Queen “Anne Boleyn — Preparations & Postponements”, Short Story by Gayle McMartin Hulme

May 18, 2015 in 2015 Tribute to Queen Anne Boelyn, Anne Boleyn -- Reflections, Guest Writers, Historical Fiction, Queens of World History, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by ADMIN: Royal Squire

by Gayle McMartin Hulme

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Queen Anne Boleyn – Preparation & Postponements

Introduction

In April 1536, a noble woman was admonished by her brother for loose moral behavior. The words that passed between brother and sister that day started a chain reaction that would leave an innocent woman’s body broken on the scaffold and the future Elizabeth I a motherless child of not even three years of age.

Please bear in mind that what you are about to read is my personal take on the facts and events on 18 May 1536. — GAYLE

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Thomas Cranmer with Anne Boleyn

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TOWER OF LONDON
18 MAY 1536

It’s the early hours of the morning, and I cannot sleep. The banging and crashing outside is deafening, and try as I might, I am unable to hide from the thought that the carpenters are constructing one of the necessary instruments of my doom. I pray the scaffold will not be needed, but I know deep inside that my body will soon be broken and my soul released to heaven.

As I lay in my bed racked with agitation and sleeplessness, my thoughts turn back to my meeting with Archbishop Cranmer two days before…

After the anxiety of listening to the door of my apartment being unlocked and opened, my heart leapt in hope as my good and faithful servant, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer entered my chamber.

I worried at his appearance, as his usual open and friendly expression looked harrowed, and he bore lines on his face in keeping with a man twice his age. His words to me were strained and awkward, and the presence of Sir William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower of London was increasing his unease.

‘Your Majesty, how fair you after the events of your trial yesterday?’ he began.

‘Your Grace is most kind to inquiry after the health of a convicted traitor,’ I said with a wry smile, which did not serve to make him any more comfortable.

Sweeping my remark aside my dearest Archbishop and servant to my family continued. ‘Your Majesty I have come offering pastoral comfort to you and to hear your last confession as you requested. However, before I proceed to your confession, I must address another crucial matter’.

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‘Oh yes, well pray continue as I am certain Master Kingston has no pressing plans for me at present,’ I replied glancing Master Kingston an inquiring look.

Cranmer once again ignored my attempt at humour and carried on. ‘The King, my sovereign and yours, has instructed me to annul your marriage on the grounds that despite the dispensation granted by the Bishop of Rome, his carnal knowledge of your sister Mary precluded your legal marriage to him.’

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This latest piece of treachery had me swooning and in my shock I blurted out, ‘And what of my child, the Princess Elizabeth, what is to become of her? Will her fate be that of Lady Mary’s, a bastard starved of her father’s affection? Is it not enough that my infant daughter will be become motherless? Must my infamy be inflicted on her too?’

The Archbishop attempted to quell my fears. ‘Please quiet yourself. I owe much to you and your family’s patronage, and I will do all I can to look after and protect the Princess, and perhaps given time I can appeal to the King to show you mercy, but I cannot do any of these things unless you agree to the annulment of your marriage on the grounds I have just explained.’

‘You think that there may still be hope of clemency for me? That I may go free to a nunnery?’ I said still in shock.

His Grace continued ‘Yes…perhaps, there is such little time to affect these things, but for the love I owe you above all other women, I will pray unceasingly and entreat the King on your behalf if I can.’

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With a glimmer of hope in my heart, I swore before and after Archbishop Cranmer administered the Sacrament in front of Master, Lady Kingston and my aunt, Lady Boleyn that I had never sinned against the King with my body and that I had been a good true and faithful wife. Surely Christendom will not think me reckless enough to risk death with a lie on my lips and jepardise my eternal soul.

After thanking his Grace for his visit and ministrations, I bid him goodbye with at least a small flicker of hope that my life might yet be spared.

I bring my mind back to the present and remind myself that my conversation with Archbishop Cranmer was 2 days ago, and surely if his mission had been a success, he would have written to advise me.

My darkest thoughts have been confirmed. Master Kingston has informed me that the deed will be done in private within the Tower and that the King has arranged a fine swordsman from Calais to perform my dispatch. Dare I entertain the notion that if the King, my husband is granting me this mercy that some trace of our love remains and that he may still allow me to live out my years in a religious house abroad? I pray God that I will pass the King’s test and it will be so.

As my thoughts waver and terror threatens to take grip of my senses, I am gladden for the announcement at around 2:00 am that my Almoner, John Skip has arrived. Perhaps as we pray together, I shall be touched by the Lord’s grace and I will recover my strength. The Lord’s presence I fear is the cloak between the dignity I know I must find and lingering thoughts of my final chilling ordeal in a few short hours.

With my soul prepared, there is nothing left but to wait, and so I closet myself with my almoner, fall to my knees and pray. It is a comfort to know that not only will I soon be in the presence of my Saviour, Jesus Christ, but that I will also be reunited with my dearest brother and the innocent gentlemen who suffered so cruelly by the axe yesterday.

As my mind hesitantly touches the events of yesterday, I recall the information from one of my women that brave Norris said before he met his end ‘he thought the Queen innocent of these things laid to her charge’, which I heartily give thanks for. However Mark did not clear me of the public infamy to which his alleged confession has brought me. Alas, I fear his soul suffers for it, and that he is now punished for his false accusations.

Kneeling at the altar in my chambers, I see Lady Kingston and Lady Boleyn out of the corner of my eye. How great an unkindness it is of the King to set about me such that I never loved. On my arrival here at The Tower and during my imprisonment, they and those other two poisonous vipers, Lady Stonor and Mrs Coffin reveled in my distress, scurrying back and forward to Master Secretary Cromwell, their tongues wagging all the while with any tip bit I blurted out in my blind panic. How I would have preferred to have those from my own chamber who I favor most.

At least now, after my trial, I am spared the misery of Lady Stonor and Mrs Coffin’s attendance.

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I owe praise indeed to God that my two dearest companions Meg Wyatt, Lady Lee and my cousin, Lady Madge Shelton have now arrived and are to wait on me in my darkest hours.

When the time came for them to join me and when I had dismissed the others I was able to forget my dignity as Queen of England, and ran to Meg as a frightened child runs towards it’s mother. Even though Meg is 5 years my junior, I flung my arms around her neck and wept with joy at the sight of a familiar and sympathetic face.

I spoke to Meg through my sobs. ‘Oh Meg, Madge, I am so relieved to see you both. I cannot tell you the strain it has been these last weeks with no one who cares for me here and only spies to record my every word and deed.’

With kindness in her voice, Meg tells me, ‘I am pleased to come and serve you. The only news we have had of you is that of the false accusations made against you and of course the fate of your brother and the other gentlemen. The King has all but disappeared and…’ She hesitates.

‘Come on, Meg tell me the rest,’ I encourage her.

Meg stares at the floor like a misbehaving child. ‘The rumor is that your Maid of Honor Jane Seymour has been given lodgings in Chelsea and that the King is often there with her and her family until very late in the evening,’ she reluctantly continues.

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Heaven help me, it is true. I have been right all along, and even when I was abed and miscarrying my son, my husband was wenching with Mistress Seymour. Jane Seymour, huh pretending piety and virtue, while happily standing by in order to be the benefactor of my misery.

I am so wrapped up in my own emotions, it had completely slipped my reeling mind that Meg’s own kin is also embroiled in this tragedy. Thomas Wyatt, Meg’s brother and one of His Majesty The King’s Privy Counselors, has been imprisoned here in the Tower with me since 5 May. I do not know where he is lodged, but my spirit sinks when I consider what might await him.

I cannot hide my agitation as I contemplate what Thomas’ friendship with me has brought him to. ‘Darling Meg, I am so sorry that poor Thomas has been dragged into my mess. Have you any news of the circumstances of his arrest or if he has been charged and condemned like the others?” I notice my shortness of breath and anxiety as I speak of Thomas’ predicament.

Meg put both her hands in mine and reassured me. ‘No, Anne do not vex yourself, my father received a comfortable letter from Master Secretary Cromwell advising him that he would continue to be as good a friend to Thomas as he ever was. My father replied on 11 May pleading that although Thomas is not free from vice, he hath offended more to God than to the King.’

The relief I feel in my breast for Meg and her family is profound. I know that Master Secretary is no friend to me, but I do beseech God that he will remain a true and good friend to the Wyatts.

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The hours are slowly passing. I have broken my fast, silently dressed with the help of Meg and Madge, but still no word from Master Kingston on when or how I should acquit myself for the dreaded proceedings. I find my ears are constantly on alert for the crowds of spectators that will surely flock to the Tower this day, but no throng of people can be heard. I look for shadows under the door and listen for the sound of footsteps on the other side of the door. This delay must be some new cruel torture to which Cromwell and his henchmen have devised for me.

I summon Meg. Master Kingston has not arrived and there’s not a sound outside…’

Meg stops me half way, anticipating my train of thought ‘Madam, do not do this to yourself.”

I continue regardless of her pleas ‘Could it be that the King has remembered himself and relented, or perhaps Archbishop Cranmer has persuaded the King to spare me? Maybe at this moment Master Secretary Cromwell is issuing Master Kingston the order for my release?’

Madge has become aware of our conversation and is scurrying over to the table a look of contained but still obvious excitement on her face.

‘Have you news Madam? Has the King in his mercy pardoned you?’ she gabbles out.

I see Meg shoot Madge a look that would have killed the bravest stag in the forest stone dead. With an authority she seldom exercises, Meg barks at Madge. ‘God’s blood! Please Lady Shelton content yourself with your duties and do not eavesdrop on what is not after all your affair’.

Duly scolded and obviously hurt by Meg’s words, Madge goes back to the mending she has been occupying herself with.

Meg beckons me to a window embrasure, smooths down her dress, recovers her composure and addresses me with soothing tones. ‘Madam, no one wants what you are thinking to be true more than me. If it is the King’s pleasure that you should go free from this place, then you will know soon enough. I beg of you, until such times please do not torment yourself with the thought of it.’

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I cannot contain myself and hastily blurt out, “But Meg, maybe, maybe the King has uncovered these wicked lies Cromwell has fabricated. Perhaps by some chance my Bishops have spoken for me and put records straight. I know the people will be praying for me in remembrance of my many good deeds over the years. What if the King fears to carry out the sentence lest the people take against the King for my sake? Through your own eyes you have witnessed the love the King bore me, the way he set the country in a roar to have me – a love that burnt so brightly could certainly never be completely extinguished. How could such a prince as His Majesty, sign my death warrant?’

Even though Meg sees me begin to weep, she takes me strongly by the shoulders. ‘Anne! Anne! Gather yourself, this is too much’ I recognise the timber of her voice and know what she is about to say. ‘You have prepared yourself with such grace and dignity, please trust in God and hold your nerve a little longer.’

I fall back into the seat by the window, clutching my chest as I resign my hopeful thoughts and once again contemplate the reality of my situation. No reprieve is being issued, no merciful pardon and justice will take its violent course. Meg and I have known each other for so long, since before the King turned his attention to Sir Thomas and Lady Boleyn’s other attractive and eligible daughter. We understand each other so well that no further words are necessary. Meg sits with me and we weep our silent, bitter tears together.

Meg is a good woman, and she knows her duty here is to see me supported and comforted through my final journey. She will ensure I make a dignified and Christian death. To that end, she wipes her eyes with her sleeves, does the same for me and bustles off to get me a cup of ale. As I watch her go, the thought occurs that up until this moment I have had no inclination of the emotional price she is paying to accompany and assist her Mistress and friend in this task.

When Meg returns with the ale, I tell her that I am continuing with my devotions in the hope that it will help me to recover my weakening resolve. I instruct Meg that I will suffer no interruptions while I wait for Master Kingston’s summons. Not that I desire death, but as we talk briefly I console her ‘all good Christian people have no cause to regret death, as it permits us to leave our earthly unhappiness and find peace with the Lord our creator.’

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The hour being past 9 o’clock, I send for Master Kingston as I have overhead mention that my time will not come before noon. Master Kingston confirmed my suspicions. ‘ I am sorry Madam, but I have received instructions and yes what you say is true.’

I try to take in the information and reply.‘I am very sorry to hear it. I thought the deed would be accomplished by midday, and I would be past my pain.’

The Constable, kind Knight that he is went on to reassure me. ‘No Madam, there will be no pain the blow is so very subtle.’ Reassurance indeed, and I begin to laugh and say, ‘I am sure that the talented Executioner of Calais will have no trouble as I have such a little neck.’ Reflecting on this statement makes me laugh more heartily, which I fear totally bewilders Master Kingston.

I return to my prayers and once again ask God to fortify me through this latest tribulation. However it seems God for his own purpose has more to ask of me. Master Kingston is announced before noon in a great state of sorrow. He comes to inform me that once again my execution has been postponed. This time ’till the next day. Feeling my blood begin to pound in my head and my dark eyes flashing with fury, I speak sharply. ‘Thank you Master Kingston. You are excused.’

Only when the door is closed and with only Meg and Madge in attendance does the wall of my outer clam break and the tension of the preparation and postponement burst forth.

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“I knew it, this is that devil Cromwell’s doing! I scream. ‘How he hates me and wants me to suffer more than I already am. How could I suffer more? I am utterly abandoned. My marriage to the King has been annulled by my own admission. My darling daughter Elizabeth has been deemed a bastard. My dearest brother’s butchered body lies cold in the ground, and my mother will surely die for the shame of it all.’

I am pacing like a baited bear and my words I know are incoherent. Although I’m exhausted, rage is exploding from every inch of me. ’The only comfort left to me are the gospels my faith and that I will be released from this miserable life to Christ’s salvation. For all my accusers’ talk of a quick and merciful death by the sword, Cromwell’s scheming has still found a way to prolong my agony. I doubt there is a weapon within the Tower walls he could use so nimbly to intensify my pain’.

Meg and Madge are well used to my storms of temper, and so they wait it out until the tide eventually turns and the inevitable weeping begins. In a heartbeat, they are both by my side to catch me before I collapse. I notice the looks passing between them, and we all know the unspoken truth. This storm is unlike any of the storms we have weathered before.

Although I give thanks for the love that both these remarkable women bear me, I dismiss them both and take up a place by the window again.

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With my bible in my hands, I turn to the pages on our Savior’s crucifixion. I can think of no better example of how to bear my trial. I cherish the words as I could never cherish any earthly crown or chattel. Even as Jesus’ accusers pinned him to the cross, he still urged his Father to forgive them. It mattered not to him that he was put to death with criminals who harangued him, as he suffered. In his mercy and humility he still offered them a place in his Father’s house.

I must take my lead from these words. It is of no account whether you are King, Queen, Prince or peasant on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is where we shall find our greatest reward and happiness. The passages bring an inexplicable calm to me. I know now that each step I take on the morrow will bring me one step closer to the peace that my soul is so sorely craving. Surely Jesus will take every pace with me and receive my soul.

In truth we are all sinners and owe thanks that Jesus in his goodness intercedes for us. I have no doubt sinned in my life, especially against my former Mistress Queen Katherine and her daughter Lady Mary. I have been haughty, proud, vindictive and spiteful, in particular to the girl. I even encouraged others to humiliate and degrade her in my absence.

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As I consider my own child Elizabeth’s status now as the base born daughter of a convicted traitor and adulteress, I cannot avoid the thought of the desolation the girl must have felt for the loss of her mother, her father, the King and her status in the world. Surely by now she would have made a glittering marriage and had many children, which are a woman’s greatest consolation in this world. If it is God’s divine judgment that I am punished now for the malice I inflicted on her, then I am ready to accept his will.

With a sense of quiet that I have not felt for many months, I recall Meg back to my side. She hurries with a look of concern on her face. ‘Fear not Darling Meg, everything is well. I am sorry our friendship has placed you here with me instead of with your husband. Your ordeal will soon be over. Let us sit a while and talk of happier times….’

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About the Author

Gayle McMartin Hulme

Gayle McMartin Hulme

Gayle lives in Glasgow in the UK with her husband Paul and son Jamie.

While not indulging her passion for all things 16th century and Queen Anne Boleyn in particular, she is busy running her group fitness business, or following her favorite football (soccer) team. Go Rangers FC!

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Death of a King, Father, and Son. Tudor Dynasty Historical Writers

March 4, 2015 in Historical Fiction, Tudor Dynasty Historical Writers by ADMIN: Royal Squire

 

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Fourteenyear old Mary Tudor stood in the fairytale tower of Richmond Palace with her Lady Grandmother, Margaret Beaufort. They were both dressed somberly in black velvet as they stood together hand and hand. They looked out the beveled window at the funeral procession of King Henry VII, Mary’s beloved father and Margaret’s only son. His body was covered in a shroud of linen cloth as riders all dressed in black were carrying blazing torches. They followed the body of their late king to his final resting place at Westminster Abby.

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Mary Rose Tudor

I squeezed my Lady Grandmother’s hand and bit my lip to hold back my tears. I looked at  her hunched over as a sob escaped her. She clutched her gold rosary beads in her other hand as her tears ran down her face. I shivered as goose bumps covered my body. Not due to the cold but because I was afraid. I had never seen my grandmother cry before. She was always the calming force in my life. Since my Lady Mother died and went to heaven, I have always looked to my grandmother and Lady Guildford for love and guidance. But what do I do when my Lady Grandmother is so distraught about my father’s death? I am the Princess of Castille and am to be married. I am no longer a child! I swallowed my whimper and pulled out my crumpled cloth and dried my Lady Grandmother’s tears.

” Lady Grandmother, it will be alright. I will take care of you as you have taken care of me. You will come with me to Spain and we will always be together. ” I hoped my words would bring her some comfort. We needed each other now more than ever. I hugged her as a door opened and servants intruded on our moment to light more candles and add logs to the flickering flames of the fire.

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Margaret Beaufort

I am thankful for the comfort of my granddaughter. There is much of her mother in her, so fair, so gracious. Until this day, It has always been me who comforted her. Mother Mary, comfort this beautiful princess and my own poor soul. As I knelt at my prie-dieu this morning, I sought the guidance of God, and the fortitude with which to carry on today. For in truth, I know that I can not rest until my work is done. My son, the great King Henry VII has gone to his glory, taken from me yet again. My body heaves with

silent sobs, the pain is far too great. My Henry! My son. As I draw on the comfort of our Holy Mother and my darling Mary, my mind turns to all that remains to be done. A day I had never dreamed possible is here, and a multitude of impossibilities follow. The new king, my grandson, is not ready.As the servants move quietly around us, I gaze out the window, my precious granddaughter beside me, and see the crowds that have turned out to mourn one king, as they prepare to rejoice in another. Young Henry will need firm council and strong men around him. He lusts for life, and there is a willfulness in him that I find troublesome. I pray he heeds Fisher in all things and have advised him to do so.

My granddaughter speaks of Castile and the future. I hope soon to join my son, it is a cruel fate that he departed this realm before me. I have arrangements to make, alliances to secure for my grandson. But today, I will mourn the loss of my beloved Henry. I return Mary’s hug and kiss her smooth cheek, “Of course, little dove. We will always be together. Your father was proud of you, he loved you so.” My lips tremble again as I smile at her, “You are such a blessing, child. To the realm and to me. You must be a comfort to your brother as well, he will need you in the time ahead. You are both so young, and it is a heavy mantle your brother wears.”

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Mary Rose Tudor

I pondered the words that my Lady Grandmother said, my beloved Brother is to be the King. It is hard to think of him as king, he is nothing like Father. But Father changed greatly when Arthur died and was crushed when my Lady Mother and my newborn Sister, Katherine departed the world. I take my father’s little monkey from its gilded cage and feed it some red, juicy, apples. I rub his soft, chestnut, fur as he chatters and my memory takes me to my Father sitting at his desk scribbling in his journals. He was in a dour mood absorbed in his task when this monkey climbed up his shoulder and ran to his journal. We all gasped as the monkey ripped the pages out of his ledgers. I thought my Father would throw the creature in the fire but instead he burst out laughing. I hug the little imp for he will always remind me of the softer side of my Father. I take the silver goblet of claret that the chambermaid hands me and take a large gulp. It was sweetened with honey and herbs and it feels soothing as I drink it and it warms my stomach.

” Come Lady Grandmother, sit next to me by the fire and have some wine. It will help to warm you up.” My Grandmother was always my source of comfort, but today she just looked like a lost, old, woman. I cannot lose her too. She sits next to me and we look at the roaring flames together. Instead of warming her up, I see her shiver. I put father’s exotic pet on her lap, hoping he will make her smile  as he did for Father. I pick up a soft, red quilt filled with the finest down feathers and put it around her as the monkey chatters in indignation for being moved again.

” Father always loved this creature Lady Grandmother. I think he feels Father’s absence too. How is the wine? Are you feeling warmer? ” I hope she does not hear the panic in my voice. But I could not bear losing her too and would do anything to comfort her. ” Grandmother, you have always worked with Harry, he will be a good king and continue Father’s work. Father would want you to advise him. I will do all you ask of me but please do not leave me too.” It all becomes too much for me and all the tears that I was holding back burst out in an explosion of grief. I lay my head in my Grandmother’s lap, no longer the brave, grown, princess but the frightened child crying for the loss of both her parents.

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Margaret Beaufort

I look at the little marmoset and smile as it capers. Stroking my dear, sweet granddaughter’s face, I berate myself inwardly. The child is afraid and in pain and I, in my selfish grief, have not comforted her. She has lost her mother, her brother Arthur, and her sister is far away. I must help her now with the loss of her father. “Hush now, hinny. We must rely on the Virgin to give us succor in our time of mourning.” I am glad that my little granddaughter has such a friend as the Spanish princess. Mary and Catalina have become quite close, and they are as sisters should be. That may be the only benefit to this marriage that her brother insists upon.

“Of course child! Of course, I will help your brother, as I helped his father before him!” I wipe her tears tenderly, “Your father loved you very much, my lamb. As did your Lady Mother. You remind me much of her, you know. She was fair and graceful and your father cared for her so deeply. I know he would want us to be strong now.”

I will not lie to this precious girl, no matter how badly she wishes to hear the words. “I will remain with you until our Heavenly Father sees that my work is done, sweetling. We can none of us know the hour.” I smile wryly, “But I think I shall tarry here a while longer. Your brother is overmuch concerned with sport and kingly pursuits, but I think he may yet have need of me to oversee his council until he comes into his own.” My son named me Regent for young Harry, but I will not take the position formally. No, it is more important that I place good men about him that will support him after I am gone. I sigh, all of this can wait until tomorrow. Mary needs me now. This young lady has shown me that I have not lost all and that indeed, I am still needed.

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Video Credit: thepsychopompus’s channel You Tube

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Written by: Lady Margaret Beaufort and Mary Rose Tudor

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QAB Book Review: INSIDE THE TUDOR COURT, by Lauren Mackay

August 12, 2014 in QAB Book Reviews by ADMIN: Royal Squire

by Marisa Levy

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I said they had had good experience in former times, the whole kingdom
having been disturbed by the War of the Roses; though it seems nowadays
as if they wished to sharpen the thorns of those very roses.

Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, 1533

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I had a discussion with Lauren Mackay where she told me a delightful story about the late renowned historian Eric Ives. He is known for his biography on Anne Boleyn, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, which many consider the “Anne Boleyn Bible”. They went to dinner where Ms. Mackay tried to sway him on his views of Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador to the court of Henry VIII. Many historians dismiss what Chapuys reported about Anne Boleyn because of his bias against “La Putain” ( Whore ), as he called her, but this is where Ms. Mackay begs to differ. He was sending important information to Charles V, the Emperor, so why would Chapuys try to mislead him with falsehoods? Chapuys was only known to have malice towards Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cranmer, so does this make him an unreliable source? Ms. Mackay could not change Eric Ives’ views, but perhaps she can change the opinions of her readers of her outstandingly researched book Inside the Tudor Court.

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Inside the Tudor Court is written in a style that makes it enjoyable for the reader. You do not have to be a Tudor historian to become absorbed in this informative book. While Chapuys’ letters have been studied in great detail, there is not much known about his private life. There was no insight into who he was as a person, but this has all changed with his first biography by Lauren Mackay. She shows us his early life in Annecy before he came to the notice of Charles V to the last of Henry’s queens.

Being a lover of Tudor history, I was enthralled by seeing the notorious Henry VIII and his court through the eyes of Chapuys. He wrote about his interactions with Henry and it gave me a lot of new information about Henry’s diplomacy and his dealings with those in his court.

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Chapuys relationship with Thomas Cromwell was complicated, but I was grasped when I read about the dinners they shared and their conversations. There was real warmth and friendship between the two men. They both came up with strategies together when it was in England’s best interest to align itself with the Holy Roman Empire instead of France. Even so, King Henry might have had a difference of opinion and would catch both men off guard. Chapuys’ thoughts about Thomas Boleyn, George Boleyn and the Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk gives us captivating details into the personalities and actions of these men. It certainly reinforced my opinions about the Duke of Norfolk.

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I found Chapuys’ relationship with Katherine of Aragon and Mary touching. Chapuys agonized when he could no longer do anything to help Katherine’s situation. He pledged to take whatever steps needed to help Mary and advance her cause, even if that meant helping her escape England to save her life. He refused to let Mary become a martyr, though Katherine had no opposition to both her and her daughter dying as one. Chapuys also helped guide Mary through her tumultuous relationship with her father. He was the only person who she could depend upon. Chapuys’ devotion to both mother and daughter was genuine and weighed on him heavily.

Lauren Mackay makes you feel as if you pulled up a chair and you are observing Henry VIII and those who took a vital role in his court and personal life. It gives the reader a chance to see King Henry’s tantrums, wit, cunning and betrayals. This book is a must to add to anyone’s Tudor collection. I look forward to reading Ms. Mackay’s new venture about the Boleyn men.

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Lauren Mackay is an historian from Sydney, Australia who holds a Masters degree in History from the University of New England and is currently researching her Ph.D on Thomas and George Boleyn in the English Reformation at the University of Newcastle in Australia.  Lauren has an intense interest focuses on lesser known historical figures, as well as the beliefs, customs and diplomacy of the 16th century. Lauren has given several oral presentations focusing on her expertise and interests in both England and Australia. For more information about  Lauren Mackay, visit  her website at http://lauren-mackay.com/.

NON-FICTION

Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and His Six Wives Through the Writings of the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys

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Reviewed by Marisa Levy

 

And now her time is at an end…

June 5, 2014 in Tudor Dynasty Historical Writers by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Margaret Beaufort is deep in thought, her beloved son, King Henry VII lies in his coffin. She had devoted her entire life to her son and had seen her grand vision of him becoming king come true. The death of his son, Arthur and his wife, Elizabeth took their toil on him and Margaret believed it hastened his death. But Margaret still had to pull herself together, her grandson, Henry would be crowned Henry VIII and her work was not finished. Her grandson, always her delight. Now needed her good council and she had called for him to come see her.

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My son is dead. The words stick in my craw like dry, stale bread and offer just about as much satisfaction. I am as wrapped in the grief of his passing as I am in the thick, black mourning veils shrouding my head. I find that I cannot take food, drink wine or sit still as the bells toll daily and the funeral arrangements are made. Everything has been done precisely to his instruction in that he will be buried with all the dignity befitting him and his station but with none of the pomp and outrageous superfluity. Henry always hated a fuss to be made and he would have admonished me also for these bouts of overwhelming emotions that I have succumbed to in my old age.

It is with that thought in mind that I have summoned my grandson to me. He is a fair and boisterous man, too much still a boy and I am at least glad that I am here to help him as he ascends the throne. What tragedy that he has already lost his older brother and his mother, but it is the curse of kings that one must die for another to be crowned. But I fear Henry’s lot for the precarious position he is in. My son will be no easy act to follow but Henry is a Prince of the Blood and it is Tudor!

I have taken the time to prepare a list of the men I wish him to take as his Privy Council and I must discuss this with Henry immediately. As usual, there are those at court and abroad who would most certainly be seeking ways in which to turn his ascension into their own and with his easy manner and jovial personality, it would be a mere cake walk. But surely, not while I draw breath!

Another matter of great concern to me is certainly that of Katherine. He must understand the real need for the production of a royal heir and at her age having not yet borne a child is rather uncommon. When I was her age, his father was already 11 years old and suffering the tribulation of having his titles, lands and liberty taken away and granted to his warden, William Herbert.

I hear the footsteps of my grandson and his retinue approaching and calmly pull myself together. Surely, I must steel myself for the weighty conversation we are about to have and I can only hope that he will heed my council and proceed as I prescribe.

He is announced and steps into my chambers looking much more cheerful that I, but thus is the allure of youth, even in the face of adversity they can remain so charming and calm. He takes my hand and kissed the ring on it even as he kneels for my blessing and as I place the palms of my hands on his head and he rises, my eyes refill with tears.

“Come Henry,” I say, “We have much to discuss.”

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I sit before my desk knowing a missive must be written to my dear sweet sister Margaret , Queene of the Scot. How can I vision the words that must fall upon this paper? Let alone bare them from myne own hand. Our father is dead, and Margaret will be devastated. She has been gone for much too long and has missed Arthur, our lady mother and now our lord father before their descent from this earthly plane. I summon my groom for some ale to try to free this knot which consumes my stomach in its hold.

Suddenly, I am interrupted in thought by a groom baring livery embroidered with my beloved lady grandmother’s crest. I am handed a missive stating she wishes to see me. Instantly the knot in my stomach is once more relieved. I wish to partake in any task to postpone this god forsaken letter to Margaret a moment longer. I greedily accept and make haste to ready myself for my grandmother’s presence. My groom fetches me a handsome doublet that is worthy to be seen in her presence.

Standing before my lady grandmother, I reverence, taking a knee. I kiss her ring with words leaving my mouth ” My most noble and virtuous lady grandmother, I humbly crave your blessing on such a sad and woeful day.” She smiles a bit, and I take it as my quo to arise.

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Always the most gracious courtier, Henry is. He truly has had the best examples in myself and surprisingly in his mother, God rest her eternal soul. As my grandson rises, I extend my hand towards the hearth and he immediately offers me his arm and guides me to my chair by the fireplace. When we are seated facing each other, I take a long look at my grandson and read the lines that furrow his youthful brow and the forlorn expression which has plastered itself across his angelic face. I know that impending matters of family and state are already weighing upon his mind.

“You were writing to Margaret when you received my message, were you not?” I ask, already well aware of the fact.

He only looks up to meet my eyes and gives me a half of a smile before turning his gaze to the flames of the fireplace.

“Henry,” I continue, “All this business will come to you quickly enough. It is in your blood to rule and you know exactly what to do. When the time is right, the course of action will become clear to you and then you will act swiftly and with clarity. But today does not need to be the day on which you start.”

From the table beside me I take the two letters which I have written to ease Henry’s worry.

“Take these.” I say, “Read them and sign and seal them. Then have them sent out. Once that is done then you should go hawking or hunting and return yourself to a disposition more befitting a young prince about to become King of England. I do hate it when you pout and worry.”

He takes the folded papers from my hand and opens them. As he reads the first, a cheeky smile appears across his face. It must be that intended for his beloved sister. It makes me smile to see his demeanour change so quickly from that of strife to his more familiar cheerfulness. But I hold my breath as he unfolds the second one.

Henry looks up from the paper at me with a quizzical expression on his face and I know he is wondering why I have written the names of these influential men of the Realm down for him.

“Your Privy Council, my Lord,” I say, answering the unasked question, “I have made there the suggestions of those that I believe are worthy of your trust and whom I think will defend the throne of Tudor England to the very last breath.”

He smiles at me and nods as he folds the paper and places it securely inside the breast of his doublet.

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The roaring fire crackles and hisses as it radiates heat upon us. I sit across from my lady grandmother looking into her stern yet kind eyes. My eyes then lightly inspect the fine lines that time have engraved upon her face. My eyes then take in her modest dress. She is the most shrewd businessman of our time yet the fragile grace of her sex hath given her a sixth sense, she is that of a soothsayer. She knows how to play every card handed to her just right. Using her intuition, she reads me as if I were book bound of leather. I slightly smile, unwilling to illustrate any ounce of weakness I turn my gaze to the fire.

She continues to speak words which bring comfort to my being. I heed carefully her words of inspiration and manage to feel a flicker of hope. Two missives are bestowed upon me. Both I unfold hesitantly for I wish not to be saddled with responsibilities and politics this day. As I unfold the second missive a list of familiar names are listed. I look up to her unsure of what she wishes for me to do. Her choices of councilors lay before me. I grasp the letter with both hands knowing the whole of England rests upon theses names.

My grandmother’s love for my father is purest of all the love in England. Thus, her guidance is the epitome of truth and virtue. I humbly take the list and thank her for her wisdom. “My Lady Grandmother , I value your wise judgment above all in England.”

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When my grandson rose, kissed the ring on my hand and left me this afternoon, I collapsed within the folds of my chair in relief. It wasn’t long before the chills and cough were upon me again and I was glad that he was not there to witness it. Henry is such a young, vibrant soul. He would not bear the sight of my infirmary well. Though he would not be able to accept it, the truth is that I am old, oh so very old ad for the first time I am feeling that age. I strain to rise from my prie-deux, so much so that I dare not try and pray well into the mornings or until my ladies come and carry me into bed. I often pray that having lived to lose my Lord Husband Edmund and now my dear son and King, my boy Henry, that I will never live to see the summer rose of Tudor fail on the branch.

The truth of the matter is that this is Henry’s time, he must usher in an era of certainty and stability for England built on the security that his father so well established. He is a light hearted boy full of merriment and jovial tendencies and his court loves him for it. Strange that some of this has not rubbed off on Catherine. Ha! What a stern young woman she is but one with whom I can concur. I know she has been in a state of uncertainty since Arthur’s death and it has already been almost six full years since it was agreed that she would marry Henry. Not being certain of one’s true place in life can be an unbearable burden to carry. She doesn’t know it yet but another month will not pass before they are wed and the coronation is already being planned as a joint one. England must continue to love her now as Henry’s queen as they did then when she were to be Arthur’s queen. With God’s blessing an heir will be forthcoming as well.

My ladies begin to close the windows against the evening chill and I am happy for it. A warm blanket is draped over my shoulders and hot mulled wine is poured. With just a few sips the cough subsides and I am righted again.

“The velvet stomacher will do for supper tonight,” I say to my ladies as they move around the room preparing to dress me for the evening, “And the black fox fur as well. There’s bound to be a chill in the room with the weather we’ve been having.’

“Yes, mi’lady,” they answer in unison and I smile.

Margaret, I think to myself, your work is not yet done. Be still and see the Tudors through. This has been your life’s work.

I nod to myself and stand up. Taking a deep breath, I take my place before the mirror in my privy chamber and extend my arms so that I can be undressed and made ready to take supper with Henry’s court.

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After leaving my lady grandmother’s chambers I walk with hast back to my own chamber. I summon my grooms and utter the words “ This eve must be prefect. Our lady grandmother expects nothing less than perfection.” while my grooms ready my chamber and the mini feast to be had my main man readies me in my finest doublet of sapphire blue velvet . I return back to the table to ensure all the preparations are followed perfectly. My lady grandmother is announced ,I bow to her and help her to her seat . “ how of some wine my dear lady grandmother? “ I nod to my groom who brings over two gilded goblets of wine. “ I am most assured this eve shall be to your liking. I have had my groom prepare your favorites including coffin with minced meat .”

“Henry,” I say, not planning to waste any time. “What of Catherine? I have not heard you speak of her in a long time. I would be extremely pleased if you would take my advice to marry her as soon as you feel sufficient time after your father’s funeral has passed. Certainly, it would make the people feel as if the horse has not been stabled, only changed riders.”

Henry makes a face of indifference on the matter and lifts his goblet to taste the wine. I do not press him, but leave the thought in the air that it may ease into his mind. Instead, I also taste the wine in my cup. It is Malmsey wine. I smile at the warmth that spreads through my chest almost immediately and the rich, solid taste of it. Perhaps my grandson knows more of my medical status than I thought. He asks if it pleases me and I nod to him.

“It is very soothing, grandson,” I reply, “It warms my chest which has been ailing me in the damp weather.”

The food was excellent as always, though I did not eat much, these days I preferred to taste the various dishes rather than indulge too much in any particular one. I have certainly been feeling my age recently and though it seems that Henry has become aware of it, I have no plans at all to worry him further. I’m all he has left in the world now his mother and father are gone. If I were to expire before he married, was coronated as King of England and held his heir in his arms; then I would have left God’s world before my work was completed.

After our supper, Henry walks me back to my chambers and gently hands me over to my ladies. He bids me goodnight and scurries away down the castle halls. I can imagine the mischief he will get up to tonight but I do not envy him his youth or his vigor. It is the time of the young; Henry and Catherine, to take the torch and be a beacon for England. I don’t know how I know it, but it is true that England has entered into a time of great renaissance and it will be up to this young King to keep the path true.

”Dear Henry,” I pray at the prie-deux solemnly that night, ”Keep the vision for England true, keep my vision for England true.”

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We sit as grooms bring plate after plate of lavish eateries. Focusing upon the dishes to ensure they are perfection I become a bit quiet and lost in though. I am brought back to the company of my Lady Grandmother by her question of Katherine. Feathers overtake my stomach while joy overcomes my being at the thought of my beloved Katherine. Alas, I reign in my joy and excitement exchanging them for a coy demeanor. My plan to marry Katherine is to remain secret from all, save my sister and dear Charles Brandon. The last time this wish was squandered and rendered hipless by that of my father, this time I shall ensure nothing gets in our way. I play my face as to not read my true intentions and take a hearty sip of wine to procrastinate the moment.

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My dearest Lady Grandmother has been ailed for quite some time I wish not to think of such troubling thoughts and allow her worlds of aliment to pass.” I am pleased all is to your linking my beloved Lady Grandmother. “She delicately picks at her food attempting to eat as little as possible and I worry of her. Alas, I think not of such concerns, for I know my Lady Grandmother shall remain here with me for sometime. More than any other in all of Christendom god has shed his grace upon her and created her stronger than any element in nature. She shall live long than me I am sure of such a fact. I try hard not to laugh aloud as such truth passes through my mental chatter. After we sup I accompany her back to her chamber. We pass though chamber upon chamber of courtier awaking our keen awareness that we are never alone. As we reach her chamber I kiss her hand and take a knee to once again receive her most enchanting blessing. “I shall rule as god has intended and restore as much glory to England as humanly possible. “ Her ladies whisk her away into her chamber and I go to find my dearest friend Charles Brandon.

 

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A Garden of Promise, UK Court

June 2, 2014 in Historical Fiction, Tudor Uk Court by ADMIN: Royal Squire

 

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Henry is delighted with Jane at dinner. Her dulcet voice soothes him and is such a contrast to Anne’s sharp tongue. He lingers at the the table, taking his time as he spears into the juicy boar and game pies. The ruby wine smells like a bowl of berries and all the gold plates sparkle. He looks on favorably at his sister and Brandon and for a moment feels a pang of guilt for beimg so forceful with Mary. As the the meal ends he asks Lady Jane if she would like to accompany him on a walk to stretch their legs. Mary smiles and arches her eyebrows to Charles as he winks back with a smug expression and raises his goblet to Mary.

 

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Jane Seymour

My expression is calm and serene, but inside my stomach is all a flutter. The king offers me his arm as we leave the hall. I keep my eyes down and my look demure, a contrast to the flashy women of court. I do not wish to be another lady of the court- this will be my point of difference.

 

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King Henry

As they walk through the hall, heading towards the gardens of Westhrope Hall, He looks toward the young woman on his arm and wonders what would make the Seymours hide such a rare jewel in the remote countryside instead of having her flourish in his court. In such a short conversation, The King greatly appreciated the peace of a respectful, compliant woman and was sure that Mistress Seymour would be a shining example to many women of the court….especially his own wife, who emotional range of late has been entirely displeasing to him. Henry looks down on the young woman with interest and smiles lightly,”So tell me, Mistress Seymour, How is your father, Sir John, doing? It has been some time since I’ve seen him last.”

 

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Jane Seymour

”He has been quite busy at Wulf Hall, your Majesty, however he is in good health when I departed his home. I hope to return briefly to Wulf Hall before returning to Her Majesty’s service.” I speak clearly, eyes ahead as I feel the king’s eyes upon my face. I am concentrating on keeping my countenance steady, that I stumble slightly on uneven ground. The king’s strong arm keeps me steady as my body leans into his, my face flushes, I straighten quickly.”I am so sorry your Majesty, I must take more care in watching where I step.”I can feel my brothers approving looks all the way from Court. I however, just feel clumsy. A Boleyn girl I am not.

 

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King Henry

Her words give me pause, and I search her face for hidden meaning, but I find no coyness in her expression. I have grown too accustomed to those who say one thing but mean another, I find myself questioning what people really want of me as they flatter and flirt. What gift, what office, what judgement they think to win from me with their honeyed words and their sly smiles. I long for the old days, those heady days, Charles and I chivalrous, giants of the tilt yard.I once had the wise council of honest men, instead of factions who seek to play me against each other for their own gain. I miss the poignancy of youth, and the simplicity. I find myself growing bitter at the thought of the years wasted in battle with Kate, and the Pope, and the whole damn world. For what? I ask myself, of late I have questioned the reward.

But look, now I am here in this garden. And I find no serpent here. Only this sweet maid, with her shy glance, and her worried eyes. ”Peace, Mistress Jane. You have no need to fear. Of course you must seek the advice of your father. I would never do anything to dishonor you or offend Sir John, he has been a most loyal friend for many years.” As she turns back to the fountain, I gently take her arm again. ”Come Mistress, let us rejoin my sweet sister. I know she enjoys your company, and I fear I have stolen too much of your time.” I bow and brush a kiss across the back of her hand,”Forgive me.

 

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As we stroll back to join the others, I make note to speak to Cromwell. Edward Seymour is a good man, he has proven himself ready for advancement. A capable man, I will see that his loyalty is rewarded. Of Thomas Seymour I am less sure. He is not a man of serious countenance like his brother, but I am certain Master Secretary can find some way to make use of him. It is time I place fresh men around me, men who are still eager to prove their loyalty. I smile as I see the one man who I know could never betray me. As much as their marriage angered me, I can not deny the love between my best friend and my sister. They exchange a glance as I approach them. These two have been talking about me, no doubt. These two have known me and loved me for most of my life, and I them. I glance at Jane, sweet Jane, and wish I could whisk her back to the garden. But instead I say,”Thank you for the pleasure of your company, Mistress Jane.” I lean forward and murmur just for her hearing, ”Do ask Sir John about those sonnets, won’t you? I remain your devoted servant, and wait anxiously for his consideration.” I hear the sharp intake of her breath as I turn away, ”Charles! Sweet sister! What have you had your heads together about?”

 

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By King Henry UK and Jane Seymour UK Z

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The Angel at Westhorpe, UK Court

May 29, 2014 in Historical Fiction, Tudor Uk Court by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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After getting his wife and their guest settled, Charles Brandon writes a missive to his friend and king, telling him the details of his sister’s accident and how he brought her back home safely. He explains to his Majesty that he wants to end the rift between brother and sister and wants to invite Henry to visit them for hunting and hawking. The forest is filled with dear, wild boar, partridges and pheasants. He also tells his king about a new bird of prey that he just acquired and wanted to show him his abilities. Brandon seals the missive and tells his messenger to ride with haste to deliver this to the king.

 

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Charles Brandon

I watch my groomsmen take off on his steed till I can no longer see him. I need to unite Mary with Henry again, this rift has torn our family apart. Never could I believe that Henry would threaten Mary with the execution of her own children. Could her fall have made her have false memories? I must discuss this with Henry, friend to friend. Will that woman cause all whom he has loved to perish? Anne would love nothing better then to destroy my friendship with Henry as much as she wants his own sister gone.  No one is safe, unless Mary knows her brother well enough and sweet Jane cam soothe his tortured soul again. I can only hope that Henry will accept my invitation.

I enter quickly into the house to check on my beloved Mary. My heart pounds with the thought that I could of lost her. I will always be in debt to the Seymours and shall do all I can to promote their favor in court. I gaze at my beautiful princess. She sleeps soundly but Jane is by her side again.

 

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I slowly approach Jane and whisper ”Jane, you are here as our guest, not as Mary’s nurse. Let her ladies attend to her.” I hand Jane a goblet of claret and lead her out of Mary’s room. Jane, my princess will be very unhappy if she awakens to find you not enjoying yourself. Come in to the library with me and I will tell you a secret.” I escort Jane and show her to a comfortable chair. ”Please make use of our library if it would please you.” I look into her blue eyes and speak my mind. ”The princess and the king had a nasty quarrel when Mary was leaving court. I fear she was thinking of her brother instead of watching the road and therefore fell. I have invited the king here in hopes of repairing the love between a brother and sister. If he accepts my offer, would you help me entertain his Majesty? We must also not say a word to Mary. She is Tudor through and through and she will not react as I hope if she knows in advance. What say you fair Jane, will you help me with this difficult task?”

 

 

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Jane Seymour

I take the claret reluctantly, as I am led out the door, turning back once last time to ensure the princess is still sleeping. Westhorpe slightly overwhelms me, Wulf Hall is considered a modest seat for a family at Henry’s court. As we enter the ornate library I sit before the duke, a composed demeanour across my features, as if I am at home in one of the finest estates in the land.

I nod as the situation is explained to me, confirming the gossip amongst the ladies at court. With the mention of a visit from the king, my heart skips a beat.”Your Grace, I am not sure I can keep such a secret from the princess. Will she be very angry with me once she knows? I do not wish to cause her more pain. You both have been very kind to me.” I look up at the duke’s handsome face, and some of my apprehensions melt away. Surely no one knows both these Tudors better than Charles Brandon.

 

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Charles Brandon

I pat Jane’s slender arm, ”Please do not worry yourself, Jane. If she becomes angry, it will only be at me and the king, her brother. Trust me, it will be better this way. You are doing another good deed, we are reuniting brother and sister. They have always had such love for each other. He loved her enough to let her marry me. He could have married her off to the Emperor Charles and instead, he kept his word and let her marry me, a mere knight with no royal blood. I love my princess and will not rest untill I see her smiling and happy again. I just want to remind the king and my princess of the love they still have for each other. How can I not put this wrong to right?” I see the troubled expression on her face clear and hope she see’s that this is what is best for Mary without letting her know that our objective is for Henry to take notice of Jane. I pray that Mary knows what she is doing and that this goes as she plans. Only a wicked woman would like to see brother and sister pulled apart, Anne is blight on this realm.

 

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”Would you let me show you some of the grounds while the princess sleeps? I’d like to be with her when she wakes up. But she would be most pleased to know that I am doing a good job as your host and that you enjoy yourself. Why don’t you have your ladies attend to you and we can all get some fresh air. I will show you the Tudor roses that planted myself. Their fragrance envelopes the air. Will you do me the honor of letting me take you and your ladies on a walk?”

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Jane Seymour

My fears are allayed at the duke’s words.”If it meant a reconciliation between brother and sister, I would be happy to assist. My own brothers and sisters mean so much to me.” Anne Boleyn has not a kind bone in her body and I wonder what bewitched the king in the first place. The image of the handsome king creeps into my thoughts whilst contemplating the restoration of familial harmony between brother and sister. I push this aside to consider later. I must write to my brother to inform him of these developments.

I stand and smile brightly at his Grace. “I would gladly accept your invitation. Your roses are much talked of and I do long to see their beauty myself. I hope that I do not distract you from more pressing concerns?”

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Charles Brandon

”My only concern now is to follow my wife’s wishes as well as my own. I shall have the kitchen help pack some refreshments and we can all enjoy a small picnic. When we return you can tell Mary all about it and then I will hopefully have made you and her happy. You can also tell me any ideas you may have so we can entertain the king if he accepts my invitation. Now go get your ladies and I will be delighted to meet you all in the first courtyard.” I smile at Jane as she takes her leave and tell my orders to be relayed to the cooks and helpers in the kitchen as I make ready for our outing.

 

King Henry VIII

Charles,

I am grateful that you have informed me of the recent events hitherto unknown to me and detailed them so thoroughly. It is apparent to me I must make the journey and shall do so forthwith with all possible haste. I do so hope Mary is doing well and in good spirits. Though I had planned on getting together for some time that we may have some good sport, I had wished it would be under more fortunate circumstances. Nevertheless, if Mary is willing to set aside her feelings of hostility against Anne and I for good, I shall gladly play my part and acquiesce.

I shall see you both very soon. Prepare well, for I expect to bag some formidable game indeed! ….HR

 

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Mary Tudor Brandon

It has been over a week that Jane has been here and I have been enjoying her company feeling stronger every day. I smile as I think of Charles escorting her and her women everywhere. It has been amusing watchimg him deal with what are usually my responsibilities. I shiver a little and warm my hands by the fire when I hear his footsteps and I look up.

”How is my knight? Instead of slaying dragons you have been occupying the ladies as their hostess.” he kisses me tenderly and shows me the smile that I love so much. ”Tell me, I can see you are bursting to tell me something. Did you hear from Henry?” My heart pounds at the thought of my brother but I try to block all the ugly memories of our last encounter. I can hide my true feelings if their is hope that he takes another mistress and becomes more distant from Anne. Unless he has turned Charles down.

 

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Charles Brandon

I look into the grey eyes of my beautiful princess, she shivers so I lay a quilt on her and move her silky hair behind her ear as I tenderly kiss her sweet lips. She smells of roses, and something exotic too, almost oriental. It is intoxicating. I would love nothing more then to carry her to our chambers and make love to her all day and night but she must rest and get stronger. She knows me so well, a simple smile reveals all to her. I pour her a goblet of claret and make sure she drinks the ruby wine that will give her warmth.

”You laugh at your husband, the great warrior and master of the joust?” I reply with amusement. “I have learned all the latest styles from France and which male courtiers are the most desirable for looks and peerage. How can I live without knowing thus information. Jane is a delight, the polar opposite of the Boleyn woman. She has many pleasing ways and would be more like Katherine in disposition but it is hard to gauge Henry’s passion for Anne at the moment. She always manages to relight a fire in him.” I cannot help but smile looking at her beautiful face and caress her cheek and rub her hands to warm her.

I try to sound more somber, ”I have received a missive from the king and he has accepted my invitation. But Mary, keep your temper in check for you must accept and be gracious about Anne Boleyn. If you start another quarrel then he will leave without having met Mistress Seymour. Remember this is your idea, I feel you might be correct that seeing the virtues in a woman such as Jane Seymour that Anne may look more the shrew and undignified. But this shall only work if you are loving and gracious. Can you do that my love? I do not want you to suffer but it is the only way.” Mary gives me her assurances that she can do anything if it will help to bring Anne down.

”That’s my princess, I do not want you to stress but I must leave your side to get the staff and estate ready for the king’s visit. We must show him a good time and his main reason for coming is to hunt, so I will plan hunting parties and entertainments that will put Henry in a good mood.” I kiss her brow and Cupid lips as I leave my wife to make all preparations for his Majesty’s visit.

 

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Mary Tudor Brandon

I cannot help but laugh at my husband, “Next you will be looking through bolts of fabrics while you help style all the ladies’ gowns.” I sip on the wine and listen as Charles speaks of my brother. I bite my lip to try and hold back my tears. Maybe this was a bad mistake, seeing him will bring back the look on his face when Cromwell threatened my children. How could he! His own nieces and nephew, who are no threat to him. Yet he bestows many honors on Margaret’s daughter, Margaret. Lucky for my sister not having to be a part of this. Though she and Arthur were the one’s who shared a special bond. What kind of king and man would Arthur have been? Twas him who our father loved best and prepared to rule after him. It was Henry and myself who were close, we loved so many similar things, he was my hero and now our relationship has turned to this. If Mistress Seymour does not catch his eye then I think it would be best for our family to move to France and live under Françoise’s protection.

 

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I smile wanly at Charles ”Trust me Charles, I need no lessons in learning the consequences of the king’s displeasure. He will bring anyone down, look how he has treated his own daughter? I believe she would be in danger of being executed. Mother would never believe that happy Harry could have become such a man. I will hold my tongue and pretend that I am overjoyed by his visit and his forgiveness. Do not think me foolish enough to risk neither yours or our children’s well being. I will pray that Lady Jane keeps the king entertained since I must still recover from my fall. You can let him beat you at everything and that will make him in the best of moods.”

I shiver as Charles kisses me to take his leave and prepare for his Majesty’s arrival. This talk has made me weary and I feel the need for the oblivion of sleep. ”Do not concern yourself with me Charles, I have an army of staff to attend to my needs. I think I might even try to sleep. Do what you must my love. I will see you when you are finished.”

 

 

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Jane Seymour

The days fly by at Westhorpe. I spend the mornings with the duchess, ensuring she improves and my prayers are daily answered. The duke is attentive, ensuring that I am well entertained as Mary rests. We walk, we ride, we hunt. I feel so happy here and dread the day when I must return to serve the Boleyn queen.

Then His Grace informs me that the king has accepted his invitation. I write to my brothers Edward and Thomas about the impending visit. I know they will be pleased and can speculate their replies to be enchanting and do my all to capture the Kings attention, nay, his imagination. I have butterflies in my stomach. There being but a small party, he cannot help but to acknowledge my presence. But further than that? I am not a Boleyn girl. I do not have the sparkle to enchant. I will but be myself. I am not disliked here, Both the duke and his duchess are so attentive! How I wish for my sister Elizabeth and her wisdom. I prepare best I can, focusing on assisting the Duchess, who I know I can help and forget for the moment the wishes of my beloved brothers.

 

King Henry VIII

The sound of clicking hoofs grew louder as the king and his hunting entourage approached Westhorpe Hall, the Brandon home. Eager for his arrival, Henry sent a messenger ahead to notify its duke, While he sat at the head of his group. It was nice to get away from the hassles of court life and a good hunt with his best friend and newly tamed sister would do wonders for his mood. Yes, Finally, he could have a decent conversation with his sister that did not end up with a blow up of Tudor tempers. Anne was his queen now, nothing and no one would change that. It was to be accepted by all. Those who refused would suffer the dire consequences without remorse.

 

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Charles Brandon

I look across the Courtyard, anxious to spot the arrival of Henry, despite being an honour for Henry to visit my home, I have the seeds of certain plans that I wish to plant in my friends mind.
A lone rider enters our courtyard, on spying the Royal Crest, I realise what is taking place….Henry is close! I shout to Harold to assemble six of my men and as I shout for the groom to tack Hermes, my black palfrey, the messenger canters towards me – before he finishes his first word I raise my hand, ”The king is close, I understand,” I frown, ”Where exactly is he?”. The messenger is a little taken aback and I feel an irrational knit my brow, ”I will escort him myself with my own men”. I snarl, waving my hand to the border reivers and hobelars who serve me without question. The messenger blanches at the ferocious and unruly sight of the horse soldiers, who manouver their horses behind me glaring at the royal messenger.  The messenger stammers the directions to Henry’s last location as he keeps glancing nervously at the six silent soldiers bristling with blades and bows. I turn to Marcus, my steward, ”Tell the ladies that Henry is close and I am going to meet him”, Marcus nods and walks to the house. The groom leads the gleaming black palfrey to my side, leaping onto his saddle I check the ground is soft and go straight into canter. Two of my men ride beside me, the other four riding in pairs behind me, as we begin to gallop. I lean into forward seat and relish the air blowing onto my face, the smooth beauty and rhythm of the muscular animal beneath me, always causes a grin to spread across my face and exhilaration as blood speeds through my body. Gently shortening the left reign and the slightest pressure with my right leg, Hermes wheels to the right, my grin spreads further as I glance at my riders next to me, who have manoeuvred in perfect formation. Looking ahead, I view the royal party, slowly pulling back on the reins, Bess reluctantly slows, her natural desire for speed only tempered by her faithful devotion to me. Several of Henry’s men begin to move their mounts, believing we will smash into them due to our speed, I steal a look at my flanking riders, they both have sly smiles across their unshaven faces, they enjoy this more than I – especially intimidating royal troops!

 

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Coming to a halt a short distance from Henry, some of his troops fearfully ride a short distance away, Hermes jogs and prances on the spot, his nostrils flaring, steam bellowing from his snorts. Reaching down I stroke his neck, which is damp with sweat, whispering and shushing as he settles. I look to Henry, bowing my head, on looking up I grin, ”Majesty” and lean forward to take his hand. Seeing his dark expression I turn to my riders and frown, thick accents sound ”My Liege”,”My King” and ”Majesty”. ”Six of my best, Majesty, the finest horse soldiers from the far corners of your realms” I smile to my friend, ”We have everything prepared for you, food, wine, entertainment and some activities both indoors and outside” I turn Hermes and Henry joins me at my side, we slowly progress to Westhorpe, deep in conversation, but glancing around me I notice the wary glances the troops are giving my chosen men.

 

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Mary Tudor Brandon

I have been sitting quietly with my ladies and Mistress Seymour sewing, I have been making a shirt for Charles and now was embroidering it with gold thread. The chambermaid places some more logs on the fire to make the room more comfortable. New rushes of straw, mint, lavender, and roses have been spread out everywhere in Westhorpe and every room has been filled with colorful, fragrant flowers, in ornate silver vessels. I made sure Henry’s chambers have been furnished and filled with his favorite tapestries,and laid out luxurious furs. As I tackled the emblem on Charles’s shirt, his steward bowed, to speak to me “Your Grace, his Grace has asked me to inform you that he can see the king’s party and that they shall shortly be here.” I stand up and smile ”Thank you Marcus, you may inform his Grace that all shall be ready.” My ladies startled whispering in excitement and I asked my chambermaid to tell the kitchen to lay out the food and best claret on gold platters as soon as his Majesty arrives. the mistrals were playing their lutes in anticipation. I look to my ladies, ”Let us all prepare for his Majesty.” I walk up to Mistress Seymour and whisper in her ear ”Jane, there is a new gown waiting for you in your room. It is my way of thanking you for all the care you have given me. Please go and put it on for the king’s arrival, I will have one of the mistresses do your hair. We all want to look our best”. With that I followed the ladies to my chambers to wash up and change so that perhaps Henry would recall the love we had shared as brother and sister before the Boleyn woman influenced all his actions. But if I am right in my knowledge of my brother, things may be changing for his so called queen. Mistress Jane is everything that Anne is not and he will be pleased with her soothing ways. Time will only tell if the Boleyn spell will be broken.

 

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Jane Seymour

I nod with a smile and thank her Grace and rush to my rooms to change. I find a beautiful gown of pale green velvet accentuated with fine embroidery worked across the gown and finished with pearls sewn into the bodice. It is a beautiful gown, the most sumptuous creation I have ever worn. I allow the chatter of the ladies to wash over me as they tightly lace the bodice and compose myself. I will not allow my shyness to overcome me, I have been in the presence of the king before. I direct the girl styling my hair to use the English gable hood – not the hood favoured by the French and the Boleyn’s.

The ladies gush as my preparations are completed. I thank them for their kind attentions as they show me my reflection in her Grace’s precious looking glass before they make haste to their own chambers to prepare. I take a deep breath and join the duchess of Suffolk in front of the manor, with the thunder of hooves marking the arrival of the king.

 

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King Henry VIII

Henry nods as Charles and his party ride up to meet him. ”Ah, thank you, Charles. I have been looking for an escape for weeks.”, The king chuckles as he continues, ”I look forward to seeing what you have in store for me. How is your family doing and the word on my sister’s condition?” Henry directs his palfrey into a light trot as they continued towards Westhorpe Hall.

 

Charles Brandon

My friend’s mention of Mary’s injury reminds me of the animosity I held for him at the time, despite my affection for my friend and my loyalty to my king, I feel the anger rise within me again.
Looking away from Henry, I let my eyes settle on two rabbits scurrying around the crops nearby, I muse what sport we could have had if the dogs hand come with us. That light thought has vented the little anger that had started to bubble within me and I turn to look at my friend. ”Your sister is made from tough material, Sire” I glance at him, my eyebrows raising, ”She may be an elegant and beautiful lady, but she has the heart and the spirit of the Tudors, no trifling injury would defeat her! The injury would be too scared to harm her!” My lighthearted manner conceals my true emotions when I learnt of my darling’s trauma. ”Quite by chance”, I say in an off hand manner, ”we have the lady who cared for her staying at Westhorpe as a guest, it was our small way of showing gratitude for her help” I lean to Henry, looking conspiratorial and lowering my voice, ”In fact Sire, I think you will find her presence will only add to the enjoyment we shall have over these next few days, even if it is only by the brightness of her smile” I grin at Henry as we wheel into Westhorpe, stable boys and grooms swarm around under the expert directions of Marcus, my soldiers trot off to their stables and combined quarters. Waiting for Henry as he dismounts I extend my arm gesturing to Westhorpe, and walk with Henry into the spacious entrance hall. Mary and Jane stand ahead of our staff to greet our king, Mary catches my eye and her glance has a mischievous gleam, after her formal welcome she greets her brother with fondness and presents Jane.

 

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Jane Seymour

I drop into a curtsey as I am presented to the king. I colour slightly as the duchess speaks warmly of my good deeds in caring for her. As I rise my eyes meet the king’s. I am momentarily startled as the king’s quizzical gaze is focused on me. I unconsciously hold my breath and quickly look down at the hem of my skirt. I do not take in what the king is saying as he takes my hand in his and kisses it. I feel his fingers linger on my palm, and I venture a glance from beneath my lashes and I find myself once again meeting his gaze. I quickly come to my senses as his lips stop moving and it is my turn to speak. I smile and thank him majesty for his kind words and praise my hosts warmly. The duchess speaks again and I inwardly admonish myself for not holding on to my senses. I have been in the presence of the king on many occasions and do not know why this time is different. Perhaps it was having is attention trained solely on myself, and his touch upon my palm.

 

Mary Rose Tudor

I look at my brother and try to forget Cromwell’s words about executing my family if I did not sign the oath. My head starts to pound with the memory. He did not threaten More’s family yet he threatened mine. Why not just threaten me alone? I remove all thoughts and paste a smile on my face. Westhorpe looks wonderful, all the wood has been polished and glows. The fires are lit and the warmth from the embers holds off the slight chill in the air. New rushes have been laid which fragrance the rooms with the scents of mint, lavender, roses and rosemary. The candles flicker off the silver vessels filled with Tudor roses and the stained glass has been cleaned so that shards of beautiful colors dance off the walls when the light outside hits it. I saw to Henry’s chambers myself. The tapestries are all made with the finest gold and silver threads. The sumptious fabrics all imported from Italy, silks, velvets and brocades. He would not find better accommodations at any of his palaces. I paste a smile on my face and go to kiss Henry on each cheek.

 

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”Welcome dearest brother” I nod for the servants to fill the silver chalices with our best claret and to bring out the gold platters of wild boar, venison, game pies, pungent cheeses, warm, crispy bread, cherries, wild strawberries, and juicy red apples. My cooks have made custards, marchpane, and assorted cakes.” I hope your journey fared well Henry, Charles and I are delighted to have you. Please have a seat and partake in some refreshments. I know you must be parched and famished from your journey. As you can see I am mended thanks to the careful healing hands of Mistress Seymour.” I take her hand, and smile admiring her beautiful gown. She looks like an angel sent from the heavens. ”Please join us Mistress Seymour, I am sure his Majesty would love to hear of the good care I received from you and your family. Charles and I have planned many diversions for you and wish nothing more for you to relax and enjoy yourself away from the stress of court. ”

King Henry VIII

As Henry strides into Westhorpe with the duke chuckling by his side, a most charming creature is brought before him. Not by her looks or deeds, as his sister goes on to describe, makes her so curious to him. It is the genuine modesty in her curtsey, the way she lowers her eyes and her adorable blush as he kisses her hand. Mistress Seymour… ah, she cannot be kin to the wild and stern Seymour brothers. Even those two were as different as night and day but still they had that Seymour charm… just like this one even if she wasn’t aware of it. What a surprise. Henry genuinely smiled as he bent low to kiss the girl’s hand. ”Mistress Seymour. I am ever grateful for your services to my dear sister, who I am glad to see is most recovered in body and temperament. I must think of some way to repay your great kindness.” Henry walks over to his sister, kissing her cheeks and smiling at her words. A twinkle in his eye, giving a hint of amusement. ”Very well, dearest Mary. I am most sure that with you and Charles combine I will not fail to be entertained. Alas, court drives me weary and the presence of family and a newcomer will surely give me good cheer. I look forward to hearing the tale of your need of saving and Mistress Seymour’s heroics indeed.” The king seemed to be quite pleased at these turn of events as he entered the dining hall on the arm of his sister.

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Mary Tudor Brandon

Mary listens to her brother act as if nothing had ever transpired between them. He threatens his own daughter, why would he not threaten Mary’s children? She had been acting her entire life except when she was home with Charles and her beloved children. She preferred her life at Westhorpe then any court. Mary took Henry’s arm and led him into the dining hall where the feast was laid out. Mary took a long sip of the ruby, fruity wine. She would need a lot of wine to get through his visit.” Mistress Seymour, you must sit with us. The king will know of the angel that rescued his sister. Henry, I was thrown from my mare into rocks. My head was hit hard but Jane and her family took such care of me that I was able to quickly recuperate. There are no jewels that can repay the kindness that was shown to me. Is that not correct Charles?” Charles has planned many activities for you. You must tell Henry just a little of what you planned.” She smiled as she looked at Charles. Her entire face expressed her love for her husband.

 

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Charles Brandon

The frisson that softly charged the air between Henry and Jane had not only amused me, but gave me a warm feeling of satisfaction. The knowledge that my Mary and I had distracted my friends thoughts away from the Boleyn whore, gave me a contented glow, that outshone the comforting warmth of the candles and fire in our dining room. As we sat at the dining table my mouth was already eager to taste the succulent meats that lay before us, hare with it’s ears crisped ready to crackle in our mouths, succulent peacock from our estate, that had been hung for twenty one days, beckoned me with it’s mouthwatering aromas. Another aroma of sliced and matured venison competed with the lightly spiced aromas of tender mouthwatering roasted beef and a roast chicken, the chicken sat tempting our mouths with it’s crispy texture, which hid tasty white meat. Warm fragrant breads added to the orchestra of delights and on sipping the wine, I drank deeply as I realised Mary had ordered the staff to uncork the best ruby red from France. I had steered my mind to a marvellous evening which I would hope to continue in our bed chamber after the evening had concluded, my eyes scanned across Mary’s beauty, my eyes locking with hers and thought how that part of the evening would be the most pleasurable.

Without warning, the air chilled, a million insects crawled along my spine and my knuckles turned white as I unconsciously gripped my goblet. ”Thrown… mare…. head… rocks” the words came from her own beautiful mouth and crashed into my mind with sickening agony. My thoughts replayed the torment of the desperate ride to be with her, having heard the news, the silence of my troops as we rode at speeds that were driven by the black demons of fear and despair. The empty cavern in my stomach as I raced to her room, forcing the smile on my face as I saw her dark circled eyes, matted hair and sickly pallor. I must have made a movement or sound, for Mary admonished me with her eyes and used them to gesture to Henry. I lessened my grip on the goblet and took a long drink, as my mouth had dried. Swallowing, I felt the friendly warming glow as the liquid caressed my tongue.”It’s true Majesty” I smiled, ”For all that we love you as our family, friend and king, this great feast and the merriment of the next days, are in honour to the angelic thoughts and deeds of Lady Jane” my eyes twinkled as I turn to her and raised my goblet, ”However, I hope the pursuits of the next few days are enjoyable to both of you”, I sip some more wine, ”To name but a few events, as I know I will forget some, we have hunting, hawking, archery, riding, tennis and racing on our estate. All these will be accompanied with food, wine and ale. Whether these are brought to us or we return to Westhorpe, you can decide on the day. I pause, trying to collect my thoughts, ”If the weather keeps us indoors we have two minstrels and a bard to entertain us, whether it be day or evening. What els…?” I pause, stroking the stubble that had grown on my face throughout the day, If wind, rain or even snow become inclement, the cockpit is covered to protect us from the elements. Our games room has many activities, chess, draughts, cards even skittles, we also have a small library. I turn to Jane smiling, ”So our days will be as full or empty as you wish, however m’lady, my spies have informed me that you can sing like an angel, which is not surprising given your angelic ministrations, I hope you will offer us your voice on at least one occasion. But I am prattling too much and I can see”, I turn to look at Henry, ”our sovereign lord is eyeing the venison!” The smile that creases my face shows my happiness at the gathering, but I know Mary can feel my thoughts, dark and torturous images, thoughts, feelings and memories have re-emerged at her own mention of her accident. Not my treacherous hatred and treasonous thoughts concerning Henry, but the utter despair of loosing my princess, all I wanted to do was throw the table aside, carry her in my arms and never let her go!

 

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Jane Seymour

The feast was nothing I had ever seen outside of court – certainly nothing this grand had ever sat on a Seymour table. I was encouraged to taste each delicious morsel until I could feel the boning of my corset dig into my skin. The king pressed me for details of how I cared for his sister and was effusive of his praise until my cheeks burned.

”Your Majesty is too kind with your praise – I have done nothing extraordinary, merely what any good Christian would do in the same circumstances.” I smile warmly in Mary’s direction. She is talking animatedly to her beloved husband, I turn back to the king, who holds my gaze intently before I drop my eyes toward my cup and reach for it. ”Her Grace was an exemplary patient and has mended quickly, it was an honour to care for her.” I peek up at the king who’s gaze has not wavered. The attention is not something I am accustomed to. One of the serving staff attends to my plate and refreshes my wine.

The duke of Suffolk exclaims that tomorrow will be a fine day to hunt, I murmur my asset along with the rest of the party and the conversation turns to stories of previous hunting parties. I take this opportunity to sit back and watch the old friends relieve great hunting moments and take stock of the evening. King Henry has been attentive, but I remain unconvinced it is anything more than appreciation for caring for his sister. He looks my way during a rendition of a stag hunt and I smile prettily and lean forward attentively.

 

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King Henry VIII

Henry deeply satisfied with the outcome of his visit, nods approvingly at attentions of his sister and most loyal friend. Cutting into the vension after Charles’ jest, he smiles lightly, ”Indeed, You have provided a most pleasing table, Your Graces. I definitely look forward to the further activities that you have planned. I hope we may get an early start on Hunt on the morrow.”
He almost immediately turns his attentions back to the intriguing Mistress Seymour, his ear hanging on every word of her heroic account. How wide the comparison between her and his temptseous wife was. At first, Anne’s vivacity and boldness was amusing and refreshing. It was something new and something he couldn’t control for once that excited him. Enflamed his own passions. Now… of late, they only served to enflame his annoyance and embarrassment. Especially since she had yet to fufill her promise of many sons. Two miscarriages and a daughter. Hmph. Everyday she reminded him of a harping version of Katherine without the piety. And he did not want to imagine the possibility of her failing again. This Seymour girl was a breath of fresh air and it was something he desired greatly as he did this trip, how lucky he should come to find it in his sister’s predicament. ”Indeed such a Christian heart would be most welcomed at court. Many there could use your example, Mistress Seymour. If you should like to attend your brothers one day, I would gladly welcome your visit personally.” Henry chuckled softly at the rise of her blush. He then raises his goblet to a toast. ”I propose a toast to… second chances. It seems we’ve all been lucky enough to experience the gift for the better and I am most exceedingly glad for it!”. They all raise their goblets and cry out, ”To second chances!” Oh, how the straight road leads to the unexpected.

 

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By: King Henry VIII UK, Charles Brandon UK Z, Jane Seymour UK Z, Mary Rose Brandon UK Z

Which of his wives did Henry VIII love the most?, by Llinos Thomas

February 25, 2014 in History With Heart, by Llinos Thomas by ADMIN: Royal Squire

surprise at catherine

This is a question which has long interested me.  How could a man, or in this case a king,  have such a terrible marital record, and yet keep marrying again and again.  Did Henry VIII love his wives, and if so, who did he love the most?

As I ponder this point, I find myself feeling an urge to define ‘love’.  Could the King of England love a woman in the same vein as an ordinary man?  His relationships with women were far from normal, his marriages far from conventional.  Before Henry VIII, an English queen had never been executed, but not one but two of his wives ended up with their heads cut off.  To Henry, I believe ‘love’ did not really fit into his marriages like it might in other people’s marriages.  I believe it to have been more of a feature in his courtships.  But does that make Henry a fool for love?  Is it what spurred him on to marry so many times, along with his desire for a son?

Let us look at his six wives, one by one:

Catherine of Aragon

When Henry married his first wife, they were happy and in love.  She, the Spanish princess, and he, the most handsome king in Europe.  Despite two decades of marriage, no living son of theirs survived.  It turned any love that Henry felt towards Catherine to dust, and fueled his belief that their marriage was not valid.

Anne Boleyn

After a courtship of seven years, and ripping apart the realm in order to marry her, surely Henry loved Anne Boleyn deeply.  He loved her charm, intelligence and wit.  Dr Suzannah Lipscomb’s documentary ‘Henry and Anne’ explained that she believes that they were both deeply in love with each other.  Yet like Catherine before her, Anne could not give him a son.  Henry’s love turned to hate in three short years.  The irony is that what Henry had loved in Anne all along is what sealed her fate; he could not accept those traits in a queen, and her perceived failure to give him a son.  The other irony is that their daughter Elizabeth became one of England’s greatest ever monarchs.

Jane Seymour

Jane was everything Anne Boleyn was not.  Meek and obedient, she must have seemed like the perfect wife to Henry.  Yet I’ve always mistrusted her, as she seems far more callous than Anne Boleyn; how could she marry a man days after he had beheaded his wife?  Was she petrified of Henry, or certain she would not suffer the same end?  She gave Henry his son at last, and for that I believe he would have adored her forever.  Perhaps not for herself, but had she lived, I doubt anyone could have replaced her as queen.

Anne of Cleves

There is little doubt that Henry did not love Anne, having divorced her after six unconsummated months of marriage.  She was however, the true survivor of his wives, and did well in her settlement and future happiness as Henry’s ‘sister’.

Catherine Howard

After Anne of Cleves, Henry once again turned away from a marriage of foreign alliance, and turned once more to his own court.  He was enchanted by the young Catherine, and when he discovered her betrayal, he cried and reacted like he never had before; not like when Jane Seymour died, and certainly not like when Anne Boleyn went to her death.  He loved Catherine.  He also remained unmarried for over a year after her death.

Catherine Parr

By the time he married his last wife, Henry was ill and old and surely did not expect more children.  In Catherine Parr however, he believed he had found a suitable queen for his final years.  She was a fine consort and stepmother to his children.  It was not a love match however; Catherine loved Thomas Seymour, and by now surely the tyrannical king had no love left in him.

So of all his wives, I believe Henry loved Anne Boleyn most before they married, and he loved Catherine Howard the most as his queen.

What do you think?

God’s Kingdom Awaits (King Henry VIII, June 28,1491 to January 28,1547)

January 28, 2014 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Tudor Y Writer's Group by Beth von Staats

King Henry VIII (June 29, 1491 to January 28, 1547)

King Henry VIII (June 29, 1491 to January 28, 1547)

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It is time for the Lord to act; they have frustrated Your law.  ~~~ Psalm 119:126

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26 January 1547

“Denny broke the news to His Majesty today, Your Grace. The King’s suffering nears its end. We feared to wait for you, for even traveling from Lambeth may lead to His Majesty passing from this world unknowing, unable to make peace with his God.”

I look to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, his words said with gentle softness, and nod. Sir William Paget rests his hand on my shoulder as I speak. “Sir Anthony is a blessing to His Majesty, his task noble. O Lord do strengthen him in these dark days, I pray.”

Sir Anthony Denny

Sir Anthony Denny

Sir Anthony Denny, how can ever we thank his noble service? The loving care he provides His Majesty is saintly, though an evangelical he is in truth. Master of the Stool to a dying monarch, though an honored title, is thankless indeed, no earthly reward sufficient. This man’s services to the realm are as taxing as any warrior, as any a ghastly vocation in all Christendom. Not many would abide it if the truth was known. Who could blame? His Majesty’s wounds ooze pitifully I am told, the stench bending to spew many a man. Though riches and property are Denny’s earthly rewards, God will reward him further still. Yes, we are justified by the Lord by our faith alone, but there must be God’s cherished love for the likes of this. After a quiet moment of reflection for His Majesty’s  trusted servant, I startle slightly, Sir William Paget, my closest layman ally since dearest Cromwell, my Earl of Essex died, breaking the blaring silence.

“Your Grace, my Lord of Hertford and I know you pain more than any man. We see it plain. You look exhausted from prayer, obviously not taking time for nourishment or to direct your privy servant to shave your growing stubble. Even thus, we must speak plain and plan for dear Prince Edward’s ascendancy to kingship.”

His Majesty no longer able to chide me, I shall never shave again — a clean face the vestments of clergy governed by the Antichrist. Do I admit my stubble is of my choice? No, let the tongues wag later. I look up and swallow hard. “Though the task heartbreaking, yes we must. Do carry on, good man.”

My Lord of Hereford readies to speak, and I rise my hand to halt him. I desire first to hear from dearest Paget, a man with no blood between my beloved Godson and the crown. He begins to falter, stumbling on his words. “Master Secretary, speak what you must. You are among the trusted few you can.”

“Your Grace, the Council His Majesty has commanded… It is doomed to failure I fear. We must find a way around it.”

The poor man seems relieved to finally speak his peace. I’ll allay him further. “Yes, you state the obvious, dear man. Per His Majesty’s expressed commands, no man must ever resign the council, no man ever relieved of duty, no matter the travesty. This shall lead to chaos I fear, one man against another, turmoil and manipulations rather than good judgement ruling this very realm.”

I look to both men who are nodding in agreement. I venture on. “Here is our chance gentlemen, our chance we long awaited to rid this realm of idols, relics, the very Eucharist itself. This must not be delayed by the indecisiveness that ruling by council would bring. Souls are in the balance.”

Both men are stunned cold, Paget’s mouth hung open wide. My trusted secretary Ralph Morice instead smiles knowingly.

“Hear! Hear! You changed your stance on the Eucharist, Your Grace? Since when did you reach this revelation?” asks my Lord of Hertford.

I am determined these men finally know my mind, but the particulars need not be so clear. Bishop Ridley, my beloved personal chaplain and I decided finally upon it. That be that. “Dearest Cromwell, may he rest with the peace of what is to come, did teach me, and these be his very words. ‘There be no need for reformist martyrs, Your Grace. Wait for the opportunity, then seize it. Until then, keep your thoughts and ambitions close.’ He spoke truth, because here I still stand despite the great efforts of myne enemies, now much to accomplish for God’s glory, for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Sir William Paget

Sir William Paget

Both men smile broadly, my words most welcome indeed. My Lord of Hertford tries to speak once more. I again raise my hand to stifle him, then placing my finger before my lips to make my point. “Master Secretary what are your recommendations then?”

“Despite His Majesty’s expressed commands, this realm must have a Lord Protector. I know his mind. The king fears the power of one man may undermine the ascendancy of a child, lest we forget the poor sons of King Edward, fourth of that name.”

Both Hertford and I nod in agreement, as he speaks truth. I motion Paget continue.

“His Majesty is wise to think such, but I see no other way. The boy is but nine years old. Governance cannot be frozen nine long years by the inevitable debates and posturing of several men who lack like mind while we wait for Prince Edward to mature from child to king. I urge the realm be ruled by a Lord Protector, with a supporting Privy Council, the very men His Majesty trusts as he made known.”

Before Herford can speak, I cut him off. The idea put forth must not be viewed as his, as to do so may later unravel his very credibility. Does Hertford not know why I stifled him thus far? “His Majesty is wise, but I do agree with you, dear man.”

I look to Hertford once more and inquire with all earnestness. “My Lord of Hertford, of all the men in this realm, you are most suited to be Lord Protector. You share the very blood of our beloved Prince soon king. You adhere to the true religion, and you are wise of governance.”

He smiles broadly, but I am not done. “Before I thrust my wholehearted support, do tell me what your goals as Lord Protector would be?”

He squirms just a little, good. I am Archbishop of Canterbury, duty bound to His Majesty still. If I sway from the king’s intentions once God takes him home, I must be sure all be in the best interests of Prince Edward, who I then owe my full allegiance and submission, as is God’s Holy Word in the Book of Solomon.

“Your Grace, myne foremost goal and obligation is to raise Prince Edward to be our Empire’s first great Protestant King, of course. You may select his religious scholars, while I will attend to his worldly education. He is a bright child, with much potential to be the grandest king in all Europe, in all the world. I desire most to bring England to the true religion, while also growing our wealth and knowledge among the people. We must also prepare for any wars upon our shores. Alas, I believe we owe to the poorest in the realm, the wretched souls. They suffer much.”

Ah, the man speaks true, though I knew he would. “And what would you need from me and the clergy, my Lord?”

“The liturgy for the Church of England, stated common in all religious houses throughout this glorious realm, ever church, every abbey, all clergy sermonizing same. O Lord make it so.”, says Lord Hereford with all conviction.

Paget and I smile broadly. Dearest Cromwell held great hope for this young man, not without just cause I do see. I ask my dearest secretary, Ralph Morice, whose gracious silence holds my utmost trust, to pour us all some wine. With His Majesty on his death bed, this be no time for toasts. I merely sip upon the claret, and speak most humbly. “You have my support, dear man. My Lord, all you ask I will do most diligently. God is my witness.”

Hertford leans over, placing his hand gently upon my arm. “And what then do you need from me, Your Grace? If the council agrees, and I become Lord Protector of this realm as you suggest, what may I do to ease your way as head of the clergy?” he asks in devout sincerity.

I pause. This must not go unsaid. My promise is my solemn oath, our vows God’s truth. I try and speak casually, as if what I state next is as mundane as discussing abbey finance. I breathe in deep, blow the breath out and begin. “I do confess I already wrote to my wife Margarete in Nuremburg and stated my desire she prepare to come home to me, along with my daughter. Both I pine pitifully for since the Six Articles became His Majesty’s truth.”

I stunned Hertford and Paget again, catching both completely off their guard. Hertford’s eyes grow wide, while Paget nervously smiles. What skips through their minds is known but to them and God. I sigh, and dear Ralph Morice motions I be out with it. “All I ask for me and for the clergy of this realm is that my family finally be allowed to live our lives openly, as example to the world of God’s scriptural truth, and as the greatest desire of myne  heart.”

Ralph Morice smiles approvingly. My confidences he holds close, bless his soul. My Lord of Hertford shakes his head disbelievingly and clears his throat as we all await a response to my simple request of basic dignity.

“Of course, Your Grace. Celibacy is of pagan thought, not God’s. It has no place in England’s clergy. We shall build a truly evangelical realm, together.”

The weight lifts off my shoulders, carried these many years. “Thank you, my Lord,” I say with the sincerity of a small child who trusts all and knows no evil.

Hertford rubs his fingers through his beard and adds, “I had no idea Your Grace, none. You kept your secret close indeed. My spies had no word of it.”

Both Ralph Morice and I then smile broadly, releasing the tension thick in the midst of us. I motion to Morice. “Besides my trusted secretary, only dearest Cromwell knew, and he took the secret of my wife and daughter with him to the scaffold.”

I offer with a nervous laugh in all good humor and chide, “The Lord Privy Seal’s spies be much better than yours, my Lord.”

Sir Edward Seymour, then Earl of Hertford

Sir Edward Seymour, then Earl of Hertford

The King’s Secretary, always astute and thorough, chimes in to break the moment of my humble confessions. Mayhaps he desires the subject closed, awkward that it be. Paget, yes he is wise. Let’s do move on, O Lord I pray.

“Your Grace…. My Lord, we must not forget the dog in the Tower. What do we do with Norfolk if His Majesty is called home to the Lord before the execution? His Majesty is fading, and the deed is not set for two days hence,” states Paget.

I allow my Lord of Hertford to speak his peace. If he is going to be Lord Protector, let him start now. Norfolk, both he and Gardiner, along with Bonner and their lot did upend my dearest Cromwell, and nearly me but for the grace of His Majesty’s heart, his warnings and his signet ring gifted to save me. I wish the toad dead. God forgive me.

“I pray His Majesty lives so his commands unfold, but if God calls him home, I do think we move cautiously. Blood on the hands of new governance will not sit well with the people of this realm. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, will languish in The Tower until he shrivels and rots on to death. To kill him outright may spurn insurgency. We need that not.”

My disappointment is obvious, but I say nothing.

“I am sorry, Your Grace. Revenge must not be our priority. The time is not right. With any luck, Norfolk will give us just cause later, once we secure the trust of Parliament and the people.”

I nod approvingly. “Yes, no decision best be made in anger. My resentment and desire for revenge I will atone. I shall seek God’s loving forgiveness this night in my prayers.”

I look to these three fine men, one the King’s trusted secretary, another mine, and God willing of council agreement, yet another my beloved Prince Edward’s, soon king, steadfast protector and say simply, “God’s will be done.”

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Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

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In the midst of life, we are in death… Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy… Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body.  ~~~ Thomas Cranmer, The Book of Common Prayer

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28 January 1547

“Your Grace, Praise the Lord you are here. His Majesty is fading quickly. Though he speaks not, he lives still.”

I place my hand gently on the arm of Sir Anthony Denny. The man looks racked, as if languishing in Tower many a year, tortured without end. “Go take rest, good man. God knows you need it.”

He drops his eyes to the floor. “His Majesty asked for you, Your Grace, near his last words. He desires your presence when he slips on to God.”

My beloved Sir Anthony, without his intercession along with mine trusted secretary, I would surely had been devoured by the wolves long by now. I tap his shoulder. “Look at me, good man.”

As he raises up his gaze, I say simply, “The King and I weathered many a trial and tribulation together. I need no words to know his heart.”

Denny attempts a faint smile, and I gaze through to his soul. “This be God’s will, aye God’s will, dear man. From all evil, from all sin, from all tribulation, the good Lord will surely deliver him. Have faith, and His Majesty will too.”

I sigh as I pat his arm gently. “Now let me go do what must be done.” 

He nods and motions toward the door. I find my courage with God’s loving grace and quietly enter. The rank stench of His Majesty’s wounds hits me like the blunt end of a lance in a joust. I seek quickly a piss pot, spewing forth all within. My innards not satisfied, dry heaves overcome my every being.

“Your Grace… Your Grace…,” I hear through my misery.

Finally, I look up and one of His Majesty’s tormenting doctors begins helping me to my feet, whilst another washes my face and stubble with a wet cloth.

“Rub this pungent poultice under your nose, Your Grace. It will help what ails you by masking the odors.”

I gladly comply and trade one putrid scent for another, but it be bearable, thank the Lord. A tad weak at the knees still, I look around. Six men gaze upon me as if I am Jesus Himself. I venture, “Is there any more you can do to ease the king’s suffering?”

They sway their heads to and fro, looking down as if ashamed of their incompetence. I wave them off dismissively. “Then go, please. No more is needed for now. God be with you.”

One of the doctors offers, “I wish to stay and attend to you, Your Grace. This room sickens the strongest of men.”

Although this portrait depicts Henry VIII's deathbed, in actuality he died instead holding the hand of Archbishop Cranmer.

Although this portrait depicts Henry VIII’s deathbed, in actuality he died instead holding the hand of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

I say softly, thankful for his kindness, “His Majesty and I must be alone, but you may wait just outside, good man. I will gratefully call upon you if need be.”

I smile as he nods and the doctors retreat, and then turn to His Majesty. My heart fills with both love and mourning at the sight of the great man, God’s king on earth. Grotesquely swollen, liquid leaching from every pore, my stomach readies to spew once more, but the Lord lovingly intervenes and I settle.  A comfortable chair placed beside the king’s majestic bed for my benefit, I sit upon it and then rest my hand upon one of his, my fingers resting upon the very signet ring that once saved myne very life. “I am here, Majesty. It be mine honor  you beckoned I come.”

I feel him hold on to my hand, though weakly, with purpose. His Majesty, he knows I am with him. Praise be to God. If he knows I am here, surely he knows God is too. Surely he will trust in the Lord in his last moments. His Majesty’s soul will be saved with my help, and with a grateful heart my last service will be done onto him.

Though His Majesty did once make me promise in a small moment of weakness after Queen Jane passed over to the Lord, there will be no last rites, no extreme unction. We are brought to the Lord by our faith and faith alone.  For the last fortnight, I dwelt, worried, and prayed most earnestly. Do I follow His Majesty’s expressed wishes? Do I keep my promises to him? In the morning light of conscience last night, God gave me His answer. Yes, we are brought forth to the Lord by our faith and faith alone. This is God’s truth, and no man can overrule Him, not even my noble Majesty to whom all else I submitted, even at the expense of myne own values and conscience, his word always supreme.

Overcome with emotion, tears well. I am unashamed. His Majesty saw my tears before, the last time when first meeting after dear Cromwell breathed his last, brought forth to the Lord by his faith and the ax. Few words were spoken. The letter already written and sent, he knew my heart. “Your Grace, what is done I had to do. From this day forth, I rule the council. I trust no man but you, no man.” From that day on, I lived in fear I would lose that trust and tread with the caution of a man hunted, my faith and truth kept close to save my very skin to await what now lays ahead — a new day, a new dawn, a Protestant England.

I venture carefully, speaking softly as a church mouse. We are alone with God, but are we really? “Majesty, as scripture says in the Book of John, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ Do you trust in our Lord God?”

Silence blares as loud as canon fire. No sign tells me. “Please Lord, let him hear me. Let His Majesty answer, Lord. I beseech you.”

I try once more. “Majesty, with all your heart and soul, do you trust in our Lord God, all faith in him?”

God and His Majesty answer my prayers. The King squeezes my hand, weakly yes, but his answer clear. Relief washes over me. His Majesty’s soul is saved through the strength of his faith by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God be praised.

“Do pray with me Majesty if you can. Thoughts be words, and whether old Greek, Latin, German or English, whether Tyndale, Erasmus, Luther or the Bishop of Rome, all say the same from God’s Holy Word. ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them’.”

Henry VIII Coat of Arms

Henry VIII Coat of Arms.

I find my courage once more. No papal prayers will come from my mouth. No Roman Catholic leanings will taint His Majesty in his journey to the Lord. I look to the holy oil, chalice, wine, bread and rosaries left on the night table for my use. No, there is no need for them. There will be no penance, no anointing, and O Lord I praise you, no final Eucharist. I stand, bending so I may still hold His Majesty’s hand and pray simply. That is all one needs, nothing more.

“Almighty God, look on this your servant, Henry, Eighth of this name, King of England, Wales, Ireland and France, Defender of the Faith, lying in great weakness, and comfort him with the promise of life everlasting, given in the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

I look down upon His Majesty, emotions rising to the surface. Still weak at the knees and stomach churning from the stench of this dreadful place, I bend down further still and kiss his hand and then the signet ring that binds us. I whisper, “I will submit humbly to and serve with all earnestness and love my dear beloved Edward, Prince of Wales, your longed for and blessed begotten heir as I ever did you, Majesty. That is my solemn promise and vow.”

Swirling through my mind come memories of our kinship though both trying times and glory, submission to his will often at the expense of my own, sometimes even at the expense of God’s. Tears of both mourning and relief flow freely. My heart bleeds, yet finally rests with the knowledge that what comes next is God’s will. I wipe my eyes with the sleeve of my vestments and compose myself before saying what I must. Alas, there be no point to fighting death any longer. God waits patiently. His Majesty’s suffering long now many years, his faith is professed, his salvation assured. I say simply, as mayhaps he just needs a prod, “Now be the time to let go, Majesty. God’s kingdom awaits.”

~~~~~ Fade to Black ~~~~

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King Henry VIII Tudor Dynasty

King Henry VIII

Lusty Youth Should Us Ensue

Lusty Youth should us ensue,
His merry heart shall sure all rue.
For whatsoever they do him tell
It is not for him, we know it well.

For they would have him his liberty refrain,
And all merry company for to disdain.
But I will not do whatsoever they say,
But follow his mind in all that we may.

How should Youth himself best use
But all disdainers for to refuse?
Youth has as chief assurance
Honest mirth with virtue’s pastance.

For in them consists great honour,
Though that disdainers would therein put error.
For they do sue to get them grace,
All only riches to purchase.

With good order, counsel, and equity,
Good Lord grant us our mansion to be.
For without their good guidance
Youth should fall in great mischance.

For Youth is frail and prompt to do
As well vices as virtues to ensue.
Wherefore by these he must be guided,
And virtue’s pastance must be therein used.

Now unto God this prayer we make,
That this rude play may well betake
And that we may our faults amend
And bliss obtain at our last end.
Amen.

~~ King Henry VIII ~~

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This lasting gift to the world from King Henry VIII is Pastime with Good Company, also known as The King’s Ballad (The Kynges Balade). It is an English folk song written by King Henry VIII in the first years of the 16th century, shortly after being crowned. It is performed by Gryphon.

King Henry VIII’s lasting poetry gift to world above Lusty Youth Should Us Ensue was penned at some point between 1510 and 1515.

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QAB Interview with Historian and Novelist Alison Weir

October 14, 2013 in Alison Weir Book Reviews & Interviews, News, QAB Guest Interviews and Chats by Beth von Staats

Alison Weir

Alison Weir

 

Alison Weir, beloved British historian and novelist, is the United Kingdom’s most popular female historian. Renowned and greatly respected, her book sales tell the story. Alison sold over 2.3 million books — over 1,000,000 million in the United Kingdom and over 1,300,000 in the United States. Alison’s most current non-fiction work, Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World will be launched at an exciting long “sold out” speaking engagement and publication celebration at the Tythe Barn, Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre on November 7, 2013. Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World provides readers with interesting new insights of Elizabeth of York’s magnificent and fascinating life story, also dispelling many long held misconceptions.

Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers recently had the privilege and honor of catching up with Alison Weir, discussing her thoughts on Elizabeth of York and a host of other topics.

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1. Alison, Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers (QAB) understands you are in process of significantly rewriting and updating your non-fiction accounting of The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Why did you choose to take on this major undertaking? Do you have updated research you will be including?

It’s now twenty-two years since that book was published, and a lot of new research has been done since, some of it by me for subsequent books. Also, much of my research for the original 1970s text was edited or left out of the text because of concerns about length. I am now revising, rewriting and re-researching the book, restoring some of the original version (which ran to 1024 single-spaced pages), and very much enjoying revisiting the project.

2. In your website biography you share with browsers that during the 1970’s you researched all the medieval Queens of England. To date you have chronicled the lives of the six consorts of King Henry VIII, Queen Isabella, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary Stuart (Scotland), and most recently Elizabeth of York. Do you plan to chronicle the lives of other medieval queens in the future? Are you willing to share with browsers who you find to be England’s most influential and intriguing medieval queen consort and why?

I am under contract for a book on the medieval queens of England in one volume, but the project is being shelved because I would prefer to cover this vast subject in three or more books, which would reflect the scope of my research. I am at present discussing another subject with my publishers. I think that Eleanor of Aquitaine was England’s most influential queen consort, if only because the transfer of her vast domains, on marriage, first to France then to England, set the pattern for European diplomacy and warfare for the next four centuries. And she has a more towering reputation than any other medieval queen consort.

Anneboleyn2

3. Obviously many first time browsers to QAB venture to the website due to  their interest in Queen Anne Boleyn. Why do you think so many people are interested in her? Do you have any strong opinions on how she is portrayed in novels, movies, television and the internet?

I will try to be brief here, as I have much to say! Anne Boleyn’s story is one of the most dramatic in English history, and she has always been the focus of much interest, not least because she was controversial and her fall is the subject of much debate. But interest has escalated in recent years in the wake of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Tudors, and what concerns me is that it is these distorted and romanticized portrayals that inform much of the current craze for all things Anne. They are very far removed from the historical Anne whom I am currently researching. Instead she is perceived almost as a celebrity, an icon for modern women. So yes, I have very strong opinions on how she is portrayed! There’s an article on my website called Anne, Superstar? You can read it here:  http://www.alisonweir.org.uk/books/bookpages/more-lady-in-the-tower.asp/.

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(This is a one of four clips from an interview with Alison Weir back in April 2012. The interview was for a MA final project film, details of which can be found at http://theboleynproject.wordpress.com. Alison was interviewed by Charli Burden and filmed by Becca Attfield. What a fantastic MA final project!!! Congratulations to Charli and Becca on a fantastic interview!)

4. Alison, due to Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, along with research by historians such as John Schofield and Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cromwell’s legacy recently has in large measure been “rehabilitated”. Have your opinions of Cromwell changed at all since you non-fiction accounting The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn? Was he a magnificent statesman or a manipulative despot?

He was both, in my opinion. Hilary Mantel’s is a very sympathetic portrayal, but it is fiction. However, a lot of people regard it as the truth – witness the many who queried my account of the historical Cromwell when I was giving talks on The Lady in the Tower. They didn’t recognise him because they knew him only from the character in Wolf Hall. Because the historical focus on Cromwell has often been from the perspective of studies of Anne Boleyn and others whom he brought down, he has been perceived as a Machiavellian villain, but there was far more to him than that. He was an administrative and financial genius, and an extraordinarily able man whose affability was praised by many. Yes, he was ruthless, but there was much to admire in him.

Thomas_Cromwell_Holbein

5. Based on your comprehensive research, who do you believe was England’s greatest medieval monarch and why?

That’s a difficult question to answer, as I could make a case for several, and yet all are flawed on one way or another. Probably Henry II, because he had what it took to govern England and an empire that stretched from the Scottish border almost to the Pyrenees, and he established a sound legal system and was a brilliant strategist.

6. Is there a specific historian who most influenced your early understanding of medieval history?

There were several – as a schoolgirl I read the works of G.M. Trevelyan, Arthur Bryant and Sir Maurice Powicke, among others – but the most influential (when I was young) was Agnes Strickland, whose Lives of the Queens of England (which was then very hard to comer by) inspired me to delve further into the lives of women in history.

7. Alison, a few of our members are trying to research the courtiers close to Henry VIII. They are finding research for most of Henry’s inner circle, but beyond a PhD dissertation by S.J. Gunn, they have found nothing relevant about Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Do you have any suggestions?

Gunn’s is the only biography I know of. It was published in 1988, but is now rare, and the few copies that turn up are very expensive, but libraries should be able to obtain copies for their readers.

8. You have authored five historical fiction novels. What is your philosophy regarding the writing of quality historical fiction? Do you agree with some authors who chose to change known history or who choose to write implausible story lines in order to enhance the plot?

I think that, if an author is writing a novel about a real historical personage, they should keep to the known facts and use their imagination to fill in the gaps. Any deviations or inventions should always be explained and justified in an author’s note. Above all, what an author makes up should be credible within the context of what is known about their subject. I think it is irresponsible of historical novelists to write implausible story lines, because a lot of readers just accept it as the truth, and that muddies the waters in the media and in books.  Much breath and ink has been wasted by historians in refuting these imaginary assertions.

9. Alison, through your tour company “Alison Tours”, you have planned and led magnificent historical vacation tours with varying themes, such as “Tudor Treasures”, “Gloriana”, “Lancaster and York”, and “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”. QAB understands your next tours in June and October 2014 led by you in June and respected historian Sarah Gristwood in October focuses on “Mary, Queen of Scots”. What sparked your interest in providing such historically relevant and educational travel opportunities?

In 2000, I was lecturing at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, where I was asked if I could give some advice relating to a forthcoming tour of Tudor England that was being planned by Smithsonian Journeys. I ended up not only devising the tour but leading it, and it proved very successful. I was told that it was their fastest-selling tour to date. Afterwards, my literary agent suggested that I set up my own historical tours company, and thus Alison Weir Tours was born. In three years we’ve gone from waiting for people to book to being unable to meet demand because of my publishing commitments, hence our expansion into tours led by other historians.

elizabeth of York

10. Your new non-fiction work, Elizabeth of York, A Tudor Queen and her World, will be launched on November 7, 2013 at an event at Bosworth Battlefield.What fascinates you about the previously rarely chronicled queen consort? Does any of your research change established perceptions about her?

I’ve always been interested in Elizabeth of York, and the large core of my research dates from the 1970s. She is the forgotten Tudor queen, overshadowed by the wives of Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and she deserves greater prominence, as she is of crucial importance dynastically. Yes, my research proves that she was not the subjugated cipher that many have supposed, but a queen with influence whose patronage was worth having. I’ve re-evaluated her controversial relations with Richard III, and her marriage to Henry VII, especially the last year of it. I’ve also discovered fascinating links between Elizabeth and Sir James Tyrell, the man who is said to have confessed to murdering her brothers, the Princes in the Tower. I hope that this book will change established perceptions of her.

11. Do you have any new projects you wish to share with QAB members and browsers?

I wish I was at liberty to say, but a lot of ideas are presently under discussion!

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weir book
Elizabeth of York, A Tudor Queen and Her World releases in the November 7, 2013 in the United Kingdom, where it will be launched at an event at Bosworth Battlefield.  To preorder your copy, CLICK HERE.
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Video Credit: Kiki (You Tube) http://historyinspiredmusings.blogspot.com

Hever Castle, by Sofia Arellano

July 8, 2013 in News, Uncovering The Most Happy by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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

 

 

 

 

 

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