Anne Boleyn’s Arrival at the Tower May 1536, by Gayle Hulme

March 13, 2016 in Anne Boleyn -- Reflections, News by ADMIN: Royal Squire

After several sorrowful hours we eventually turn the bend in the river and the four turrets of the White Tower come into view. Up until this moment I had never really understood what people meant when they said they were petrified with fear. Now my feelings have changed from desperately wanting to get up to not being sure whether I have the strength in my limbs to disembark on my own.

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How different this arrival seems from my last arrival by river in May 1533. On that day fifty barges all sixty foot long, together with countless other vessels accompanied my barge to the Tower. Amongst other things who could forget the spectacle of the mechanical dragon in front of me periodically belching out fire and smoke?
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I arrived that day to begin four days of coronation celebrations. On that occasion I was five months gone with child, married to the finest King in Christendom and all was set fair for a long and happy life as Queen of England.

No such welcome awaits me today, no bunting, no glittering barges, not a street pageant or smiling child in sight. Today the Tower of London is not a place of celebration and safety, but a building of abject terror and loathing. How can the sight of a building, which three years ago brought about such jubilation, now strike a blood curdling fear into the depths of my soul?

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Queen Anne’s Final Journey from Greenwich

March 9, 2016 in News by ADMIN: Royal Squire

imgres-9The heraldic statues on the pathway down to the privy stairs seem to be stalking my every step on this portentous journey. Their cold, stony eyes give me the impression that they are grinding their gaze into my very bones. They appear as if they are gloating in witnessing my disgrace and so when we finally arrive at the river and I am helped into the barge by one of my grooms I sigh for the relief of being finally out of their ghastly glare. The noblemen who are to accompany me on the short journey to the Tower follow me. I know escape is not an option, but it does not stop the survival instinct in me wishing to jump back on to the stairs and start running for my life. For the first time my mind has acknowledged with trepidation the notion that there is a possibility I may not be returning from the Tower alive.

As Grapes Are Stomped To Wine… (Tribute to Hilary Mantel and WOLF HALL)

January 16, 2015 in 2015 Tribute to Hilary Mantel, Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Historical Fiction, The Tudor Thomases, Tudor Uk Court by Beth von Staats

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Elizabeth Cromwell

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“You may leave now.”

I turn, pulling the covers over me and close my eyes. I hear her rummaging to dress. Ten crowns neatly stacked sit on the bed stand, payment for her time and attention. She takes them, jingles the coins in her hand and replies seductively, “Do come again, Master Cromwell. Your talents lay far more than the Cardinal knows.”

“Just go, damn it.”

As the door slams shuts, my stomach churns. Why do I do this? I have a wife. My beloved Bess is loyal and true, pretty and soft, passionate and doting. Until a fortnight ago, she was my warm and caressing bed partner. Now on the road with James Edwards on route to visit the small monasteries to assess which ones we will close, the last two weeks I was banished to separate bed chambers at Austin Friars, a deserved punishment for straying once again from the mother of my children, the one woman in this world who truly loves me.

I toss and turn in the sheets. Sleep does not come easy, my mind swimming with thoughts of us, memories of our life together – and thoughts of her, her soft long and wavy brown hair, her curves so soft under the covers, her lilting voice, her gentle kiss, her perfect fit to me deep down inside, her reassuring words, and her steadfast devotion to our begotten. It’s no use. I rise from the hard bed, sweat pouring from the summer heat and my guilty conscience. I pour a goblet of wine, and drink it down fast, then another, and then another. The taste bitter, all I want is to dull my mind, dull the feelings, dull the pain. Numb is a good thing for a sinner, for the bastard I have become. No better than the man who spilled my seed and beat my mother until near dead before me, I crushed my wife down deep, beating her over and over again with my indiscretions, my infidelity, and my continual habit of making major life choices for us both with no regard to her happiness, with no regard to her opinions, with no regard to her well-grounded wisdom.

I retrieve a quill, ink and parchment and sit up to a side table, lighting two candles. My eyes are old and the wine settles in deep, so I squint up close and begin…

Dearest Elizabeth,

I beseech you to forgive me. I know I am but a scallywag, a cheat, a scoundrel and a sinner. I deserve you not, but I promise I will try. I promise with God’s help I will reform and treat you as the loving wife you are. I love you dearly, down deep to my soul. Please let me back in, as joined until death was our vow.

Your husband, Thomas

As I blow the ink dry, I feel tears well. Tears? The last time I felt tears, Walter kicked my mum in the stomach. Just a small lad, I cried hard, tears flowing. The bastard lifted me up, threw me into a wall, and bellowed, “Tears are for cowards. Cry no more or I will beat you into the ground — as grapes are stomped to wine.” I cried no more, ever.

As I rub my eyes and pull in quickly my composure, a loud knock hits the door and startles me upright, and then again.“Who ventures to my chamber so late? Do Tell.”

“Master Thomas, it is Ralph. I be here with Master James. Please do let us in.”

Ralph Sadlier? Oh My God, something is dead wrong for him to ride from Austin Friars. I rise, unlatch the door and let them in. James is as white as a spook, and Ralph flushed red. “Ralph, what is wrong that has you venture all the way to me? Are the girls alright? Gregory?”

“Sit down, Thomas. Please,” says James, as gentle as a pastor tends the bereft.

Enough of this. “Just tell me. Tell me, damn it.”

“Thomas, Ralph will tell you all just as soon as you sit down. Now please do sit, dear friend,” says James with a calm authority. Since when does he command me?

A little drunk, my mind swimming with dreaded possibilities, I do as told and sit. “Ralph, I beseech you tell me know why you came.”

My God, Ralph kneels before me, placing his hand on my knee. He breathes deep in, shoring himself for Go knows what. With this, I do same. Only the known be more torment than the unknown. “Master Thomas, the Mistress Elizabeth… she is… she is… gone.”

I look over at James. We tell each other all. He knows Elizabeth and I are estranged and why. “Ralph, where ever did she go? I beseech that you and Richard go find her. Do not tarry!” I pull the letter I left on the side table, now folded and wax sealed. “Give my Bess this letter, and plead she return to Austin Friars. Go now.”

“Thomas… Thomas, listen to him. Please man,” James pleads. He looks over to Ralph, nodding “Tell him all, and be clear about it this time, Ralph,” he says in a hushed tone.

“I am so sorry… so sorry, Master Thomas. Your wife… Mistress Elizabeth… on Wednesday morning, she rose sick with the sweat. By noon, she cried out for you, and then God cried out for her.” He begins tearing now, overcome. “She died quickly, Master Thomas.”

In shock, I find no words. I sit like a simpleton, mute, numb, stunned like a deer shot by arrow unawares. I feel my throat close tight as I push out the words I must. God help me. “Do the children know? Has anyone sent word to Cambridge for Gregory?”

“No Master Thomas, we await your wishes.”

I start wringing my hands to stop them from shaking. “I wish to ride home at first light. I wish to tell this horror to Grace and Anne myself.” God, how do I find the words to tell these two babes their mother is dead? “I wish Gregory be sent home forthwith with no mention as why.” My eyes burn as I hold the tears back once more, “And I wish I was with her, beside her, holding her, taken instead of her. I wish many things.”

“Thomas, I am sure Alice is with the girls and has told them nothing. You know my beloved wife. She will keep the girls diverted until you arrive. Do try and get some sleep, my friend. I will ready the horses and wake you before the birds call, and we will go home – together,” James says reassuringly. He be my best friend, my only friend in truth.

James looks over to Ralph, now standing, hands trembling and beside himself. “Ralph, please get word to His Eminence.” Ralph nods. He then walks over to me and places his hands on my shoulders as an attempt to comfort. Wanting nothing of it, I shakes them off.

“Do you wish for James or me to stay with you this night, Master Thomas?”

Dear Ralph, he really is more a son than ward. “No… no, thank you. I desire to be left alone. Go now, I beseech you.”

Both men look back at me, now both ashen gray. They bow respectfully, Ralph crossing himself for good measure. Quietly, they retreat. Alone with my thoughts, I stare at the letter I wrote to my Bess. God is punishing me. I richly deserve it. I will never see my beloved wife again. She resides in heaven, and I will travel straight to hell. The scriptures do prove there is no purgatory, no chance at redemption, no paid miracles Gregory or the girls can bequeath in my name to save my soul.

I set the letter ablaze with the candle light and stare as it burns before me. In the flame I see her. My Elizabeth stands in her wedding dress… in her child bed holding our first born Gregory, smiling with pride… in her Sunday best at services, kneeling in prayer… in her joyful glory, bending down to hug our daughters, both tugging at her feet… in my arms, sleeping gently against my chest after coming together, two as one.

The flickering flame, the stench of the burning parchment, kicks me hard in the stomach, harder than the old drunken bastard in a rage. Walter dead, and with no one to see it, I cry freely, raking sobs for Bess and for all not healed before, beat to the ground — as grapes are stomped to wine.

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WOLF HALL starring Mark Rylance premiers on BBC2 beginning January 22, 2015 in the United Kingdom and on PBS on April 5, 2015 in the United States.

WOLF HALL starring Mark Rylance premiers on BBC2 beginning January 21, 2015 in the United Kingdom and on PBS beginning April 5, 2015 in the United States.

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WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES featuring the Royal Shakespeare Company and starring Ben Miles will premiers on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on March 20, 2015.

WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES featuring the Royal Shakespeare Company and starring Ben Miles both premier on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on March 20, 2015.

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AUTHOR HIGHLIGHT

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is a highly acclaimed, award winning English historical fiction writer of novels and short stories. A two time Man Booker Prize Award honored author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, both novels featuring Thomas Cromwell as main character, Hilary Mantel is currently composing the final novel of her Tudor Era trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. 

Considered by many to be the world’s finest historical fiction author writing in the English language, Hilary Mantel’s first novel, Every Day is Mother’s Day, was published in 1985. Since then, Mantel’s exhaustive body of work includes a variety of stellar novels and short story compilations. Her commitment to and interest in composing compelling short stories greatly enhanced the genre’s popularity with readers and continued publishing viability.

Awards and prizes bestowed upon Hilary Mantel for extraordinary accomplishment in literature include the following: Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize 1987, Southern Arts Literature Prize 1990, The Cheltenham Prize 1990, Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize 1990, Sunday Express Book of the Year 1992, Hawthornden Prize 1996, CBE 2006, Yorkshire Post Book Award (Book of the Year) 2006, Costa Novel Award 2009, Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009, National Book Critics’ Circle Award (US) 2009, James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) 2010, Walter Scott Prize 2010, and Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2012.

A portrait of Hilary Mantel, the creativity of Nick Lord, is on display at the British Library. She is the only living author to be bestowed such honor.

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Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel

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

September 5, 2014 in Elizabethan Court, Historical Fiction, Tudor Y Writer's Group by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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

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Hit “Play” on video and read threat while listening: 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in "Young Bess"

Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in “Young Bess”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Gentle Wyatt ~ Goodbye ~ Pray For Me!” (Thomas Cromwell, Executed July 28, 1540)

July 28, 2014 in Tudor Y Writer's Group by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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“Oh, justice is what you’re threatened with.” 

 ~~Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex~~

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Heresy. Damned to hell for heresy, so the attainder says, so Audley says, so Gardiner says, so Norfolk says, so Rich says and due to their evilness, so his Majesty, the God here on earth my father slaved to says. The bastards, for years they were determined to make it so, and today they get their way. My wife, my Elizabeth, she is distraught, overwhelmed, disgusted. Always at my side, today she carries me. Always tolerant of my shortcomings, today she forgives all. For the last seven years, I carried his secret, their secret… and today the promises made begin in earnest. She knew of my promises not, and agrees to them anyway. “Come here, dear.” I draw her in close, and she gives me a warm hug. “Elizabeth, I am heading to The Tower. I pray they allow me to see him. I need to reassure my father that we are prepared to carry forward.” My wife gently weeps, and I wipe her tears. “Wait here, love. After he goes to God, we need to ride out.”  How will I find the words? How do I look them in the eyes, without breaking in two? My heart bleeds, my stomach turns, and my soul blackens at the thought of what I must do. Oh my God, give me strength. This situation is hopeless all but for Your benevolent intervention.

As I enter The Tower, all eyes are upon me, and Sir William Kingston accompanies me to father’s cell. The man looks near to meet his maker, prematurely aged by the dampness and death of this place. “This must be quick, Gregory. Within the hour, the execution will commence. I pray the ax falls swift and true, though nothing goes easy for your father.” Kingston is right, far more so than he even knows. Low born, my father worked exhaustively and clawed his way up to the power he held so close to His Majesty. Now stripped of all titles, he is low once again. Was it all worth it? Most would say no, but they know him not… they know his life, his dreams, his love for his family not. All they see is the monster in their mind created by the hate of his enemies, not the man I know, not the man I love. More the pity.  The sound of the lock unbolting churns in my mind as Sir Kingston opens the door, and I look over. There he is, the man who molded me, raised me as any a father could, unshaven, disheveled, his eyes circled black from lack of sleep. Sir Kingston remains, so all hope of speaking freely is gone. I walk towards him, and my father hugs me close.

I look at my father in the eye, and near tears say gently, “I will keep all my promises, father, from this moment forward.”

My father, the man I thought the strongest man in Christendom, nods meekly. “Thank you, Gregory.” He takes off his gold chain and band from beneath his shirt, and hands to me. “You know.”

I look in my hand, and recognize immediately what was handed to me. ‘Tis my mother’s wedding band.  “Yes, father.”

My father places his dirty hand on gently my face and says quietly, “Be strong, Gregory. Stay away from court, and have courage.”

As I nod at my father, Sir Kingston places his hand on my shoulder. “It’s time, Gregory. Go on down to Tower Hill.” As I attempt to hug my father, Sir Kingston pulls me way, “Now Gregory.” I follow his commands. What choice do I have? As I exit out to Tower Hill, my heart freezes. The scaffold lay in the center, with people crowded all about it, pushing forward, with a sickening gleeful desire to see the deed done. Obviously, His Majesty desires to make an example of my father, as a more public death could not be imagined.  A guard escorts me down to the front, and I stand between the only two friends to my father in this hellish place, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and Sir Thomas Wyatt. I look back, and see him, his hands chained as if there was any chance on escape, being pulled through the masses. People spit, jeer and pull at him. Behind me, I hear Norfolk and Surrey laughing, as if those bastards have some magical power of avoiding a similar fate. My eyes burn, and tears come. As my father climbs the stairs to the scaffold, I become a little weak at the knees, and Dearest Thomas Cranmer grabs a hold of me.

Thomas Cromwell:  I am racked with fear, but I will show these bastards not. I try to calm my nerves and look out at the crowd, all jeering, many screaming for the executioner to move forward before I have made my peace with His Majesty and with God.  Is she here? No, God willing she will know not until I’m gone. I look over and see my son, and nod to him and His Grace, who is holding onto Gregory with all his might. Thank God for him, making sure my son does not collapse in from of these bastards… my dearest friend in this life, my only friend that knows all. With them I see that gentlest of men, whose words will live on to eternity. I cry out, “Gentle Wyatt ~~ Good Bye ~~ Pray for me!” Oh my, I should have said nothing. The pour gentle soul is  now crying. I try and reassure this blessed poet. “Do not weep for if I were no more guilty than you were when they took you, I should not be in this pass”.

I take a deep breath and begin…  “I am come hether to dye, and not to purge my self, as maie happen, some thynke that I will, for if I should do so, I wer a very wretche and miser: I am by the Lawe comdempned to die, and thanke my lorde God that hath appoynted me this deathe, for myne offence: For sithence the tyme that I have had yeres of discrecion, I have lived a synner, and offended my Lorde God, for the whiche I aske hym hartely forgevenes. And it is not unknowne to many of you, that I have been a great traveler in this worlde, and beyng but of a base degree, was called to high estate, and sithes the tyme I came thereunto, I have offended my prince, for the whiche I aske hym hartely forgevenes, and beseche you all to praie to God with me, that he will forgeve me. O father forgeve me. O sonne forgeve me, O holy Ghost forgeve me: O thre persons in one God forgeve me. And now I praie you that be here, to beare me record, I die in the Catholicke faithe, not doubtyng in any article of my faith, no nor doubtyng in any Sacrament of the Churche.* Many hath sclaundered me, and reported that I have been a bearer, of suche as hath mainteigned evill opinions, whiche is untrue, but I confesse that like as God by his holy spirite, doth instruct us in the truthe, so the devill is redy to seduce us, and I have been seduced: but beare me witnes that I dye in the Catholicke faithe of the holy Churche. And I hartely desire you to praie for the Kynges grace, that he maie long live with you, maie long reigne over you. And once again I desire you to pray for me, that so long as life remaigneth in this fleshe, I waver nothyng in my faithe.”  Source: Edward Hall

Thomas Cramner: Oh Thomas, faithful to his death, Our Lord will welcome him. I whisper to Gregory, “Your father quotes the Niceen Creed, as did Luther, and refers to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Most of these heretics know what he speaks of not.”

Gregory Cromwell: I am frozen in fear of what comes next, but I find the words I feel my father would share. “Ah, yes. I pray you are careful, Your Grace. Wait, be patient. Your time will come. We need quiet reformists who wait for opportunity, not dead martyrs.”

Thomas Cranmer: I nod. Gregory is right. I need to wait for a better day. It will come, if not with His Majesty than later with his son. I look to Thomas, and our eyes lock. I mouth to him, us so used to hushed tones, I know he’ll hear my message clear. “I’ll carry on. I promise.”

Man From Crowd: “Kill the heretic! Spike his head! Death is not good enough for the likes of him!”

Crowd: A wave of chants flow through the crowd. “Kill him! … Kill him! … Kill him! …  Kill him! … Kill him!”

Thomas Cromwell: I look out at the crowd. There they are, my judge, jury and executioners, Nolfolk, Gardiner and Rich. They stand smugly, Norfolk laughing as the crowd chants, Gardiner and Rich snickering. I glare them down cold and then walk up to the man paid to do the deed. I hand him his payment of crowns, and state, Pray, if possible, cut off the head with one blow, so that I may not suffer much.” 

Gregory Cromwell: I pray silently. “God, give my father strength. Give me strength. Take him home, with you. All he ever did was for His Majesty’s glory, for your glory. As my father walks up to the block, and kneels before it, Sir Wyatt, His Grace and I kneel. I quickly look about to see if this will be a respectful death. No, most remain standing, an insult to my father and all he stood for. My eyes burn through the tears.

Thomas Cranmer: As I kneel, I look down and begin praying. I can’t watch this. I just can’t.  “I AM the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. KNOW that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. HE brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.” Source: Book of Common Prayer.

Thomas Cromwell: As I kneel at the block, in my mind in deadening silence. Instead, visions of my life pass through my mind… my life with her, my life with them.   If she speaks truth, we will be eternally joined. God make it so.  Before I lay my head on the block, I pray earnestly, “O Lord Jesu! which art the only health of all men living, and the everlasting life of them which die in thee, I, wretched sinner, do submit myself wholly unto thy most blessed will; and being sure that the thing cannot perish which is committed unto thy mercy, willingly now I leave this frail and wicked flesh, in sure hope that thou wilt, in better wise, restore it to me again at the last day, in the resurrection of the just. I beseech thee, most merciful Lord Jesu Christ! that thou wilt, by thy grace, make strong my soul against all temptations, and defend me with the buckler of thy mercy against all the assaults of the devil. I see and acknowledge that there is in myself no hope of salvation, but all my confidence, hope, and trust, is in, thy most merciful goodness. I have no merits nor good works which I may allege before thee. Of sins and evil works, alas! I see a great heap; but yet, through thy mercy, I trust to be in the number of them to whom thou wilt not impute their sins; but wilt take and accept me for righteous and just, and to be the inheritor of everlasting life. Thou, merciful Lord! wast born for my sake; thou didst suffer both hunger and thirst for my sake; thou didst teach, pray, and fast for my sake; all thy holy actions and works thou wroughtest for my sake; thou sufferedst most grievous pains and torments for my sake: finally, thou gavest thy most precious body and thy blood to be shed on the cross for my sake. Now, most merciful Saviour! let all these things profit me, that thou freely hast done for me, which hast given thyself also for me. Let thy blood cleanse and wash away the spots and foulness of my sins. Let thy righteousness hide and cover my unrighteousness. Let the merits of thy passion and blood-shedding be satisfaction for my sins. Give me, Lord, Thy Grace!, that the faith of my salvation in thy blood waver not in me, but may ever be firm and constant: that the hope of thy mercy and life everlasting never decay in me: that love wax not cold in me; and finally, that the weakness of my flesh be not overcome with the fear of death. Grant me, merciful Saviour! that when death bath shut up the eyes of my body, yet the eyes of my soul may still behold and look upon thee; and when death bath taken away the use of my tongue, yet my heart may cry and say unto thee, Lord! into thy hands I commend my soul; Lord Jesu I receive my spirit. Amen.”  Source: Foxe’s Book of Protestant Martyrs 195. Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell: I lay my head on the block, close my eyes with only thoughts of her, of them, and await my fate. Out of nervousness, I open them once more. Tears come as I look upon a woman right before me, draped and hidden in her long black cape, just as when I met her first. I mouth silently, “I love you, always.” Our eyes lock, and with her strength filling me, I find my courage and hold firm.

Gregory Crowmell: “Oh my god, nooooo!

Thomas Wyatt: Though stunned, my body shocked, my stomach churning as the executioner repeatedly completes his office, blood spewing,  I catch poor Gregory as he faints. A kindness from God, he missed most.

Thomas Howard: Oh how fitting, it’s botched!! I elbow Gardiner, “So much for the merciful death, eh?” I listen to my son and smile widely. Who better with words than him? Surely not Cromwell’s man, Wyatt.

Henry Howard: I look on smugly, the common base-born bastard dead at last. “Now is the false churl dead, so ambitious of others’  blood. These new erected men would, by their wills, leave no noble man a life. Now he is stricken with his own staff!” Source: “Thomas Cromwell,” by Geoffrey Robertson.

Thomas Cranmer: My heart breaks in two, my soul torn asunder. God, why? Why so hard for him? My thoughts are jarred as a caped woman collapses to the ground before the scaffold, wailing pitifully. God tells me. I hear Him clear. “Rush to her, now, Thomas before the heretics. Bring her home, and I’ll bring him.”

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Note: All text in italics above are direct historical quotations, sourced when appropriate.

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The pillar perished is whereto I leant,

Whereon the strongest stay of mine unquiet mind—

The like of it no man again can find,

From east to west, still seeking though he went: always;

To mine unhap! for hap away hath rent misfortune fortune;

Of all my joy the very bark and rind;

And I, alas, by chance am thus assigned;

Dearly to mourn till death do it relent. keenly;

But since that thus it is by destiny,

What can I more but have a woeful heart—

My pen in plaint, my voice in woeful cry, lamentation;

My mind in woe, my body full of smart,

And I my self, my self always to hate;

Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state?

~~ Sir Thomas Wyatt ~~

I Bend a Knee…

June 25, 2014 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Historical Fiction by Beth von Staats

She walks alone. She stands alone. She rules alone. My beautiful Elizabeth, married to England she so tells me. Since Amy died, years I’ve waited, strung along like a fish on the line, consort and married in all but name and intimacy. For the last 20 years, I have not left her side. For the last 20 years, I have done her bidding, organized her grand events, represented her with ambassadors, built her economy, patronized the arts, counseled her wisely. Though in chambers adjoined to hers, for the last 20 years, I have pined for her, kissing, touching and fondling just an erotic tease. Yes there have been women, but when with them, only with the thought of her — an elaborate fantasy played out to maintain my sanity, maintain my manhood. Bess is the love of my life, and my heart does reassure, I hers, and all do hate me for it. Jealous bastards the other Privy Counselors are. They paint me as an opportunist, a wife murderer, a liar and thief. They know me not. Cecil and Walsingham, they know me not. Hatton, Raleigh and Parker, they know me not.

Elizabeth, Regina and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester

Francis, Duke of Alencon and Anjou, a son and brother of French Kings; this is the man Cecil and the bitch Catherine DeMedici picked for her. God why? Anjou is short, marked by small pox, devoid of interest in hunting, horsemanship and sports. Rumors say he is into buggery. And this is who Cecil picks for my Elizabeth? A toad for the beauty of Christendom? The man is not even loyal to his own kin, imprisoned once under one brother’s rule, disloyal to the second again. And he will be loyal to Gloriana? To England? Cecil must be desperate, eager to marry her off to a foreign noble before the stop of her bleeds. Oh how I live for those days, those days after the bleeds stop, as we will be free to make love at last — free to be one at last.

Francis, Duke of Alencon and Anjou

As I sit here in the Great Hall, I watch the courting of the frog to the Queen, and it sickens me. To seal an alliance, there must be a better way. To defend from the Spanish, there must be a better way. God enlighten us. The French ambassador walks by me, tips a nod and glares, the battle won this day in his feeble mind. I worry not. My Elizabeth belongs to no man, no man — not the frog, not the Holy Roman Emperor, not the Bishop of Rome, not Cecil and the Privy Council, not me. As the courtiers and ladies dance, I think back upon our life together, our love together. We grew up and learned from Ascham, together. We languished in The Tower, and nearly died at her sister’s hand, together. We lived, loved, danced, planned, worshiped, prayed, and grew older and wiser, together.  Yes, she loves me. Yes, she cherishes me. Yes, she wants me. Yes, she owns me, not the other way around, and as it should be. For my Elizabeth, my lover, my heart, my Queen, I give my soul. I bend a knee.

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.”

Henry mask

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.

castle-01

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.”

Margaret-Beaufort-margaret-beaufort-35507171-3000-1999

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.

Still-Life-with-Peacock-and-Pie1

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.

 

—————————–End——————————————————-

The Coronation of Anne Boleyn, Queen of England (Tudor Y Writer’s Group)

June 1, 2014 in Coronation of Anne Boleyn by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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Trumpets announce the King’s arrival!

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Anne Boleyn: I was helped down from under the canopy. My mind was filled with excitement and anticipation. I stared ahead deep in thought, as we walked to the Abbey. I knew everyone would have all of their eyes on me. I turn and look at my husband lovingly. God and my King has made this all possible. I give him a small smile and continue walking with grace and elegance. I know I have the queenly air that I ought to. My heart is filled with joy.

King Henry Tudor:  We arrive at the Abbey and make entry. We begin our march down the aisle. Feeling proud, Mister Cromwell has indeed done well.

Thomas Tallis: As His Majesty, King Henry VIII and Marquess of Pembroke, Anne Boleyn enter Westminster Abbey, all in attendance rise. I begin conducting the choir, and the royal couple begin walking slowly down the center aisle, his hand holding hers outward. We have been rehearsing for weeks, and the choir sounds beautiful.

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Thomas Cranmer: As I watch His Majesty and my beloved Queen walk slowly down the aisle, I out stretch my arms to the heavens… tears welling. I feel God all around me, and I feel humbled to be leading the Queen’s coronation this day. “God, I pray to share your word most abundantly.”

Anne Boleyn: -~I can hardly breathe as I enter the Abbey. Yet, my face displays a calm persona for I stand tall and bold. God is leading me to this place. It is His plan for me and I thank him wholeheartedly. I have waited years for this moment. My people shall know who the True Queen is.  I look ahead, as I walk down the aisle. My dark eyes shine and I walk with every grace and elegance that the True Queen would have. I know how splendid I look. My cloth of gold gown and crimson robe display my status and show that I am with child. God is so good to me. I know how he has blessed me and my family. I know the congregation here are pleased with the sight. My mother and sister are with me here and I know my father and brother look proudly on. I praise God for my good fortune. I am married to the man I love, carry his son, and I am now being crowned Queen of England!  I want for nothing and I know in my heart that I truly am the Most Happy.~

Thomas Boleyn: Westminster Abbey is beautifully decorated for this momentous occasion. My daughter Anne, England’s true Queen, is to be crowned. No father could be any more proud than what I am!

Jane Seymour: *Here I am, Maid of Honor of Queen Anne; walking behind her and I am having a battle with myself to avoid looking at the King; God, please help me to do my duty; to be strong and get rid of thoughts and desires that are not allowed for me. She is the queen and he loves her; I must learn to live with that fact and stop dreaming.*

Mary Boleyn: *I feel so happy for my sister, and for me too. I am sure my life will change and…I also hope that my family will understand me better and forgive my past actions. I know I can do better, and I will. Anne will be so proud of me. Suddenly, I look at Jane, who is walking beside me. She looks so sad, like if she is forcing herself to do her duty… like if she were walking towards her death. She is so strange.*

Elizabeth Boleyn, Queen Mother: *I talk to the young usher behind me for a second to make sure he is handling the Bible correctly. I do not want mistakes. I continue walking, and I watch Anne’s ladies closely, all is working well and I am the happiest mother in the entire world; finally, my daughter will be formally crowned, and all our enemies will bow before her. God Bless my Anne, now and for always.*

Anne Parr: ~ We have entered into the cathedral … and it is the most beautiful site I have ever seen. The vaulted ceilings and stain glass windows leave me feeling enamored. All of the Nobles in the audience look so glamorous, but I am most nerved. All eyes will be on the queen, which means as she passes them all eyes will fall back to myself and the other ladies. I pray Dear Lord do not let me stumble or fall. I must straighten up as every move I make represents My Lord Brother and Lady Sister. ~

George Boleyn: As I stand in my Order of the Garter regalia alongside my father, Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Lady Nicoleen Sedena, I puff with pride as my sister, our rightful Queen, walks by with His Majesty. Oh how I love her… how I respect her… how I will always honor her.

Nicoleen Sedena-Cromwell: ~ I have never seen my King glow more than he is at this moment. Anne, she is beautiful. She is stunning. ~

Thomas Cromwell: I am out by the side entrance of the abbey speaking with the street cleaners. “I want all the horse dung cleaned up quickly so the coach rolls through it not on the way back to Whitehall. Now then.” I call a eager looking guardsman over. “Listen, I have ten crowns for you if you go to all the taverns and shoppes along the route and tell the patrons the King commands they be present outside and cheer Queen Anne as they pass by. Go now…” Okay, now let me slip through this back door quickly, and watch the services from the side clergy’s entrance by the altar. There is no way to enter by the front entrance now the ceremony began.

Thomas Audley: What a joyous day to be Lord Chancellor of this realm. I look around.  I still don’t see More or Fisher. I will direct Cromwell deal with this, tomorrow. Ahhh… My Lady Elizabeth, she looks ravishing.

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High Altar at Westminster Abbey

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Thomas Cranmer: As His Majesty and my beloved Queen arrive to the altar and stand before me, I speak in a strong and even voice and inquire, “Sirs, I here present unto you …, your undoubted Queen. Wherefore all you who are come this day to do your homage and service, are you willing to do the same?” The congregation states in unison, “We will.” His Majesty takes a seat at his thrown, and my beloved Queen remains standing. I begin speaking out, and discretely gesture to her for each response.

Thomas Cranmer: I take a deep breath and begin.“Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of England, Wales, Ireland and France to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?”

Anne Boleyn:  ~My eyes look at Archbishop Cranmer, and I am determined and serious. My heart flutters with happiness and I steady myself and speak carefully and clearly, “I solemnly promise so to do.”

Thomas Cranmer: I look reassuringly to my beloved Queen and ask, “Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?”

Anne Boleyn: This is such a dream come true. I listen carefully to his words and speak firmly, “I will.”

Thomas Cranmer: My Queen, she looks so regal. Heavens, I hope I do not forget the words here. “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?”

Anne Boleyn: ~”All this I promise to do. The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.”~

Thomas Tallis: The Archbishop looks over to me and nods, his cue for me to conduct the choir once again so they may sing reverently as he prepares to anoint our new Queen.

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Thomas Cranmer: As the choir is led by Thomas Tallis in joyous song, coronation tradition dictates that I begin the anointing of my beloved Queen. Her maids come forward and assist in removing Her Majesty’s coronation robe, and she steps forward and kneels at her faldstool. I go to the altar to retrieve the Ampulla filled with blessed oil and the Spoon, and when the choir concludes singing, begin the anointing prayer.

“O Lord and heavenly Father,
the exalter of the humble and the strength of thy chosen,
who by anointing with Oil didst of old
make and consecrate kings, priests, and prophets,
to teach and govern thy people Israel:
Bless and sanctify thy chosen servant ANNE,
who by our office and ministry
is now to be anointed with this Oil,
and consecrated Queen:
Strengthen her, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter;
Confirm and stablish her with thy free and princely Spirit,
the Spirit of wisdom and government,
the Spirit of counsel and ghostly strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness,
and fill her, O Lord, with the Spirit of thy holy fear,
now and for ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The Entire Congregation: “Amen.”

I stand before Her Majesty and place oil with the spoon on the palms of both hands. I look at her with comfort and reassurane and say,  “Be thy Hands anointed with holy Oil.”

Quite carefully as not to stain her magnificent gown crafted of cloth of gold, I place oil on her Majesty’s breast,  and say,  “Be thy Breast anointed with holy Oil.”

I place oil on the crown of Her Majesty’s head, and say, “Be thy Head anointed with holy Oil as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed: And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so be thou anointed, blessed, and consecrated Queen over the Peoples, whom the Lord thy God hath given thee to rule and govern, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

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Coronation Ampulla and Spoon

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I hand the Ampulla and Spoon to the Dean of Westminster, who lays them back upon the altar and lay my hands on the Queen’s as she remains kneeling down at the faldstool, and recite from the depths of my soul this blessing:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,
who by his Father was anointed with the Oil of gladness
above his fellows,
by his holy Anointing pour down upon your Head and Heart
the blessing of the Holy Ghost,
and prosper the work of your Hands:
that by the assistance of his heavenly grace
you may govern and preserve
the Peoples committed to your charge
in wealth, peace, and godliness;
and after a long and glorious course
of ruling a temporal kingdom
wisely, justly, and religiously,
you may at last be made partaker of an eternal kingdom,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The Entire Congregation: “Amen.”

Thomas Cranmer: Upon concluding the blessing, I reach out and take my beloved Queen’s hand and escort her to St. Edward’s Chair, where she sits and looks proudly out to the congregation.

Thomas Howard: I look over and watch my niece as she sits upon the thrown of monarchs. Oh yes, the Howards and Boleyns have risen to the zenith of power this day. My sister, Queen Mother… my niece Queen and mother to the heir to the throne.

Goerge Boleyn: My heart is beating so fast it will burst out of my chest. I look on intently. Within minutes my sister will be crowned after seven long years, Anne, Queen of England.

Thomas Boleyn: Many thoughts run through my mind on this glorious day. My family and the Howard’s fortunes and status are now sealed for the good. My dear Anne, my pride and joy, is giving the King a son that he so craves! I am the happiest and most proud father in all of England!

Anne Boleyn: I listen with great interest and admiration of my friend, Archbishop Cranmery. I cannot feel more pleased that he is doing this for me. Everything makes me light-hearted and joyful, but I know I have a great task on my hands and I know I shall not fail.

Anne Parr: ~As much as I could listen to Cranmer talk forever; as his voice is ever so enchanting. Standing in once place for so long is very tiring. I do hope it ends soon. I feel as though I have been up here forever !!!!~

Lady Elizabeth Boleyny, the Queen Mother: I boldly walk to my daughter, curtsy to her as my Queen, hand her our family Bible, and state “Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.” *I smile to my daughter; then I stand up and slowly walk away, not without looking at my brother, and give him a proud smile; now I can return satisfied to my place among my daughter’s ladies.*

Thomas Audley: As I watch my beautiful mistress, Lady Elizabeth give her daughter the Queen the Bible and speak, I beam with pride.

Thomas Boleyn: As I watch my beautiful wife, Lady Elizabeth give my daughter the Queen the Bible and speak, I beam with pride.

Anne Boleyn: I look at my mother and watch her as she brings up the Holy Bible.  I will hold true to the Word of God and follow it as I ought to. I am most honoured to have my mother here as my greatest support and ally. God shall preserve us.

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This replica of the original St. Edwards Crown is on display at Hampton Court Palace. Anne Boleyn is the only Queen Consort to wear the crown of the monarch.

This replica of the original St. Edwards Crown is on display at Hampton Court Palace. Anne Boleyn is the only Queen Consort to wear the crown of the monarch.

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Thomas Cranmer: “Veni sancti spiritus et visitabo nobis.” (Come oh holy spirit and visit us.)

Thomas Cranmer: “Ingeneravit animis, quod fecisti gratia.” (Implant our hearts, that which You have made, Your Grace.)

Thomas Cranmer:  “Per te sciamus Patrem. Hoc quod sit tali procedunt.” (Through you we know the Father. Be this our constant belief that you proceed from Him.)

Thomas Cranmer: (raises hands and then lowers them in prayer) “Illuminant sensus; replete amorem cordibus; diminuit corporis desideria confirma virtutum semper.” (Illuminate our senses; fill our hearts with love; diminish our bodily desires; strengthen our virtues always.)

The Entire Congregation: “Amen.”

Anne Parr: ~I am listening very intensely. My sister would be ever so proud of me; since I can make out most of what he is saying. Ever since I was a young girl growing, Catherine has always been fervent in teaching me Latin. Trying so hard to make out what Cranmer is saying is taking a blessing as pain is begging to diminish in my feet. I do ever so hope that Her Majesty will be crowned soon!!! ~

Thomas Cromwell: At the invitation of His Majesty, I look into the abbey through a side door by the altar. My eyes immediately gaze over Thomas and George Boleyn. Two seats beside them, next to Sir Thomas Wyatt, there she is… My Goddess, Nicoleen… She is exquisite.

Thomas Wyatt: Tears well as I watch my beloved Anne become Queen. Oh, what could have been.

King Henry Tudor: As the Archbishop of Canterbury goes over to my best friend Charles to receive the crown, I state clear and strong, “Wait!”

Thomas Cromwell: My gaze at my wife is startled by the voice of His Majesty. What is he doing? This wasn’t in the plan. No matter, I continue to gaze over at Nicosa. She takes my breath away.

Anne Boleyn: I turn to my husband and listen to his words. I wonder what is happening. Perhaps, my love has a special surprise for me. My heart almost stopped as he spoke those words, but I maintain my dignity and poise.

Thomas Cranmer: The King took the sacred Saint Edward’s Crown from my hands. What he is planning to do? It is so hard to understand his actions… God only knows what will be his point this time.

King Henry Tudor: It is time to crown my Queen. I step forward “Your Grace, I shall Crown her.” I state as the air grows silent; a King has never done this, but I am no mere King. I am their beloved Emperor, above all other Kings on the Earth. I take the crown of St. Edward and place it upon her head, and look out to see a most pleased Kingdom.  “Let us all celebrate the long life of the Queen Anne.”

The Entire Congregation: “Long live the Queen!”

Anne, the Quene: As my husband places the crown on my head, I feel any weight and fear lifted from me. Every has been completed. I am truly the Queen of England. It is no longer just by my marriage, but I have been recognized completely. I look at my husband and  my dark eyes shine with happiness. His Majesty steps aside so all can behold me as their Queen. I look ahead feeling every bit of my title. I know all eyes are on me. I am feeling so proud knowing that God’s will was done. I take a deep breath to steady myself. No one would know how I was feeling truly. I have hidden it well. Everything that I have ever dreamed about has come true. There is a peace deep inside of me. I know this is what I am truly meant to do.

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Thomas Cranmer: I walk up to Sir Charles Brandon and accept the septre and orb, hold them up triumphantly and say, “Ubi sunt duo sceptors principis. Anna regina, nostra honoris gratia. Bene prospere procede, et novum te peperit filium regis sanguine.” (Here are the two sceptors of the sovereign. Honor and grace be to our Queen Anne. May you prosper, go forward, and may you bare a new son of the King’s blood.) I place the orb and septre into my beloved Queen’s hands, and she looks out at the congregation, now Queen of England.

Thomas Tallis: How joyful I am as I begin conducting the choir, with the congregation joins us in song. His Majesty and Queen Anne, so regal, so majestic, rise for all to see and begin walking in step with the music as if rehearsed.

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Anne, The Quene: ~I stand tall and graceful. My heart is filled with pride and happiness. I helped down from my thrown. I am wearing a beautiful, sparkling gown. The jewels and gems that adorn me are fitting to my status. I turn lovingly to my husband and give him my sweet, small smile. My eyes glimmer with the grandeur of the True Queen. Everything is so formal and perfect. I carefully notice the eyes of my adoring family and friends. I know they are most honoured to be in my presence. I quietly thank God for his blessings and we start to walk down the velvet steps. My heart beating so fast, but not wanting these moments to end. I want everyone to know the truth and I want to be shining in front of them.~

King Henry Tudor: I take her hand and notice she is trembling slightly. I place my other hand over hers for a brief moment so that she knows I am with her. She is a true Queen. We begin our exit down the isle. All the Kingdom bows so low to her, us as we past that I see no faces. The Queen, the true Queen now has the respect that she has long deserved. Dear God, I will honor this woman, our son and the more children to come with my unrelenting and undying love and faithfulness. As we exit the bells toll in honor of her. Us. I hold her hand high. “Long live the Queen!” I say with love and pride. I turn to her, kiss her long and lovingly for all to see. I brush her face and whisper to her, “I love you now more than, my Queen.” Still holding her hand, I step back and give her a gentleman’s bow.

Anne, The Quene: ~I try to calm myself, but I know my love notices. He holds my hand tightly and I feel so safe in his hands. Everyone begins to lower themselves deeply whether be a bow or curtsy. I feel myself glowing. In a moment, my husband raises my hand and shouts “Long live the Queen!” I smile and squeeze his hand. We passionately kiss and for a moment, I am completely lost in his loving embrace. I am melting into him once more. He whispers of his love for me and I reply in an equal whisper, “I shall love you forever and I am truly your Queen…” I kiss his cheek softly. He bows to me and I stand so elegant and graceful. We continue walking down the aisle. I am beginning to feel the admiration and respect that I deserve. I am wanting for nothing…~

King Henry Tudor: We leave the abbey to see the masses all bowing. I nod and smile. “Anne, this is the happiest moment of my life,” I say quietly as we begin to walk to the carriage. I help her in the carriage, and we make our way to the festivities. “Even the skies will re-joyous for you tonight my love. And you, you my beauty deserve every moment of it.”

The bells of Westminster Abbey peal in celebration as His Majesty King Henry Tudor and Her Majesty Queen Anne depart for the procession back to Whitehall!

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The Legacy of Queen Anne, Consort of King Henry VIII: Elizabeth, Regina

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Holbein’s Greatest Masterpiece (Tudor Y Writer’s Group)

April 28, 2014 in 2014 May Tribute to Queen Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn, Tudor Y Writer's Group by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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King Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger

King Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger

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King Henry VIII 

I pace through my chamber like a frustrated lion, caged. I should be hunting, spending time with my sweet Jane. “God’s Blood Master Cromwell! Do you think sir that I keep you for what is easy? Must I do all myself?”

Even the Duke of Norfolk quails before my rages, but this lad from the smithy merely bows his head. I approach him, my spittle would spray into his eyes were he only to raise them. “I said all of them! Every sketch, every copy, every damnable trace of that treacherous woman!” He murmurs some assurance, and I turn away.

He raises his head and says, “Master Holbein…” I fling my finely wrought silver cup at the abomination on the wall as I turn and roar, “Enough! Tell Master Holbein he will have opportunity to paint my likeness again soon enough!”

Sweating in the warm spring air, I tug at my silks. Sitting heavily, I rub my leg. It is ulcerous again, damn doctors. Catherine knew a poultice, ah but she is gone too, the old harridan. Master Secretary begins again, “His Grace the Archbishop..”

I raise my hand, quieted at the thought of Cranmer, how heavy his heart is, and why not? To hear all this sins of that woman would weigh on anyone’s soul. “I will speak to the Archbishop myself. He must be made to see that it is right. That I am right. She wove her spells around him too, and we must bring him around.”

Cromwell is smiling, he too is fond of my Archbishop. “You talk to him to, Tom. Ah, Tom! My most devoted Cromwell, we will bring him around, won’t we? Surely? In time?”

I am exhausted. I am not the man I was three years ago. That witch and her treasonous lovers have seen to that. But now there is Jane. And soon it will be as if Anne Boleyn never existed. “Go now, Master Secretary. Do not tarry. See to this affair quickly, and quietly. And do not rest until it is done!”

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The Ambassadors, by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Ambassadors, by Hans Holbein the Younger

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Secretary Thomas Cromwell

I stand upon the spot I must to illuminate the spectacle. Underneath the two Frenchmen, the ambassadors who forever lurked upon the Queen’s favor, there it be — the damn skull, upon the flooring that Kings are crowned upon no less. That oddity was the Lady Anne’s idea, yes the Lady Anne. All titles stripped today at trial, the wench is just that, a woman who bedded His Majesty and gave him a bastard, just like her sister. Once she conjured up this insanity, His Grace chimed in. He always does. “Master Holbein, if Her Majesty insists on the skull, do at least hide it. ‘Tis of the devil.” Those two when together, the Archbishop and the Queen, forever made my head ache mighty, partners in crime I do swear. Their reformation? Feed every vagrant and urchin in Christendom. Noble yes, but the riches belong to the crown, how spent His Majesty’s pleasure. How was I to counsel him to part with riches so easily begot? Who do these two think I be? A wizard? Do they think I wave a mystical wand like Merlin to move the King’s mind? Good God, man. Get real. King Henry VIII knows his own mind. And now his pleasure be to erase the Lady Anne Boleyn from this earth, all signs of her gone. I think this painting can be salvaged, but the other — God forgive me, the masterpiece straight from God’s hand to Holbein’s — must go.

“Just paint the damn thing, Master Holbein. Many a crown to you if His Majesty favors. Mayhaps he will take you on as court artist.” Master Hans Holbein, he be a genius, God’s talents blessed upon him. His Majesty took one look at the two frogs in their finery standing there, the globes, the quadrant, the torquetem, the sundial, the Lutheran book — my idea that — the lute, His Grace’s crucifix from Cambridge, and even the damn skull, and did hire the brilliant man from Augsburg just like that. “My devoted Tom, call that man to court. I want a portrait just as this be, with my Queen big with my heir in her belly and me in my finest cloth of gold. Go now, no tarrying good man.”

The portrait, the most beautiful portrait ever painted in Christendom, do we really have to burn it? My God, sinful that. The portrait of the Frenchmen hanging over yonder be a sketch in comparison. Well I be heading to hell in any case says the Bishop of Rome, so best be me do the deed — but how do I tell His Grace? I cannot allow he first learn from the King. The man be prone to tears, and best they not fall upon His Majesty. The letters from Master Morice, they tear at mine heart that His Grace suffers, riddled with heartbreak, riddled with guilt, riddled with shame. Need I go to Lambeth to break this gently? Mayhaps so. Yes the man is a quandary at times, but at court we really do just have each other. There be no one else I trust save His Grace and Sadler, and if he be smart, after Morice, there be best no one beyond me. God, if anyone smells his Lutheran bed warmer be his wife and not merely his favorite lay, the man’s head will roll same as those that shall in the morn’.

As I head out to the docks, I look upon His Majesty’s barges. Yes, it still stings. The Lady Anne gifted His Grace a beautiful barge upon his consecration. She gifted him prayer books, gold chalices, a jeweled cross on a heavy gold chain, even a necklace for his bed warmer. Does the Lady Anne know? Did he trust her with that? Mayhaps, she would hold it close — for him. The Lady Anne always did like him better them me. Always studying scripture together, reading Tyndale together, joking together, laughing together, praying together, supping together, and His Majesty never did bat an eye. Truthfully he had no need to. His Grace does love the Lady Anne — not in a romantic way, as his cherishes his wife, but more like a kindred spirit. In all ways spiritual, they think as one. I was out numbered on that, well, until His Majesty and I, who in all ways governance think as one, decided the Lady Anne must go.

The ebb and flow of the barge, rowers in unison pushing us all down the Thames, brings me back, yes back to the creation of the exquisite portrait, yes back to a time when His Majesty loved her, yes back to a time when all seemed to be going as planned. My mind is full of them, Master Holbein, His Majesty, His Grace, and the Lady Anne…

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A Replica of King Henry VIII's Barge

A Replica of King Henry VIII’s Barge

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King Henry VIII

The king is in high spirits today.”Good Day Master Secretary! Master Holbein! Shall we set this affair in motion?” We bow, and he quickly raises us up.”Where is the queen? Trying yet another gown, I’ll warrant. No matter, there is something I would discuss with you before she arrives.”

Retrieving a small box from one of his gentleman, he remembers something, “Norris, go fetch me my father’s dragon, you know the one, the silver one from my chamber. I would have it in this portrait.”

Turning back , he smiles conspiratorially, “Now, gentlemen, I know that the queen has been forever changing her mind about her jewels, so I have had something new prepared for her.” Opening the box, he beams,” See how the table diamond in the center and the emeralds catch the light?’

He turns serious a moment ,”We must do all we can to please her in this. Anything she wishes, just do it. The fancies of a woman with child can be quite capricious! Still, she is carrying your prince, and I will not have her upset.”

Extending his royal hand, he addresses the artist, “Master Holbein, I have this ring that my father wore in his likeness. I would like it quite visible, a symbol of the past here in this portrait of the future.” And again, his good mood emerges, shaking his finger in mock reproach.

“Master Cromwell! I see your stack of papers, sir! Oh no, so this is your plan! To hoist your business upon me while I am trapped in pose!”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

Master Holbein, oh how he humors me. The man gives me a glare, his opinion of the King’s command made plain. He then walks up to His Majesty and takes the gaudy ring, hovers over the table set with cloth of silver adorning it, and plops the thing willy-nilly. As he fumbles around sorting out where to place the accumulating barrage of special trinkets, I nod my head to acknowledge the King’s chide and smile broadly. “Why yes, Majesty. Sign and stamp the parchment towards the end, and I be Duke of Wellington, just like that.”

We both laugh at such a silly thought, and even the ever serious Master Holbein snickers, the dog. I add… “Yes Majesty, the last parchment anoints Will Somers Bishop of Pembrokeshire. What say you sign these, and I be off then?”

King Henry VIII

“Pembrokeshire you say? What says his Grace to that? I can see that you have me pinned down, Master Secretary. I suppose we can do some work, but the queen and I are composing a sonnet together, and I fear her wrath far more than yours!”

His face lights up as he spies his beloved, “Oh! there she is now! Anne, sweeting! Your beauty outshines the sun my dear! Come, see what I have for you!”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

Sweetling? I hold back a moan, just barely. His Majesty is brilliant, but the Queen’s manner be far from pleasing. As she approaches, the ever present maids in tow, I bow deeply in respect. I am good at that, bowing and removing my hat to the Lords and Ladies with royal blood — and the Boleyns. They know who really holds the winning hand. That’s all need be. The Queen replies with a glare and smug nod. What else be new? Does she forget who put her on the throne?  Whose pen made her reign law? I think not. Her dismissive treatment of me lays bare before all. I care not. After all, she is but a woman, and I be not my beloved Cardinal.

Anne, the Quene

As the queen enters, she smiles to her Lord and husband, “My darling… your words always touch my heart. I must say you look dashing and strong as always.”

Queen Anne looks at the table, and her eyes are lost in the magnificent jewels that are placed there. “My Love… it is not difficult to understand that those magnificent pieces are tokens of your love for me. I feel pleased…thank you my darling”.

Her Majesty carries a book in her hands, her illuminated prayer book. She passes the beautiful book to one of her ladies in waiting, Lady Wyatt. As soon as she takes the book from the Queen, both ladies smile to each other. After a nod from her Majesty, Lady Wyatt walks towards Cromwell. The Queen glares at him with pride, “There Master Cromwell. This is a token of my Faith to be preserved, and a symbol of our duty with this realm, to restore and keep the truth of God.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

I nod in acknowledgment and hand the exquisite prayer book to Master Holbein. “Do decide where you would like this placed good man.” He gives me the damn evil look of his in obvious annoyance. “Your Majesty, the prayer book is enchanting, as is your exquisite gown and jewelry.”

King Henry VIII

The king is like a child, pleased that he surprised the queen once again. His Majesty likes surprises, and of course, he delights in the sighs and coos of his wife. He beckons Norris, holding out his hands to receive the Tudor dragon. “Very good, Harry! Pray, did you encounter my Lord Archbishop?”

Norris murmurs something, and the king turns to ask,”Master Secretary, you did summon him like I commanded?” He nods affirmatively. “Good. He must be delayed then. If it were any other man, I would guess it is a woman who keeps him long so often.”

Setting the dragon on the table, the King glances around for his warship — yes, a warship. The Mary Rose, pride of his navy is to be included in this masterpiece of Tudor symbolism. “Please set the scene as you would see it Master Holbein.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

I laugh at the King’s words of the Archbishop. “Aye, yes Majesty. His Grace was summoned indeed. I do believe he gets caught up in his vestments rather than wenches.” We all laugh heartily at that, even the Queen.

Then, I need say this, as I know the King suffers much. “Majesty, I am touched by your tribute to your sister, our beloved Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk. I pray her health improves each night before I rest my head.”

His Majesty, nods. “I pray a’mighty too, my devoted Tom. I pray a’mighty, too.”

Master Holbein pokes me, the poignant moment interrupted, and murmurs in my ear, “This will cost you dearly for all these additions to the plan, Master Cromwell. I do not work for farthings.” Holbein then huffily heads back to arrange all the treasured items. Returning back to me, he whispers, “This not be what we agreed to. These people make my head throb.”

“Just do as they ask. You’ll have your crowns, ” I chide.

Anne, the Quene

Queen Anne is enjoying the moment, now standing beside her husband. She watches as the treasures to be immortalized in the painting are carefully arranged. “This for sure will be Master Holbein’s greatest masterpiece.  It will be something more than just a painting, for there is much of us in it… There will be profound meaning.”

The queen smiles then she looks with curiosity as the usher enters. When she sees who approaches after him, the Queen smiles again with more joy. “Finally, His Grace is here. Welcome… welcome.”

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

His Grace, always in good spirits, bounds into the inner chambers with great pleasure. He bends a knee, and the Queen bids he rise. “Majesties, do forgive my tardiness. I came upon a poor urchin, so I prayed for and blessed the child.”

His Grace looks around the room, taking in the beauty of their Majesties’ finery and the treasures Master Holbein so oddly arranged. “The Lord is pleased, Majesties. Never have I seen such beauty.”

He peers over to Master Holbein. “This will be a masterpiece for the ages — from God’s hand to yours. Lord make it so.”

He smiles broadly, takes the Queen’s hand in his and gently kisses it. “Your beauty and grandeur will be set plain for all through the ages, dear friend — my consort to the greatest King in Christendom. God’s will be done.”

King Henry VIII

“Well met Your Grace! I want that you would bless this endeavor of ours. Call the eyes of God to the image of His will!”

From a pocket, King Henry produces a beautiful jeweled rosary.”‘T’was my mother’s,” he smiles, laying it reverently across the bow of his model ship.

The King is blind to the ironic glances between the rest of us. His Grace frowns slightly at the remnant of Papist superstition. Still, the King adored his mother. It is fitting. “Anything else? Are we ready?” His Majesty is impatient to begin, to be done and off hunting with Brandon, no doubt. “Shall we begin? Anne darling, have you nothing else to add? Only say it, my queen, and it shall be done.”

Anne, the Quene

The Queen gently takes the hand of her husband in hers and smiles to him. “Nothing else my love…all that means and represents us are already well presented.” After one glace of love and a smile, Queen Anne looks at Master Holbein with a smile on her face. “We are ready Master Holbein. We are under your guidance now.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

Master Holbein walks slowly over to His Majesty and motions with his hand with grand flair that the King stand just behind and aside a beautifully carved wooden chair. I stifle a laugh as His Majesty follows Holbein’s directive gesture as if commanded. “Like this Master Holbein?”

The artists shakes his head. “No! Move over just like this, Majesty,” he chides to my great entertainment. “There, very good.”

On cue, His Grace takes the Queen’s arm and guides her to the chair. Her maids brush back the flowing cloth of silver and cloth of gold gown so she may sit more comfortable. “Majesty, allow me to guide your way, ” says the Archbishop.

She looks to him and smiles warmly. “Thank you, Your Grace.”

Master Holbein commands once more. “Your Majesty, place your hand upon the Queen’s shoulder. Yes, just like that. Now, relax and stay as you are.”

His Grace comes back with me. The sight before us takes our breath away. He whispers, “My heart is full, Master Secretary. The Lord fills the room, fills them whole.” I nod in agreement. His Grace speaks truth.

King Henry VIII

“Wait! We have forgotten! My son will be head of his church as his father is! Your Grace, please, something of yours, it would be a great favor.”

The King loves Cranmer. The man can do no wrong. Never once has he born the brunt of a tirade, nor the icy cold of Henry’s displeasure. The king encourages, “If you would be so kind, Your Grace.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

His Grace bows at His Majesty, “You honor me, Your Majesty. I am touched.”

What is he doing? His Grace turns to me and says in quiet sincerity, “Your ring, Thomas. Please, good man.” I struggle to pull the thing off and hand it to him. His Grace, oh how he humbles me. He walks over to the table and looks at the display carefully. Gently he opens the Queen’s prayer book, finding the page of the scripture he so desires. Once satisfied, he rests my ring upon it.

Holbein murmurs, “I like that. I like it much.”

I snicker quietly, “That be Wolsey’s ring, good man.” Holbein laughs in his sleeve. “Does His Grace know?”

“Hush man, I will tell him later… after the portrait be done.” He laughs lightly. “Shhhh…. the Queen, she notices it not. Say nothing.”

We wait for the king to react. Holbein and I dare not breathe. The king loves Cranmer, and Wolsey was as a father to him before he fell.  “I know that ring. Thomas, your master is with us still sometimes, do you feel him?”

I glace at the Queen smugly, “Oh yes, Majesty. He is with us always. I learned all I do and all I not do from His Eminence.”

As if it were not he, but some other monarch who hounded my Lord Cardinal to his death, the king states, “It is good, very good. We are ready.”

Anne, the Quene

The Queen’s reply is a mere smile, one that is not of joy, but the smile that a Queen always gives in the name of duty rather than personal satisfaction. “What can I say? What pleases his majesty pleases me as well. We are indeed ready”.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

His Grace adds simply, “Bless the King and Queen of England and their heir growing strong, and grant your artistry flow through Master Holbein abundantly.”

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Thomas Cromwell, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Thomas Cromwell, by Hans Holbein the Younger

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Secretary Thomas Cromwell

“Master Secretary! Master Secretary!!!” I am startled upright by Ralph Morice, calling me as the barge is tied to the dock by Lambeth’s beautiful spring gardens.

“Good afternoon, Master Morice,” I say simply. He guides me off the barge and we begin walking through the gardens towards Lambeth Palace, the scent of irises whiffing through the light spring breeze.

“Do tell me, good man. How be His Grace?” I ask.

Ralph Morice places his hand on my arm, my cue to stop walking before entering the Palace. “He be distraught, Master Secretary. Thanks be to Lady Margarete. Her strength builds him so he can do what he must. His Grace pines for the Lady Anne, and he be dwelling on gaining His Majesty’s blessing to hear her last confession.”

“The King will allow it,” I offer. “His mind is set to destroy all signs of her, though. This morn’ I was commanded to arrange the destruction of all with her emblems, her gowns, her silver, her tapestries, even the two Holbein portraits… you know, the one of the Queen in the black velvet… and God forgive me, the masterpiece of them both.”

Morice looks back at me stunned, swallowing deep to compose himself. “That portrait be of God’s own hand, Master Secretary. To burn it is of Satan.” I nod in agreement.

“You came to tell him?” I nod again and offer, “I thought it best. His Majesty is in mind to, but let the tears flow before the King speaks his peace.” Looking to the ground in shame, I add, “The portraits are burned already, done before the Archbishop could talk me out of it, before talking me into what would risk us both. Reginald Pole calls me the Emissary of Satan. Mayhaps I am.”

Sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger

Sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger

“And what of the Archbishop’s Godchild? What then shall the child have of her mother?” Morice chides.

I open the rolled parchment from under my arm, nestled to keep it safe. “Here, Master Morice. I done brought this for His Grace to hold for Elizabeth. God forgive me, it be the best I could do. Guard it close, and God in heaven, keep it as secret as the Archbishop’s wife.”

“Lady Margarete thinks you a rouge, Master Secretary. His Grace knows different. I think him wise.”

~~~~ Fade To Black ~~~~

Written by: Beth, Cyndi and Mercy

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Part 2 of Elizabeth Alone, by Llinos Thomas

January 21, 2014 in History With Heart, by Llinos Thomas by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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