England’s Lonely Rose. The Story of Mary Tudor (Part I)

April 2, 2014 in Historical Fact, News, Queens of World History by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

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Mary Tudor, born to be queen, was a lady with ancestors that could have made her the Queen of Queens.  She was granddaughter of the fierce and wise Queen Isabella of Castile and the great King Ferdinand of Aragon, daughter of the most obedient, brave, pious and gentle Queen, Catherine of Aragon, first surviving royal seed of the most tyrant King of England, Henry the VIII.   All that power, all those elements of lineage mixed in her blood, strangely never played to her favor.  The sadness, the abandonment, pain, bitterness and desires of vengeance for the life she wanted to have and never reached to enjoy, turned her into a dark figure.

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She is called Bloody Mary for her cruel acts against the Protestants, but was Mary Tudor always the cold and bitter woman who lived only for the desire of revenge and her religious obsessions?  Is she the example of how cruelty can turn a gentle heart in to a mass of thorns?   Let’s look in the mirror of her life, but calling her in a different way, without mocking her existence in the name of an urban legend.

Mary Tudor was born in Greenwich Palace on February 18, 1516.  Her arrival was both a joy and a sign of hope for her parents, Queen Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII of England, since before her birth the Queen lost many children, including Henry, Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, who lived only 56 days.  The King was happy but yet, he still wanted a son, but her mother the Queen, felt blessed enough to be content.  After three days of her birth, Princess Mary was baptized into the Catholic faith at the Church of the Observant Friars in Greenwich. The Princess’s godparents included her great-aunt the Countess of Devon, Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey, and the Duchess of Norfolk. Henry VIII’s cousin once removed,  Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury, stood sponsor for Mary’s confirmation, which was held immediately after the baptism.  The following year, Princess Mary became a godmother herself when she was named as one of the sponsors of her cousin Frances Brandon.

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Princess Mary was a bright little girl and precocious in many ways. It is reported that in July 1520, when she was just four and a half years old, she performed gracefully with the virginals at court to the joy and admiration of the special visitors that day. When she was nine years old, Mary was addressed in a complimentary Latin oration by commissioners sent over from Flanders on commercial matters, and the Princess replied to them in the same language “with as much assurance and facility as if she had been twelve years old”.  Even when she was not the male heir he wanted, the King was fiercely proud of her.  Mary showed the high deference of her lineage in all the senses, and for that the King used to call her “The Pearl of his world”.

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Since the Princess was showing her immense capacity to capture the interest of ambassadors and business commissioners, the King decided to increase her level of learning by arranging her studies in Spanish, French and Italian.  Of course, behind the incredible success of Mary in her education was the hand of her mother.  Queen Catherine dedicated hours to Mary’s development at court.  She consulted Spanish scholars and tutors, but indeed it was the Queen herself who was the first Latin teacher in Mary’s life.  The Princess was also well instructed in music. She played the lute and the virginals with great skills.  She was also a great dancer, and her level and proper demeanor in her behavior at court was admirable. Mary was growing in a very healthy and loving environment.  According to David Starkey, the immense love, the King felt for his daughter was openly showed on 23 February 1518, when the Venetian ambassador, Giustiniani, had an audience at Windsor. The King ordered the Princess, who had just celebrated her second birthday, to be brought in. Solemnly, Wolsey, ambassador Giustiniani and the attendant lords kissed the child’s hand. Then Mary caught sight of Friar Dionysius Memo, the great Venetian organist, who was then resident keyboard virtuoso at Henry’s Court. ‘Priest! priest!’ she ‘commenced calling out in English’ and would not stop until Memo agreed to play for her. Henry was delighted at the display, which showed that Mary was in truth her father’s daughter: musical, precocious and imperious far beyond her years.”

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The Princess and her mother were also very close.  There was a special bond between them, something that was unusual among royal families.  Queen Catherine was a great mother to her, she dedicated time to her education, but she also spent time playing with her, and of course, Queen Catherine made sure that her daughter developed devotion for the religious life and the compromises that involved her future relationship with the people of the Realm.  Mary was a Princess, but the fact that she grew up at court with her parent gave her a personality that was uncommon for royal children. Mary was polite and kind with everyone around her. She played, laughed and ran through the halls and gardens of the palace like any other normal child.  Princess Mary was a happy girl. She had her parents beside her and a Kingdom that loved her and protected her. She knew no fear.  She had no worries. Indeed, the Princess had a wonderful childhood considering that in those times. Most royal children spent their days and nights among strangers who gave them all… but the essence of the warmth of a true home and family. Queen Catherine made a high standard raising her daughter. She worked hard to make her beloved princess a true heir of the throne of England, just like her parents did with her.  She gave Mary the best tutors:  Erasmus, Thomas More and Luis Vives, who she patronized personally. By 1523, Princess Mary of England was recognized by many institutions as one of the most well educated Princess in Europe.

Even when Princess Mary was giving steps and signs that she could be a great ruler in the future, the Kingdom under the Command of her Father, and with the intervention of Cardinal Wolsey, had other plans for her.   Sadly, like any other Royal Lady of her time, it was expected that she was used to climb and conquer in the lands of power outside the realm.  Earlier in time, when she was two years old, she was engaged with the French Dauphine. This marriage arrangement was dissolved when King Henry and King Francis became enemies. Later, when she was six years old she was engaged with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the V, who was 22.    Nobody at court believed that this arrangement would endure. On one side, the Princess was too young at the moment — and, everyone knew that Charles was a man of changeable character, incapable of keep his word and acting only when the opportunities were on his favor.  As was expected, Charles saw the tedious long waiting for Princess Mary to reach the lawful age of marriage (at the time it was 12) unbearable, so he decided to break his word. Instead, he married Princess Isabella of Portugal. Other arrangements for the Princess’s hand were made, she was also engaged for a time to King Francis’s youngest son, the Duke of Orleans, but this arrangement was also broken.  Many more marriage contracts were made in time, and like the others, almost broken in weeks or months. The King had hard times keeping good relationships with the main kingdoms around him, and that of course, affected the future of Mary’s life.  The nice part of all this messed up marriage contracts is that the princess was too young to understand these events properly.

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While she was growing, she was admired, respected and protected like the most precious jewel of the Kingdom.  She was bright, full of light. She danced at court. She amazed everyone with her formidable skills in speech, her innumerable talents and the charm she showed with every appearance at court.  Her mother the Queen was proud of her. The King her father was pleased, but sadly for him, that was not enough.

For the last time, Queen Catherine got pregnant, but delivered a stillborn girl. The hopes for a Prince were gone, and the King was devastated.  Dark ideas developed in his mind. Of course he had a bastard son with one of his mistresses, but he would never be loved or accepted as King. On the other hand, the King lost his once deep love for the Queen, he felt disappointed. He saw no more reasons to keep his marriage with her, not even the political power nor the reaction or peace of his realm made sense for him anymore.  He wanted a son, but he also wanted a new Queen.

As always, the Queen found refuge in the sweet company of her beloved child. Princess Mary gave her mother peace, and the Queen also found the perfect companion during her long hours of prayer, fasting and isolation.  Mary learned the deepness devotion and love for the Catholic Faith from her mother, the spiritual guidance that the Queen gave her was strong and profoundly based.  The Princess and her mother were attached by highly indissoluble ties: love, blood, lineage and religion.  Mother and daughter comforted each other behind the eyes of the courtiers, who always believed that the royal family was happy and content with their important lives.  Mary was growing up, and was starting to notice the distance between her parents. Like any other normal child would do, but as a princess, she had to stand above her feelings, endure them, and fight them as much as she could.

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One day, a new lady arrived to court. She was ordered to serve Queen Catherine as Maid of Honor — her name, Lady Anne Boleyn.  From day one, Anne Boleyn’s exotic looks and commanding presence rose above the other ladies at court, especially in the eyes of the still young and virile King Henry.   His majesty kept his deep desires for Anne to himself at first, avoiding even the senses of his Queen, but later in time, Her Majesty started to notice the interest of her husband in this new dark haired damsel.  The Queen noticed something else. Lady Anne was not the common lady. She was different. Her behavior at court was outstanding, an incredible artist, dancer, her virtues as lady in waiting were formidable, and the fact that she was all but docile among her other ladies, made her a difficult rival to defeat.

Queen Catherine kept Anne close to her at first, but later, she started to repulse her presence, and decided to keep her a little farther away. Queen Catherine’s closest ladies in waiting started to dislike Anne as well, and they spoke to their mistress about all the rumors at court about the King and Anne.  Rumors about secret encounters between them, the King constant visits to Hever Castle, the elevation in ranks of Anne’s father and brother, and the sudden change in Anne’s presence, wearing extreme expensive jewels, exquisite gowns in the French fashion rather than the English dress code.  Besides, the King also started to show his favoritism and devotion to Anne in public, which gave the proud lady the strength and freedom to even act boldly above the Queen and her dominion at court.

Slowly but surely, Lady Anne Boleyn would change the lives of Mary and her mother, in ways that they never even imagined in their worst nightmares.   After a time of romance play dates between Anne and the King, the terrible news arrived to the ears of the Queen. His Majesty wanted a divorce, based on the grounds that by marrying his brother’s wife, he broke God’s law, and by that, he was being condemned to be incapable of having male heirs.   The Queen was devastated. After years of love, loyalty, happiness, conquers and devotion to her King, she is asked for a divorce. But she was determined to keep her rank and her place in England.

A battle trying to debate the King’s Great Matter began, the King was moving all his pieces on his favor, and was willing to break with Rome only to marry Anne and have his wishes fulfilled.  On the other side of the battlefield, was the Queen, almost abandoned. Even when she won arguments and grounds along the way, she was indeed fading away.  She already lost the love of the King and that was her major disadvantage.  Her stubbornness in the end gave her a greater sorrow. Queen Catherine was separated from her daughter Mary, and forbidden to see her again.

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This was a cold blow for the Queen, and for Mary, something impossible to understand and deal with. Mary was close to her teen years, and at this time, wise enough to feel the pressure, the pain, the despair and the sadness of being separated from her mother and father, and from the life she knew and loved.  She still had her own court, her beautiful home in Ludlow, but the walls were cold, the air dense and the scenery turned gray without the light and joy she had before.  For the first time she was alone. Her health deteriorated sometimes. She suffered from pains in her stomach, and to add more damage to her health, she forced herself to fast and avoid eating sometimes for more than a day when she was deep in her prayers. Like her mother, Mary began to seek for answers and for comfort in her faith.

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Sadly for the young Princess Mary, things went from bad to worse.  After long years of bravery and determination, her mother, the Queen, lost the battle against Anne Boleyn.  The King banished his once Queen of Hearts from court, and from his life, and then placed the Crown upon the proud and beautiful Lady Anne.  This marked the end of all hopes for Catherine and her daughter.  Many times, the now Dowager Duchess of Wales asked to see her daughter, and her maternal wishes were denied cruelly over and over.  For Mary, the separation was unbearable. The only connection she had with her mother was the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, who visited her in Ludlow from time to time, and told her news about her.  It is believed by many historians, and is also my personal point of view, that Mary’s heart started to change at this point.  Being separated from her mother, and from the life she knew and cherished in such a hard way, is difficult to endure.  Mary developed a huge and immeasurable hate towards Anne Boleyn. For Mary, she was the only cause of all her misery and her mother’s.  This hate towards Anne and towards all related to her grew and grew every single day.  Mary never recognized Anne as Queen of England, and when she was forced to make the submission to that fact by the King’s invoices, her only reply was:  “I recognize no Queen of England, except my mother, and I will not accept a Queen of England, except my mother”.   The proud princess had no idea of the high cost of the stubbornness.

For a time, after the marriage of the King with Anne Boleyn, the royal status of Princess Mary remained untouched. She was still the King’s heir, even when Anne was already pregnant, and showing her condition. However, in September 7, 1533, all changed.  They were expecting a son, but Anne delivered a healthy baby girl. This was not too much of a bless for King Henry but indeed he was hopeful, happy and proud enough to give her the status of Princess of England, and take all the privileges of Mary and passed them on to her.  Elizabeth was now the only heir of Henry the VIII, and Mary… by default, was a bastard.

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With the birth of Elizabeth, the entire world of Mary crashed down.  Separated from her mother, unrecognized by the father that once called her the “Pearl of his world”, she was now reduced to a simple lady in waiting to her own sister.  Mary had to suffer in silence. She was forced to obey the King and forget that he was her father. She was forced to forget that she was a princess, and simply act like if her rank and the marriage of her parents never existed. Now she had to serve in the household of her half sister as a maid.  And to make things worst, her feelings towards Anne Boleyn were dark, and they grew bitter day after day.  But if only Anne and Mary met each other in good terms  and positive circumstances, they would had been great friends, and this is why:

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Mary Tudor and Anne Boleyn had many things in common, even if you can not believe this. Mary Tudor was a fan of fashion as well as Anne, not in the same levels but both adored expensive gowns, jewels and good taste in their wardrobes.  Both Anne and Mary were highly educated, and their passions for religious matters were detonators in their lives, perhaps not in the same dimensions, but religion was something deeply important for them.  Anne was determined, stubborn, gentle when it was needed, and strong as a wild hurricane when the occasion called for it. Well, Mary was the same. The difference is… that for Mary things were different, and the major part of her courage was diminished by threats, bad treatment and neglecting.  Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor were both great examples of talent, charisma and dominion of the court. Anne was like that until her last day on earth, but Mary lost that charm early in her youth.  Physically, they stood on their own grounds.  Anne Boleyn was not the normal standard of the English girl type. She was not pale as was the rule of the time. Her skin was olive tanned, her eyes dark brown and her hair as black as raven’s wings. That attribute gave Wolsey the muse to call her the Dark Crow. (Of course he had his own personal reasons to compare her with that mysterious and sometimes treacherous black bird).  Anne Boleyn was not the most beautiful woman in England, but in fact, she had a charm, a talent of seduction and lovely exotic looks that made a King move the world just to be with her.  Mary Tudor on the other hand, was also different, perhaps not a seductress like Anne Boleyn, but beautiful in her own way.  There are many descriptions of Mary, mostly in her days as Queen of England. In her youth; she had a gentle, sweet, delicate and soft presence, not a total beauty but pretty to the eyes.  She was short of stature, with an oval face and light brown hair. She did not look like her mother and father, and she had her own features, related more to her ancestors in Spain rather than her English ancestors.   Too much in common between these two women, and yet, born to be enemies.

To Mary, Anne Boleyn was the personification of all that is evil an unholy.  In her eyes she was the cause of her mother’s downfall, and the main reason for her father’s neglecting towards her.  To Queen Anne, Mary was a burden difficult to bear. Even when she managed to keep the King’s feelings towards his eldest daughter cold, she knew she was a breathing threat to her safety as Queen of England.  Blood is blood, and she knew the King was a man of changeable character. She was between two options, make peace with her or in time… make her the most hated person for King Henry the VIII.   There were rumors, many of them created by Eustace Chapuys and other enemies of the Boleyn clan, that the Queen wanted Mary and her mother dead, and that she was already plotting against their lives.  There are not proofs of this. Even when in times when the Queen was under the influence of too much wine or bad moods, she made open declarations of her desires to get rid of them… and her plans to order their executions if the King went away long enough to make her regent in his absence.  Anne had only one scary prophecy on her mind, one she openly discussed with her closest allies: “Mary is my death, and I am hers”.   This was more an expression of fear, rather than hate in the side of Anne, the only thing she needed to take that fear away… was a son.

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Queen Anne disliked Mary beyond measure but, she tried to make peace with her.  She knew it was better to take this chance rather that keep the distance, this new state of mind came of course because she was not the mother of a Prince yet, and to keep the King pleased was of course a better way to conquer more grounds at court, earn allies and fix her status at court, she wanted to be loved by all…not by only some.  In March 1534, Anne sent for Lady Mary to come see her while she was visiting her daughter Princess Elizabeth. The Queen offered to invite her back to the English Court and also a reconciliation pact with her father King Henry VIII if she would just accept their marriage and acknowledge her as the Queen of England.  Lady Mary promptly responded with a cruel insult, “I know no Queen in England but my mother. But if you, Madam, as my father’s mistress, will intercede for me with him, I should be grateful.” Anne did not lose her temper with Lady Mary as she pointed out the absurdity of the request and repeated her offer to Lady Mary in a less gentle tone, but still soft enough to be taken in good will. But Mary refused to answer Anne, she just simply turned her back on her and leave, Queen Anne was in rage.

The Queen found the courage to forget the girl’s attitude, and once again tried to build a peaceful relationship with her.  There is another encounter recorded between the Queen and her stepdaughter, this time in Eltham Palace’s Chapel. An attendant told Anne that Lady Mary had acknowledged her as the Queen of England by curtsying to her. Anne had not been able to see it and she came to be embarrassed at not noticing that Lady Mary had acknowledged her as the Queen of England. She was deeply pleased that Lady Mary had acknowledged her as the Queen of England and ended up sending a message to her where she as the Queen greeted her warmly and to apologize for not seeing her curtsy towards her and that she desired that “this may be the entrance of friendly correspondence”. The Lady Mary replied that it was impossible for the queen to have been there for my mother was not; I kneeled yes, but for the altar”.  This was the last time Anne tried to make peace with Mary.  The Queen was so furious, that in private as well as in public, she started to make horrible remarks against the Lady Mary.  She called her names, and made fun of her strict fashion. She said that she would make Mary her lady in waiting, and then she would marry her to some varlet.  She threatened to curb “her proud Spanish blood”, but again, the Queen was just ranting to express her frustrations with Lady Mary and there is no evidence to suggest she carried out any of her threats against Lady Mary.  However, Queen Anne did tell her aunt Lady Anne Shelton who was in charge of Lady Mary’s care to starve her if she continued to eat a large breakfast in order to avoid having to eat dinner in the Great Hall and pleading illness to have supper brought to her chamber.  Queen Anne also proclaimed that she should box Lady Mary’s ears as “the cursed bastard she was” if she tried to use the banned title of princess for herself. Queen Anne ended up having Mary surrender her jewels to her, for she felt they must now adorn Princess Elizabeth for she was now the king’s lawful heiress to the throne of England, until the time that she had a brother.

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All this slowly twisted Mary’s soul. She felt abused and worst of all, alone.  And to add more bitterness, the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys made sure that the hate that Mary felt for Anne were stronger every day. His own despise for Anne was greater than his conscience. He had no idea of the harm he was inflicting in the already torture heart of the young girl.  Chapuys, who openly did not accept Anne for who she was, cared nothing for her, and despised her and disgustedly ended up referring to her in his official communications as “the concubine” and that “whore” or with polite disdain “The Lady” and Princess Elizabeth as “the brat” or “the little bastard”, told Lady Mary that Anne was planning to have her murdered.  It was a terrible lie, but one that Lady Mary, in her hysterical state, was inclined to believe. She refused to go when word came that Princess Elizabeth’s household was moving from Hatfield to The More, as she believed that she would be taken and quietly murdered. This led to the royal guards have to actually seize and throw her into her litter. Her distress from this would have naturally made her ill.

This cruel treatment not only increased Lady Mary’s hate towards Queen Anne, but is also made her feel almost nothing for her half sister.  Mary barely paid attention to her, and was cold and behaved like a stone when she was around the little princess. So much despise towards an innocent child, was not a good sign at all.  Later in time, Catherine of Aragon died, to Mary’s sorrow, she had no chance to neither say goodbye to her mother nor lay eyes upon her.  This left a profound scar on Mary’s heart, one that would never disappear.

But where was King Henry the VIII while his daughter was suffering so terribly? Yes, he was making no action, he was doing nothing, no towards Anne, nor even to protect Mary against his wife’s “threats”. The King did not make efforts to ease Mary’s low life style either. He gave her no money and her health was not well watch as it was before.  Only once, the King made contact with Mary after his marriage with Anne. He sent the Duke of Norfolk to Hatfield House, with a message for Mary; the King wanted her to join her sister’s ladies in waiting during a visit at White Hall Palace.  Mary responded that “the title of princess belonged to herself and no other.” Norfolk made no answer, declaring he had not come to dispute titles but to accomplish the King’s will.” When Mary was told that she would be allowed to take very few servants with her, Margaret Pole, her longtime governess and godmother, who had been in Mary’s entourage since the princess was three years old asked if she might continue to serve Mary at her own expense and pay for the whole household. Her request was refused. King Henry wanted Mary, like Katherine, to be separated from those she trusted to encourage her submission.

The King was angry at Mary. He hated her Spanish pride because that was the reminder of the nightmare he had to endure while Catherine refused to let him go.  Thanks to all the power he had now, not only as King, but as Supreme Head of the Church of England, he thought that everyone, including his “loved ones” were supposed to obey him whatever the circumstances… even if those were to face death. After this incident, the King never spoke to Mary again during  the reign of Anne.

Then, like if faith were giving Mary a taste of sweetness, the days of Anne Boleyn as Queen of England finished.  Her failure to produce a male heir, her talent to make the King burst with rage and the  sudden love between the King and the young Lady Jane Seymour, send her to an unjust and cruel death.  To Mary, this bloody event was a deliverance from all the darkness she endured while Anne lived.  After Anne’s execution, The Lady Mary sent a letter to Thomas Cromwell:

I perceived that nobody durst speak for me as long as that woman lived, which is now gone. whom I pray to our Lord, of his great mercy to forgive.”

Mary never forgave Anne for all her miseries. The hate she felt for her would live on forever. The wounds she inflicted on her were too deep to heal.  Now, her fate was again in a limbo, she just could pray for hope.

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END OF PART I

 

SOURCES:

http://queenmarytudor.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/the-relationship-of-mary-and-her-parents-king-henry-viii-and-queen-catherine-of-aragon/

http://www.katelyncomments.com/2013/01/anne-boleyn-part-thirteen-relationship.html

http://queenmarytudor.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/the-relationship-between-queen-anne-boleyn-and-princess-mary/

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09766a.htm

http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/queenmary.htm

http://tudors.wikia.com/wiki/Princess_Mary_Tudor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_I_of_England

Part 2 of Elizabeth Alone

January 21, 2014 in History With Heart, by Llinos Thomas by Llinos Thomas

Having been declared illegitimate, Elizabeth grew up facing an uncertain future.  She watched her stepmothers be divorced, beheaded, or die in childbirth.  Her father, once the most brilliant and handsome prince in all Europe, fell foul of ill health.  Her brother Edward died of consumption.  Her cousin Jane Grey was beheaded for claiming the throne.  Her sister Mary, in love with a man who was repulsed by her, had died broken hearted and childless.

Elizabeth had survived them all.  She had faced down the allegations of illegitimacy.  She had even come out of the tower alive, after her sister Mary had imprisoned her there under suspicion of treason.  Not only that, she was declared Mary’s heir rather than her enemy when Mary finally accepted she would never have a child.  Against all the odds, in the face of Catholic opposition and with the crowned heads of Europe watching, Elizabeth had been proclaimed queen at the age of 25, and crowned.  She gripped the blanket as she thought of it.

Every day since then, Elizabeth had held onto the throne.  When plots against her life were revealed, with everyone saying she should marry; Elizabeth had ruled in her way, without a man to steal her power.  Tonight, she felt like all this had brought her precisely to this place; alone in her bed, having ordered the death of a fellow queen.

And yet, Mary was not an innocent.  Despite her beauty and charm, she went from being adored to being reviled by her people, and sought refuge in England.  When Mary’s husband, the young King of France, had died, she had returned to Scotland.  Her reign there was a complete disaster.  Unsuitable husbands, murder, scandal and a flight for her life had ensued.

Elizabeth shivered to recall how she had felt upon hearing that Mary was in England, pleading for her help.  The complications of having another queen in her kingdom had been evident to Elizabeth immediately.  What followed was a cruel journey of nearly two decades for both queens – imprisonment for Mary, and guilt and confusion for Elizabeth.

In her darkest hours, Elizabeth could feel the gnawing jealousy towards Mary eating away at her heart.  Jealousy because Mary had been given a kingdom and thrown it all away, whilst Elizabeth clung to her throne every day.  Jealousy because Mary was beautiful and charming, not ageing and childless like Elizabeth.   Several times Mary had written to Elizabeth, begging to meet her, convinced that if she could only see her and speak to her as a beloved sister, queen and cousin… But time and again, Elizabeth had refused her, determined not to be manipulated by that beautiful face, as others had.

Now, as Elizabeth thought of what Mary had been reduced to, that mangled corpse, how glad she was that her face, her pleas, her tears, had never taken place in front of her.

Elizabeth lay down in the darkness, resolving to sleep.  She would solve nothing tonight; perhaps the guilt over Mary’s death would stay with her until her last breath.  Dawn would soon arrive, and she would have to get up and face the day as the person who Mary could never be – the Queen of England.

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“A Queen I Am, and a Queen I Will Die”, by Mercy Alicea

December 28, 2013 in Historical Fact, News, Tudor Y Writer's Group by Su Majestad, La Reina Catalina de Aragón

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Catherine of Aragon was a daughter of mighty kings, a Queen of greatness and loved by her subjects; a woman of courage, determination, wisdom and strong spirituality; a woman loyal to her husband, devoted to her daughter, gentle in judgment and fierce in her feelings.  She was also a woman with countless virtues, and numerous weaknesses; a queen who was rejected, humiliated and hurt in rank and life; a woman who won the heart of a Kingdom but lost the heart of her King.  Her story is a legend, a romantic tragedy in many way. Catherine of Aragon is remembered as the Queen of Hearts, a woman who died holding her truth and her beliefs.  She never yielded; and until her last breath, she kept her love for the man that was the cause of her agony and fall close… that man, King Henry VIII of England.

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Catherine of Aragon was born on December 16, 1485 in Alcala de Henares, Spain. She was the daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.   Catherine was quite short in stature with long red hair, wide blue eyes, a round face, and a fair complexion. She was descended, on her maternal side, from the English royal house; her great-grandmother Catherine of Lancaster. Consequently, she was third cousin of her father-in-law, Henry VII of England, and fourth cousin of her mother-in-law ,Elizabeth of York.

Catherine was educated by a tutor, Alessandro Geraldini, who was a clerk in The Holy Orders. She studied religion, the classics, Latin histories, canon and civil law, heraldry and genealogy. She had a strong religious upbringing and developed a faith that would play a major role in later life. She learned to speak, read and write in Spanish and Latin, and spoke French and Greek. She was also taught domestic skills, such as needlepoint, lace-making, embroidery, music and dancing. The great scholar Erasmus would later say that Catherine “loved good literature which she had studied with success since childhood”.

Catherine was a bright child, and from the start she was seen as a perfect piece for the conquest of wealth, prestige and power.   She was told since she was a little girl, that she eventually will meet and marry Prince Arthur, heir to the Throne of England. On November 4, 1501, Arthur and Catherine met for the first time. There are no records about their first impressions about each other, but Arthur did write to his parents-in-law that he would be “a true and loving husband” and told his parents that he was immensely happy to “behold the face of his lovely bride”.

Unfortunately, the couple found that they could not understand each other, since they had learned different pronunciations in Latin. Ten days later, on 14th of November, 1501, they were married at Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Once married, Arthur was sent to Ludlow Castle on the borders of  Wales to preside over the Council of Wales and the Marches, as was his duty as Prince of Wales, and his bride accompanied him. The couple stayed at Castle Lodge, Ludlow. It is during this period that the doubt about if the marriage was consummated or not comes at hand.  Since it is supposedly recorded that Prince Arthur wasn’t ill at the time and neither was she.  So, for some time, if the marriage was not consummated was for lack of love, interest, experience on the matter or indeed was consummated, and the couple were so strict on their duties or cold in their behavior to show their “love and attraction” publicly. There was also the costume, sometimes related with age and sometimes proper protocols of the time, that young royal couples spend time separated and away from “proper marriage life”. The fact is that a few months after their marriage and some public appearances, they both fell ill, probably of the sweating sickness. Arthur died on April 2, 1502, and Catherine woke up one morning recovered, but only to find out she was a widow.

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Despair came to Catherine, and she was in a limbo for a while, having no idea of what her fate would be. King Henry VII was worried about losing not only the juicy dowry that Catherine brought with her, but also the prestige of a Spanish alliance.  To settle the matter, it was agreed that Catherine would marry Henry VII’s second son, Henry, Duke of York, who was five years younger than she was. The death of Catherine’s mother Isabella of Castile, however, meant that her “value” in the marriage market decreased. Castile was a much larger kingdom than Aragon, and it was inherited by Catherine’s mentally unstable elder sister, Joanna, known as “the mad”. Over and over, the marriage was delayed until Henry was old enough, but King Henry VII fought so much over payment of the remainder of Catherine’s dowry that it became doubtful that the marriage would take place. She lived as a virtual prisoner at Durham House in London.  Some of the letters she wrote to her father complaining of her treatment have survived. In one of these letters she tells him that “I choose what I believe, and say nothing. For I am not as simple as I may seem.” She had little money and struggled to cope, as she had to support her ladies-in-waiting as well as herself. In 1507, she served as the Spanish Ambassador to England, the first female ambassador in European history.  While Henry VII and his councilors expected her to be easy to manipulate, Catherine went on to prove them wrong.

Even with her strength, the situation for Catherine was still overwhelming and complicated. Her future marriage depended on a dispensation provided by the Pope,  since it was against the Canon Law that a man takes his brother’s wife. That statement would give Catherine more heartache in the future. Catherine of Aragon walked forward and faced the matter with strong determination.  She swore under the Sacred Name of God that her marriage with Prince Arthur was not consummated, and that she was still intact and pure as she came from the womb of her mother.  Catherine’s chaperone was interrogated, and she also swore that her mistress was still a virgin. Finally, the Pope gave the most expected dispensation, and the marriage of The Dowager Princess of Wales, Catherine of Aragon, and Henry, Duke of York, took place on June 11th 1509 in a private ceremony at Greenwich Church. She was 23 years of age. and Henry was just days short of his 18th birthday. Plus, he just ascended to the throne, since his father died earlier the same year.

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On June 23; King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon were crowned and anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey, with the joy of the realm and the luxury, honors and extravagances of the event.   The hopes of England were upon their shoulders, and they looked happy, content with each other. They were young, strong and determined to lead England in to a Golden Age.

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Catherine was happy with her marriage, and the King was pleased, but soon, things were close to change.  The young Queen was happy with the news that she was expecting her first child and so was the King. Hopes for a Prince were on the scale and the realm was praying for that.   Sadly, on January 1510, Catherine delivered a stillborn girl. It is considered that her sadness and the symptoms after a miscarriage of that grade made the queen believe she was still pregnant with a second child. In fact, her belly remained swollen for a long time after the miscarriage, and her physicians also believed in the idea of a second child still alive inside her. The thought that she was expecting twins filled her mind with optimism but, nothing happened. There was no second child, and the hopes on the moment were lost. The King was positive still. Catherine was a healthy woman and  more children would come, sons for sure.

Once again, Queen Catherine was pregnant, and delivered a son on New Year’s Day 1511 to the joy of the King and the pride of the realm. He seemed healthy and strong to survive; and he was christened as Henry, Duke of Cornwall. Jousts and banquets were celebrated in honor of the Prince’s birth, but the happy event would not last. Soon the darkness of mourning invaded their lives, and the Prince died suddenly, 52 days after his birth.  The royal couple was devastated. The Queen mourned for her dead son as any mother would do, and for a while the royal couple seemed to concentrate in their duties more that in being in mourning for their loss or trying to conceive again.

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By 1513, Queen Catherine was pregnant again, and in June, Henry appointed her Regent while he was in France in a military campaign.  Catherine took her charge seriously, and was very busy making standards, banners, and badges at Richmond Palace. The Scots invaded and on 3 September, and she ordered Thomas Lovell to raise an army in the midland counties.

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Catherine rode north in full armor to address the troops, despite being heavily pregnant at the time.  From Woburn Abbey she sent a letter to Henry along with a piece of the bloodied coat of King James IV of Scotland, who died in the battle, for Henry to use as a banner at the siege of Tournai.   But the glorious victory claimed a price. Catherine gave birth to a stillborn son that same year, and despair covered their lives again.  In 1514, the Queen lost another child, a son who lived only a few hours after birth.  The King was not only sad — he started to be distant and cold with his once beloved wife.  Catherine knew he was disappointed, but her faith and her love gave her hopes that soon she will please her King with a healthy son.

February 18th 1516, the Queen once again was in labor, and she delivered a healthy girl; no the prince expected but at least, the Princess seemed to be very strong, and well enough to survive infancy.  She was baptized with all the honors, and named Mary.  For Catherine her daughter was a blessing; for Henry, she was a sign that all was not lost, hopefully a brother will follow her arrival.

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After the birth of Princess Mary, things in the Kingdom changed as well for the royal couple.  The Queen became deeply interested in increasing her religious studies, and she was always part in the development and education of her daughter. Instead Henry was having the luxurious life of a still very young King — jousting, playing tennis, partying and in many occasions, enjoying the living beauties of his court. As a well educated noble woman, Catherine knew that this behavior was expected from men, especially from Kings, so she learned to endure the rumors and the facts. After all, she was his true and legitimate wife, anointed Queen of England… for her, nothing could change that.

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In 1518, the news of the Queen being pregnant filled the realm with hopes and wishes of the arrival of a Prince.  Their majesties were rejoiced; once again they spend almost all the time together, in private and in public. The young lion was pacified, his desire for a son was greater than the pleasures of his court, and he was determined to keep Catherine calmed and happy.  On November 10th, the Queen delivered a girl, so weak, that only survived for six days. This was the last time the Queen conceived and delivered a child.  Nothing would be the same after the dead of this unnamed little child.

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This loss marked the heart of Queen Catherine. Her marriage was as cold as ice as rumors of the King taking mistresses increased. Her attempts to recover the King’s love and attention were in vain. In public they were King and Queen, while in private, they were like strangers. He stopped visiting her bedchamber and rarely dined with her.  The Queen’s only comfort and joy was her daughter Mary. Catherine was proud of her, and the bond between them was deep and strong.  Henry adored Mary, but as King, he knew she was not a strong rock for the future of his realm and his lineage.

Henry wanted a son with all his heart, and fate gave him the chance; but not with Catherine.  It was his mistress, Lady Elizabeth Blount who gave him a son. He recognized the child and named him, Henry Fitzroy and gave him the title of Duke of Richmond and Somerset; also the title of Earl of Nottingham. Technically this would place him above Princess Mary in the line of succession, considering the fact that England would not accept a female upon the throne of England. Catherine felt not only betrayed, but also insulted and humiliated.  She constantly blamed Cardinal Wolsey for the King’s actions.  They were almost natural enemies due to the fact that Wolsey’s only interest was to please the King in the desire of increase his own wealth and power in the realm — and for Catherine’s bad luck, it was working.

Many at court, especially higher rank men were noticing the King’s distance from the Queen, and they were ready to take advantage from it.  The absence of a male heir rose the desires of the Duke of Buckingham to claim the throne and eventually lead him to his downfall and execution. The proud and strong Howard-Boleyn faction immediately moved their pieces in the game to win the favors of the King.  First, Mary Boleyn was used to lure the King in the path to the Boleyn’s rise and the Howard’s increase of power.  The young and passionate Boleyn girl managed to grab the King’s passion and it is believed that she may have gaven him two illegitimate children.  But that passion died soon and the Boleyn-Howard alliance moved in another more secure direction… their most precious jewel; the one with the skills, beauty, charm and courage to lead their needs and their greed to the higher level; the young Lady Anne Boleyn.

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Anne made her début at the Chateau Vert (Green Castle) pageant in honor of the imperial ambassadors on 4 March 1522, playing “Perseverance.” There she took part in an elaborate dance accompanying Henry’s younger sister Mary, several other ladies of the court, and her sister. All wore gowns of white satin embroidered with gold thread. She quickly established herself as one of the most stylish and accomplished women at the court, and soon a number of young men were competing for her. Henry was lost under Anne’s spell, and she became an obsession for him.  As soon as she became one of Catherine’s ladies in waiting, the persecution started. Queen Catherine learned from the past. What happened with Lady Blount was too serious to forget, and serious enough to work to avoid the same in the future.   She was aware of Anne, she saw the difference in her among her ladies in waiting.  She was proud, not docile or willing to be treated as a servant. At court Catherine saw the way the King looked at her, and the Queen’s most loyal servants were already filling Her Majesty with the rumors of the King’s passion for Lady Boleyn.

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Catherine started to show Anne that she was the Queen, and at the same time she was trying hard to win the King’s heart once again.  But all was against her, as her enemies started to favor Ann, and the fact the she no able to conceive again was her worst weakness.  Slowly but surely Anne was winning ground, and Catherine was losing the battle.

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In time, Catherine had to admit that Anne Boleyn was a dangerous rival, with all the weapons to destroy her.  Anne was younger, and even when she was not popular at court, she had powerful allies, small but strong enough to cause her damage.  In those days the joy of the King was the joy of the realm; to please him was equal to have the power so if the King wanted a new Queen… the King would achieve that whatever the cost. The King wanted Anne. He loved her, and she was his hope for a male heir.  Her promises to deliver a son to him once they were married increased his desire to a level of desperation.  He commanded Wolsey the task of obtain a divorce.  This task would not be easy, since divorce was disallowed by the Catholic Church; and the people of England would hardly accept that, and less to see Anne Boleyn as their new Queen.

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Catherine was defiant when it was suggested that she quietly retire to a nunnery, saying, “God never called me to a nunnery. I am the King’s true and legitimate wife”. He set his hopes upon an appeal to the Holy See, acting independently of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, whom he told nothing of his plans. William Knight, the King’s secretary, was sent to Pope Clement VII to sue for an annulment, on the grounds that the dispensing Bull of Pope Julius II was obtained by false pretenses. As the Pope was at that time the prisoner of Catherine’s nephew, Emperor Charles V, following the Sack of Rome in May 1527, Knights had difficulty in obtaining access to him. In the end, Henry’s envoy had to return without accomplishing much. Henry now had no choice but to put this great matter into the hands of Thomas Wolsey, and Wolsey did all he could to secure a decision in Henry’s favor. Wolsey went so far as to convene an ecclesiastical court in England with a representative of the Pope presiding, and Henry and Catherine herself in attendance.  When she was allowed to speak for herself,  Catherine did the unexpected, she knelt before her lord and husband and spoke with the heart:

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“Sir, I beseech you for all the love that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice. Take of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman, and a stranger born out of your dominion. I have here no assured friends, and much less impartial counsel… Alas! Sir, wherein have I offended you, or what occasion of displeasure have I deserved?… I have been to you a true, humble and obedient wife, ever comfortable to your will and pleasure, that never said or did any thing to the contrary thereof, being always well pleased and contented with all things wherein you had any delight or dalliance, whether it were in little or much. I never grudged in word or countenance, or showed a visage or spark of discontent. I loved all those whom ye loved, only for your sake, whether I had cause or no, and whether they were my friends or enemies. This twenty years or more I have been your true wife and by me ye have had divers children, although it hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which hath been no default in me… When ye had me at first, I take God to my judge, I was a true maid, without touch of man. And whether it be true or no, I put it to your conscience. If there be any just cause by the law that ye can allege against me either of dishonesty or any other impediment to banish and put me from you, I am well content to depart to my great shame and dishonour. And if there be none, then here, I most lowly beseech you, let me remain in my former estate… Therefore, I most humbly require you, in the way of charity and for the love of God – who is the just judge – to spare me the extremity of this new court, until I may be advised what way and order my friends in Spain will advise me to take. And if ye will not extend to me so much impartial favour, your pleasure then be fulfilled, and to God I commit my cause!”

She ended her speech still on her knees, though Henry had tried to raise her up twice during her speech. She then asked for the King’s permission to write to the Pope to defend her honor, which he gave. Catherine then curtseyed, and instead of walking back to her seat walked straight out of court, ignoring the crier who called for her to return to her seat. As her receiver general, Griffin Richards, told her that she was being called back, Catherine was heard to reply, “On, on. It makes no matter, for it is no impartial court for me, therefore I will not tarry. Go on.” And with that she left the court.

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Over the next month, Henry VIII tried to prove that Catherine had consummated her marriage to his brother, Arthur, but Catherine had already signed protestations of her virginity and Bishop John Fisher shocked the court in his defense of Catherine’s virtue, quoting from the Book of Matthew and saying: “Quos Deus conjunxit, homo non separet. ‘What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.’ And, for as much as this marriage was made and joined by God to a good intent, I say that I know the truth; which is that it cannot be broken or loosed by the power of man.” Bishop Fisher then said that he was so convinced of Catherine’s cause that he would lay down his life for it. Henry VIII then sent Wolsey and Campeggio to see Catherine, to try and bully her into submission, but this failed miserably. In the meantime, on the 13th July, Pope Clement approved Catherine’s appeal, although Catherine was not to hear of this for some time. In desperation, Campeggio tried another stalling tactic. In July 1529, he announced that the court would adjourn until October, for a summer recess due to the fact that it was “reaping and harvesting” time in Rome, a time when courts did not sit. Henry VIII was furious but the Legatine Court was suspended, never to sit again because then the news reached England that Catherine’s appeal had been successful. It was a huge blow for Henry, who had expected the court to pass sentence and rule in his favor on the 23rd July.

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Queen Catherine felt a relieve after this victory.  What she did not know was that Henry was determined still to get rid of her and make Anne his Queen.   Her “victory” only brought more humiliation to her, since Henry walked with Anne openly at court, dined with her and her family — the young Boleyn girl wore stunning dresses and jewels, shining like a Queen while she was in the shadows, rejected, publicly neglected, and hurt in the deepness of her heart. Time passed, Catherine remained queen of England. Anne Boleyn was getting desperate. She wanted to be Henry’s only jewel, arguing with Henry constantly. Anne made him obvious that he will not have her body while Catherine remained as Queen, or at least close enough to provoke her premature downfall in her desires to become Queen of England.

The King was in rage. Many times he tried to make Catherine leave court, but he failed.  In time, he made alliances with no Catholic factions and members of the Reformist Line. Anne herself gave Henry books that filled his mind with a stronger essence of what his power could be. If he himself becomes the Head of his own Church, with no Pope to tell him what to do, the power of dominance and decision was all his — so he himself could divorce from Catherine and marry Anne freely.

One cold morning, Catherine received the visit of the rising Thomas Cromwell, alongside the Duke of Suffolk and the Duke of Norfolk. She was told that by order the King to leave White Hall Palace to Kimbolton Castle within a month. She was allowed to keep all her ladies in waiting.  Catherine knew all was lost.  She was also ordered to give up and return the official jewels of Queen of England — and for that order, she gave a strong replied “No, I will not give up what is rightfully mine, to adorn a woman who is the scandal of Christendom”. 

At the same moment, when one of Queen Katherine’s ladies began to curse Anne Boleyn, Queen Katherine commanded her instead to:

Pray for her because the time would come when you shall pity and lament her case.”

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With these words, you can openly see that Catherine learned that Henry was not the man she thought he was.  The true Henry, the only man she loved and still loved with all her being, was nothing but a tyrant, a man with no sense of pity, gentleness, chivalry or compassion.  She learned that he only wanted to please himself and fulfill his wish to have a son to make his name great and his legacy eternal.  In her heart, Catherine felt that Anne Boleyn surely will suffer as much as she was suffering, if she dared to fail in giving the King what he wanted the most, a living son and heir.

And so it was, Queen Catherine was forced to leave her home, her throne and her life behind.  The majority of her ladies in waiting were not willing to share a life short of the accommodations at court so they changed sides and asked to serve the new jewel of the palace, the Lady Anne Boleyn.  The “Queen of Hearts” found herself alone, in a damp castle, with only the company of three maids, and with little money to support them.  Even her best friend and companion, Lady Maria de Salinas was forbidden to make contact with her.  She was also forbidden to see her beloved daughter Mary. Catherine was deeply wounded, and slowly she was fading away. The sadness, the loneliness, the humiliation and pain were carving scars in her soul and in her health.  But her courage was intact, and her maternal instincts too.  She wrote a letter to her daughter Mary in 1534:

Daughter,

I heard such tidings today that I do perceive if it be true, the time is come that Almighty God will prove you; and I am very glad of it, for I trust He doth handle you with a good love. I beseech you agree of His pleasure with a merry heart; and be sure that, without fail, He will not suffer you to perish if you beware to offend Him. I pray you, good daughter, to offer yourself to Him. If any pangs come to you, shrive yourself; first make you clean; take heed of His commandments, and keep them as near as He will give you grace to do, for then you are sure armed. And if this lady [Anne Shelton] do come to you as it is spoken, if she do bring you a letter from the King, I am sure in the self same letter you shall be commanded what you shall do. Answer with few words, obeying the King, your father, in everything, save only that you will not offend God and lose your own soul; and go no further with learning and disputation in the matter. And wheresoever, and in whatsoever company you shall come, observe the King’s commandments. Speak you few words and meddle nothing. I will send you two books in Latin; the one shall be De Vita Christi with a declaration of the Gospels, and the other the Epistles of St Jerome that he did write to Paul and Eustochium, and in them I trust you shall see good things. And sometimes for your recreation use your virginals or lute if you have any.

But one thing I especially desire you, for the love that you do owe unto God and unto me, to keep your heart with a chaste mind, and your body from all ill and wanton company, not thinking or desiring any husband for Christ’s passion; neither determine yourself to any manner of living till this troublesome time be past. For I dare make sure that you shall see a very good end, and better than you can desire. I would God, good daughter, that you did know with how good a heart I do write this letter unto you. I never did one with a better, for I perceive very well that God loveth you. I beseech Him of His goodness to continue it; and if it fortune that you shall have nobody with you of your acquaintance, I think it best you keep your keys yourself, for howsoever it is, so shall be done as shall please them.

And now you shall begin, and by likelihood I shall follow. I set not a rush by it; for when they have done the uttermost they can, than I am sure of the amendment. I pray you, recommend me unto my good lady of Salisbury, and pray her to have a good heart, for we never come to the kingdom of Heaven but by troubles.

Daughter, whatsoever you come, take no pain to send unto me, for if I may, I will send to you.

Your loving mother, 
Katharine the Queen.

These are the words of  a loving mother, but also the words of a wise Queen.  She is giving her daughter the skills to deal with the war that her father caused. Mary was  no longer a Princess, and Anne Boleyn was a dark figure in her life. Also, she knew that Henry was capable of many things to get what he wants, so she must make sure her daughter will keep her soul and mind intact, but at the same time, her safety too.

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Catherine’s health was weak. She barely left her bed but she kept herself in the comfort of her prayers.  She wrote another letter in 1535 to one of her supporters,  Ambassador Eustace Chapuys. Her daughter Mary was ill at that time, and she, as any normal mother, wanted to see her and take care of her, even when she herself, was in more delicate condition:

Mine especial friend, 

You have greatly bound me with the pains that you have taken in speaking with the king my lord concerning the coming of my daughter unto me. The reward you shall trust to have of God; for (as you know) in me there is no power to gratify what you have done, but only with my goodwill. As touching the answer which has been made you, that his highness is contented to send her to some place nigh me, so as I do not see her, I pray you vouchsafe to give unto his highness mine effectual thanks for the goodness which he shows to his daughter and mine, and for the comfort that I have thereby received; as as to my seeing of her, you shall certify that, if she were within one mile of me, I would not see her. For the time permitteth not that I should go about sights, and be it that I would I could not, because I lack provision therefore.


Howbeit, you shall always say unto his highness that the thing which I desired was to send her where I am; being assured that a little comfort and mirth, which she should take with me, should undoubtedly be half a health to her. I have proved the like by experience, being diseased of the same infirmity, and know how much good it may do that I say. And, since I desired a thing so just and reasonable, and that so much touched the honor and conscience of the king my lord, I thought not it should have been denied me.
Let not, for my love, to do what you may that this may yet be done. Here have I, among others, heard that he had some suspicion of the surety of her. I cannot believe that a thing so far from reason should pass from the royal heart of his highness; neither can I think that he hath so little confidence in me. If any such matter chance to be communed of, I pray you say unto his highness that I am determined to die (without doubt) in this realm; and that I, from henceforth, offer mine own person for surety, to the intent that, if any such thing should be attempted, that then he do justice of me, as of the most evil woman that ever was born.

The residue I remit to your good wisdom and judgment as unto a trusty friend, to whom I pray God give health.

Katharine the Queen.

Her desire was never fulfilled, but her illness was persistent. Over and over her long time friend, Lady Maria de Salinas wanted to see her, and she was forbidden to do so.  Lady Maria finally managed to force her entrance to Kimbolton Castle and got what she wanted, to be close to her mistress and friend, in her most needed time.  She was present when Catherine dictated her last letter to the man she loved and respected since the moment she joined her life to his in Holy Matrimony; her lord and husband, King Henry:

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7th January, 1536 

My most dear lord, king and husband,

The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles. For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.

Katharine the Quene.

Until her last breath, Catherine acted as Queen of England, a wife and a mother.  She never lost that pride, that essence, that courage and determination to keep what she was; to protect her rights and her dignity in her own way.  In her heart she never stopped being the Queen of England. In her soul Mary would always be the Princess and only heir to the throne. In her mind, the people will always remember her as the true wife of the King. She never lost her faith, as God was her only judge, comfort and companion in the hardest moments of her life.  She died in pain, but in peace, in the arms of her friend, Lady Maria de Salinas, who cried openly for the death of her friend and true mistress.

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The Lady Mary, now a servant in the household of her sister, the Princess Elizabeth, received the news and grieved alone — a cold blow to her already deeply wounded soul.  She had to suffer in silence the death of her mother. Mary’s heart developed bitterness towards the main element in the disgrace of her mother –Anne Boleyn, and the Reformist curse that provoked the dissolution of the Holy Union between the Kingdom of England and Rome.  Mary was now on her own, with no idea of what her fate would be.

Catherine of Aragon died in misery, but her legacy, her determination, her piety, dignity, strength and pride will always be remembered. She left this world with many satisfactions, even when they were mixed with losses and tribulations; in her times of despair she found support.  Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher died defending not only her marriage, but also her beloved faith, for her that was a proof not only of loyalty, also of friendship, something that was rare to find on those days.  She was a Queen not only in rank, but also in actions.  She was the “Queen of Hearts” – a Queen who determined until her death, that she was a Queen and like a Queen, she would die.

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This was written by King Henry VIII, in the early and loving years of his marriage… to Queen Catherine of  Aragon.

As the holly grows green 

With ivy all alone,
When flowers can not be seen
And greenwood leaves be gone.

Now unto my lady
Promise to her I make:
From all other, only
to her, I me betake.

Adieu, my own lady.
Adieu, my special
Who hath my heart truly,
Be sure, and ever shall.

 

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Sources:

http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/cardinal-campeggio-and-the-legatine-court/#ixzz2odyWYPy7

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxH-yiuvi7o

*http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/Katherine+of+Aragon’s+Quotes

*http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/Historical+and+Contemporary+Art+of+Katherine+of+Aragon

*http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/Queen+Katherine+of+Aragon

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar%C3%ADa_de_Salinas

*http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/Katherine+of+Aragon+in+her+own+words

*http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/Katherine+of+Aragon+Art+Gallery

*http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/King+Henry+VIII+in+his+own+words

Hever Castle

July 8, 2013 in News, Uncovering The Most Happy by Sofia Arellano

Note:

This photos are not mine! They are googled due to photography rules at Hever. I give credit to all photographers and do not claim them as my own.

Good Morning Wonderful Queen Anne Boleyn readers!

Two days ago I had the privilege of venturing to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Luckily my wonderful professor gave me and some friends leave to take Monday to get the hell out of London in the name of history. Thank you Professor Mackley!

On stepping foot outside the train I was astonished by how ‘English countryside,’ the town of Hever actually is. It feels like one is stepping into a fairy tale. The walk from the train station to Hever castle is about a mile. The walk itself is beautiful, there are no sidewalks, just narrow roads surrounded by wildflowers and vast farmland. It is easy to imagine people here having a knack for athletics such as horseback. With such wide open spaces and clean air it seems the perfect safe haven to escape the city.

The castle itself is exceeding simple and cozy compared to the royal palaces. In fact, not much of the Boleyn’s remains there as the after their tragic fall the castle passed briefly to Anne of Cleves and then afterwards fell into disrepair until the Astors repaired it and added their personal touches everywhere.

Hever Castle from across the river

It’s difficult to imagine Henry VIII bringing his personal entourage here, it seems like when he visited he most likely came with at most two or three other people due to the intimate feel of Hever Castle. The main thing I thought the most about Hever is just how ‘country,’ it would seem to somebody used to court life. Perhaps Anne was more of an English country girl than I thought! Her roots so removed from London in an area that seems must more relaxed. This must have been the perfect setting for a happy and well rounded childhood. The room believed to be her bedroom which she shared with her sister Mary is surprisingly small. No furniture is technically in it besides the bed head supposedly said to belong to Anne. Sadly this claim is false as the wood is not old enough to have been around in the 1500’s.

Bed head in Anne Boleyn’s childhood room.

 

The room also contains an authentic portrait of Anne herself. I found her to be portrayed as significantly prettier than her other likenesses.  I was happy to finally find one in which I felt she was very attractive.

She was probably darker than this in real life, as she has been described as ‘swarthy,’ or more yellow toned. Also take note of the hair color, not black as many contemporary sources would lead you to belief but medium brown/auburn. If you look closely her eyes and hair almost seem to match! Looking at this portrait made me wonder exactly what kind of child she must have been. I imagine she must have been very clever as a child like she was as a woman. I also like to think that because Hever was surrounded by forest and marsh land during Tudor times she was also skilled in riding and archery, therefore by the Tudor standards she must have been thought of as very self sufficient and outdoorsy. The size of her living quarters lead me to believe that she was closer with her family than history will let on. There is no way growing up in such an intimate setting that one does not bond with their siblings and parents. History has labeled the Boleyns as overly ambitious, manipulative, and vindictive social climbers yet we forget that they were a family just like everyone else. Sir Thomas Boleyn has been portrayed as a coward willing to pimp out his daughters and risk the lives of his children in the name of nobility, but in reality Mary, George, and Anne were all raised to be great people. Sir Thomas put his daughters’ education first and foremost in securing power for the family. Perhaps he caught on sooner then most that education is power?

My favorite part of Hever was two things. One being the Tapestry that portrays the marriage of Mary Tudor to the French King. I love the tapestries because one of the ladies is supposed to be Anne but experts are stumped as to which one! She would have been 13 at the time of the tapestry being made and be at the peak of her experience in the French court. She most likely was charged with being an interpreter at this event.

I think she’s the one in red behind the lady in blue. It looks like something she would wear to stand out in a crowd and it’s the only woman I see to bear any kind of resemblance to Anne.

My other favorite part was seeing Anne’s Book of Hours. One of which was said to accompany her into the tower before her death.

An expert examines Anne Boleyn’s handwriting in her book of hours

Both of them have her scrawl in them. One of them saying “remember me when you doth pray, that hope doth lead from day to day.” Could this be something she wrote prior to her execution? I don’t personally know, but think about what a romantic idea that is. Seeing something that had been proven to once belong to Anne and seeing her writing really solidified her as an individual for me. the whole time I kept thinking ‘she was really here! This was her home.’

Her book of hours also showcase her devoutness and show how studious she really was.

All in all I’d say Hever Castle is certainly worth visiting just to see Anne’s books. Mostly her early childhood was spent here and through the years the Boleyns have been smeared all over the place. Although little of them remains anywhere it is eye opening to see the atmosphere Anne grew up in, especially because psychology gives so much credence to how someone was raised. When many people think of Anne Boleyn they immediately picture her barking orders from a golden throne, but it was simply not so! Hever Castle is the opposite and is strongly implicative of simple and clean early roots to this fabulous woman.

I can very much see why Henry and the Boleyns loved it here. It is a far cry from London life but in the greatest way possible. It is more of a home and less of a palace. Those who think of Anne as a conniving French brat would do well to come here and see her for what she really was; a noble woman with strong loyalty to her family and an inclination to be exotic due to her athletic abilities and her love of French culture. Her roots are surprisingly simple and yet she went on to change a country! You go girl!

Have a great day everyone!

-Sofia

 

 

 

 

 

A Day at Hampton Court

June 26, 2013 in News, Uncovering The Most Happy by Sofia Arellano

Please note:

I took so many beautiful pictures of what I saw but unfortunately the website will not let me upload anything above 2MB! When I edited and fixed all my pictures they were all about 5MB, so please excuse the lack of original pictures. Many of them I had to find online as mine would not upload!

This last Sunday I journeyed to Hampton Court to see for myself where Henry VIII set up his court during the early part of his reign. During the 1700’s a huge part of his original castle was demolished because the monarchs at the time wanted a baroque style court. I curse them today because so little is left of Henry’s original design. That being said, a little is left and the parts of the Tudor castle that are present are very relevant, as a history buff, I find these parts of Hampton court to be important and I myself can see Anne very much at home there during its glory days.

Upon my arrival I dedicated myself to asking the curators specifically about Anne Boleyn. This was my second time at Hampton Court so I didn’t feel shackled to the tourist aspect of the grounds, but rather committed myself to talking to a few strangers about Anne Boleyn. The first and most obvious part of Hampton I want to talk about is Henry VIII’s great dining hall. The dining hall was used rarely, as Henry and his Queen would have eaten in their private chambers. It was mostly used to entertain high profile guests and to celebrate Holidays. The space itself is pretty grand, but the most notable thing to take into account is the tapestries that Henry VIII had made specifically for the walls of the dining Hall at Hampton Court.

At the time, Henry’s tapestries (which detail the biblical story of Abraham) were the richest tapestries in existence. Indeed the picture you will note below, now thread bare, was originally mostly silver and gold thread. By silver and gold I mean the precious metals, not the colors :) These tapestries cost more than the ones displayed in the Vatican. By decorating these walls with these extravagant furnishings of gold and silver Henry was sending a distinct message to Rome. He was simply not to be messed with. Obviously it was in his divine right and power to be able to afford and display such emblems of power, and if his allowance money was greater than the pope’s then certainly his word would take greater precedent than the Pope’s any day. Some would argue that this is inferring too much on the behalf of some threads, but I disagree wholly because of what we know about the idea of hem monarch in the Tudor period.

An example of one of Henry’s grand tapestries

The monarch was a supreme human chosen by god to lead nations. In the Tudor era (according to the gentleman curator who I asked about Anne Boleyn) Henry’s servants were fed meat twice a day, when in other European courts the likes of were simply unheard of. That in and of itself shows the grandeur that was Henry’s court. The cloak of Abraham contains more silver threads in one tapestry then in all the tapestries in the Vatican combined, which would have been quite controversial. Not only was the material of the tapestry sending a blatant message but Henry through the story of Abraham was detailing his own life to everyone who was lucky enough to enter the great Hall. Henry of course was parallel to Abraham, the father of Israel who is bent to god’s will. Abraham essentially starts a new life over due to God’s bidding. His wife Sarah becomes pregnant with a son at an old age and therefore provides for the land of Israel an heir apparent who is begotten of divine will.

An excerpt from Hebrews 11:8-12 details:
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

Henry’s Great Hall at Hampton Court

 

Through his choice of biblical story we can see that Henry VIII was supposing himself to be the will of god. He was hinting at the birth of a new empire. He wanted an England independent of outside influence as well as absolute obedience and respect to his name, and he did it by using biblical influences. Perhaps he was foreshadowing his marriage to Anne in the tapestries as being willed by a higher power. Because this is an Anne Boleyn blog, let’s just assume that at the time Henry hung the tapestries he was enamored of her. In any case, one of the biggest fallacies about Anne is that she was a great deal younger than Henry. Although Sarah was exponentially older than Anne in the tapestries, to many Anne was no spring chicken. She was courted by Henry through the last years of her twenties and was not crowned until she hit her thirties.Even if Sarah does not allude specifically to Anne Boleyn, and alludes more specifically to Catherine of Aragon we can quite plainly see that Henry was hinting at greater forces controlling the birth of a male heir, including the timing of the birth of his much anticipated prince. He was trying to console himself and his people and wanted everyone to know a prince was coming; somehow, someway he would leave an empire behind.

In any case we can see what a sensitive subject not having a male heir was to the very masculine Henry.

The Hall itself is not exceedingly large, so I found it incredible that there were two H’s entertwined with A’s that people just missed after Anne’s death. To me they were very obvious, and it’s hard to think Henry never noticed them when he was out and about. The curator who was speaking to me about Anne just seemed to think they were overlooked, but to me the placement is so obvious that I have a difficult time understanding how these monograms went unnoticed. Anne is literally in the woodwork of the great hall, and her mark is apparent. When one considers her tragic death and the women that came after her it is unthinkable that they could have not noticed Henry and Anne’s initials sewn together in the woodwork of the Hall. What must they have thought being in the face of the man who was behind his wife’s own execution? How could they have brought themselves to sit in the chairs in which she sat, and eat off the plates she did, knowing of what ill Henry had done her? Having those initials glare at me from down the hall would have given me chills as I was courted by Henry after the fact.

Henry and Anne's Initials in the middle wooden panel.

Henry and Anne’s Initials in the middle wooden panel.

I was lucky enough to talk with my new friend the Curator for about a half hour after he pointed out the woodwork. I am always thrilled to be able to talk to people who are passionate about history. He said he wasn’t as sympathetic as I towards Anne, although he did admit there were many people in court out to get her. He really opened my eyes to the idea of Henry as king and just how highly he regarded himself as being the supreme being of the land. From what I got from my conversation with him, he felt that Anne’s allure for Henry was simply in her refusal. Anne from his perspective completely flat out refused the king at all costs. She held out to get the ultimate prize of being wed and crowned.  I got that he felt that king was merely lusting after her and as result really played the fool. I threw into the pile that I thought Henry really did love Anne due to the fact that he ripped his country open for her and executed people who defied the act of supremacy, especially his lifelong friend sir Thomas More. More ,Henry went out of his way to acquire and possess Anne. He made her a special title, showered her with precious gifts, and gifted her estates. Henry was seemingly a perfect gentleman. For someone who hated writing he wrote to her beautiful letters, he seemed to go out of his way to make her his equal, and that in and of itself was rare for the time and indicative of just how much he treasured her. I then proceeded to utter my discontent and horror to the curator that he dispatched of her so quickly. Its always a sensitive subject, and seeing the monogram made me want to debrief!

The curator agreed to a certain extent but then added in that Henry was taught to take what he wanted. At a certain point Henry believed that it was in god’s will for him to wed and impregnate Anne Boleyn, whether this was because of the love her bore her, or because he believed her to be fertile, or because he thought she conducted herself worthily of becoming his equal we will never know.

I for one feel that although Henry did love her, once he broke with the Catholic Church it became a question of his own honor. Was he man enough to see this separation in his life through? Would he finally be able to claim the prize of Anne’s sex and claim his rightful kingdom? Would he be able to forsake Catherine to raise Anne up? Of course he had convinced himself thus, and being the stubborn, passionate man I envision him to be he was going to have his way one way or another.

The curator pointed out the concept that Anne fell out of Divine favor. Once her virginity was relinquished she was unable to produce a son, and Henry’s biggest nightmare came true, he had broken apart a nation to be with a woman who was only producing daughters. When the charges came up against her it is possible that Henry felt that the divine was giving him a way out, so he rolled with it. In his mind, Henry could do no wrong and instead the other people in his life who were failing him were the ones that needed to vacate a seat for those that could perform the godful duties of being a ruler. The curator added that Anne was extremely prone to tempers. He talked about an account of her dog, Purkoy, being killed, and nobody wanting to tell her for fear of upsetting her. He felt this of itself showed what rages she was capable of, and he felt if people were scared of her she was obviously doing something wrong.

When I pointed out that no one should have laid a finger on her dog in the first place he agreed, but then focused more on how a woman in the Tudor period should not have behaved the way Anne did. When I thought about his claim everything started to make sense. The example he gave was here all the English women were walking around court with their heads covered in modesty and her comes the lady Anne showing off her beautiful waist length hair. That is a quick way to make enemies. People were trying to dispatch of her as soon as she stepped into Henry’s court, so her violent fall was not exactly unpredictable, and although it was swift it was meant to be so. What happened to poor Anne Boleyn was not an accident. But perhaps at the time it was seen as a fit punishment for a woman prone to quick tempers and for daring to flaunt her sexuality in public.

 

In the words of the curator “She was playing a dangerous game, and she lost.”  When he asked me what I thought about her, I brought up that there was always going to be a feminist view on her. He replied something to the effect of, “Ah, but you see there were no feminists at the time. Had she lived today she would be accepted, but for her times she just was not acceptable.” Which I felt was an extremely valid point. Indeed, if Queen Anne Boleyn would have been an acceptable lady for her time she would not have been the first Queen to lose her head.

I was surprised to learn that the curator had not heard the new theories about Henry being Kell positive, so when I whipped out that evidence from the new book I’m reading he seemed intrigued. Personally I find that explanation for King Henry VIII’s madness to be very convincing, when you mix that with the curator’s description of Henry’s mentality as King it makes so much sense, add in a jousting accident and you are right on the money for figuring how he went from showering Anne with gifts one day to ordering her death the next. Those three incidents are what allow me to sleep at night and not ponder why true love can turn into hatred so quickly.

An obvious example of Henry and Anne’s love

Philosophical questions like that are the bane of my life.

Anyway sorry for the side note. Moving onto Anne Boleyn’s Gateway at Hampton. I did not enter Anne’s apartments because they are not open to visitors but say the outside of the apartments where Henry set up Anne’s household for her before they were wed. Below is a picture of the outside. Her apartments themselves would have been very convenient for her to see exactly who was coming and going at Hampton Court. I wonder if she requested this specifically to keep an eye on Henry? It’s hard to say, but in any case, Henry’s private chambers and her apartments are not a far walk apart at all.

Anne apartments are to the left

 

The ceiling of Anne Boleyn’s gateway has several Henry and Anne monograms as well as her falcon crests everywhere! It is hard not to get teary eyed with romance as you glance up and look at it. Once again a beautiful example of the love between them both that was so ill fated.

The ceiling at Anne Boleyn’s Gateway. It has her falcon Badge and more of her and Henry’s monogram.

 

 

Anne’s badge

Although this is more of an abstract idea, I felt that the gardens at Hampton Court were really full of old Tudor energy. From Cardinal Wolsey’s old rooms you have a clear look at what he would have seen and where he would have walked, and if he walked there then I’m sure Henry and Anne would have at some point too. Walking the grounds themselves is what gave me the clearest idea of the romance between Henry and Anne. When strolling the gardens and parts of the palace it is easy to imagine them sneaking off to have a private moment, or to imagine Anne walking the gardens and admiring the flowers with her ladies. To walk where she would have been was a really heartwarming experience, in a way I felt that perhaps I was walking some of the better years of her life, when her star was rising, and when she was falling deeply in the love with the king.

Rose garden at Hampton Court.

 

I also really felt a connection in the rose Garden in Hampton Court. I don’t know whether or not it was around in the mid 1500’s or not, but when I was walking around smelling the roses, all of the sudden I felt this calm and peace rush over me. For the first time during that day I was not concerned about finding out the facts about Anne, or telling people what I thought about her story, I just enjoyed being amongst the roses and for a split second I thought, ‘everything is beautiful.’ From someone who is doom and gloom all the time I can assure you this is rare, and then I related it back to Anne because her motto was ‘the most happy,’ and if she had any kind of gorgeous flowers to waltz by at Hampton and had the promise of being crowned queen, I can see why. The gardens both elated me and refreshed me so I felt willing to continue on my stretch of palace.

Beside the garden the other place I felt the most Anne presence was in King Henry’s Royal chapel by his private apartments, in the Queen’s Pew. I felt chills down my back as I stood where the queen’s pew would have been and immediately asked a curator if the chapel was in use when Anne was Queen. He said it was and she indeed would have been to mass there quite frequently. He said she would have been the first queen to have attended mass in the chapel since by the time it was built Catherine had already left Hampton. I smiled immediately when he said that because I attributed the shiver down my spine to being in the same place Anne had stood in the chapel. He started laughing and said “so I take it, it all begins and ends with Anne Boleyn for you?” to which I nodded excitedly. I couldn’t get any pictures of the chapel because it is still a place of worship but I urge anyone who goes to Hampton court to take 30 minutes and visit it. It is one of the most beautiful historical things I’ve ever seen, it is so true to the period and any Tudor fan will immediately transcend the ages and feel the history in the paint and woodwork.  I felt blessed to for a second have felt so connected to the court of that time.

View from the Royal Pew at the Royal Chapel at Hampton Court

 

All in all my day visit to Hampton was extremely eye opening. My conversation with Curator gave me a completely different perspective on what people generally think about Anne Boleyn. Although I could have sat and talked to him for days, I was happy to have a first hand experience of whatever is left of Anne at Hampton Court. I was delighted to find that if you look for her, she is still there waiting for someone to judge her story correctly.

I came out of my visit with a more general understanding of the times and by the time I left, I truly felt like I had experienced something that made me want to continue learning about Anne and the Tudors,

Who knows maybe one day I’ll discover a stone not yet over turned?

Goodnight lovely Queen Anne Boleyn followers.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Falling Apart ( Q Court)

May 5, 2013 in Historical Fiction, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn, Tudor Q Court by H M Queen Anne Q

I am in my chambers, giving dancing lessons to my ladies; I am determined to go on with my life and my routine as Queen of England, I will not dare to face the King and fight with him, I need to be in peace with him so I can act better against Jane Seymour, when I finish with her she will even regret about the day she was born.  Suddenly, Nan arrives, I smile to her but I can see she is not in good spirits.  I tell my ladies to continue with the dancing lessons and I walk towards Nan, she really looks nervous.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

What is it Nan?

Nan Saville Q: 

Your Majesty…. I have been told that all the French meetings have been postponed for the week.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

Why?

Nan Saville Q:

I… I do not know Madame.  I also heard that… Master Cromwell has ordered that the ambassadors and guests from foreign countries leave London at once; they will stay in places outside the city until the King give new orders.  And…

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

Yes?

Nan Saville Q:

There is more…. Mark Smeaton have been arrested.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

What for?  *Now all my fears are starting to be a reality*

Nan Saville Q:

I don’t know…  What do you want me to do?

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*I am scared…all is working against me; I made a mistake threatening Cromwell!  He is now acting against me with all his evil might.  For sure he is poisoning the King, the council and even the entire England against me.  Suddenly I look to my left, and I see Sir Henry Norris lost in his thoughts while he looks at me… now is my chance to prove that I have honor in front of everyone here*

 

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

Sir Henry you are here again?… After all this time you have not find the courage to marry Lady Sheldon

Sir Henry Norris Q:

Your Majesty…. Marriage is not something you can plan overnight…

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

No, I know the truth; you look for dead man shoes!

Sir Henry Norris Q:

Pardon me?

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

What I believe is that you imagine that if something bad happens to the King, you feel you will have me!

Sir Henry Norris Q:

Majesty… If I ever had such a thought, I would want my head to be cut off!

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

Oh that can be arranged!

 

*Very upset and ashamed by the way I treated him, Sir Henry bows before me and leaves, I can see the reaction of everyone… at least now I proved that I am a clean, virtuous and honest woman.  Alas, I know that if the King has decided to get rid of me; that will not help me at all.  I look at Nan again.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

Nan, make arrangements for me to visit Elizabeth tomorrow, I want to see my daughter.

Nan Saville Q:

Yes Madame

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

And Nan… If something happens to me you promise to care for her? * I am close to cry; the idea of leave my baby girl without me breaks my heart*

Nan Saville Q:

*Her Majesty’s eyes are shining with tears, I’ve never seen her like this before, so afraid*  “Of course Madame, I promise.  *I curtsy and leave her chamber*

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*I am so afraid…who would have thought that I would have end up like Catherine of Aragon, doomed and neglected; replaced by another woman.  Rejected and hated for the same reason, the inability to produce a male heir.  I love Henry, but he never loved me; in any case I will fall; but at least I need to find a way to stay alive…I don’t think the King will handle another battle for a divorce… even if I  surrender to his will…. God Have Mercy on Me*

 

 

 

Fate Sealed ( Q Court)

November 15, 2012 in Historical Fiction, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn, Tudor Q Court by H M Queen Anne Q

 

Here I am, in the company of my father and my brother, I can see they are very proud of me; for the first time I am the center of attention, I feel so loved by the King… I am blessed indeed; and in a few moments, I will see him again. I smile as I see my father walk towards me* ”My dearest Jane, You look so beautiful. The King will be very pleased with you” *I smile again with pride* ”Thank you Father”. *Slowly, the door opens, I take a deep breath, and there he is… waiting for me, just for me. She is not around to stop me…I am so happy*

*I smile and I give a short but elegant curtsey to him and I follow him and sit beside him* Your Majesty is very gracious, and I am honored to be here with you; I am unworthy of your presence but… it makes me happy to be.. close to you *I look down*

King Henry Tudor Q:

*I stand, looking out upon the vast lawn of the palace grounds, my hand to my head, waiting. I have been anxious to see the Lady Jane, she intrigues me in a way that I cannot explain. As the door opens and I turn…there she is. The epitome of beauty and grace. Seeing her soothes my heavily burdened soul. I walk toward her, bow low to her hand, and kiss it, and my eyes follow her as she sits* Lady Jane, you are a vision of beauty. Please do not say you are unworthy of anything, Jane…for that crushes my heart. You deserve the world.

Lady Jane Seymour Q :

*I smile to him, no matter what I am sure of his love… alas I know I will replace the queen and she will be in disgrace; but… she is not worthy of his love so… I feel no regrets nor guilt. I look a moment towards his servant and I notice he carries a beautiful black and gold velvet jewel box… it is s gift for me?* ”Your majesty is very kind to me… and I promise, with all my heart, to always honor and worship you… until the end of my days”.

King Henry Tudor Q:

*overwhelmed by the beauty of grace of the lady Jane, I turn from Lady Jane to my servant, who was told prior to not show sign of the gift as it was to be a surprise* Excuse me, milady. *glares ruthlessly at the servant as if to say, you incompetent fool! Knowing I cannot allow sweet Jane to see this side of me, I take the box, and open it to reveal a locket in the finest of gold* I hope you mean what you say, my sweet Jane. For if you did not, well, this king’s heart could not survive it. *nods to the locket* Open it, and hold me forever close to your heart.

Lady Jane Seymour Q:

*I am impressed by the beauty of the Jewel, and when I open it, I see the image of the man I love, my King, my Henry; Now I have no doubts, He loves as much as I love him* ”Your majesty I will keep this with me always… and when I die, this will stay with me, close to my heart, forever *I smile to him, sealing my promise*

Later that same night, Lady Jane Seymour is again in the Chamber of Queen Anne, with the other ladies in waiting

 

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*I am in my chamber, with Nan by my side; then Sir Henry Norris come to my side and bows before me, I smile and then he leaves; I have a doubt in my mind so I ask Nan* ”I wonder why after all this time he still not marry Madge”. Nan Smiles and says: ”I think Norris comes here more for your Majesty than he does for Madge”. *I smile* ”For me?

 

* Then Nan says something serious to me*. ”Your Majesty I heard the Seymours are now enjoying the privacy of Mr. Cromwell’s apartments”. * I am in shocked* ”Cromwell? *Then I look near my bed, Jane Seymour is there, I will find out why the Seymours have so much privileges around here*

 

*I walk towards her and I find her with a locket* What is that? *She looks at me with that false inocent face and replies*: ”Is a locket, your majesty”.

 

*Then I face her again* ”Let me see it”. *She refuses and that makes me angry; I ask her one more time* ”Let me see it! *When she comes closer I take it and open it, it has an image of Henry, that hurts me deeply*

 

 

*With rage I rip the locket off her neck, cutting my fingers but I do not care, I order her to leave at once. I throw the locket to the floor and I leave my chamber*

 

 

* I will face Cromwell, he is the traitor behind is, I have no doubts. Finally I arrive to his office, I open the door, his assistants stand up but he acts like I am not there… he is intolerable*

 

Thomas Cromwell Q:

It’s been another very long day. His Majesty called for me early this morning, and we met for several hours reviewing the realm’s finances, which are increasing daily as monasteries continue to be liquidated. He is in a demanding frame of mind, particularly since the Queen lost his son. The king will never forgive her, and my repeated recommendations to consider a nunnery have gone unheard. I swear he wants her dead. I am deep in thought as to how to best approach him and the Lords at Privy Council tomorrow morning, reading through my records seeking an answer to the barrage of questions I know they will throw my way. ”Her Majesty, Queen Anne!” What was that? I look up, and there stands the queen. By the look on her face, I know this will not go easy. I stand and bow respectfully. ”Good Evening, Your Majesty. Our reformation moves a pace. Are you pleased?” As soon as I ask the question, I regret it.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*This man thinks I was born yesterday, but since he touched the subject, I will begin my attack from there; with my pride in the highest level and my rage in even higher level I dismiss his assistants and walk towards his desk* ”My father tells me that you have been closing all religious houses around this realm and sending all the money and values to the King’s treasury. Is that true? *I take a look at his documents… nothing interesting yet*

Thomas Cromwell Q:

Oh heavens, the woman is sifting through my papers. I am glad I moved my notes from the interviews with her maids earlier today. I look over and state matter-of-fact, ”Of course, your father is Lord Privy Seal. He is aware first hand of the treasury, Your Majesty.”

HM  Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*His reply does not satisfy me, in fact I feel so angry that I would love to jump to the real point that made me come here to his office, but I will wait, I need to show him that I am the Queen of England and that I am above him in everything* ”I think you forget that our reformation was never based on personal gain. Religious houses were not meant to be close off, they are supposed to be converted for better uses! Charitable, educational causes… Something that even Wolsey did, you remember that don’t you?

Thomas Cromwelly Q:

This woman grates at my nerves. I remain composed, and ask ”Are you questioning the King’s will, Majesty?”

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*And he dares to ask me questions..* I question the will of his Majesty Mr, Cromwell because I am not sure that it is exactly his own will that acts behind this! *I am sick of his attitude, I walk towards him and face him* ” And I want to know something else… is it true that you give your private apartments to the Seymours? *If I could, I would crush him right now*

Thomas Cromwelly Q:

I look at her, and attempt answering by saying nothing.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*His silence angers me more, because I think he is playing with me; I grab his arm and show him that I am in rage* ”I am the Queen of England and you will answet to me, is it true?!! *I hide my urge to cry*

Thomas Cromwell Q:

I am not a stupid man. I will not enrage her more than she is by arguing. The woman is still queen, and His Majesty has changed his mind on many matters in the past. I decide to take the least provoking course, and merely nod affirmatively.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*He is against me, my enemy; and a dangerous one I must admit* I see you forgot who gave you the chance to be where you are now Mr. Cromwell…. you forget who helped you; you bite the hand that fed you! And you dare to support the King in his relationship with his mistress! Do you really think that I do not have enough power to crush you?! Think like that will be a great mistake for you Mr, Cromwell, you are placing yourself in real great danger! Do you believe me? *Is hard for me to hide my fear and my tears but I work hard on it*

Thomas Cromwell Q:

Damn… I see it now. The queen completely turned on me. So long as there is any chance at all of Anne staying on the thrown, I am at huge risk of a major fall. I pray God forgives me. I pray my son forgives me. I pray Dearest Cranmer forgives me. All thoughts of a nunnery are now gone. His Majesty will have his way, and I will use the maids innuendo, and push her straight into her grave. I glare at the queen, and remain silent.

HM Queen Anne Boleyn Q:

*I look at him, still no answer, very well, we will deal with each other that way* ”I hope you consider your chances Master Cromwell….I would be very, very careful if I were you” *I can not be near him anymore so I walk away from him, I open the doors with anger and leave*

Thomas Cromwell Q:

I swallow hard, and call over a page. ”Go find James Edwards, now. Do not tarry.”

 

————–FADES TO BLACK——————–

Tale of a Secret Passion … Part 2: Just One Kiss (Ks Court)

August 21, 2012 in Historical Fiction, News by Charles Brandon Ks

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk:

I am in the garden at Hampton Court Palace  lacing my bow to shoot. I take a deep breath, draw my bow back and aim the arrow. I release the the lace, shoot the arrow and the bulls eye is struck dead on. I grin and take a look around, as I hear a heavenly voice, behind me call out  ”Your Grace” . I turn and realize it is Princess Mary so I bow . I kiss her hand of silky perfection and say ”Your Highness , How lovely you look this day.” I grin. She is a vision of perfection, my god is she lovely.

 

Princess Mary Rose Tudor:

I had just returned to my chamber after speaking with my brother. He has informed me that he is sending me to marry the King of France. I implored with him to reconsider, but alas he is stubborn and unrelenting. I know now that I will be forever unhappy and I must resign myself to my fate. I dismiss my ladies as I walk to my chamber window and I feel the tears start to fill my eyes. No, I will not cry! I am a Tudor and I will be strong! I look over to the gardens and can see His Grace, Charles Brandon engaging in archery practice. I decide to say goodbye to him, since this is most likely the last I shall see of him. After walking up to him, he kisses my hand. His lips are warm and his touch is gentle. I smile at him and say ” That was a very fine shot you made. I must admit I have always found archery exciting. To hit your mark, brings a feeling of success, does it not, your Grace?” He is so handsome he takes my breath away.

 

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk :

I look into her pale, angelic eyes and smile, ” I always hit my mark, Your Highness.” I say in a joking and inferring manor .I wink and grin at her, ” we could make this more exciting , Your HIghness. That is if you are confident in your skills? ” *smirk*

 

Princess Mary Rose Tudor:

He is playing with me now, using every bit of his charm. How could any woman resist such a man? I put my hand out, and he hands me the bow and arrow.” Of course, I am confident, your Grace.” *laughing* ” A wager then?” * I smile at him sweetly, just to tease him.*

 

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk:

She radiates with confidence. Her confidence is so unbelievably attractive . I hand her a bow and say ” I shall let you go first, My Lady. What shall we wager ? money, or something more interesting? ” I lightly laugh and grin.

Princess Mary Rose Tudor :

Here is my opportunity to get what I have wanted from him for so long! ” If I win, you must kiss me before I leave for France. My brother has informed me that I shall be leaving very soon.” * I look at my bow, just so I dont have to meet his eyes, and show him my sorrow.* ” If you are lucky enough to win, what is it you want?” * I walk away from him, and get into position to shoot.*

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk :

She tells me it is official , she is leaving for France. My heart suddenly sinks. I see sadness fill her eyes and I know she does not want to leave. I have known her Brother for along time and there is no arguing with his will. I place my arm on her shoulder, comforting her sadness. ”I know you must follow your Brother’s will , My Lady. ” My eyes travel down her eyes and lips and there is nothing more I want from Mary than just one kiss. My hand leaves her shoulder and I play it cool and calm, as I know she can never be mine. I grin at her wager and say ”My Lady, If I win … I ask of you to promise, to keep me in your heart, even while you are in France.”

Princess Mary Rose Tudor:

He places his arm on my shoulder and looks in my eyes. What I wouldn’t give to have him hold me and to never let me go!* ”Your wager is more than fair, your Grace.” * I must win this, I think to myself as I line up the arrow for the shot. My arm pulls back and I release. The arrow hits the center, much to my excitment! I control my emotions and hand him the bow, praying that he misses. Teasingly I say” Perhaps I should have asked you, if you are confident in your skills as well, Your Grace.” *He winks at me as if he was the cat that caught the mouse. He is ever dashing! *

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk :

She hits the bulls eye straight. I want to kiss her in the worse possible way and this is my one chance. With nerves in my stomach , I step up and position to shoot. I aim to the side of the bulls eye and shoot. I turn around and see a look of joy and mutual desire in Mary’s eye. I get close to Mary and look directly into her eyes. I wrap one of my arms around her and the other I run through her hair and say ”You win , Your Highness.” I then close my eyes and kiss her coral lips passionately . I feel desire run through every fiber of my being as I hold her close to me.

Princess Mary Rose Tudor:

*I hold my breath as he shoots. I watch the arrow miss the center and I am overcome with joy! He takes me in his arms and kisses me passionatly. I close my eyes and am lost in everything that is him. In that moment, time has stopped. For now, I am his! For what seems like an eternity of bliss, we stop and look into each others eyes.* ” Your Grace has also won, for you shall always be in my heart, no matter where I am”.

 

Tale of a Secret Passion … Part 1: Fatal Desire (Ks Court Thread)

August 10, 2012 in Historical Fiction, News by Charles Brandon Ks

 

His Majesty Henry VIII of England has recently been blessed with a male heir. To celebrate such a joyous occasion, he has planned a banquet in the Great Hall of Hampton Court. Among the guest in attendance are His favorite sister Mary Rose and His best friend Sir Charles Brandon.  During the festivities Mary Rose and Charles brandon start to realize that there separate feelings of love maybe mutual.

Sir Charles Brandon:

I have entered the Great Hall of Hampton Court Palace, where a vast banquet is taking place. The energy is high; there is much music and dancing among the courtiers. All are in good spirits due to the birth of His Majesty’s Son. I am sipping wine while making my way to My best friend, King Henry, I would like to congratulate him and share with him this joyous occasion.As I make my way through the sea of courtiers, I spot his sister Mary Rose. God is she a vision of beauty. Those pale lamping eyes of hers leave me awe stricken, as I make eye contact with her and she smiles at me. A bit nerved I make my way to Mary. I return her smile, bow and kiss her hand. ”My Lady you look absolutely ravishing this evening.”

 

Princess, Mary Rose Tudor:

I see Sir Charles Brandon from across the room as I am talking to some Ladies of the Court. I meet eyes with him as he walks towards me. He smiles that dashing smile of his and kisses my hand. He makes me melt in everyway. How I wish I could marry him instead of that horrible old man they call, The King of France. It Makes me sick to think of marrying such a man as him. I focus on Charles and immediately I feel better. ”Thank you for your compliment. You seem to be able to raise my spirits just by speaking.”

 

Sir Charles Brandon:
Her highness’s voice sends chills down my spine, her smile could melt icebergs, and her pale eyes melt my heart while sending my pulse racing. My god Mary is the epitome of virtue and of all loveliness in this dark world. ”My Lady, would you care to dance the Fedelta with me? As I know it is your favorite. ” I grin and her and play it cool and clam, while inside I feel nervous and pray with every fiber of my being she says yes.

Princess, Mary Rose Tudor:

He asks me to dance, and I have to control myself to keep from looking too excited.  ”Indeed, I would like that very much.” He guides me to the center of the room, and I can feel all eyes on us. What they must be thinking! Oh, I do not care! I am going to be married off soon, so I will take every opportunity, I can to enjoy myself. Especially when I have a chance to be close to Charles. As our eyes meet and our hands touch, I become more lost in his splendor. How I wish he would kiss me, oh how I long to kiss him. ” I must admit, Sir Charles, I shall miss dancing with you when I leave my brother’s court. You are a divine dancer.”

 

 

Sir Charles Brandon:

She is ever so graceful, she moves with such ease, as if she were an angel floating.  As we dance, she smiles and with that one smile all melts around me and I become lost in this moment. With the look in her eyes, I know she romantically lusts of me. I must not, no I cannot, publicly return her interest, as Henry would murder me. So I must play it cool, only I ever so wish I could share but one kiss of her. Alas, I know she shall soon belong to another. Soon she will be the wife of that old goat in France.  ”Your presence shall be sorely missed, Your Highness. It is a shame such a vision of loveliness such as yourself must leave court. ” We continue to dance and as we finish, it is all I can do to contain myself from kissing, her sweet lips of coral. ”My Lady, Thank you ever so much for gracing me with your presence. Would you care to join me for some wine?” I keep my composure and gently smile to her hoping not to lose her company, so soon.

 

Princess, Mary Rose Tudor:

The dance ends and I am left sad. I know that this may be my only dance with Charles. How could my brother do this to me? Marry me off to a man I will never love, as the only man I love is standing in front of me. There is nothing I can do, then again, maybe there is something I can do after all. I shall plead with My Lord Brother! I shall plead with him to not send me to the King of France. Surely he will show mercy to his little sister, he has to! Charles, offers me some wine and that is exactly what I need right now.  ”Yes, wine would be delightful! Have you seen my new nephew yet, Sir Charles? He is most precious.” I sip some wine hoping I can keep him near me as long as possible.

 

Sir Charles Brandon:

I lead Mary over to an unoccupied table and we sit. One of the household members pours us both wine, while I turn to face her and smile ”Indeed, I have My Lady. His Majesty called me to his chamber the day his son was born. His son looks identical to him, very dashing indeed. ” She smiles at me and I look into her eyes and return her a smile. We are then both quiet for a long moment, gazing into each others eyes. I quickly break our eye contact and return my eyes to red pool of wine encased in fine pewter.
Nay, I must not desire her.
Nay, I must not desire her.
Nay, I must not desire her.
I must remind myself of that over and over again in my head.

 

Princess Mary Tudor:

We meet eyes and then he looks away. I wonder to myself if this is a bad sign or a good sign. Could it be that he has the same feelings for me as I have for him? Or is it that he is just being friendly and does not want to offend the sister of the King? Perhaps I have made him uncomfortable. I must know, “ Sir Charles.”  We meet eyes again and I can see the truth. Charles does have feelings for me. Now is not the time to confront him about it. So I say in a gentle voice, ”Thank you for the dance and for your company. I will think of you often, with lovely memories. ”

Sir Charles Brandon:

The thought of never being able to pursue Mary saddens me greatly. I look up at her and my god, she is angelic. She is everything I could ever want, but she is a betrothed Princess. I will never be good enough for her, not to mention a match with her would be treason. She talks to me and in her eyes I can also see sadness as I reply ”Your Highness, do you know when you will be leaving to France? ”

 

Princess, Mary Tudor:

” I am not sure, Sir Charles. I pray that my brother will change his mind and I hope he will not want for me to be unhappy. Alas, should he not yield, I will fulfill my duty and be at his command.” I stand and he stands next to me. ” I shall retire for the evening now. Thank you again for making this such an enjoyable night, Sir Charles” I place my hand out for him to kiss.

 

Sir Charles Brandon:

 

Her Highness begs to retire for the eve and I feel most saddened, as I was quite enjoy her company. Alas, I stand and bow to her “Anon, Your Highness. I am most honored to have had such wondrous company this evening. Fare well, and may God keep you in his safe graces.’ I kiss her hand and make my way through the crowd of courtiers to find His Majesty.

Give me Strength ( Q court thread)

August 10, 2012 in Historical Fiction, Tudor Q Court by Charles Brandon Q

 

 

 

The Duke of Suffolk has returned home today to his estate on the strand from  Hampton Court Palace. The king has once again ask Suffolk to intervene in another of his marriages. As much as Suffolk does not like Queen Anne Boleyn , getting involved in the sticky mess of King Henry’s romantic affairs can be demanding and sometimes dangerous.  His wife the Duchess of Suffolk comfort’s the Duke  and soothes is worrying mind.

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk:

I return back home from my meeting with, His Majesty. It has been three long years, since Henry wed Anne Boleyn and I think he is finally tiring of her. I am a bit guilt ridden and I am not sure what to do. Part of me wants to partake in taking down, Queen Anne, and the other part wants nothing to do, with any of this. Nonetheless His Majesty has asked me to set a meeting, with Jane’s Father at my estate. All of this is heavily weighing on my conscience; I am just so tense and distracted. My loves comes to greet me and I kiss her lips but pull away and walk over to our dining room table. I pour some wine, and take a seat. My love, says something to me but my mind is too preoccupied to take in what she says.

 

Catherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk:

 

I walk downstairs and see that Charles has arrived home from his meeting with the King. He kisses me briefly then walks away, and sits at the table. This is strange for him, as he usually is so happy to be home. I can tell something is troubling him. ” How was your meeting with the King?”  He is starring at his wine goblet as I say this, and does not seem to hear me. I sit in the chair next to him and put my hand on his. ”Charles, what is vexing you, my beloved?” *He looks in my eyes and sighs*

 

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk:

I look into her sweet pale eyes and lightly squeeze her hand. ”My love, His Majesty is having me arrange a meeting between him and John Seymour. Henry wants to make his daughter more than a mistress. I am not sure what he is going to do, but I do know that this meeting is the beginning of the end of Queen Anne. As much as I wish for the Queen’s down fall, my conscience feels torn. ” I sip wine and then go into a fixed gazed into the pool of red inside of the pewter goblet.

Catherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk:

I look down for a moment after he tells me this. I hate that the King makes him do these things. I wish he would have someone else do it, and not my husband. Although this is how I feel, I know that Charles must do all, The King commands of him. ” Charles, the King trusts you above all. He knows he can count on you. You must stand by him, no matter what. We as loyal subjects must continue to do as we are commanded; despite how heavy it may weigh on us. Just remember, that you can always unburden your heart to me, and I will be standing beside you in all matters”  *I gently kiss him on the cheek and smile*

 

 

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk:

Catherine is so amazing; I love her so very much.  I kiss her lips and say ”what would I do with out you my love? You are more than I could have ever asked for in a wife. I just want Henry to be happy, but I really hate doing his bidding. Alas, I must stay loyal to his wishes. Sometimes I wish I could just retire and say with you and our child in Suffolk. Even though I cannot; having you here with me makes all much easier, my love.” I look deep into her blue eyes and stoke her cheek of porcelain.

 

 

Catherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk:

His hand is warm and gentle on my cheek. ” I know you want to do what you feel is right and also make, His Majesty happy. He puts far to much pressure on you and I am sorry for it. Maybe, someday soon, he will find happiness on his own, and you can be free to just sit back and watch. For now, when you are feeling low; remember your family, and we will give you strength.”

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk:

She smiles and I melt a bit inside. ”God I love you Cath.” I kiss her forehead and say, ”Yes I know, I have you, my love! You always have given me strength; even when I was banished from court, I had your strength. I love you more than anything in this world.” I look directly into her eyes and kiss her silk coral lips; running my hand through her hair of strawberry.