“Dialogue with Katherine of Aragon”, by Wendy J. Dunn

November 29, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Beth von Staats

by Wendy J. Dunn

"Mary Magdalene" Artist: Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525) The teenager in this portrait is believed to be Catalina de Aragon, youngest daughter of Isabella de Castilla and Ferdinand de Aragon.

“Mary Magdalene”
Artist: Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525)
The teenager in this portrait is believed to be Catalina de Aragon, youngest daughter of Isabella de Castilla and Ferdinand de Aragon.

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Dialogue with Katherine of Aragon

Wendy J. Dunn

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Wendy: Katherine of Aragon, is it true, Your Majesty, that you thought the fates against you from the time you left your mother’s kingdom?

Katherine of Aragon:  That is so. After kneeling for my parents’ blessings, I journeyed long weeks to Santiago de Compostela; there, my father’s ships awaited my arrival. Almost as soon as we set sail, a great, boisterous storm-tossed and tumbled us in swelling seas, forcing all the ships back to my homeland. I feared then God was against my match with Prince Arthur. But what could I do? My life’s course had already been fixed. Indeed, from the time I was a young child, I knew England was my destiny. I had been betrothed to Arthur Tudor before I was three-years-old. I, like my four sisters, had an important role to play for our parents’ two kingdoms.

Wendy:  Queen Katherine, you were your mother’s youngest child?

Katherine of Aragon: Si – born whilst my noble and prudent mother campaigned against the Moors. Only when my mother felt the pangs of childbirth fall upon her did she ride away from her Holy War. I must regard myself as fortunate to ever see life – my mother, while with her army, lost my sister Maria’s twin only two years before my birth.

Praise God, my wise mother prepared me well for queenship. She found the best tutors in the land to educate her daughters, as well as her only son, but she also taught my sisters and I how to be good wives. Humbly I say my embroidery is better than most women’s, and it was my greatest pleasure to make my husband’s shirts.

Wendy: Tell me of your arrival in England…

Katherine of Aragon: The journey took much longer than expected, but I arrived on England’s shores just before my sixteenth birthday. Henry VII, my father-in-law, and Arthur, the kind, intelligent boy I called husband for such a brief time, met me in Hampshire, at the Bishop’s palace in Dangerfield. The King shocked my ladies by going against all Castilian custom: he insisted on lifting my mantle to see my face. I believe he was well content with what he saw. Arthur told me later of his happiness when he saw my sweet face for the first time. In my youth, all said I was pretty. My mother told me I possessed the gray eyes and ‘rose’ complexion of my English grandmother – she who was also called Katherine. Although short of stature, I was well shaped and graceful as a girl. But my greatest beauty then was my hair. I remember dear Arthur told me it shone like red/gold autumn leaves, wind-tossed in the light of a setting sun. Like his brother Henry, Arthur, too, had a gift with words. Being then virgin, my long hair flowed loose and free.

Wendy: Queen Katherine, tell me about you and Arthur…

Queen Katherine: God’s truth, what is there to tell? We only had a brief time together before the English sweat struck us down, and almost killed us both. Our marriage was never a true one. We slept together only a few nights, and he was a boy, young for his years, and I a maid. As God is my witness, nothing happened between us. Even my own father wrote in 1503, ‘It is well known that the princess is still a virgin.’ Even so, when he arranged my betrothal to Arthur’s brother Henry, my father requested of the Pope a dispensation making the matter of my virginity unimportant. The Pope provided that dispensation and by doing so safeguarded my later marriage to my Henry.

Seven bitter years I lived in England after Arthur’s death. My mother’s death in 1504 lessened my importance in the Tudor King’s eyes, and he treated me shabbily. I had no money for my servants, let alone myself. I spent so much of my time in prayer, and despair. Those times taught me to keep faith with God, and I came close to taking the veil. But God had other plans for me, for Henry VII died, and I married my king. I did my duty by him lovingly, and gave him children, although it pleased God to call most of them from the earthly world. But my husband had no cause to rend his kingdom apart for a son. Our daughter Mary was all the heir he needed.

Wendy: My queen, with great regret, I think it is time to bring this interview to an end. . I thank you for answering my questions.

I look forward to scribing more of your story Falling Pomegranate Seeds: All Manner of Things, the sequel of The Duty of Daughters

Queen Katherine: I will always answer your questions, Lady Wendy. If you are willing to listen, I am willing to speak. And I vow to you I will speak the truth.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn has been obsessed by Anne Boleyn and Tudor History since she was ten-years-old. She is the author of three historical novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This?, the winner of the 2003 Glyph Fiction Award and 2004 runner-up in the Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction, The Light in the Labyrinth, her first young adult novel, and Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters.

While she continues to have a very close and spooky relationship with Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder, serendipity of life now leaves her no longer wondering if she has been channelling Anne Boleyn and Sir Tom for years in her writing, but considering the possibility of ancestral memory. Her own family tree reveals the intriguing fact that her ancestors – possibly over three generations – had purchased land from both the Boleyn and Wyatt families to build up their own holdings. It seems very likely Wendy’s ancestors knew the Wyatts and Boleyns personally.

Wendy gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2014, and is the Co-Editor in Chief of Backstory and Other Terrain, Swinburne University two new peer-reviewed writing journals.

Social Media:

Website: Wendy J. Dunn, Award-Winning Author

Facebook: Wendy J. Dunn

Twitter: @wendyjdunn

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Recent Release!

Recent Release!

Book Description:

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters

Book 1 in the Katherine of Aragon Story

Do?a Beatriz Galindo.

Respected scholar.

Tutor to royalty.

Friend and advisor to Queen Isabel of Castile.

Beatriz is an uneasy witness to the Holy War of Queen Isabel and her husband, Ferdinand, King of Aragon. A Holy War seeing the Moors pushed out of territories ruled by them for centuries.

The road for women is a hard one. Beatriz must tutor the queen’s youngest child, Catalina, and equip her for a very different future life. She must teach her how to survive exile, an existence outside the protection of her mother. She must prepare Catalina to be England’s queen.

A tale of mothers and daughters, power, intrigue, death, love, and redemption. In the end, Falling Pomegranate Seeds sings a song of friendship and life.

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“Wendy J. Dunn is an exceptional voice for Tudor fiction and has a deep understanding of the era. Her words ring true and touch the heart, plunging the reader into a fascinating, dangerous and emotionally touching new world.” ~ Barbara Gaskell Denvil

“Dunn deftly weaves a heartrending story about the bonds between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. Each character is beautifully crafted with a compassionate touch to draw the reader into every raw emotion, from triumph to tragedy.” ~ Adrienne Dillard, Author of Cor Rotto

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TO PURCHASE FALLING POMEGRANATE SEEDS,

CLICK ONE OF THE LINKS BELOW!!

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters: Volume 1 (Katherine of Aragon Story) — AMAZON United Kingdom

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters (Katherine of Aragon Story) Volume 1 — AMAZON United States

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Wendy J. Dunn and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of Falling Pomegranate Seeds, The Duty of Daughters to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on December 4, 2016. Good Luck!!!

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QAB Interview with Alison Weir: Release Day — SIX TUDOR QUEENS — “Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen”!

May 5, 2016 in Alison Weir Book Reviews & Interviews, QAB Author Highlight, QAB Guest Interviews and Chats by Beth von Staats

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Alison Weir front page
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Today is a very exciting day at Queenanneboleyn.com. Alison Weir joins us here at the website! Alison’s highly anticipated ‘Six Tudor Queens’ novel series begins with the release of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen this morning in the United Kingdom, and she is here to talk about itAre you in the United States? If so, don’t worry, your wait will not be long. Pre-order your copy now, and it will be on its way May 31, 2016.
 
After watching Alison’s short video introduction to the ‘Six Tudor Queens’, enjoy QAB’s recent online interview with Britain’s most beloved and popular English History writer and novelist. Welcome back to QAB, Alison!
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Katherine of Aragon Artist: Lucas Horenbout

Katherine of Aragon
Artist: Lucas Horenbout

1. Alison, there is a huge amount of “buzz” on the internet from your fans. Here at Queenanneboleyn.com (QAB), members and browsers are very excited about the release of the first book of your ‘Six Tudor Queens’ novel series Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen. With such high expectations from fans around the world, as well as the huge undertaking composing six historical fiction novels entails, did you find yourself at all anxious when composing this first work? After all, the success of te entire series rides on te coattails of the first novel released. How did you manage the huge amount of research and plot development involved?
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Looking back, if there was any anxiety, it was about the enormous challenge of doing justice to Katherine. I knew that she was often overshadowed by interest in Anne Boleyn, and that there was a general perception of her as an ageing, sad, pious and perhaps misguided, even bigoted, woman. In fact, she had great strengths, as became the daughter of Isabella of Castile, and great abilities, as well as powerful relations. She was feared by the Boleyn faction and even by Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII himself. And yet, what stands out is her love for Henry, her loyalty and her integrity. One can only admire her determination to stand up for what she believed to be right.

I came to this project armed with decades of research behind me and some new research too. The plan is to write each book entirely from its subject’s viewpoint, which affords a unique perspective, and creates another challenge, because one will always wonder how much Katherine knew. But I loved that aspect. I could not wait to get started, and once I had begun writing, the story flowed – and flowed. It afforded me great insights into Katherine’s character and the world in which she lived, and it also allowed a new view of Henry VIII and the ‘Divorce’.

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Catalina de Aragon Artist: Lucas Horenbout

Catalina de Aragon
Artist: Lucas Horenbout

2. Of all of your novels I’ve had the pleasure to read, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen stays incredibly close to known historical events. Is this a conscious decision on your part?
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Yes. She was a real person and we know so much about her, so it’s essential to get it right. My task was to make sense of the sources – and the gaps – and to make my fictional portrayal credible within the context of the evidence. Where that exists, I have used it, and I have used my imagination and judgement to write the rest. I do so hope that my portrayal chimes with readers’ perceptions of Katherine.

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Catalina de Aragón Artist: Michael Sittow

Catalina de Aragón
Artist: Michael Sittow

3. Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen is composed with a 3rd person limited narration. We only see what Queen Katherine sees and only experience what she experiences. This can be quite challenging for an author, as finding the voice of the character is so critical. It is also difficult to ensure the writing does stray from the main character’s limited view of events. How did you find Queen Katherine’s voice? To follow that up, how did you envision and then craft her maturity from child to woman and from princess to queen?

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Once again, I was closely following the evidence. We are fortunate in that so many of Katherine’s letters survive, and that they record her feelings, her hopes and her fears. These are crucial tools for creating a fictional reading of her. They allow us to ‘know’ her in a way we can never know Anne Boleyn, for example, because hardly any really personal letters of Anne’s survive, and we are reliant on other records. Other records survive for Katherine too, and they are rich. So it was not difficult to show her maturing over 35 years. 

I like the single-person viewpoint. It works well for this series of six novels. What one queen doesn’t know, another might. For example, Anne Boleyn must have been very much in the dark about what was going on at the time of her fall, yet Jane Seymour will know much more about it. So each book affords a different perspective, and the related e-shorts, which will be published at intervals, will provide back stories. You don’t need to read them, but they may enhance your enjoyment of the series.

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4. Without giving the plot away, you answered the question of whether the marriage of Katherine of Aragon and Author Tudor, Prince of Wales, was or was not consummated. Is this a guess or based on research?
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It is based on new research – all outlined in the Author’s Note at the back of the book. And that research, of course, gives us a new perspective on the validity of Katherine’s marriage to Henry VIII.

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This portrait by an unknown artist was formerly known as Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Now art historians are not so sure.

This portrait by an unknown artist was formerly known as Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Now art historians are not so sure.

5. One lovely aspect of this novel is the exploration of the close relationships between Katherine of Aragon and her closest friends. Just how critical were people like Maria de Salinas and Margaret Pole to Queen Katherine’s personal well-being? To follow-up, can you share with browsers what impresses you most about Maria de Salinas and Margaret Pole?

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Both ladies were strong characters with firm personal convictions, and I admire them for that, but I have chosen to portray Maria as the more forceful, based on her braving the security at Kimbolton Castle to be with Katherine. Katherine was loved and esteemed by those who served her, and she was close to her ladies, with whom she had shared interests in common. I felt that it was essential to explore those friendships, not least because these ladies could offer views that were at variance with Katherine’s and give an alternative perspective on events.

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Mary Tudor, Queen of England Artist: Master John

Mary Tudor, Queen of England
Artist: Master John

6. Many people judge Katherine of Aragon to be stubborn and selfish, particularly in how her decisions to fight King Henry VIII’s desire to annul their marriage may have negatively impacted the safety and comfort of her daughter Princess Mary Tudor. What are your thoughts on this?
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That’s a rather modern view, which takes no account of sixteenth-century convictions about morality, sin and faith.The Pope had sanctioned Katherine’s marriage; she had every reason to oppose Henry, and one can only admire her standing up – and suffering in consequence – for the rights of her daughter. That’s not being selfish. Had Katherine made a pragmatic decision to bow to Henry’s wishes, Mary would have ranked after any sons born of the King’s second marriage. That was unthinkable to Katherine. She believed that it was her bounden duty to protect Mary’s rights. In the context of expectations of royal motherhood, it was her priority. It was Henry VIII who treated his daughter selfishly and cruelly.

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King Henry VIII (1509) Artist: Unknown

King Henry VIII (1509)
Artist: Unknown

7. Do you actually believe that King Henry VIII was ever truly in love with Queen Katherine or was this simply a marriage of nations?
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There can be little doubt that he loved her at the time of their marriage and in the early years. We will never know if he was truly in love with her, or whether his feelings were a manifestation of courtly love – no doubt he saw himself as a chivalrous St George rescuing the princess in distress. And Katherine was a great prize in the European marriage market, for which he clearly valued her. Her reference to ‘all the love that hath been between us’, made in 1529, suggests a warm marital relationship, but there is no evidence that Henry’s feelings for Katherine were as passionate and obsessive as they were for Anne Boleyn. 

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Queen Isabela of Castile Artist: Luis de Madrazo

Queen Isabela of Castile
Artist: Luis de Madrazo

8. From the death of Prince Arthur, Prince of Wales until the death of King Henry VII, as so powerfully crafted in your novel, Katherine of Aragon lived a highly isolated life of increasing deprivation. How much do you suspect the death of Queen Isabella of Castile impacted how poorly Queen Katherine was treated? What other issues were at play?

I think that Isabella’s death had a big impact, because it immediately devalued Katherine’s worth. No longer was she a princess of a united, strong Spain, but merely a princess of Aragon, and therefore not so desirable a bride for the heir to England. But Henry VII wanted her dowry, which was why he would not send her back to Spain. I think he was waiting to see if he could find a better match for his son, but keeping his options open.

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Queen Anne Boleyn

Queen Anne Boleyn

9. Obviously, I have to ask this question. Your second Six Tudor Queens novel about Queen Anne Boleyn has already been drafted. Can you give us any intriguing hints of what to expect? Will this novel also be written from Queen Anne’s point-of-view?
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It will be, and as I was writing it I realised that it was going to be very different from other novels about Anne Boleyn because a lot of it is written from the European cultural perspective, and that enables us to understand so much more about Anne and what shaped her. I have built on three other theories in this book, which may help to explain certain inconsistencies in her story. 

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Queen Anne Boleyn????

Queen Anne Boleyn????

10. Okay, I was going to stay away from this question, but so many members and browsers are “chomping at the bit” to know, my email box is filling quickly. Is the “print in the news so hotly debated” Anne Boleyn, Queen of England; Joanna Fitzalan, Lady Bergavenny; or perhaps someone else altogether? In all honesty, I am clueless.
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Scroll down this page to read my article on the print, which I wrote for my website: http://alisonweir.org.uk/books/bookpages/more-lady-in-the-tower.asp. It’s important to remember that the clues are in a Victorian lithograph – a few have drawn subjective conclusions based on that, but I suspect that the original portrait looked rather different. If we could see and analyse it, we would perhaps be able to say with more certainty that this is Anne Boleyn. All we can say now is that the evidence we have suggests that it is.

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11. Although you certainly are quite busy enough, are there any hot new projects on the horizon that you would like to tell QAB members and browsers about?
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Yes, I’m working on the first in a series of four non-fiction books right now, but I’m not allowed to say what it’s about. The series will be announced later this year.

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QUEENANNEBOLEYN.COM’S TRIBUTE TO ALISON WEIR’S SIX TUDOR QUEEN’S NOVEL: KATHERINE OF ARAGON, THE TRUE QUEEN!!

YouTube Credit: QAB’s own Mercy Rivera  (piratesse4)

Mercy owns none of the content.

Video Credits: Isabel (La 1 TVE HD), The Tudors (Showtime) 

Music Credit: Lara Fabian (Quédate –Stay)

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Katherine of Aragon The True Queen
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TO PURCHASE Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen
CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!!
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Death of a King, Father, and Son. Tudor Dynasty Historical Writers

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

 

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

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Mary Rose Tudor

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

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

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Margaret Beaufort

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

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

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

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Mary Rose Tudor

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

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

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

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Margaret Beaufort

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

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

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

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Video Credit: thepsychopompus’s channel You Tube

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Written by: Lady Margaret Beaufort and Mary Rose Tudor

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The Death of a Queen

February 10, 2015 in News, Tudor Uk Court by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Kimbolton

The burden on Sir Edmund Bedingfield was more than he had expected. As Caretaker to the Dowager Princess of Wales, his job seemed more warden than anything. As Katherine of Aragon lay dying, Sir Edmund had done all he dared to make her comfortable, without angering his king. Now, as he bustled toward the gates of Kimbolton to investigate the source of the clamour the guards had advised him of, he had a decision to make. Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby, was Katherine’s oldest friend and she had travelled far on treacherous roads to see her former mistress. Bedingfield was to admit no one without a pass from the king, or Master Secretary Cromwell. The guards had informed him Lady Willoughby had suffered an accident of some sort below the walls of the castle, and Sir Edmund was a Knight of the Bath. No proper knight would leave a noble lady in distress, and his years with the Dowager Princess had left him somewhat fond of his dying charge. As the gates opened, Sir Edmund did what he thought best, and only prayed the king would not be too angry.

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

I am perched against the outer walls of the castle Kimbolton with my travelling party, fury building at my rightful queen trapped, in pain and Maria de Salinas   alone in this desolate part of the country. I push the indignation aside and ensure my  travelling companions are ready to play their part as Sir Edmund Bedinfield finally  emerges from the castle.

 I arrange my face in a look of intense pain, my foot risen and bundled up to ensure the ruse  of an accident.

“Sir Edmund, I thank you for coming out in this awful weather to meet me. I have had an  accident and have fallen from my horse and we cannot carry on. I entreat you, please let us  take refuge until I can travel further.”

Sir Edmund is a true Knight. Surely, he cannot turn away a lady in distress. My men and  and my sole lady in waiting stand protectively around me, my lady fussing to ensure I’m comfortable.

Sir Edmund bows with a flourish, “Welcome to Kimbolton Lady Maria, we were not expecting you. I hope you have not injured yourself grievously?”

I look up with a pained expression on my face. “Indeed Sir, I have tried to carry on, but as soon as we came upon your castle, the first we have seen since my fall….” Sir Edmund crouches by my side and examines my ankle. I flinch as he tries to lift it. Sir Edmund stands, as he thinks through the situation. He has clear instructions not to allow a person inside the castle without the authority of his Majesty. I allow my pride to drop and beg, whilst he struggles inwardly.

“Sir Edmund. Please. I know you have your orders, but you can see here I cannot travel with this injury. I have a letter on it’s way allowing my visit. I had planned to travel on until this permission had arrived- however, fate has seen otherwise. PLEASE.” I look up with such desperation. The cold wind assists, a tear forms in my eye to complete the look.

Sir Edmund sighs. “Of course Lady Willoughby. I could not in good conscious let you continue in such a condition. My men will show your travelling party through, I’ll have rooms for you shortly.”

Inwardly I sigh with relief, outwardly, I look grateful – which I am. I can see my queen. Sir Edmund helps me rise and assists me in through the gates to warmth and my dearest friend.

Queen Katherine of Aragon

I lay in my bed and cannot get comfortable. No matter how many logs are placed in the fire or how many furs they cover me with, I still shiver from the Katherine of Aragon death bedcold. My cough is deep and rattles, the pain in my chest gets worse each day. My attendants try to feed me a few spoonfuls of broth but I have no appetite. These are the women that Henry chose for me, none are my dear companions. I turn my head away and pull out a crumpled letter, wet from my tears. My Mary’s last letter to me. I never thought that Henry could be so cruel as to keep our only child away from me.

I clasp my rosary beads that belonged to my mother, a great queen in her own right. The beads bring comfort to me, no matter what Henry did to me, I would not admit or accept something that was not true. I am his true wife and the only Queen of England. I know that I am close to death and could have the comfort of my Mary if I just accepted Henry’s terms, but NOTHING could force me to declare that  I am not his true wife.

A cold wind billows through the room, blowing out the candles and torches. I can feel the cold all the way to my bones but I try to remember the warmth of the sun on my face as a child in Spain. So many memories, so much heartache. I watch the women try to light up the room again and as I look, I see a vision in the doorway. Now my mind is playing tricks with me because I imagine my closest friend Maria De Salinas, now Willoughby standing in the door way. I know when the torches are lit, the vision of my beloved Maria will be gone. But the vision speaks my name and holds my hand, trying to rub warmth into it.

“Dios mío, se esta María? My God is this María?” Tears spill from the corner of my eyes. If this is my imagination, don’t let it stop. ” Maria, is it really you? How did you ever get in here to see me?” She kisses my cheeks, ” Maria besides Mary there is no one else I rather have with me. Tell me it is really you. Gracias a Dios.”

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

I fall to my queen’s side- my dear dear friend, I have made it just in time. I take in her face, wasted from the illness and colourless. She is swamped in furs, the fires stoked high in an attempt to keep Katherine warm.

TeKatherine and Mariaars well in my eyes. “My queen, I am here. I could not be kept away from you during your time of need.”

I take my Queen Katherine’s hands- they are chilled and I wrap my hands around her small ones in attempt to warm them. I look about the dismal chamber. This is not how the true Queen of England should end her days. A burning anger wells inside me, knowing that the impostor of a “queen” Anne Boleyn is sitting in a grand palace in London, in Katherine’s palace. I swallow back that anger and keep my eyes on my true queen’s face.

I stroke her hair back from her face. “My dear queen. How can I make you more comfortable? I am here to serve you in anyway I can. I will not allow them to turn me out.”

Queen Katherine of Aragon

” Aye Maria, there is no other person I would wish to be with me besides Mary. ” I clutch Maria’s arm. ” What news have you of my beloved daughter? I know I will never see her again.” I can not hold back my tears when I think of my only child. ” Maria, it has to be that bruja, I cannot believe the Henry I knew capable of keeping mother and daughter apart. But nothing he does to me will ever make me utter the words he wishesRosary to hear. I am his true and legal wife, and Mary is the rightful heir to England. I will NEVER say otherwise, no matter what he does to me.

” I fear I do not have a lot of time left but your visit gives me strength. Come sit and tell me about your life with your husband. It makes me happy that you made such a good marriage here. ”

I shut my eyes and tried to envision Maria’s life. I hold my diamond and pearl rosary, one of  the few jewels left to me. It belonged to my mother and Henry would not dare to take that away from me, it belongs to Spain, not England. I smile as Maria fills me in on her life and what has been happening away from this damp fortress.

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

I chatter away about my husband, my child Katherine, named in honour of my friend and queen, about my household and our property. I see Katherine focus and brighten as I detail my life outside this god-forsaken vault. My heart is broken that the king, her beloved shining king, who rose us from poverty after the death of Prince Arthur, has become a tyrant. I try to hold onto the image of Henry of old – or I may begin a tirade of vehemence.

I address the reference to the Lady Anne. “Mi reina, it is the influence of the pretend queen. The reports from court tell of the great influence she has. It is certainly her influence that he will not allow the princess to visit you. You would be proud of your daughter, she is her mother’s daughter, she holds her head high, and is strong.” I do not care who hears me use my Spanish Princess’s true title. She will always be England’s true queen, as Mary is England’s true Princess.

I cast aside protocol and take Katherine’s hand. “Mi reina, colour is returning to your face. You will not depart this life just yet.” She cannot leave us. The Boleyn’s cannot be allowed to prevail. I smile brightly, pushing aside the dread in my heart.

Queen Katherine of Aragon

I smile as I listen to my Maria fill me in on her happy life. She did well for herself here in England. It brings joy to my heart to know that Maria Ruby ringand her English husband have such a good relationship. I pull the heavy, worn quilts up to my neck for there is always a chill that lives in the stone walls, it is always damp with a musty smell. I shiver and my coughing begins again. Maria begs me to eat some broth but her presence is all the nourishment I need.

” Maria, do you remember the happy days we spent as children in Spain? I have always missed Spain’s sunny days. I loved the feel of the warmth from the sun on my face. We would sit outside and pick the sweet, juicy oranges, the juice always trickled down your chin. I think about Spain a lot now, Mary loves her mother’s country just from all the stories I told her.”

I smile wanly and take off my ruby and pearl ring, the ruby is the size of a quail’s egg and has always been one of my favourite possessions. The gold filigree somehow makes the ring look dainty, even with the enormous stones.

” María, mi mejor amiga que siempre me ha gustado, you are my closest friend whom I have always loved. I want you to have this ring. When you look at it, always remember the good times we have had together. It is just a small token of the love I feel for you.” I put it into Maria’s warm hands and smiled at her.

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

My eyes well with tears as my queen gifts me the ring. A protest rises to my lips but fades away before they are verbalised. I cannot pretend that my dear friend does not have many days left. I close my fingers over the gift.

“Gracias, I shall treasure it til the end of my days. Every morning when I put on this ring, I shall think of you and Spain. Every visit with the Princess Mary I will tell her the stories of our youth, of the golden sunlight and sweet oranges. You will live on in your daughter.”

I squeeze Katherine’s hand, then fuss with the blankets, calling for a maid to bring more, demanding more wood. I demand to see the queen’s physician.

I do not wish to leave the queen’s side. I refuse all offers of hospitality after bowing to the king’s orders for so much time. I will do all I can to make my friend’s last days happy and comfortable.Maria on her deathbed

Queen Katherine of Aragon

“My dearest friend, I cannot let you sacrifice your well being by angering his Majesty with your visit here. Your company has cheered me up and I feel myself getting stronger. You know my love for you, but I beg you, if at all possible, look after my Mary. We have been apart for too long. I will rest easier knowing that you will do all you can for her.” I squeeze her hand and smile wanly. ” You must go Maria, I will not have the King’s anger directed towards you.”

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

“Of course, I will always be there and care for Mary. I will always advocate for her well being. As for my current location – I fear I cannot be moved, I have injured myself after falling from my horse.” I give the queen a mischievous smile and continue cheerfully. “Sir Bedingfield is kindly accommodating my travelling party, so I imagine we shall be here for a few days until I can continue comfortably. Until then, you shall have me for company.”

Katherine is comforted and squeezes my hand and I sit and we talk of sunshine and Spain and the golden days of the days when we were young and at Court. She takes a little broth and falls to sleep. Once I am satisfied that the queen will sleep peacefully I return to my own chamber and rest deeply until I am woken early the next day by my lady-in-waiting to tell me Chapuys has arrived. I breath a sigh of relief and prepare myself to see our old friend.

The Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys

Horses I arrive at Kimbolton and am sadden at what poor Katherine has been sent to. This home is not what a daughter of Isabel deserve. It is not for the true Queen. My heart aches for what has become to Katherine and I wish I could have done something more for her. I can only hope to somehow prevent poor Princess Mary from the same fate…I wait patiently for Lady Maria, in hope that she will tell me that Queen Katherine’s health has improve. But as she enters, I can tell that Katherine is still unwell. “ Lady Maria, I am glad to see you so unexpectedly. I have came to visit Katherine. How is she? I have been told very little about her health, however I have been led to expect that she is so very unwell and may die sooner than we wish.”

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

I curtsey to the Ambassador, relieved he has arrived. I know it will lift Katherine’s spirit instantly, however I dread revealing the state of her health to our old friend.

Maria and Chapuys“Bienvenida Ambassador, I am so pleased you have been able to visit the queen.” I am CERTAINLY not going to deny Katherine of Aragon her rightful title here, amongst her friends.”I fear however her condition is worse than I had imagined. I know however, she will be comforted by your company.”

I smile gratefully to Chapuys, direct a servant to take his belongings before leading him to Katherine’s rooms.

I motion for Chapuys to pause in the hallway, away from the bustling staff and lean in so none may hear my words. “It is appalling the conditions the queen must live in. She is terribly ill, she cannot sit up and complains of a pain in her stomach.” I pause as a servant passes by, and we resume our path to the queen’s rooms, Chapuys looking very grave. I feel nervous, I know there are many spies and I do not want to raise the ire of the king – nor Cromwell.

The Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys

My hearts drops in light of Maria’s update. “I wish I could help her, but alas, there is nothing I have not already tried. It saddens me greatly to see The Queen living here.” I whisper to Maria has we approach Katherine room. I could smell the stench of sickness before entering to dreary rooms of the Queen. I stare at the patient’s bed and barely recognise see the royal figure that was beloved by all of England. Before me, I see a woman who’s face shows her illness, her body wasted and the lines of  age etched into her weary face.  Sadness overwhelms me and makes me pray that my plans for Princess Mary succeed, that this will not happen to her daughter. I approach Katherine’s bed, as she dismisses her servants, glad that no spies will be able to hear are conversation.

Queen Katherine of Aragon

I open my eyes which feel heavy as if they are weighed down with sand. I can hear Maria whispering to someone as I try to sit up. Maria comesIMG_2660 to my side and fluffs my pillows, helping me to ease into a sitting position. As I cough I put my hands to my chest and stomach. The pain is almost unbearable but I try not to cry out for I see my other beloved friend. The Imperial Ambassador speaking to Maria.

” Do my eyes deceive me again? ” I slowly hold out my hand to Eustace Chapuys who quickly takes it. ” Today must be a very special day because I am in the presence of my most cherished friends. Tell me, I most know. How is my Mary? Tell me everything and do no spare my feelings for I must know the truth. ” The cough starts again and I cannot stop till Maria gives me a cup of wine with herbs and honey. But it seeps my energy. I whisper to the ambassador and pray he has some good news for once. I feel each lapis bead on my rosary as I silently ask God to help Mary. ”Come my friend, tell me all you know and help me with your wise council.”

The Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys

My hearts breaks a little further as I see how ill my beloved queen is. I hold her hand steady and push back my emotions from the surface. “Mary, prays for you everyday. She is strong in her pride and stands by your claims. She is a faithful Catholic. But I’m afraid her father is neglectful to her, The whore has his mind poisoned. But there are rumours that he is growing tired of her ways and is drifting away from her.” I look closely at the queen and see her determination  in her face. “Please do not worry about the Princess, I have seen to it that she will be cared for. One day she will rule England, she will be a mighty Queen.”

Queen Katherine of Aragon

I pat his hand and smile happily at Maria and the Imperial Ambassador.
” You bring me good news, I know my Mary will be a great queen like my mother. She will lead England back to the true religion, she still is his Majesty’s pearl. All the Boleyn woman has done is given him another girl. He knows in his heart that Mary is his only heir. Once the influence of the Boleyn’s wan then he will reconcile with our daughter. ”

” Sir Chapuys, tell me about my nephew, what news do you have about him. I know you are disappointed that he did not come to England to restore me to my rightful role as queen. But the pope stayed on our side. You have been such a good friend to me and Mary. I do not know if I could have survived this without you. But as God as my witness, I am the true Queen of England and when I die, I will still be the Queen of England. ”

I keep hold of Chapuys hand. ” Maria, I feel my appetite returning and would like some soup and bread now. See? My friend’s are all the medicine I need.” I look at them both and give a most cheerful smile as I feel much more invigorated. I rub the soft fur of the blue fox quilt that keeps me warm in this draughty castle. Sunlight seeps through the windows and I am much cheered.

The Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys

I smile at Maria with renewed hope and vigour. The return of the Queen’s appetite and the colour in her face give me hope for a recovery. “Your Chapuysnephew the Emperor wishes only for your health to improve. He has been saddened by the news of your cruel treatment by his Majesty. He only wishes he could show his Majesty the error of his ways. He will make sure to help Princess Mary in any way – except for invading England’s shores. He cannot spare any more men due to his soldiers being in Italy and his conflict with France.” I wishI could tell her Majesty about the plans we have for Mary, I know we would give her cheer, however I must try to hide my smile.

“You will always be the true Queen. Once your health improves and the King tires of his putan. He will restore you and Princess Mary to your rightful titles. All of England will rejoice on that great day.” I watch as a small frown forms on her face. All could see that she had clearly given up any hope of the King returning to her. Who could blame her? It is due to his vile treatment and ruthless behaviour towards my beloved Queen. It is a tragic situation more befitting a Greek tragedy then a lady as kind and virtuous as her Majesty. But the King is not to blame. The putan has caused all this torment. Hoping to give her encouragement, I put a smile upon my face to give her inspiration. “I am very happy to have been able to help and comfort you and the Princess Mary. It is a great honour to be considered a friend. I will devote my life to doing all I can for you and the Princess Mary. ”

Queen Katherine of Aragon

I hold out my hand to the Imperial Ambassador, he has been a true friend. Trying to lift my spirits when I was despondent, as I tried to lift his when he was in despair. We have made quite a team. I hope that I will see him once again for this pain in my chest does not cease. Maria lays another sable fur to keep me warm. How the cold seeps through all the mortar of this godforsaken place. I smile wanly at my true and trusted friend.

” No one could ask for a better friend then you have been to me. I ask you to always watch out for my Mary. She must be a good daughter to her father but she must serve God first. I can do nothing to help her in this prison. ” Removing my treasured emarald ring that my mother gave to me, I hand it to the Imperial Ambassador.

” Please give this to Mary, when you see her next. Tell her how much I love her and I pray we will be reunited soon. This ring belonged to my Dying Katherinemother, a true warrior queen. One day Mary will follow in my mother’s footsteps and reign over England. Also, tell my nephew that I pray for him and hope a day will come when he is able to visit me again.”

My eyes grow heavy and I must shut them for a few minutes. I hear Chapuys whispering to Maria that he must return but I am too tired to wish him a safe journey. The heavy oak door closes with a creaky, thud and I know he has left. I wish I would have asked him when he would see Mary next.

” Maria, the broth has revived me but I feel tired and wish to sleep. Can you close the drapes and ask for more wood to be put in the fire? No matter how many rich sables you cover me with, I still cannot get warm.”

Today has been a good day, I have seen my closest friends. I should have known that a army would not keep Maria away. It gives me comfort that she has married well and will always be provided for. The heavy, blue, brocade drapes with with the gold fringe, keeps the sun light out. I close my eyes and think of the happy days I spent in Spain as a child with my family, as I drift off to sleep.

Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby

I bustle around the room, building the fire myself, ensuring the room is properly sealed. I kneel beside my queen and take her hand and kiss it. She is sleeping, a slight smile curves upon her lips. I kiss her hand, tears begin to well in my eyes. I take one long, last look at my friend and

reluctantly leave her to her dreams. “Sueño bien mi amigo.” It has been quite a journey we have had in England. I rush to my own rooms to compose myself.Katherine and Maria

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I pace my rooms restlessly, ignoring my Lady-in-waiting who remind me in a low voice to keep up the pretence of my sprained ankle. After two hours, I make a break for the door and rush down to Katherine’s rooms, I have a feeling of dread and I will not rest until I see Katherine’s chest rising and falling as she continues to breathe.

I vaguely take in the dark, dank hallways, a chill racing down my spine and I shiver. I can hear footsteps hurriedly trying to keep up. As I close in on the entrance to the queen’s rooms, the queen’s Chaplin emerges from the door, followed by the ladies that were in the pay of the Boleyn witch.

Suddenly my heart is in my mouth. I am not ready for this post-Katherine world. The look the Chaplin gives me is despair. The women behind him have a glint in their eyes.

I drop to my knees and a moan escapes my lips. I am aware of people rushing about me as hot tears pour from my eyes. I know I am sobbing, I care not how I look. My truest friend is gone. I am alone. My world is shattered. I can hear bells tolling and horses racing from the god-forsaken castle. Soon, that whore will be celebrating the death of our true queen.

The True Heir

September 2, 2014 in Tudor Uk Court by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador sits at his worn desk as he writes the emperor. He feels that he failed Katherine and her health has deteriorated. The Emperor did not follow his advice to invade England to stop Henry from breaking with Rome and replacing the rightful Queen Katherine with the putone Anne Boleyn. His heart was broken for Katherine but he had to devote all his attention to Mary, Henry’s rightful heir. If Anne succeeded in giving birth to a son Chapuys felt that Mary’s life could be in peril. He was not going to fail the Princess Mary. He gives his servant the letter to be dispatched and has his groom ready his steed to visit Princess Mary.

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Princess Mary UK Q

I walked around the estate calmer now that I had finally been freed from serving the concubine’s daughter Elizabeth. The stress and mistreatment has brought back back many of my ailments and they did not want Elizabeth to be in danger. I keep rubbing my hands together, unaware of my nervous habit. Even though my new home is damp it feels better to be out of the babe’s household. I walk swiftly to the chapel as my gown sweeps the old rushes and light the candles as I kneel to the alter. Dei, a me quod vis, quaeso ut me. It faciat judicium conplacui. God, I beseech you to show me what you wish from me. Guide me so that I make the right decisions. Bless my father for he is under the spell of a witch and knows not what he is doing. Great men such as Fisher and More have lost their life because of the puta, Ann Boleyn.”
I weep in despair, I have not seen my mother in years and now she has become weaker from an unknown sickness. I have heard whispers that she is being poisoned, will I be next? How do I obey my father and follow my conscious? I can not turn my back on my mother and God. The years have taken their toll on me. I have been stripped of my rightful title and have been declared a bastard by my father. I hold my head, the anguish of what has become my life weighs too heavy on me. I know not which way to turn.
As I become lost in my thoughts, one of my attendants whispers that I have a visitor. I slowly stand up and a glimmer of hope seeps into my heart, could it be my father? I gather my celadon gown and rush out to greet my visitor, I rarely have one. I try not to hide my disappointment when I see that it is the Imperial Ambassador and not my father but Chapuys. He is my one true friend and I greet him warmly. He bows and takes my hand as we walk the grounds. ” What news have you of my mother, father and court?”

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Eustace Chapuys Uk

I walk with Mary noticing how the years have hurt her and are beginning to show on her face. She was still a beauty with much of her mother in her but she did not have the strength of Katherine. Katherine is happy to die a martyr but I pray to God that the same fate does not befall Mary. I can not do any more to save Katherine, that battle is lost. But I will devote myself to saving Mary. She is alone with no one to guide or protect her.
” The puta grows heavy with the child yet the King’s eyes have turned elsewhere. There is a Mistress Seymour he has become enraptured with but none of that will matter if Madame Boleyn gives your father a son. Her place will be secure forever and you may be in great peril. Mary, you must listen to me. I have arranged with your cousin the Holy Emperor to secretly transport you to Spain if the puta bears a son. You are still the rightful heir to those who adhere to the true religion. We will ride at night where a ship will be waiting for us to take you to safety under the protection of the Emperor. I would not do this if there was any other way to keep you safe. You must think of your duty to the people of England. ” I study Mary’s face and try not to look at her gown that is frayed at the bottom and has been hastily patched up. What a disgrace for the granddaughter of the great Queen Isabella.

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Princess Mary UK Q

I sigh and think hard, a life without hiding and fear that my next meal could kill me. Spain Would bring me happiness, the Emperor may even make a good marriage for me. This could be the answer to my prayers. “It would not be easy to escape from this prison.  But I fear you may be right. I can barely eat my meals after they’ve been tasted. I fear poison everyday. My poor mother has already been poisoned and I know the concubine will want me out of the way  as soon as she gives my father a son. My life would be intolerable. How will the Emperor treat me? Do you think my mother will try to run as well.” I say hoping that this could bring us together again.

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Eustace Chapuys Uk

I smile happily that I have piqued Mary’s interest and she seems open to the idea. I will not fail Mary as I have her mother. “The Emperor will treat you according to your proper title as future heir to the throne of England and as his dearest cousin. He will also help you find a good match, a prince noble enough for his cousin. As for your mother I fear she is too ill.”
Though even if she was well, she would never run, she will die the martyr. “ I am sorry, but many of her doctors do not know how much time she has left. I would believe she was being poisoned but her food is all tasted before she eats any. The doctor’s are not sure from what malady the Queen suffers. I am sorry to give you such bad news your Highness.” I embrace this poor young woman whose life has been turned upside down and is living in poverty and seclusion. As God is my witness I will not fail her.

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Princess Mary UK Q

I will pray for my mother’s soul, sed in ipsa Dei ulnis.  May she be delivered into God’s loving arms. My heart shatters at the thought of not being able to be with her in the end, nor to say goodbye. I wipe my tears quickly.. Even though I knew it was a sin, I wished Mistress Boleyn would have a terrible death and suffer as she has caused my mother to suffer. I stay quiet knowing that I would have to go to confession for my wicked thoughts. But the Boleyn woman is evil and put a spell on my beloved father. He would never have treated us so badly if it was not for the witch’s spells. I cross myself quickly as I shudder with fear. A life without fear was what I craved, to be recognized as the true princess and heir to the throne of England. The thought of finding a husband brought me some comfort. I knew one day I would return to England and bring her back to the true faith. “ I will agree to your plans, please inform me as soon as you know the details. I must go pray for God’s safety and that one day I will return to England and my rightful place as queen.”

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Eustace Chapuys Uk

“ Listen to me Mary, never lose hope or faith. God will see you through these terrible times. I have you best interests at heart and I shall not fail you. “I bend a knee and kiss her hand. ” Be careful and keep yourself well.” I watch Mary walk slowly  back to the manor and shake my head of what has befallen mother and daughter. I will return to my home and swiftly send the Emperor a missive with this news.

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

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

by Marisa Levy

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

Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, 1533

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NON-FICTION

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

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Reviewed by Marisa Levy

 

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