be here amongst such gracious sovereigns as yourself and his Majesty.”

M4

Queen Margaret of Anjou

I watch the duke and his Yorkist duchess approach with a wary eye, she is no longer the child I remembered. Unfortunately for her, her blood alone condemns her in my eyes, but I believe the decision to being her close to be wiser than having her free to make mischief unchecked. Here, by my side, she will be watched, her every move reported to me and I can amuse myself with handing her the most menial of household tasks. I will enjoy watching the humiliation shine in her eyes, and revel in the hammer to the pride of her treacherous father that my every unkindness will undoubtedly cause. I shall bring that man to heel no matter what it takes. He will have to tread warily with his girl so close under my nose, for court can be a dangerous place for the family of a man plotting treason. The very thought brings a smile to my lips as her handsome husband comes and bends his knee, kissing my hand with a look of almost canine loyal devotion:
”I am well pleased to see you Exeter”

Turning an icy stare that would bring a tremble to the knee of most men, to his wisp of a wife, I lift my head proudly. There will be no room for doubt here whom is the rightful Queen of England: ”lady Anne, it has been a long time”.

Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter

Queen Margaret looked older. She still held her youthful beauty but there was now a sort of unexplained sadness in her eyes, masked by the authority of being a Queen. The woman sitting on the throne now seemed very different from the vibrant adolescence I had remembered, who laughed and told my mother that she hoped to one day give the King as many children as my mother had given my father. Back then, there were four of us. I still remember holding my little sister, Elizabeth’s hand, as we were each presented to our future Queen. How I missed my family. It had been so long.

I curtsied and rose back up, “Yes, it has been a long time, your grace. You and I always seem to meet under such happy circumstances. The last time we met, you were preparing for your wedding to the King. Now, you prepare to give the King an heir.” I smile sweetly. “It was gracious of you to request my presence at court.” I looked over at Henry from the corner of my eye. “My husband’s duties in London often keep him away from Exeter; I am grateful to be with him and among the company of the court.” I lied to the Queen all the while wondering to myself what her real plans for me would be now that I was trapped at court.

 

Game-Of-Thrones-Season-2-Sansa-Stark smaller

Queen Margaret of Anjou

I narrow my eyes almost imperceptibly as she speaks, knowing each pleasantry that trips from her lips is naught but empty words, no doubt told her by her husband and rehearsed at my door. She will be here as a spy in my household as much as I am keeping her close for similar reasons. Fortunately for me I was blessed with an education to rival any king and as such have the mind of a man, and coupled with a woman’s wiles, twice the cunning. She will fail to provide her family with any information other than that which I wish her to. Of course I shall ensure certain things are said in her hearing to unnerve her father.

The king’s declining health I am aware I cannot keep secret forever, I must think how best that the matter must be perceived to the best advantage. For I fully intend to take the reins of this kingdom in his stead, until he is well agin. Woman or no I shall hold the power here and will broker no Yorkist resistance nor any other. With this thought I lay my hand on my burgeoning stomach and met the girls gaze, a fierce flash in my eyes as I feel the child stir: ”Indeed lady Anne,within me lies the future of England. A Lancastrian heir to solidify our families dynasty. The child will be a king all of England will be proud to lay down their lives for, a king to finally bring this country to heel!”

 

Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter

Ex4

I look at Anne’s face and the queen’s, they are both seething underneath their facades. Not even for our advancement can Anne do her part as my wife. Instead of being an outcast like her family, I have made my way with the king and queen and they have been well pleased by me. We can continue to rise high in their favor if Anne was not obstinate. I will have to try to charm our queen to make up for Anne’s failure, Anne will pay for this! I give the queen a dazzling smile as I turn to her.

” Your Majesty, the entire realm is elated knowing that you will soon give birth to a mighty heir. In no time you will have a nursery filled with princes and princesses. Every church bell in England shall ring with joy when you are delivered of your son. You will silence any nay sayer when you hold your prince in your arms. It will be a glorious time for your kingdom.

 

photo007

Queen Margaret of Anjou

I turn a more friendly expression to the duke at his words, vaguely amused by the evident displeasure he is displaying at his wife’s poor attempt to ingratiate herself with me. Foolish man, he should have married a girl without the taint of treachery in her blood. A dowry may bring riches, but a dead man cannot spend them.

I trust few here. Jaquetta is one of the minority I can call friend, I rely on her to run my household and know she will keep a close eye on the newcomer. I raise my voice and speak as a queen should, gracious but with authority, yet not able to bring warmth to my eyes which I know shine as cold as winter: ” I welcome you to my household duchess, I trust you shall find your time at court most… Comfortable”

I have to restrain a slight smirk at my final word, for it fully intend to make her time here anything but. ”You shall join my ladies under the supervision of lady Rivers and I am certain will carry out your duties with diligence”

Jaquetta’s position of seniority will undoubtably rankle with the proud girl, daughter of the great duke of York. While my friend may have foolishly married far beneath her rank for love, her blood still runs noble and she has proven herself to be a more loyal friend to me than most of the noble lords of this turbulent realm.

The former duchess of Bedford has well earned her place of trust in my eyes. Turning my gaze back to the Duke I choose my words carefully: “Your Grace, we are pleased to see your delight at having your wife with you in London. I have no doubt her… Conduct, will only stave to enhance your already glittering career at court.”

My last words are said with a smile but eyes as hard as steel, a warning ’keep your eye on her Exeter or I shall have no hesitation in destroying you both’
With that I wave my hand imperiously in dismissal to resume my days business, before the child within me exhausts me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou

 

Written By: Anne Plantagenet~ Duchess of Exeter, Henry Holland~ Duke of Exeter, Margaret of Anjou~Queen of England 

4 Replies to “My Father’s Daughter (Wars of the Roses)

Leave a Reply