Permission From The King, UK Court

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King Henry Tudor UK
Katherine is dying, they say. Master Secretary and the Spanish ambassador wait on the other side of the door, seeking entrance to see me. The revels of the court seem incongruous with this audience, and I consider turning them away. Would that Katherine had passed quickly and without notice, taking leave of this world for her glory without any action from me. But that is not Katherine’s way. I straighten my doublet and steel my reserve against whatever unreasonable demands Chapuys might ask of me. I finish my wine and nod to Norris. Let them in.

Crommie chain

I whisper, “Se il vous plaît laissez-moi parler jusqu’à ce que je pousse du coude son bras.

Chapuys nods in acknowledgment, and the page announces us.

henry waiting

King Henry Tudor Uk
The ambassador looks bereft, and I see in his approach that he doubts me. He is relying on my holiday cheer, or the stalwart shield of Master Cromwell to temper our conversation. But I well know what his designs are, he seeks to move me in a direction I shall not go. He may not discuss my daughter with me. I decide to play a game that has served me well in the past. “Ambassador! Master Cromwell!! Have you come to join in our holiday merriment? You are, of course, most welcome!” I clap Cromwell on the shoulder, God’s blood, is he made of iron? The ambassador makes his less than graceful bow, his gout can not be much helped by this weather. His discomfort is obvious. Well, holiday or no, I shall not make this easy. “Please, good friends, enjoy yourselves!” I make to turn from them as if I think that this is all.

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Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Bloody hell, where is His Grace when I do need him? The Archbishop with a simple word and prayer could move His Majesty right easy, but no… he be at Croydon bedding his Lutheran wife. Mine spies do say she be withchild yet again. Let this one live, I pray.

As the king greets us, diverting the Ambassador quite effectively I must admit, I smile broadly. Aye, I do love this man, though a devil maker he sometimes be… but there he blasted goes again, God help me. Aye, he be turning to make his get away.

“Your Majesty… oh yes, we both do enjoy the merriment of your blessed court.” On cue, both Chapuys and I bow deeply.

I pulled a golden flask from under my cloak. No, His Majesty will not get away so easy as he done thinks. “Majesty, do see here what the Imperial Ambassador received from his most recent delivery… a fine gold flask from the Holy Roman Emperor himself. Me thinks this be for you.”

I hold the flask out, its gilded gold glistening off the light of the candles. It sure be a fine flask indeed, the craftsmanship exquisite.

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King Henry Tudor Uk
A slow smile spreads across my face. A seasonal gift? More likely a bribe. “Please extend my thanks to Charles, Ambassador. ” Chapuys is almost to the point of tears, so I relent. “Is there anything I can do for you, or your master, in the spirit of the holiday?” I admire the flask, turning it back and forth in the light. “I have acquired a very fine Italian wine, from the Venetian ambassador. Will you join me?”

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
O Lord, may the Imperial Ambassador remember our plan, I do pray. Now not yet be the time to ask to visit the Dowager. His Majesty need be feeling merry from the Italian brandy sent to me by the Frescobaldis I done poured in the damn flask. Chapuys must ask for minor favor first, and present another gift… the ring I done paid many a crown for. I look to Chapuys and glare him damn dead, then nudge his arm. Speak now you damn dog and get it right!

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Eustace Chapuys Uk
I try my best to keep calm and seem at peace. When inside I feel anger at this King, for the harm he has done to the rightful Queen and princess. But if I am to see poor Queen Katherine before she dies I must keep calm and stay in this king good graces. I feel Cromwell’s eyes begging me to behave, for now I will try… “It is a pleasure to meet with you, your grace. I have present from my king.” I say with an almost genuine smile while handing his steward the gift. “I do hope it pleases you, your majesty.” I hope silently that this gift will allow me a favor….

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King Henry Tudor Uk
I admire the ring, it is indeed beautiful, and consider the unlikely pair before me. The Putney ox and the Imperial pony yoked together for the chore of bringing the King of England to heel. “You have my deepest gratitude, Ambassador! I am most lucky in my friendship with your master! Cromwell, can this be brandy in mine new flask? It is a fine vintage! We shall drink to the health of our good friend Charles!” I pour the brandy myself, and hand each of my visitors a fine Venetian crystal goblet. “May Charles enjoy the same good health, and good fortune, that I know he wishes me!” I raise my glass, inclining my head to the ambassador. Catching Cromwell in a very rare moment of distress, I chuckle,”Have you something in your throat, Master Secretary? Good heavens man, it appears you might choke.”

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Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
His Majesty, the edge to his voice when he toasted the Holy Roman Emperor makes his meaning clear. Is he really intent on getting us invaded??? I look over at the Imperial Ambassador. His expression tells the story. This will not go well, not at all.

“Majesty, please forgive me… the brandy, it’s far stronger than a common man is used to.” I wave over to a page. “Be a good man, and bring me some ale, boy.” I pat his shoulder, “Off with you then.”

I quickly comport myself… “Your Majesty, do give us a moment. As you know the Dowager will meet her maker soon. Myne spies say she is fading quickly.”

There, yes I see it. This pains him. Quickly he smiles broadly, covering his true feelings, but yes, he is struggling. I’ll send word to Suffolk to pay him a visit. We all have our demons.

“The Holy Roman Emperor has a request, Majesty. He has asked that the Imperial Ambassador visit and arrange for last rites when the time comes. I sadly say, the time be now. May he count on your benevolence? I can send Sadleir along to insure nothing goes amiss.”

henry and katherine happy

 

King Henry Tudor Uk
I turn from them and look out the window at the falling snow. The brandy, I fear, has made me sentimental. I remember Katherine in her youth, beautiful, merry, and obedient. Can it be that she is dying? Can it be that she would leave this matter unresolved between us? She will leave without ever having submitted to me, encouraging our daughter in her stubbornness. She will leave me without the chance of reconciliation, without receiving the great benevolences I had planned for her, once she had returned to her obedience. She will leave me no way to honor her, even in death.

Without turning, I begin to set the conditions of this visit. “Ambassador, if I allow this, there are to be no messages passed, and no deathbed promises relating to the Lady Mary. If I grant you permission, you may not use this visit to subvert me in any way. Is that clear?” I can not appear willing to offer Katherine even this small kindness, lest Chapuys and his master think to push me further. No one must ever know my heart in this matter, not even Cromwell. “The Dowager Princess should use these last days to restore herself both to me and to God for the disobedience she has shown. I will brook no last show of rebellion.”

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Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Before the Imperial Ambassador has a chance to respond, I nod my head in deference and quickly interject. “Majesty you are most benevolent. I will insure Ralph Sadleir is clear on your commands. Ambassador Chapuys will not be allowed alone with the Dowager, not for a moment.”

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King Henry Tudor Uk
Katherine should never have brought us here. She left me no choice in the matter of her arrangements. And yet here we are, she and I, our long and wearying contest nearly over. “Very well, Master Secretary. I would not deny Charles this small request. See that Master Sadleir is informed of the proper limits of this visit.” Never facing them, I continue,” Ambassador, long have you championed Katherine’s cause though it be moot. Perhaps now you might stop meddling in the affairs of my family. Master Cromwell will see to the arrangements necessary for your journey. God’s Speed.”

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Eustace Chapuys Uk
King Henry’s words hit me like a knife, as I try very hard to keep my anger in check. I pray that I can save Princess Mary from this same treatment. I keep a smile on and stay polite, for I know that my King could not take a political issues with King Henry. “ Thank you, Your Majesty. My King thanks you dearly for your generosity.”

Written by: King Henry VIII UK, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Abassador

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imageEustace Chapuys

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