Reference Letter from King Henry Tudor for Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

April 29, 2016 in Historical Fiction, News, Tudor Y Writer's Group by ADMIN: Royal Squire

 

THE TUDORS

To Whom It May Concern:

It is a pleasure for Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith and of the Church of England and also of Ireland in Earth Supreme Head to provide a character and professional reference for Sir Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. The following lists my Lord of Suffolk’s notable strengths and accomplishments:

1. My Lord of Suffolk is an outstanding sportsman. He excells at jousting, tennis and hunting. This stated, as evidenced by direct observation, he is a poor archer.

2. My Lord of Suffolk is respectful of authority, following His Majesty’s commands, whether or not he agrees with them. This stated, he does continually whine about it.

3. My Lord of Suffolk is an excellent father to his children. This stated he does not know who they all are.

4. My Lord of Suffolk is fair and unbalanced in how he views others within his work team. This stated he engages in fraternisation, as evidenced by his secret marriage to His Majesty’s sister and very close friendship with the King himself.

5. My Lord of Suffolk fully takes on his job responsibilities with moral integrity. This stated he married his 14-year-old ward who was legally engaged to his son and has children with her. (See verification provided below.)

6. My Lord Suffolk follows all policies and procedures as outlined in His Majesty’s Personnel Policy Manual. This stated he consistently abridges the Realm’s Sexual Harassment and Other Unlawful Harassment Policy through the engagement of sexual relations with a variety of female subordinates.

Please feel free to contact the office of the Chief Minister and Secretary of His Majesty’s Realm should you have any questions or require additional information. Unfortunately, given His Majesty’s very busy schedule, he is unavailable to communicate with prospective employers directly.

Sincerely,
Master Thomas Cromwell
Chief Minister and Secretary to the Realm of England and Wales

 

“Finish It! Damn Her! Finish It!” (Tribute to Hilary Mantel & WOLF HALL)

January 14, 2015 in 2015 Tribute to Hilary Mantel, Historical Fiction, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn, The Tudor Thomases, Tudor Dynasty Historical Writers by Beth von Staats

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Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company)

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company)

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The Palace of Placentia, Greenwich: April 18, 1536
POV: Thomas Cromwell

Where he be then? Where is Chapuys? Both Ralph Sadlier and I are a’ waiting yet again. What else is new? Me thinks the Spanish worry of time not, as the dead dowager princess did same. Though Chapuys is not a Spaniard born, he takes of them… always meddling in the realm’s affairs as England be in his purse. Never the mind, I have far bigger worries. The Queen, I be in the way to her scheming purposes. Damn her! Me thinks I shall be meeting God soon, His son and Lord sitting beside Him. My humors again unsettled with the thought of her, my mind swirling with ominous possibilities, I rise, anger consuming me.

“She wants me dead! Ralph, in front of His Majesty and the entire court that wench from Satan laid down the gauntlet!” I take a deep breath and begin to pace to and fro, to and fro, to and fro in a futile attempt to comport myself. The Queen of England has finally done it. She has me irate, as irate as the King on his worst day since the joust fall, as irate as a penned swine.

“Aye, Master Secretary! Like our beloved Cardinal Wolsey and the heretic Thomas More before you, Queen Anne is intent to see you fall. Lest we forget, she threatened to have your head a’smitten, rolling on the straw at Tower Hill. Now her almoner declared the same back a fortnight, the court aghast with his boldness. Me thinks mayhaps you still have the upper hand, eh? The babe be dead, praise God. His will be done.”

I look about my office here at Greenwich, my parchments neatly piled in organized confusion. The scriveners all enjoying their well deserved day of rest, we can finally speak freely until Chapuys arrives, alone but for the fleas and mice. I look over to dear Ralph Sadlier, once my ward and now my most trusted servant and friend. “I am not so sure, truth be told good man,” I admit. “This day Queen Anne was finally acknowledged by the Imperial Ambassador, a spectacle orchestrated at Sunday Mass clearly by Lord Rochford, mayhaps His Majesty. She has the king’s ear, and worse yet for us, mayhaps his cod.”

Dear Ralph looks back at me, the worry sketched clearly upon his face. He turns away to avoid my glance. “Does His Majesty know of the court gossip about the babe? About the Queen’s own words of the king’s virility?” I nod back, waving my hand. No, I have yet lay this on the king’s door. The time, it must be perfect, perfect.

“Mayhaps the time be now, Master Secretary. Wait too long, and the moment will be lost forevermore, you in The Tower, and the wench spinning her web.”

“Aye, but if the timing be wrong, my head rolls just the same lad. O Lord help me. Tell me the way to be rid of this shrill of a woman, I pray.”

Both Ralph and I hear rustling outside the office door. He holds a finger to his lips to hush me. I wave my hand to him, Ralph rising from his chair on cue. He unlatches and opens the door just a smidgen. There before him be one of His Majesty’s pages, all a’fret to come to the likes of me. He smiles broadly to relax the child. “Master Sadlier, His Majesty has an urgent message for Master Secretary!”

“Oh he does now, lad. Do give me the message, and I will insure Master Cromwell receives it.”

Now the poor boy looks aghast. “No… no.. His Majesty said I must give the message to Master Secretary, no one else,” the poor boys says, his voice a’quiver.

“Do come in then. Do come in,” I speak out in good cheer. The poor lad creaks open the doors and tentatively enters.

“Come in then, lad. I don’t bite, though I snarl from time to time.” This court is a hell’s den, rumor painting me a monster to the boy. “Good tidings, dear lad. You do His Majesty honor.” I hold out my hand and accept the wax sealed parchment, his hand slightly trembling.

“Now be off with you!” With that off the lad scampers, his mission accomplished.

I open the message, the door again now closed. My curiosity peaked, I snicker. O Lord, I thank thee. You work your wonders quickly.

“And? What does he want? What does he want?”

“Oh Ralph, His Majesty commands I meet him at Greyfriars. Imagine that. Me thinks the tide may be rolling in my way. Do you make same?”

“Aye, yes. Praise God. The time be now, I feel it in all my being. Go.. go… go… go! I will stay here and await the Imperial Ambassador. If he makes his presence known before you return, Italian Chianti will pour in abundance.”

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Damien Lewis as King Henry VIII (Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company)

Damien Lewis as King Henry VIII (Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company)

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Greyfriars, Greenwich: April 18, 1536
POV: King Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell

 

King Henry VIII

Memories of Greyfriars swim through my mind. It was here that I married Katherine and here that my children were christened. These walls have witnessed joy and triumph, betrayal and treason. I sought to cozen these monks, keep them loyal. My father endowed this place. The beautiful glass is his, but they failed to keep faith with me. They betrayed a sacred trust. Now, I am confounded by yet another cleric, another man of God who would use his place to chasten me, preferring a queen to his king. John Skip, the queen’s almoner, stood at his pulpit and told the tale of Ahasuerus, with his evil councilor Haman, and his queen, Esther. All of the court heard how a foolish king is easily misled by his corrupt servant, who threatens his mild and honorable wife. While no one would meet my eye, the meaning was plain. All understood.

Would that my queen were as mild and noble as Esther, as pure of heart, and as innocent. She has failed to fulfill her promise to give me a son, and now she thinks to correct and instruct me, before the court, before God. She is no Esther, and I am no foolish king. I have cast aside both friend and family for Anne. I have laid all at her feet. Her rages wear on me, and each day that passes is anguish. After 27 years, all I have to show is two daughters, and a churchyard full of dead babies. My mother’s family has shown me that a weak succession is doomed to fail, and my own time in sanctuary as a child has proved that treachery can come at any moment.

A sound rouses me from my reverie, “Ah, Cromwell. Come, come. Tell me sir, am I Ahasuerus?”

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Thomas Cromwell

I bow in deference, removing my cap. “Are you Ahasuerus, Your Grace?” I pause and decide to speak plainly. “If you forgive my frankness, I was offended by the inference. As if a King as magnificent as you could be ruled by a base born man who owes you all! Please forgive my anger, Majesty. Both your honor and mine were sullied. I be no Haman! My bidding is for you and you alone. I have already written to the Archbishop. Father Skip needs to be reigned in and broken like a yearling colt.”

His Majesty smiles, my words obviously pleasing. “Shall we geld him?”

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King Henry VIII

Cromwell’s words are designed to sooth, to flatter. I snicker at his jest. No fool, he has carefully stepped around the matter. “Do you think Skip so bold a man as to make this allegory on his own? Do you not see Queen Esther’s hand in this?” My temper is rising as I speak, and my voice with it, “Do you believe that the Queen had naught to do with this sermon?”

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Thomas Cromwell

King Henry, he is baiting me. I will take it, but not quite yet. Let the finger at Queen Anne be pointed by him. “Aye, Majesty. After all, he be the Queen’s almoner. Me thinks he forgets who reigns, the king or the consort.” I scratch my chin as in thought. “At least the Imperial Ambassador is wise enough to finally defer to your will once cornered. Spain has now acknowledged your queen. Good show this morn’, Majesty.”

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King Henry VIII

“I’ve had enough of shows, Cromwell. ‘Tis time now for truth. What matter has brought you and your queen to this point? Truth now sir, for I shall know if you lie. You need not fear my anger, not when I ask you to speak freely.”

I watch his face carefully, this wily man. He and my wife were fast friends, and Cranmer with them. But now there is discord, and I must know why. The factions within my own court are always scheming, always plotting for advantage. My wife and her family are no different. Nay, they be at the heart of it. Were God to take me to my glory today, the realm would split asunder, as each faction staked their claim to power. The Emperor and France alike would seize opportunity to make England one of their possessions. After all I have done, it is not enough. Anne and I struck a bargain, a crown for a son. She wears the crown. I have no son.

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Thomas Cromwell

“Queen Anne desires my head smitten, Majesty. She believes your policies are mine. Take a look around Greyfriars here, all idols stripped, all relics burned. The queen believes this all my doing with no consultation or approval. She credits you not for the policies of the realm, and desires I go the way of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Thomas More — to my death by your will.”

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King Henry VIII

“Smitten you say? She does grow bold. Is my most beloved Queen now holding her court in the Star Chamber?” I rake my fingers through my hair in exasperation. “Never fear Master Cromwell. If the day indeed comes whence your head needs smiting, it shall be I who attends to it.”

This man has proved himself most loyal to me, and his advice most sound. I had not thought to find such as he in a blacksmith’s son, but in him there is both Wolsey’s cunning and More’s wisdom. I believe I can trust this man. “Cromwell, did you know that Katherine and I were married here? She is gone now sir, but you will remember she vexed me quite terribly, and for quite some time. She often blamed Wolsey for the things I did. I am not a king so easily led. Anne……the queen….she has become…….she has not……” my voice trails off as I consider what Anne became and what she cost me, “But come Cromwell, Matters of monks can not surely disturb you so badly. If there is more, I would hear it.”

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Thomas Cromwell

This be my chance. I swallow hard. “Umm… Majesty, it pains me to bring this to you. The Lady Worcester, she told Master Sadlier the boy babe of the Queen be of Satan himself, no arms no legs, his head huge and misshapen.”

The King looks back at me, his face reddening with pain, with rage. I decide to carry forward. Now not be the time for pleasantries. “The Lady also wagged her tongue to Sadlier that the Queen told her maids your cod fails to rise.”

Instinctively, I step back. I already took many a backhand from the king quite enough. “I thought this all the ramblings of a bitter woman. My spies do say the Lady Worcester is with-child by a man not her husband, but then Lord Borough told me same, his sources the midwifes to the babe and the bedchamber servant.”

I hold my hand to my chest and sigh. Though tell him I must, His Majesty needs this not. The realm needs a Tudor heir, not a dead babe of Satan.

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Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance (Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company)

Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance (Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Company)

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King Henry VIII

They are turning now, one against the other – Anne and her ladies, her Chamberlain, and Cromwell. Secrets kept from me for months are now laid bare. Oh, I heard the rumors, how not? But I gave no credence to them. I believed her. Always her. And if there is this, is there not more? My leg throbs in agony as I step closer to Cromwell. Will the damn thing never heal? “And do they name this man? This father?” I ask softly, “For surely her womb is cursed, as is her lying tongue.”

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Thomas Cromwell

My head be spinning… think… think, damn it! Who? Who lays in the web, easy to snare? Oh yes… oh yes, of course. “No Majesty, though the court musician… what be his name? Smithers? Lord Borough says the man boasts heartily his closeness to the Queen. And, Majesty… he now has fine clothes and his own livery. Who done paid for that? It baffles me.”

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King Henry VIII

My gut wrenches at the thought of being so deceived. A musician? Is there no one in this damnable court who does not play some part? Suddenly I remember my daughter Mary, my pearl. Long gone are the days when I could bask in the admiration and love of my daughter. A foot-soldier in the war twixt her mother and me. Mary will not bend, and nor shall I. Mary will never accept Anne as queen, and though my daughter is more blatant in her rebellion, she is not alone. Looking at faces in the stained glass, I arrange my face to feign uncaring.

“Cromwell, these things being said about Anne…” I will not call her queen, not now, “We must investigate. If there is evidence to clear her name, we will find it. If not, see Richard Sampson, Dean of Lichfield. He was most helpful in my last ….with Katherine. Consider the Duke of Suffolk your friend in these matters.” Charles will be smiling behind his hand when he hears all of this. “But you must be discreet Cromwell. The musician’s name is Smeaton. I am surprised you don’t know it. He was a servant of the Cardinal’s as well. Perhaps you might invite him to play at your home some night soon.”

The trouble with Katherine lasted for years. She went to her very grave without our matter truly settled. But between us, between Cromwell and me, there might be enough for Anne to agree to an annulment without the turmoil. The marriage is cursed, or if the stories be true, she is surely cursed by God in her wickedness. “You must not be seen,Thomas. You must not be heard asking questions.”

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Thomas Cromwell

“Majesty, I need to leave court for a few days… lay out a plan in my thoughts that insure the investigations are not seen coming. May I suggest you command it? The Imperial Ambassador awaits at my office. Perhaps we might come upon one another in a manner things be seen, but not heard but by him. Let the court make their own assumptions by what some see and his ever wagging tongue.”

I pause, and think this through. I not be feigning my contemplations this time. “Mayhaps I overstep the mark. Chapuys did acknowledge the Queen this morn’ at Mass, so I advocate a renewed Spanish alliance? Enraged, you set me straight in my ways. Sick at the thought of it all, I leave court. What say you?”

I take a deep breath, and rush to speak once more before the King can answer. “Pray tell allow me one more thought… Majesty you are most benevolent. I do fear, Your Grace, that an annulment after all you did to make the marriage, even breaking with Rome, be not enough. Mayhaps a nunnery in Italy? In a year on hence there will be none here.”

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King Henry VIII

Though Master Secretary takes a rougher course, it is often our destinations are the same. “The Imperial alliance, yes. Yes, that is the very thing. But Cromwell, not so much as to dissuade Chapuys. I intend to pursue this very alliance, and in this matter, I find Anne to be a hindrance, is it not so?”

The Boleyns, they must be brought low, too. Norfolk, he resents the lot of them. He will be no obstacle. I feel I am that great king, Arthur of Camelot. Betrayed by my heart, and I feel I needs must protect my honor and my realm against those with whom I had trusted all. “She urged me to act against the Cardinal, do you remember?”

Though one might not know it by his rough treatment of clerics, Cromwell loved his late master. “He failed me in my great matter, and caused me to doubt his loyalty. His end was… unfortunate.”

A thought, not quite finished, is forming in my mind. “If the matter can not be easily resolved, consider me King Arthur of legend. I am prepared to raise Excalibur against any who threaten my realm.”

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Thomas Cromwell

Excalibur? My God, I think he wants her head smitten. Dead? A reigning queen consort? Oh God no, the king will be the fool of Christendom, me with him. Or is he speaking of me? Mayhaps both?

“Aye Your Majesty. The Imperial Ambassador did make King Charles demands plain. He will speak of no alliances with us… do forgive me, these be his words not mine… while the whoring concubine lives.”

I bow in deference to the King’s command. “You will have your alliance with Spain… and your honor. I do promise your will be done.”

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King Henry VIII

“See that it is.” I wave him off dismissively, watching as he retreats into the shadows.

“Cromwell, like Haman you can be raised high and torn asunder! Finish it! Damn her! Finish it!”

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Writers:

King Henry VIII: Cyndi Williamson, Florida, USA

Thomas Cromwell: Beth von Staats, Massachusetts, USA

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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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Chronicles of a Restless Soul, by Mercy Alicea Rivera

October 31, 2014 in Hall of Crowns (Mercy Rivera), Historical Fiction, Queen Anne Boleyn -- All Website Content, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn, Tudor Y Writer's Group by Mercy Rivera

Mercy Alicea Rivera Mercy Rivera

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Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers is thrilled to introduce to you historical fiction short story and non-fiction article writer Mercy Rivera.

Mercy Rivera is a founding member of Queenanneboleyn.com and is highly respected as the website’s Queen Anne Boleyn reenactor. A native of Puerto Rico, Mercy also writes Spanish language articles and stories for the website. A woman of many talents, Mercy is a video hobbyist. The videos included with Mercy’s short story Chronicles of a Restless Soul are of her creation.

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Chronicles of a Restless Soul

 

I am trapped in time, trapped in silence, memories, in pain, sadness and agony. I am trapped within the walls of this Tower, below the sky, in the traces of the path of the story of my life.  I see life coming and going every single day…. Sometimes I make myself felt, and sometimes I just act like a cold whisper that makes them remember that one day I was real.

I have been a silent witness of the changes of time… eras came and left, and everything is different– but life is the same. Everyone wishes the same things. I hear them when they speak. Some of them praise me and admire me… others… judge me like the ones who sent me to my death. But in this era I must say… I have more supporters than when I was a living Queen. Oh! And how much they admire my precious Elizabeth. That makes me feel so proud and assures me that my life and my fate were not in vain.

But my favorite time is when the night comes… when all the noises, the rush of the living and the interruptions of the… extreme modern era that is now, goes quiet.  Is at night when I come out freely. Sometimes I get too bored and make fun of others…I scared the guards a little, but I never go too far… like some legends that I heard from visitors.  When you are… like I am now, you are free to go wherever you want; and you can also see those who once shared a life and a death with you.

I do not spend too much time wandering in the Tower. This cold and dark place that I hate with all my being, but that is also part of me… This was my last home.  I was blessed with power and glory here… and also judge, abandoned and unjustly condemned.  I leave the tower every night, and I fly away towards my home…the place where I grew up, where I was happy, where once I heard poems and was captivated by my King… my darling and cruel Henry.  Oh Hever… you have changed but not too much….the essence of my existence is still present in all the corners.  My home, too many memories…. At least I am still here to remember.  Sometimes I see my brother around…. But his soul is too damaged. He just looks at me and then he fades away. In more than four hundred years since… that happened, I have not been able to speak to my dear George. For some reason he refuses to be with me in death… he remembers his pain more than the fact that we were inseparable in life. 

And over there…my beautiful gardens….they are taking good care of them, even when I see changes is still precious.   I find my sister Mary here sometimes… She talks to me. She pardoned my pride and cruelty towards her back when I was Queen and arrogant.  My poor sister… And my mother, the gracious and proud Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond, also haunts this place…is hard to see her, because every time we see each other, all is sadness, mixed with smiles. She just looks at me. Even in death we can touch each other. I can feel her maternal caresses. Then she says “I am so sorry” and like my brother… she fades away in an extreme level of sorrow.  Alas, I never see my father here… but I can hear him… He cries out loud. He is in pain.  I know that very well. He betrayed his own blood and that will never let him rest. My poor father….

 Then I start to have memories of the days that marked the beginning of my end; and when that happens.  I think… why my fate changed?  I was in love with another man, a simple man that would never treat me with cruelty or betray my love, but then…I was forced to capture a King and I lost the way… I lost myself.

 

I remember that masked ball… when I met the King. He was Honesty and I Perseverance, symbolic indeed.  At first… I did not care for him.  I had a duty.  I had to obey my father and my uncle’s wishes, but then….when I looked in to his eyes….he captured me. Maybe that is why all worked so well at the beginning. True love was finally the base of the game, and one day, I was his Queen. I bore him a daughter…. And I lost two children. The last sealed my fate.

Sometimes I spent days and nights wandering here in Hampton Court… Oh Hampton court, so many stories… Henry haunts here…. He really liked this place. I only found him here once. I can not remember the time. I do not follow the count, but it was a long time ago. He usually hides from me, but I can always feel him when he is around.  It was a stormy night when I found him in the Gallery, alone. He felt my presence and he turned around; he said “Anne, Anne, why are you here?

And I answered; you should know… since you ordered my death. 

He looked at me for a long time, and he finally said the words I wanted to hear since that horrible day; he said:   Anne, forgive me. I destroyed all that I loved and cared of in my days — my greed, my obsession for a male heir… my madness, my fears, turned me in to a monster. I sent you to a death you did not deserved. I killed you, but you must know that even when I hid it. I never forgot about you. That is why I kept Elizabeth away for a long time… Every time I looked at her… I was seeing you; and that was a torture to my conscience!  But you won Anne. The son I had with Jane was not the monarch I dreamt; but our daughter… she was greater than me, greater than my forefathers! She was the True Tudor Rose!  Anne, oh Anne, I am a tormented soul. I am doomed to be trapped in the ruins of my deeds and I deserve it.  If only I could turn back time… and be more human and less king, more a man and less a tyrant…forgive me, forgive me. 

He stood there, waiting for my answer, but I could not speak. I just walk slowly towards him, and I touched his face with my cold and pale hand, and I saw our lives in flashes of light. I saw the best moments of our fairy tale romance, and then I smiled, and finally found the words for him: “Your Majesty… even when you caused me pain, agony, fear, deception and sorrow, I can not hate you. In the times when you used to love me, you made me the most happy; you gave me all, you made me your queen, and you also helped me with the blessing of motherhood. Elizabeth was part of you and me, the glory of our existence, and the fruit of the love we once shared. I can not forget the suffering you caused me. You condemned me even when you knew in your heart that I was innocent. For that… I can not give you a full pardon. But I do not hate you, because I loved you… and because the glorious memory of Elizabeth will always remind me of it.  Tell me my lord… Do you remember the passion we shared?  I do — our love was like no other… our passion was never seeing in the open like we showed it. Can you remember that? 

When I asked him that his expression changed. He smiled and I swear that I saw the shine of tears in his eyes. We looked at each other for the longest time. We were remembering the passion that made both of us immortal in the annals of history.  He says to me: “We were to powerful to be man and wife. We competed all the time. You wanted to be on top of me, to be higher than me and I could not allow that! But I admit that I always longed for the passion you gave me, and when I see you know, with the beauty that charmed me… I feel the pain of being dead.

After a moment, I said to him: “Not only my cruel and undeserved death will torture you forever, the passion, the lust and the intense love I gave you, will always live in your mind, eternally. I marked you as well as you marked me, your majesty.

Immediately I saw in his eyes that familiar anger that he always showed to me when he felt defeated, when he wanted to be stronger than me at any cost. With a frowned face, he disappeared in a cold and furious phantom breeze.  Since then, I can only feel him, but I can not see him.  Henry… my love and my damnation, the seed of this purgatory.

The night is long and I continue with my travel around the ruins and places where I once lived, smiled, cried and despaired.  And in the gallery… near the old main chamber, I find her one more time… It is strange… I have not seen her over a century and tonight. She once again dares to appear before me, the woman who carried the seal of my death behind her innocent face… Jane Seymour.  Like in the first time I saw her after… her unexpected passing, she carries a candle and her face is adorned with the grey glitter of sadness. Here we are again, face to face, but of course… in extremely different circumstances.  I finally speak to her translucent image: “Jane… this night must be somehow special, since I see thee and just one moment ago I was meditating about his Majesty”. 

She was staring at me, with tearful eyes, and finally she answered: “Have you seen my son?  I am trying to find him but I can not”.  She is indeed lost in her own misery. Her punishment was harder than mine. It is true that I lost two babies, but at least I had the joy of spent time with my Elizabeth. I was blessed with the chance to be a mother… even when that chance was minimum.

I do not know how to answer to her.  Suddenly her expression changed… she now seems to recognize me:  “Anne, Anne Boleyn; we are both trapped between the dead and the living. I did to you, what you did to Queen Catherine of Aragon. We moved the world and we acted with cruelty for the love and power of the same man. We lost our purity, our sense of humanity and care for others. I was overjoyed when you die…I must admit that sometimes… My conscience tortured me.  I assumed the same happened to you in your time.  But I ask you now… in mercy, please forgive me so I can escape this limbo and reached the soul of my son. 

The bitterness of my days are still with me. It is true that I was a huge contribution in the sadness and misery of Queen Catherine of Aragon, but I did not sent her to a brutal and unmerciful execution. Catherine died abandoned, and so did I — but she had the consolation of prayers. She will always be remembered as a sacred monarch, while I… Some say that I desired Catherine of Aragon’s death, that I even poisoned her but that is a lie. When I was desperate, paranoid and lost in the wild seas of wine and lonely nights, I said things than later I regretted. Knowing myself, if somehow I meant those threats in my days for sure I would have put them in action, but I never did.

Finally, I speak to the waiting spirit of Queen Jane Seymour: Alas Jane, I can not give you that. I carry a lot of pain with me… you are true when you said that I was the cause of Queen Catherine of Aragon’s misery, but you caused me greater pain. Because of you I lost my last chance to survive as queen and human being. I lost my boy because of you and because of Henry too.  You said you rejoiced in my death, and then you want my forgiveness. Why should I be merciful with you, when you were never merciful with me? 

Jane bows her head, and then looks at me again: “I am sorry that I caused you pain… but I guess, it will be impossible to forgive when we are not able to pardon ourselves.  My son died young… while your daughter reigned long and supreme. I envy you so much for that, even in death. I gave him the son he wanted…. You did not, but I failed because he was weak and he died, while you will always be remembered eternally as the woman who gave birth to the greatest monarch England ever had.  You see? I think I do not deserve your pardon after all.  Jane disappears.Nnow I pity her… She is envious of me, and she can not even find the soul of her son. At least I do not have that burden upon me anymore.

I continue with my nightly routine in Hampton Court. The night is walking towards its end, but I still have time to enjoy my freedom.  Suddenly… I hear the heavenly sound of a violin. It must be him, my dear friend Mark Smeaton! Oh; Mark, you are here…and you are playing the violin for me.  I feel touched by the sweet notes he is playing, and then, my joy arises more when he appears before me, near the entrance of what it once were Henry’s main bedchamber.

I walk towards him with a smile, and he smiles back while he continues to play Como poden per sas culpas. This one brings so many memories back to me… especially of my younger days, when my passion for Henry burnt more than the wildest fire.  Mark… my poor Mark, he died for my cause… and innocent soul dragged to darkness thanks to the cruelty of the almighty and  unjust Henry VIII, and my failure to give him what he wanted.  I smile with sadness towards my dear friend Mark… he did not deserve that bloody and cold death.

Suddenly, he stops playing, and comes closer to me:  My glorious queen and friend, please do not be sad for me, because as long as you decide to wander here… I will be around to please you with my music.  My death was my own. Torture can turn a man in to a coward in the blink of an eye. I paid for that… but now I am here… to make your burden less hard to bear. 

With that, he starts to play the violin again. I smile and nod to him, then I look to my left, and there I see a gentleman that I will always remember with sorrow, Sir Henry Norris. In my days of despair I was disrespectful and unfair with him, but fear was the detonator for that — but I can see no hard feelings in his presence.  He is there, looking peacefully at me, with the same admiration and that flirty essence that somehow condemned him in the end. He bows with elegance before me, and disappears. I turn my gaze to Mark again, and he continues to play the violin with greatness and a very subliminal essence.

But suddenly he stops playing, and disappears. I feel a tense aura, a coldness that is no natural not even for us.  When I turn around, I see three of my old enemies… together.  Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell.  I have no reason to fear them or hate them anymore. There is nothing we can do to re-do our lives or make all different, but when I look at them, I see they do not feel the same.

In an instant, Cromwell leaves his place beside Wolsey and appears right in front of me. Then he says: “I see you still here Madame;  it seems all of us will continue to see each other eternally… until judgment day.

I smile to him and then reply:  Judgment day? I have been judged already my lord Cromwell, but when the Lord comes back to pass His own judgment to the living and us, the dead; I will be calmed, since I died innocent, and with so little guilt.

Cromwell smiles, I know he has more to say: “Little guilt you said, Majesty. If I well remember you caused the downfall of that poor man over there. You and all your Boleyn kin, and of course, the Howards.  I see your uncle around here from time to time, and his son; the poor boy; even in death both are difficult to bear.  And then… I still remember how you treated me, on your days of queen. 

I am ready to answer him: Is true I helped in the downfall of Wolsey… but he was not a saint. He had his deeds but yes, I and my kin as you well said, we took advantage of that. Sir Thomas More hated me, and I guess I returned him the same feeling. I am well aware that he died because of me; for sure after his death Henry began to hate me. And I remind you that my attacks against you were well based.  I was right because you were misleading our reformation, and you supported the King’s liaison with Jane Seymour. And worst, you built an abominable plot against me. You sent me to the scaffold when you knew I was innocent. You damned your soul only to please the King. And how it ended?  With your death…even more bloody than mine, you suffered… for sure you felt an immense amount of pain, and endless agony. You tried to reach beyond heaven… and your fall was terrible. Now… anything else you wish to tell me, my lord Cromwell?

Cromwell looks at me with rage in his eyes, but I can also see pain and devastation in his presence. He disappears. Then I look at the ghostly presence of Cardinal Wolsey. He is just there, in silence, but I can see the hate in his eyes towards me. He walks away, and fades in the distance. Finally, Sir Thomas More turns his back and disappears.  I am alone again, so I decide to continue with my journey.

I walk near the King’s private Chapel, when I hear the sound of a young girl sobbing. I look towards the gallery and then I see her… poor Catherine Howard. my poor little cousin, who shared my fate.  She looks at me, and then she comes running like a desperate soul in need. She is finally before me, her expression of panic touches my heart: “Please, I need to see the King, he has to listen to me. Please let me see him. I beg you!  I must see him — don’t you understand? As soon as I see him everything will be all right!

I feel pity for her… She is not entirely a lost soul; she is an echo of an extreme sorrow, pain and desperation. I look at her with tenderness: “My poor child, and sweet cousin, there is no need for you to be in despair. All is over. You do not need to see the King and beg for forgiveness; is over”. 

She looks at me with tears in her eyes. They are like little drops of ice: “How can you say that?! Is not over! I know I can make him understand. He loves me. He will forgive me!  I need to speak to him!

It is useless. She is lost in her agony and the fear she suffered. It make me feel sad when I see her like that. She walks through me and starts to hit the Chapel doors and screams Henry’s name and begs for mercy.  Tired of not having a response, she disappears in front of the Chapel doors.  Poor Katherine Howard…. It was not her fault either. Like me she was a moth drawn to the flame… and burnt.

The cold of the night is fading away….that means the dawn is near — and now I am here, contemplating the resting place of my beloved daughter, Elizabeth.  I am so proud of her, fiercely proud. She was so clever… The Queen who is still remembered in this era. As The Virgin Queen, her reign was a golden age. She was strong, just, kind, candid, fair. She was the best of Henry and me. But alas, love was not kind with her…She never married, even when she loved with all her being… like I did once.  Suddenly, I hear the laughter of a child, a playful breeze walks beside me and then… I see her…  Elizabeth, she looks like the last time I see her, my beautiful baby girl. She decided to appear before me, just like in the last time I held her in my arms. I smile as I see her. I can not believe it!

As ghosts we can do as we wish… and she wants to be my baby girl again.  I walk towards her. I pick her up and I hold her again. She looks so beautiful and sweet:  “My sweet and beloved Elizabeth, I loved you since I saw you for the first time… I loved you then and I love you now with the same force that nature brings in motherhood. You did great in life. You honored your name, your blood and your destiny.  Your father is also very proud of you. My beautiful virgin Queen; my Elizabeth. 

She looks at me with bright eyes, is in her eyes where she is showing me all the events of her life… the story of her, who filled my life with joy, my last triumph in this life was her.  And then she smiles, oh how much I missed that sweet smile.  I hold her, is wonderful how God can continue blessing the souls of those who are still trapped in the walls of the past, like me… like so many others. And then, I hear footsteps. I do not dare to look back, since I can recognize who it is.  Then, I hear her voice:

“You can hold her with pride, Ana Bolena. You proved in the end that you were better than me, in capturing the heart of Henry; and your daughter… was your redemption. Since I have to admit, that you die innocent. 

Still holding Elizabeth, I slowly turn around, and I see her, Queen Catherine of Aragon. She is there, and I can not see hate in her eyes.  I respectfully make a little curtsey to her, and to my surprise, she nods and then does the same. “My poor Mary died young… your Elizabeth had a long and prosperous life… She was right and was wise when she decided to never marry. She was he own ruler, her own keeper.  She was stronger than us.  I am now ready to answer:  “Madame, I admit I was arrogant in my days… but I never turned my threats into actions against you or against your daughter. Alas, I know I caused you pain and misery, and I tried to reach your daughter’s heart but… her mind was poisoned against me, even when I know, that she was… correct in feeling hate towards me. I destroyed her parent’s marriage. 

She smiles to me, and peacefully replies:  “My marriage was dead before you entered in our lives. I just… did not want to admit it.  I loved Henry with a force stronger than myself, stronger than the world itself and that… that made me blind.  Also my Spanish Pride made me stubborn enough to fight for what was mine.  My pride… my love for Henry, my worthless fight for my place as Queen, that also destroyed Mary. If I could turn back time, I would probably do all different. I shall have let him go to you… probably Mary would had suffered less.  

She is touching my heart with her words. I look at Elizabeth, she looks so peaceful in my arms:  “I am sorry, your majesty; for all the pain my presence caused in your lifetime”. 

She once again smiles:  “I pardoned you and Henry a long time ago… that is why I am not trapped as you are, as many of those I knew are.  I come down and up again…because I still want to find my daughter, but she is not here… She is not within this walls, or in the ruins of our times. She is trapped elsewhere, in a darker place.  Her bitterness, her sad and damaged soul twisted her mind, and she lost the way I taught her. Mi preciosa Mary. I lost her, forever. 

With that, she walks away, and disappears in the distance.  I look at the window on my left, and I can see the first rays of the sun between the dark clouds of the dying night. It is time to go back to the walls, to the ruins, to hide from the presence of the living. I look at my darling daughter once more:  “Time to sleep, my baby girl, go to rest, mama will do the same…go to the angels my sweet Elizabeth. I will guard your dreams, eternally. She smiles, and slowly disappears from my arms, like a soft cold breeze. Now I feel so empty, but I know I will see her again… since we belong here…this is our home, the memories keep us alive, and as long as we are remembered, we will never die.

“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.”

~~~~~~~~~~ FADE TO BLACK ~~~~~~~~~~

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 ~~

“Historia Richardi Tertii…” Saint Thomas More — 7 February, 1478 to 6 July 1535

July 6, 2014 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Tudor Y Writer's Group, Wars of the Roses by Beth von Staats

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Richard III

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Men use, if they have an evil turn, to write it in marble; and who so doth us a good turn, we write it in dust.

— Saint Thomas More, History of King Richard III 

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Sir Thomas More

Here at Chelsea, I find my refuge. Now resigned from His Grace’s service, I find my peace. This evening I entertain my dear friend, Bishop John Fisher. I need to be near men of like mind, like conscience, and like values. The stench of court is overwhelming, the corruption raised to the very right and left of the King, the devilry all around him, like a thick, dense fog. I raise my goblet in toast and smile. “Fortune changes with character, dear friend. Fortune often changes with character.”

The Bishop nods back with a smile. I pause and reflect a moment. “So what do you think? I wrote that years ago, and yet only my dear Erasmus and now you have laid eyes upon it. My heart bleeds infinitely as although unfinished, it foretells our sorry state.”

Bishop John Fisher

Sir Thomas More, such a learned man, such a wise man, such a Godly man. I fear we will martyr together, along with my dearest Maid of Kent, yet I pray if God’s will, it be done to celebrate His glory, to celebrate our beloved Bishop of Rome, for in this realm Satan curses them both. Here at Chelsea, with this man’s gentle wisdom and his loving family, I feel our Virgin Mary close, so close my heart fills with love for her. I hold up the parchments along with my goblet of ale. “Thomas, Historia Richardi Tertii is magnificent, though damning… and aye, yes, much vision it provides. I trust the words on the parchment were written with divine intervention.”

Sir Thomas More:

I look to the fire, my mind full. Free finally to speak my conscience with a man I trust, I venture, “Your Grace, you are too kind.”

I decide to lighten the mood. God knows we both need it. “Did you hear Cardinal Pole’s latest missive?” The Bishop shakes his head no. “He declares Cromwell the ‘Emissary of Satan’. His Eminence speaks truth.”

We both laugh lightly, and I say in all seriousness as I point to the parchments, “Can you imagine what the King’s Secretary would do with that retelling of the sinfulness of the child killer, the monster King Richard the Third and the corrupt men around him? The man would crucify me, nail me straight to the cross. Cromwell is so full of himself, the man would think this all be an allegory of dear Harry, the sinful Archbishop and him.”

Bishop John Fisher

I snicker and nod in agreement. “Yes, I fear so. Best this be well hidden, good man. Your commentary on the failures of kingship, the corruption inherent in nobles and the clergy to gain advantage, your profession that the people need reign in truth by Parliament, is damning. Power corrupts, and absolute power especially so, I dare say.”

I point to the parchments. “You lay that bare here. ‘The lamb is given to the wolf’.”

I lay the parchments down on my lap and sigh deep. “I will never take the oaths, Thomas. A king supreme over God’s clergy as if God himself? Never. ‘Tis devilry personified.”

Sir Thomas More

I rise and stoke the fire, speaking as I do. “Me either, Your Grace, but it best we comment on our opinions not. Then by law we should be safe, but we will not I do fear. His Majesty and Cromwell make the laws or change the laws to suit their purpose. What be law today be treason tomorrow.”

I turn, look at Bishop Fisher, anxiety suddenly filling me whole. “Cromwell and the Archbishop, they are like King Richard’s secret second council, but spinning their evil web for all to see, His Majesty stuck within it, like an angry wasp. We will be stung, and stung deep, either by their attacks on the Holy Maid of Kent, God keep her — or their insistence all take an oath that the King is now God Himself.”

I take a deep breath, and rest back into my favorite chair, worn thin. “I am ready to martyr if need be, but my family suffers at the thought of it, my Alice wailing at every turn. Only my dear Margaret understands me, Lord God bless her. It is with she I will trust those parchments, no one else. If there ever be a day it is safe to promulgate, my Margaret knows to do so.”

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King Edward V of England and Richard, Duke of York

King Edward V of England and Richard, Duke of York

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Bishop John Fisher

“I will pray for you all, dear friend. I have no family I need so worry, just my conscience.  Though God’s will is clear, you suffer more. May the Virgin Mary protect you all through these days of misery.”

I draw a deep breath and drink some ale, my throat parched. “Thomas do listen. The Archbishop, he knows how close I am with the Holy Maid of Kent, how I revere her and the priests that so take charge of her care, but you have been more cautious in your dealings. I suggest you keep quiet. What Lord God knows, they need not know.”

Sir Thomas More

I smile awkwardly, my full truth known but to me, the Maid and God. “Aye, the Archbishop is a two headed serpent, good man. As he burned the heretic Frith for denying the presence, a sin even obvious to him, so Canterbury will burn our beloved Maid. Anyone who oversteps his arbitrary mark, heretic or God’s messenger, is doomed.”

Bishop John Fisher

I drink some ale and ponder his words of Canterbury. “As I read of Queen Elizabeth on these parchments, may she rest with the angels, I wondered why she did so allow the Cardinal with the care of her sons? Was she too trusting? Did she lack judgment? Was she blinded somehow, leading to a poor twist of fate? A quandary, yes, a quandary.”

I pause, and then continue. “And, was His Eminence King Richard’s unwitting dupe? Or as Archbishop Cranmer is for King Henry, his knowing accomplice?” I sigh. “You leave many questions unanswered, dear friend, but this much of our current plight is clear. The Archbishop’s treatment of our rightful Queen Catherine and the Princess Mary is of Satan. May his heresy be laid bare and burnt out from him.”

I cross myself, and dearest Thomas does likewise. “God make it so.”

Sir Thomas More

I nod and rub my the crucifix around my neck, so long there ’tis worn thin. “Yes, God make it so. Burn the heresy out, I do pray.”

I say pointedly, “The Archbishop, the Lord Chancellor, Wiltshire, and Cromwell — they are fools, more so than the bonny Will Somers. As I wrote to you, ‘If the lion knew his own strength, hard were it for any man to rule him.’ Your Grace, the lion now roars. So long as he keeps the love of the people, Harry will stomp his way across this blessed realm, killing all we know as dear. I blame the heretics for turning him, the pretend queen, the Archbishop and Cromwell most pointedly — a whorish concubine, a chaplain of Luther, and a low born rogue — all Satan’s clergy.”

Bishop John Fisher

“Your speak truth, dear man. Satan’s clergy indeed.”

I attempt to rise, my gout aching to my bones as I do. Thomas rushes to me, guiding me to my feet. I place my hand on his shoulder to steady myself and speak plain.”Thomas, I grow frail. Perhaps the Saints will intercede, God calling me home before the henchman, eh?”

He nods, and rests his head for a moment on my shoulder, as a son to his father. “I do need your help to find my courage. Pray for me, Thomas. I fear I will waver. I wish to die in my bed, truth be told.”

Sir Thomas More

I place my hands on the shoulders of this dear and holy man of God. “May we find the simple and innocent grace of children, the simple and innocent grace of the boy King and the blessed imp Duke — and with all humility, may we move forward, as God’s lesson in conscience, God’s lesson in His ultimate truth.”

—– Fade To Black —–

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This video focusing on the life and martyrdom of Saint Thomas More is part of a video series from Wordonfire.org. Father Robert Barron comments on subjects from modern day culture from a Roman Catholic perspective. For more information and videos visit http://www.wordonfire.org/

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NOTE:  The History of King Richard III, though unfinished, is widely considered to highlight Saint Thomas More’s veiled views of the perils of excessive power and political corruption. More “historical fiction” than “accurate history”, this work greatly influenced the writing of William Shakespeare. To read “Historia Richardi Tertii” click here: http://www.thomasmorestudies.org/docs/Richard.pdf

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And now her time is at an end…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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A Garden of Promise, UK Court

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

 

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

 

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Jane Seymour

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

 

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King Henry

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

 

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Jane Seymour

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

 

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King Henry

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

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

 

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

 

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By King Henry UK and Jane Seymour UK Z

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The 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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The Angel at Westhorpe, UK Court

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

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

 

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Charles Brandon

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

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

 

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

 

 

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Jane Seymour

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

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

 

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Charles Brandon

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

 

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

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Jane Seymour

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

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

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Charles Brandon

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

 

King Henry VIII

Charles,

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

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

 

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Mary Tudor Brandon

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

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

 

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Charles Brandon

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

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

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

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

 

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Mary Tudor Brandon

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

 

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

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

 

 

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Jane Seymour

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

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

 

King Henry VIII

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

 

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Charles Brandon

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

 

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

 

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Mary Tudor Brandon

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

 

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Jane Seymour

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

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

 

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King Henry VIII

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

 

Charles Brandon

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

 

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Jane Seymour

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

 

Mary Rose Tudor

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

 

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

King Henry VIII

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

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Mary Tudor Brandon

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

 

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Charles Brandon

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

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

 

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Jane Seymour

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

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

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

 

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King Henry VIII

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

 

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

“My Good Christian People”, by Mercy Alicea Rivera

May 19, 2014 in 2014 May Tribute to Queen Anne Boleyn, Hall of Crowns (Mercy Rivera), Historical Fiction, Mercy Rivera: Memoirs of a Fading Rose, Queen Anne Boleyn -- All Website Content, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Mercy Rivera

19th of May 1536

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I wake up, and it is still dark. The silver rays of the moonlight shine for the last moments, since the dawn will soon be here.  My last dawn, my last day here on earth.  I walk towards the window. The sky is beautiful, and I am sure the morning will be glorious.  God will bless me with a precious day.  And soon,  I will be with you my dear brother, in eternal peace.

I hear whispers. My ladies are finally awake. It is time, so I must prepare.  I leave the window, and I walk towards my oratory. I kneel and I start to pray, but this time I will add more to my last prayers:  “I do not know why I deserve this death, but I pray you O Lord to keep me away from a long agony, since you know I have done nothing to deserve this punishment. Bless my daughter. Keep her safe. Allow her to grow up and show the world she is the daughter of a King, worthy more than enough of the throne of England.  I finish my prayers and stand up. I turn to see my ladies and with a nod I let them know that I am ready to dress and wait for the time to face my death.

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My ladies help me to wash, to dress; I watch my reflection in a dusty mirror for the last time; while I hear the soothing words of my chaplain reading the Word of God; time runs slowly, making the wait more painful; but the sun is now shining in the sky, the warmth rays of light are finally seen through my window.  I can not help to think… what is Henry doing right now?  Does he have a little thought about me? Any regrets?  Is he now with her while I am here waiting for my death?  For sure she is celebrating my dark fate; my crown will be hers.  And Elizabeth… my beloved daughter; where are you now my darling?  I hope you stay unaware of all this; May God Bless you and keep you my sweet child. 

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Suddenly my thoughts are interrupted. Master Kingston has arrived. I know it’s him. Then I hear his voice: “Madame, the hour approaches. You must be ready”.  I slowly turn around and calmly respond: “You can discharge yourself for your duty, since I am prepared.”

Then he shows me a purse of money. “The King commands you to take this, there are 20 pounds in it; to pay the swordsman for his services, and to distribute alms to the poor”. 

I walk towards Kingston, and I take the purse from his hand; 20 pounds…. the cost of my death for him. I look at Kingston: “Thank You” Finally, he gives the order: “You and your ladies please follow me”.   I nod to Master Kingston, as well to my ladies and my chaplain.  I take a deep breath and I start my last walk.

While I walk trough the dark corridors of the cold tower, my fear increases. I have the urge to cry out loud and scream to the top of my lungs that I am innocent, but I control myself. This is not a test from the King anymore. I am going to die, and since this will be my last performance as Queen of England, I will make it the best. After all, I have nothing to be afraid of. I am innocent. God is on my side, and  He will guide me to Heaven after the blow of the sword ends with my life.

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The doors are finally open. I feel the summer breeze in my face, but there is no time to enjoy it.  Many have gathered to see me die. There is the scaffold, my last scenario. I start to walk again. I am not looking at the people at my sides, but I can hear their voices. From the corner of my eyes I can see them crossing themselves. They touch me, like saying goodbye to me somehow. They are showing me respect after all.  I am now on the steps of the scaffold. It is hard for me to climb but I do it, calmly, showing that I am a brave woman — but inside, I am consumed by fear and sadness.

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 Finally on the scaffold, I look around and I see familiar faces. I see Secretary Cromwell. He looks somehow disturbed. His conscience is probably working against him. I  also see the Duke of Suffolk, cold towards me as always. For sure this day is a day of joy for him. My stepson, Henry Fitzroy is beside him. He looks like he does not care.  Enough of looking around, I walk towards Kingston. I need his permission to say a few words:  “Master Kingston, I pray you not to give the signal for my death until I express what I need to say”.

With an elegant chivalry Kingston nods, allowing me to speak.  Slowly the crowd calms down, and silence takes over; I take a deep breath, and I begin with my last speech:

Good Christian People, I have come hither to die, according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it.  I am here to accuse no man; or say evil things to those who judge me and sentenced me to die.  I yield myself to the will of the King, my lord.  And if  in my life I ever did offend the King’s grace,  then surely with my death I do now atone.  I pray, and beseech you all, to pray for the life of the King, my sovereign lord and yours; who is one of the best princes in the face of the earth; who always treated me so well.  And if someone will take on my case, I only ask only to judge it kindly.

I am not done, but it’s necessary for me to prepare for the sake of the executioner and the rules of the time.  I nod to my ladies. They come to me, and help me. I  take off my rings, while one of my ladies takes off my necklace, and another one places a bonnet over my head to keep my hair in place and my neck free of obstacles.  I smile to them. I appreciate their tears for me, and I trust they will take care of my remains with respect and kindness.  They walk away.

My angel of death comes towards me. I can see pain in his eyes. He seems touched by my presence, or maybe he can feel in his heart that he will kill an innocent woman.  He kneels before me, and with a trembling voice, he says:  “Madame, forgive me for what I must do; since is my duty, and I am ordered to do it.”

I look at him, touched by the sadness of his words.  “Gladly and here is your purse.” 

My angel of death takes his purse and with elegance. He allows me to continue.  I look at the crowd for the last time. There is nothing but silence, a long silence.  I wasn’t expecting tears from the crowd, but many of them are crying for me. I am not hated after all. In my death, I earned their love.  I will now say my last words to them:

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“And thus I take my leave of the world and of you… I heartily desire you all to pray for me”.

With that I kneel. It is over. All is over and now I can not hold my tears, but again I control myself and I begin to pray: “Jesus receive my soul, to Christ I commend my soul, Jesus Christ receive my soul…”

 Suddenly I look behind. I need to look at him, to see if he is going to kill me before I am ready, but he is just there, looking at me, with merciful eyes. I fear that if he do not find the courage to take my life, he can make a mistake and… No, I must pray, I must pray for a quick and painless death as Kingston promised me. “Oh Lord God have pity on my soul, to Christ I commend my soul, Jesus Christ receive my soul; to Christ I commend my soul…

I can not help it. I keep looking at him, but nothing…. The sword is not yet in his hands… My God what is he waiting for? Is not that I desire death but…this fear is painful. And then, I hear the dreadful words:  “Boy, fetch my sword!”

I look forward, no more fear. When I can not see movement in front of me…I know he mercifully lied to me. God Bless him for that, because now I know the painful wait is over.  I look up to the blue sky. Heaven waits for me. My brother waits for me. I will be free…. Then I feel a piercing fire… just for seconds; all goes blurry and… I can feel no more.

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FAREWELL.

Tie the strings to my life, my Lord,
Then I am ready to go!
Just a look at the horses —
Rapid! That will do!

Put me in on the firmest side,
So I shall never fall;
For we must ride to the Judgment,
And it’s partly down hill.

But never I mind the bridges,
And never I mind the sea;
Held fast in everlasting race
By my own choice and thee.

Good-by to the life I used to live,
And the world I used to know;
And kiss the hills for me, just once;
Now I am ready to go!

— By Emily Dickinson–

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Video: Mercy Alicea Rivera (She owes none of the contents.)

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