The day of Mary’s wedding had finally arrived. She sat in silence as her ladies dressed her in her wedding gown. It was a rich gold brocade and enhanced with sumptuous ermine fur which trimmed her gown. Her gown was covered with diamond clasps that shimmered as her dress moved. She wore her magnificent golden hair down, which cascaded around her shoulders. It was set in place by a tiara of rich, colored jewels. Never had she looked more beautiful. The French style of the gown was most becoming to her. As the king’s representative, Suffolk was by her side. Mary was proceeded by her Knights and heralds. Each of her ladies were between two men. Mary and her entourage walked through the gardens amongst gasps from people who crowded the palace to see the nuptials. At the other end her bridegroom would be waiting for her.
Mary Rose Tudor
I felt as if I was in a dream, the man who I should be marrying was by my side. He kissed my hand and then held it lightly in his, tracing the inside of my palm. I walked slowly and knew we made a grand entrance with all my knights, trumpeters, ladies and gentleman. It would have been the most glorious day, if I was marrying Charles Brandon. ” I whispered to him, “I should be marrying you.” But we both knew that was an impossibility. I had to fulfill my duties to my king and country. It did not matter that the king was my brother. As we walked through the gardens, I could not look at Charles and smiled as the French people crushed in the palace to see us. They threw lilies and roses and shouted long live the king and his new queen. I carried myself as a queen but my thoughts were all about Charles. I wanted to lay with him as his wife, not a decrepit old man. I shuddered for a moment, and Charles tapped my shoulder with a look of concern. Once again I looked up and whispered so no one could hear. ” I love you and only you. ” A teardrop fell but I hoped the people would think it was from happiness. Only Charles and Lady Guildford knew my true feelings.
Despite searching the depths of my being, no emotion, memory, thought or feeling could mask the utter despair and fear that consumed my heart and soul.
The darkness of the past days, had never migrated from my heart. Now, it had spread to every extremity of my body, it’s sickly tendrils creeping through me, snaking to and constricting every feeling, so that only the darkness remained.
The colour, splendour and emotion of the pageant, lost upon my eyes. All colour drained from the scene before me, the happiness of the crowd was drowning in the ocean of my desperation. I cast aside all thoughts of duty, honour, precedence and politics…. I do not care about them… But, I do care about my Princess.
On turning to my Mary, brightness and light radiated from her, her beauty quenching my thirst for even a droplet of hope! Our whole world could have existed in that brief moment as our eyes met. Her words gave evidence of the only emotion I needed to survive this ordeal; the emotion I needed to help me complete this revolting task, the emotion that would support me for the days I must endure….. She had given me hope!
Despite the power of my muscles, the stamina of my lungs and the surge of my skill, she has the strength!
I could only admire her fortitude and sense of duty, for if she had given me the word, at least six of the Royal Guards would have felt the sting of my dirk! We would have be racing away on horses before their blood had stained the ground.
“Then let them try and catch me!” But the thought melted from my mind as I felt my feet pacing towards the altar.
This was a fitting ceremony for an altar, an item once used by the pagans to kill their sacrificial offerings to the ancient Gods. But on that day, it was not blood that ran over the stone, but it was our love. Though there was no sacrificial dagger to offer a life to the Gods, Mary’s life was being sacrificed for political expediency and economic gain!
As we arrived at the altar, I glanced at the King, he was the embodiment of a vile and lecherous lunatic, he belonged in the deepest circle of Hell, not by the side of my Princess, not in her bed…… Bile rose in my throat and I pushed such thoughts from my mind, locking them away with others that I did not wish to torture my soul.
I knew that her heart was mine, this, plus the hope she kindled in my heart, gave me just enough strength to keep my hands away from my dirk. In my thoughts I saw the King’s writhing on the ground, thick blood oozing from wounds in his stomach and chest!!! I must be strong for her! She has accepted this vicious, odious and repugnant act! I must be strong for her, support her and love her. We would be together one day! I did not know how or when, but I knew it to be true. So, I must endure and wait for her. As her hand left my arm to join the King, my heart broke in two…
King Louis XII
Dressed in the matching rich, gold brocade , trimmed in the royal ermine fur, I anxiously awaited my beautiful Tudor Rose. Finally seeing a glimpse of her, my breath is taken away. Never had I laid eyes upon such a divine creature. Arthur wanted to hand his elder sister as my bride but no, I wanted the enchantress from heaven. My angel will bring back my health, strength and vitality. I will be overjoyed to see the sour expression from Louise Savoy and her insolent son when I announce that my Madonna carries my heir.
The Duke of Suffolk looks stoic as he brings my dainty bride to my side. I see how frightened she is, a virtuous, guarded princess would have many fears. But I am a king of much experience and will be romantic, gallant and treat her as delicately as possible. I smile to myself thinking of the pleasures of tonight.
I clasp her hand in mine with a reassuring squeeze. Her tears of happiness and naieveity make her so much more precious. Before the ceremony starts, I nod to my page and he brings me a box. I open it and reach for necklace with rubies the size of quail eggs, diamonds illuminating a gold filigree necklace, which I take out and claps on my beloved’s neck and give her a sweet, gentle kiss. ” You look ravishing mon Marie, you have made me and France very happy.
We are asked to kneel as the prayers are recited in Latin and my eyes can not stop looking at my enchanting bride.
Claude of France
Mary Tudor looks very sweet as my father takes her hand, she glimmers as her gown rustles into place. The Court admires our new English queen, whilst trying to hide their bemused looks – she is but three years older than me.
Francis had hoped that my father would not remarry, in case a long awaited son would appear. I suspect from the glitter in my father’s eye, he will certainly give it a try.
Louise De Savoy
The bride looks pale, how not? The richness of her gown and the splendour of her jewels does nothing to improve her unfortunate lot in life. As fresh and beautiful as a breath of spring, she will soon wilt in the cold hand of the lecherous fool she is marrying.
Seemingly oblivious to the picture he makes, the king smiles broadly as she approaches him. He clasps a gaudy bauble around her slim, white neck. And there, sweet princess, a collar from your new master. I could almost cry for the girl, were she not my son’s greatest threat.
I swear I can hear the kings old bones creak as they kneel together so that their union may be blessed. Two other times he has knelt and the Lord did not find it pleasing, nor bless him with a son. This time will be no different, I tell myself. Yet behind my false smile, I grit my teeth.
There is so much English beauty on display, I know not where to look! The new queen is beautiful and dressed exquisitely. Her ladies are all dressed in the finest French fashion, and I know I shall enjoy strolling through this English garden soon!
Dragging my thoughts back to this solemn occasion, I bow my head piously with my own sweet wife as the prayers are said. Louis will not be claiming that this bride is malformed, as he did with his first. No, I believe he will leap into the marriage bed with this one.
I am not worried. My time will come. If the bridegroom is able to to do his marital duty, his seed is weak. He has gotten only daughters on his wives. He is beloved by the people, despite his military failures, but I will show them something new, something better. And now I pray in earnest, let him cast his seed upon stone. Grant him no issue, I plead. As an afterthought, I ask God to comfort the queen in what can only be misery and suggest to my heavenly father that He might, in His mercy, make her suffering not last too long.
As much as I enjoyed serving the Archduchess Margaret, it paled in comparison to this French court. All of Queen Mary’s ladies are dressed in French gowns. We now only to dress in the French style. I think they are much more flattering than our typical English gowns. Standing next to my sister is pleasant. We have not been together in a long time. I hope we become closer. I notice a lot of French nobles looking at Mary and wonder if she is flattered by their attention.
I turn my attention back to the queen and king. I have never seen a diamond as big as the one his Grace just put on her neck. She looks exquisite but pallid. I cannot help but wonder if she is happy about marrying the king of France. But it is her duty and he dotes on her. Surely being queen of France makes up for having such an old bridegroom. I catch the dauphin looking at Mary’s direction. He seems to completely ignore his wife. I must warn Mary to wary of him tonight at the ball.
Joan Vaux, Lady Guildford
I tried to help Mary as best I could while she got ready for her wedding, but once it was time for me to leave and go to the chapel there was not anything left I could do, I just hope she holds herself together long enough to get through the ceremony and not embarrass King Arthur and England. France is a good match, I knew, but I also knew Mary’s true affection lay with Charles Brandon. To his credit, he looks cold and unfeeling as he gives her away, a far cry from how the two were last night when I allowed him to see her.
I turn my attention to the old French king and frown with distaste. I do not like the way he is looking at my Mary, like she’s a piece of meat being sized up at the market, but there’s nothing I can do, so when I lock gazes with her I give her a reassuring smile and nod to her.
I am practically bouncing with excitement! The French Court is nothing but exquisite with all in the princess’s ladies – pardon me, the new French Queen! – dressed in the latest fashions. We were buzzing as we readied her Grace for this moment.
I am awed as the Duke leads our princess to the French King. Mary looks pale – her nerves are evident as the gift is clasped about her neck. I smile at my sister, who catches my eye as she watches the spectacle about us. This is certainly more exciting than the courts we have grown up in.
We cheer as our princess is made queen – we try not to wince as the old king is enthusiastic in his affections. I smile as we trail out behind the newly married couple. I think of all the dancing ahead of us. Je suis très excité!
Elizabeth Grey, Viscountess of Lisle
Charles is so handsome! He looked very grand as he walked the princess to stand with her husband, dressed beautifully and carrying himself with such dignity. I try to catch his eye as he passes me, but he is very busy being the king’s representative. My mistress is as perfect as an angel in my Book of Hours, but she seems rather sad, even when the king gives her the most dazzling diamond. I wonder what Charles will give me on our wedding day?
There is to be dancing later and much merriment. I hope to dance with Charles. Our wedding will not be as grand as this one, but maybe even the king will attend.
I turn my attention back to the ceremony as it ends. Queen Mary looks pale, but the king is beaming. He must be the happiest man in all of Europe today, to be married to the most beautiful queen the world.
Mary Rose Tudor
So it is done. I am now the queen of France. All I want to do is run to Charles , and have him take me as far away as possible. But it is not to be for I now belong to Louis XII, King of France. I return his kiss, and keep myself from shuddering. I pray that my bridegroom drinks too much wine, and cannot perform his marital duties. But I shall do all that is required of me as the queen of France. I will make Louis and Arthur happy until my time comes, and I become the duchess of Suffolk. For that is where my true destiny lies.