“Come, Child.” (Queen Katherine Parr: Died September 5, 1548)

Tomb of Queen Katherine Parr, St Mary’s Chapel, Sudeley Castle

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Katherine Parr Seymour: I am so uncomfortable. It is hard to breathe, and my back aches so. My heart is what hurts most, though. I miss Elizabeth, and Lady Jane is so despondent, confused as to what drove the princess away. I decide I have no choice but to tell her the truth, and I pray I can find the right words. As I rest in confinement, I send my most trusted servant to go find her.

Lady Jane Grey: *I have been called to the Dowager Queen’s chamber, she is almost in full term and I am sure she must feel uncomfortable, but at the same time she is probably happy since she will have a child from the man she loves… even when I think he does not deserve her love. I open the door of her chamber; and curtsey with elegance.* “Madame, you sent for me?”

Katherine Parr Seymour: I try to sit myself up on the pillows, and as I struggle, one of my ladies comes to assist me. I pat her hand and thank her. ”Oh dear Jane, come sit down beside me on the bed. I wish to speak with you.” As Lady Jane complies with my request, I offer… ”I wish to explain why Princess Elizabeth needed to leave us.”

Lady Jane Grey: *I look down, I really miss Princess Elizabeth… she is a kind young lady and in many ways we have things in common,* “Sure Madame.” *I look at her with sadness*

Katherine Parr Seymour: I hold Jane’s hand, and speak softly. ”Jane, I am heart broken by this. I sent Elizabeth away to protect her… and to safeguard her reputation. With God’s grace, she some day will reign as Queen of this realm.” I begin to tear up, and my heart aches. ”Thomas… yes, my husband Thomas is attracted to her and made inappropriate advances towards her.” I begin crying, and add… ”I must know. Has he made advances towards you, child?”

Lady Jane Grey: *I blush and I feel a little ashamed.* “No Madame, never… “*Sometimes I found him looking at me in a strange and inappropriate ways, but I will not tell her that. There is no reason for her to suffer more.*

Katherine Parr Seymour: ”Jane, please help me up. Let’s kneel in prayer… ask God to guide us, ask God to heal us, ask God to heal my beloved Princess, who I love as my own daughter.”

Lady Jane Grey: “Of course Madame.” *With extreme care I help the Dowager Queen to get up, and I wait until she finds enough comfort and knees so we can start with our prayers*

Katherine Parr Seymour: As Jane assists me to my knees, I feel water flowing from me and I double over in pain…. ”Jane, pray for me and get Thomas and the midwife. It’s my time… it’s my time.”

Princess Elizabeth:  I am sitting in my apartments, reading when Lady Kat brings me a message from Chelsea telling me that my step-mother Dowager Queen Katherine Parr Seymour is in labor and that Lord Thomas Seymour will send a messenger when Lady Katherine brings forth her child. I fold the message and bow my head praying for Lady Katherine’s safe delivery of her child and for her to survive her travail.

Katherine Parr Seymour: God… water… water. I am so hot… my head, spinning… spinning. “Mary? Mary? Bring her to me, please.”…. I hold her, kiss her, love her… “Where’s Jane? Where’s Jane? Jane, dear… pray for me. I fear I will die.” Sleep… sleep… I am burning, burning. Is this hell? No.. no… no… I see him not. Satan, he’s not with me. I turn around to see who is.

OH MY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I scream, but nothing comes out. I look all around me. There they are, the jury… dear Surrey… pious More….  trusted Essex… beautiful Queen Anne… merry Kitty… traitor Buckingham…. musical Smeaton… loyal Norris…. Rochford holding hands with his wife… the heretic Fisher… and my most beloved Anne Askew…. circled all around me, their heads rolling on the ground by their feet. “Oh justice is what you are threatened with”, says Essex. I smell the stench of rotten flesh, and in the distance there he stands, holding the axe, Henry. Satan. He IS here. I am burning, burning, burning… and they fade away. All dead. All gone. None forgotten.

The birds chirp and I smell baked apples. Home, loved and warm… the hearth crackling as the embers burn. My mother greets me at the entrance. “Come to mummy Katherine. Come, child.” Her beauty rare, I walk slowly towards her.

Lady Jane Grey: *My Dowager Queen delivered a healthy and beautiful baby girl after long and difficult hours of labor she named her Mary, but the time for her joy was short. Since my lady has been ill after the birth of her daughter. I have been beside her all the time, giving her comfort and doing my best to ease her discomfort. I am so worried, I do not see signs of recovery at all, to me she is getting worse. May God Help her and Bless her back with her health.*

Katherine Parr Seymour: I’m so hot… so hot… but God has blessed me… there she is, my beloved mother, holding out her arms outstretched. ”Come to mummy Katherine. Come child.” I walk towards her, and speak out… ”Mother?”

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Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in "Young Bess"
Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in “Young Bess”

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Thomas Seymour: ~I have been told that my wife has delivered a beautiful baby girl. I am a little disappointed that it is not a son, but I know I shall love her just the same. I have been summoned and permitted to see my wife and child. There is a strangeness among the maids. I cannot seem to understand it. I go to the chamber and I am allowed in. I nod to the Lady Jane and hurry to my wife’s side. I hear her mumble words that sounds like Mother. I am most certain that I am hearing things. ”Sweet Katherine,” I say softy as I come to her side.

Lady Jane Grey: *I am trying to hold my tears, but something tells me that this situation will not end well, my Dowager Queen looks so weak. Her fever is burning her; but for the first time, I see a real concern on her husband’s face. I am glad he is taking his place beside her. She needs him now, more than ever*

Katherine Parr Seymour: I feel my mother take my hand and draw me into her warm embrace, along with a cool breeze. ”Katherine, I have missed you, child. Come with me. Henry waits.” ….. ”Henry?…. Henry?” Poof, in an instant, all goes black.

Lady Jane Grey: *I fall on my knees; the pain in my heart is intense, I have lost the only person close to the mother I ever wanted. My dear lady , my friend, my… mother, she has left me. Now I will be lost.*

Thomas Seymour: ~I squeeze Katherine’s hand tightly and kiss it. I see that she is burning up with some ailment from childbirth. My heart sinks. Shall I lose my dear wife. I feel a tear coming from my eyes and look at Jane. She is looking as if she will weep at any moment. ”Katherine,” I say again with eyes pleading, ”I love you…” I whisper. I see that her face as no recognition. She is burning up. The word Henry slips out. I gasp and see her close her eyes and lose colour. ”Oh my dear Katherine,” I weep as I bring her hand to my mouth and kiss it again. She is lost forever.

Princess Elizabeth: A few days later a rider approaches Hatfield his garments and horse draping are black. A hand grips my heart as the rider kneels at my feet and silently hands me a message.

Dearest Princess Elizabeth,
It is with heavy heart that I must inform you of the passing of my beloved wife Lady Katherine. She passed after giving birth to our daughter Mary, from childbed fever. My heart doth break at the loss of my beloved. I shall write again anon when the mourning period is over.
Your loyal servant,
Lord Thomas Seymour

 

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