“The Virgin Queen”, by Leanda de Lisle

March 10, 2017 in Guest Writers, QAB Author Highlight, Queens of World History by Beth von Staats

Editor’s Note: Queenanneboleyn.com is very excited to learn that Leanda de Lisle is completing the “finishing touches” on her new biography White King, The Untold Story of Charles I. This highly anticipated and comprehensive look at England’s tragic Stuart King and his family will release in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2017, by Random House. An American release by Penguin Books is anticipated in January 2018.

If you are seeking an outstanding introduction to the Tudor Dynasty of English History, look no further than Tudor: The Family Story. Do enjoy a short excerpt from Leanda highlighting the origin of Queen Elizabeth Tudor’s sobriquet as “The Virgin Queen”.

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The Phoenix Portrait, Nicholas Hilliard

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The Virgin Queen

by Leanda de Lisle

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Was it better for a Queen who could not marry never to have felt love? In verse Elizabeth begged, ‘let me live with some more sweet content/Or die and so forget what love e’er meant’. Her father, Henry VIII, had feared it would be hard to find a King consort for a Tudor Queen, ‘with whom the whole realm could and would be contented’ as’, and so it had proved. The anxieties she had expressed to the emissary of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1561, that she could not marry without triggering unrest, had deepened following Mary’s disastrous marriages. Elizabeth continued to look publicly for a husband to fulfill national expectations and surely hoped it was not impossible that she might find someone suitable, but in their absence, she had settled for a kind of celibate marriage with Robert Dudley. It was a kind of ‘sweet content’.

People always rushed to see Elizabeth and Dudley together. The antiquarian John Stowe recalled witnessing them meeting once in 1566. Dudley had entered London with a train of seven hundred lords, knights, and gentlemen accompanied by the Queen’s footmen, as well as his own. They had marched from Temple Bar, through the City, across London Bridge into Southwark while the Queen came, ‘secretly.. [across the water] taking a wherry with one pair of oars for her and two other ladies’. When she had landed Elizabeth got into a blue coach and as Dudley and his army reached her on the highway, she came out and greeted him with kisses, before she mounted a horse and they rode on together to Greenwich palace. Later Stowe had watched Dudley return to London in advance of the Queen, the night sky lighting his way with the strange glow of the northern lights.

Nine years later, in 1575, Robert Dudley had prepared a magnificent eighteen days of entertainment for Elizabeth’s visit at his seat at Kenilworth castle in Warwickshire. When the great day came Elizabeth had enjoyed a feast in a specially built pavilion before Dudley rode with her to his castle, the flickering flames of the candles from the windows reflected in the lake and glittering like a vision from a fairy tale. Over the following two and half weeks there had been masques, pageants, and dramas, with the subject of marriage a constant theme. But Elizabeth would turn forty-five in 1578, suitors had come and gone for two decades, and the pretence that she would ever marry was coming to an end.

One last serious discussion of a match was underway with Elizabeth courted by the twenty-four-year old brother of the French King Henri III, the Duke of Anjou. The old friendship with Spain had soured over their religious differences and the piracy of Spanish gold. Elizabeth needed France as a friend, but to England’s beleaguered Catholics the marriage proposal also represented the desperate hope of an end to the increasingly vicious persecution to which they were being subjected. English Catholics reasoned that Elizabeth’s fears about their loyalty would be greatly reduced if she were married to a Catholic, but their hopes for the Anjou marriage were matched by Protestant opposition. These divisions over the Anjou match were to be played out during the royal progress into East Anglia that summer.

As usual a book was drawn up of the proposed route of the progress, which the Queen would then agree, and she picked the clothes she was to wear. Elizabeth’s face now had the square jawline of middle age and her aquiline nose dropped a little at the tip, giving it a hooked appearance. But what she had lost in youth she made up for in the increasing magnificence of her dress. The Spanish style cone shaped skirts of the 1560s had given way in the 1570s to much fuller skirts, thickly embroidered fabrics, and still more elaborate ruffs. Elizabeth did not always remember all the clothes, ruffs and jewels, she needed for each stop of her progress. She once overheard a carter, who was being sent back on a third trip to the Royal Warbrobe, slap his thigh, complaining, ‘Now I see that the Queen is a woman..as well as my wife’. More her Tudors predecessor Elizabeth had a sense of humour, and asking loudly from her window, “What a villain is this?’, she then sent him three coins ‘to stop his mouth’.

The progress of that summer arrived in Norwich on Saturday 16 August 1578 where, amongst the composers of the coming entertainments was a poet called Thomas Churchyard. A principle theme of his shows was to be the virtues of chastity – his patrons were against the Anjou match. He had been rehearsing his shows in Norwich for weeks but he was uncertain when and where his performances could go ahead and the weather was unsettled. When that Monday proved dry Churchyard was determined to seize any opportunity that might arise to put on his opening pageant.

Sometime before supper the Queen was spotted standing at a window with her ladies. As Churchyard’s players swung into action Elizabeth saw an extraordinary coach appear in the gardens beneath her. It was covered with painted birds, naked sprites and had a tower decked with glass jewels and topped with a plume of white feathers. As the coach rattled by a boy dressed as Mercury jumped off, made a leap or two and delivered a speech. The subject was God’s desire to, ‘Find out false hearts, and make of subjects true/ Plant perfect peace, and root up all debate.’ Elizabeth looked pleased (as well she might, tired as she was of debate about who she should marry) – but his show was not over yet.

The next day a friend gave Churchyard advance notice of the path the Queen was taking to dinner. They set up quickly in a field where a crowd was gathering. Churchyard had a whole morality play organised, in which the forces of Cupid, Wantoness and Riot were ranged up against Chastity and her lieutenants, Modesty, Temperance and Shamefastness. When Elizabeth arrived it unfolded before her, in praise of the celibate life. She acknowledged Churchyard’s efforts politely with ‘gracious words’, unaware as yet of the true significance of what she had just witnessed.

The famous phrase, the ‘Virgin Queen’ was coined in the parting pageant on Saturday, but Churchyard’s show in the open field was the first to celebrate Elizabeth as such. The sobriquet associated Elizabeth with the cult of the Virgin Mary and when the Anjou match eventually came to nothing like the others before it, a new iconography was born, with classical as well as Christian associations. A favourite theme in the pictures of Elizabeth that Courtiers commissioned was the classical story of the Vestal Virgin who proved her chastity by carrying water in a sieve from the river Tiber to the temple of Vesta. At least eight pictures survive depicting Elizabeth holding a sieve from the period 1579-83. In several of her portraits icons of empire were included, with the abandonment of the Anjou marriage linked to an aggressive foreign policy in which England would found a Protestant empire. But although these are the images of the great Queen we still remember, behind the icon stood an isolated figure.

Elizabeth is supposed to have written the verses of yearning ‘to live in some more sweet content’ when Anjou left England. But the pain and passion it describes surely found their true inspiration in the man she had truly loved: Robert Dudley.

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.

My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.

Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.1

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Queen Elizabeth I; Selected Works (2004) edited Steven W May p 12

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Leanda de Lisle

Leanda de Lisle is a renowned journalist and historian who writes articles and book reviews for BBC History Magazine, History Today, the Literary Review, the New Criterion and the Spectator, as well as several national newspapers in the United Kingdom.  Leanda’s first non-fiction book, After Elizabeth: The Death of Elizabeth & the Coming of King James, made a huge impression, a runner-up for the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year award. Leanda’s book, Tudor; The Family Story (1437-1603), was a top ten bestseller in the United Kingdom and released in the United States, re-titled Tudor: Passion, Manipulation, Murder – The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family for an America audiences. Leanda’s newest highly anticipated biography, White King, The Untold Story of Charles I, will release August 31, 2017.

Fittingly, Leanda lives near Bosworth Battlefield, Bosworth, England. For more information, visit Leanda’s website at LEANDA DE LISLE.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in "Young Bess"

Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in “Young Bess”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I Bend a Knee…

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

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

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

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

Francis, Duke of Alencon and Anjou

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

Final Blog Post!, by Sofia Arellano

September 16, 2013 in Uncovering The Most Happy by ADMIN: Royal Squire

holbeinportrait_of_anne_boleyn

Hello Lovely Readers,

Well I am back and situated from London. I’ve started school, nursed myself back to health after the unceremonious end to a two year relationship with the young man I thought would be my fiancée,  and have started a new job to pacify my broken heart with material possessions. Needless to say my analysis of Anne has been postponed greatly and is overdue. Please excuse me, and the time I’ve wasted.

After a lot of thought about everything I’ve experienced in London I’ve found that there are a few choice opinions about Anne herself. The first being that she was definitely and irrevocably the original bitch. She was a black haired temptress, who used sex to place herself and her family on the throne.  Her lust and voracious appetite to consume both men and power led to her deserved yet tragic death. The second opinion I found was the belief that she was an ambitious woman who defied the times to the point of being idiotic. By going against the grain and making promises she could not keep to the king she signed her own death warrant. The people of this opinion are the ones who believe that Jane Seymour was the only wife Henry actually cared for. These people generally think Anne was stupid and a mere puppet to her own agenda and the dark desires of the Boleyn family. The third opinion that I never personally encountered from anyone from London although I read about it and had conversations with an American student over it was the opinion that Anne was a romantic heroine. She was deeply in love with Henry and did not maliciously decide to add to the schism of England from Catholicism. Rather, she lived for the king and was so passionate about him that she was looking into ideologies that would help him to be the most beloved sovereign in history.  She became heartbroken when Henry took mistresses and until her horrible end stayed true to who she was. Because she let her colors show and stayed true to who she was many people of this third opinion regard her as a feminist.

I feel that putting Anne to just one of the above categories is about as accurate as using one word to describe all of our personality traits. From all the energy I gathered in England, from visiting her beautiful yet simple childhood home, to seeing how far she rose at Hampton Court, to exploring the tower where she spent the night before her coronation and before her death, and finally to seeing the coronation chair in Westminster in which she was anointed, I found honestly a whole ton of ambiguity. I found myself getting more and more offended that even at Hever she had been over shadowed by the Astors.  I felt as if the palaces and castles had done almost as much to extinguish her ad Henry did! The people working at the royal palaces knew little more than I did, and the woman playing Anne at Hampton was extraordinarily odd looking and portrayed her as taking advice from Jane Rochford! I felt like screaming “You’re wrong! You’re all wrong! Anne would never take advice from her mousy sister in law!” My heart broke a tiny bit each time I felt her integrity being stripped from her.

Seeing what everyone else clearly thought about Henry’s second wife, made me realize exactly what I went to England to figure out about Anne. Call me eccentric, call me a want to be historian, call me over analytical, but when I went to Hever I saw a side of Anne that I never thought of before, and that was that Anne was very deeply connected to nature and was sporty. Hever in the 1500’s was marshy, and the town surrounding it is what you picture as the typical English country side full off game and thigh high grasses. She would have known how to ride, hunt, and shoot. She most likely would have been able to keep up with her brother and father; we are talking about a young woman who was independent on horseback and in the field, which carries a connotation of confidence and physical fitness which Henry would have found extremely sexy.  On top of that we have a woman who had perfect manners, who was a brilliant conversationalist, musician, dancer, and scholar. She composed music, read many different subjects, spoke at least three languages, and knew how to expertly flirt with all kinds of men. Not only was she book smart, she knew how to entertain men in such a way that made them feel singularly unique and special.  Then we have the fact that she was exotic. Anne lived in France for much of her life and accustomed herself with the graces that although were slightly similar to the English court, would have set her apart indeed. In France she gained a sense of her sexuality and although she knew her boundaries, she also knew that she was a bold item of sexuality among the English. I imagine her as the educated, eloquent, bold Marilyn Monroe of the time amongst unhappy housewives.  She was definitely dark in both complexion and nature, she oozed danger and sex in a way that many found obscene.

When it came to Henry I believe that she kept her distance for as long as she could. Then I hypothesize one of two things happened, either she really did fall for him naturally, or when her family caught wind of the King’s affection they pushed her until she grew to love him. In their relationship it is clear that Henry absolutely adored her with everything he had. He ripped a kingdom apart to wed her, showered her with titles, and gave her every single honor one could bestow in the whole world. He professed his love for her openly and demonstrated it in gold, silver, jewels, apartments, gifts, and a coronation. He did not care what anyone thought about his infatuation for ‘the lady Anne,’ and paraded her around with him everywhere he went. In order for his affections to be so heightened we must believe that Anne encouraged him in his pursuit of her and must have been giving much of herself for Henry to feel that she deserved he had to offer. Do I think it was sex specifically? No, because I do not think neither she nor Henry would parent a bastard when their love was so strong, I believe they wanted to create an empire together, and as a result they probably waited until Elizabeth was conceived to consummate their relationship in Calais. This is not to say their relationship was not passionate and intimate before hand, it could very well be without sex itself couldn’t it? But because Henry esteemed Anne as an equal and Anne seems very fastidious in her whispering voice in history I conclude that she would not have slept with Henry until she knew she absolutely secure, and he would have respected that due to his upbringing in the practice of chivalry. In the marriage and courtship of Henry the VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn it is clear that emotion dictated action. They fought, they made up, they were both stubborn, both had character flaws, but at the end of a long day of fighting fire with fire it seems they still desired each other above all else.

I believe the biggest problem Henry had with Anne was her inability to voice her opinions delicately. The things he initially found beautiful about Anne may have become obnoxious to him after they were wed. Let’s not forget that Henry was used to his wife being quiet, obedient, and revering him above all. Anne would have none of it after she saw him for what he really was in marriage. There are reports of her blaming him for her miscarriages after catching him with other women, and being ‘shamelessly,’ bold to him in front of his subjects. Now we see these things as open communication between a couple and the emotions of a devastated woman, but to Henry it became treason and he sought out ways to separate himself from his Queen. Their relationship seemed to grow hot and cold once they were married, but even after Anne miscarried the first few times it is widely thought Henry still stood by her side and did his best to soothe her.

So what do I think finally drove Henry off the deep end?

In the end, I think he became incredibly jealous of Anne. Even as Queen she was still alluring and he no doubt saw men admiring her, she was talented in dealing with politics, charitable, and was gaining supporters as the weeks went on.  Such a strong woman must demean his masculinity and therefore be a threat to his absolute power. Yet what was he to do with a woman he was so desperately in love with?

Focus on himself of course. Did he not have the divine right? Wouldn’t his perfect genetics have sired a son by now? Didn’t only a flawed woman produce such infertility? Hadn’t Anne been truly wicked to supplant Catherine? Hadn’t she offended God by smiling while Henry snubbed the pope in her favor? Didn’t she flirt excessively? Was god punishing Henry for marrying such a hated woman?

The answer was simple, atone for his sins by sacrificing what he most loved. In this case Anne and Elizabeth. By doing that perhaps he could once again gain divine favor and produce an heir.

So, consequently, he probably voiced his concern to Cromwell who interrogated Jane Boleyn, who without having love for neither Anne or George lied, and accused the Queen of adultery and incest. Cromwell jumped at the bait and turned to intimidating and possibly torturing Mark Smeaton  to gain a piece of evidence. With this easy out for Henry who brain washed himself to give credence to the charges he signed her death warrant, and in doing this he in my opinion killed a part of himself as he had done with Thomas Moore.

Looking at the psychology of what being a ruler meant at the time my theory makes sense, and poor Anne disappeared into history, while her daughter thirty or so years later was rewriting history as a warrior Queen.

The oddest thing about this whole thing is, there is a story about Anne saying that she was aware about a prophesy about a queen of England being burned at the stake, yet she declared that her love for the king was so strong that she would undergo  such a fate to be with him. How must it have been the few hours before her death contemplating the prophesy?

How must it have been for Henry to go to every length to erase her and yet she still lived on in missed engravings and badges throughout numerous palaces.  What was it like looking at Elizabeth and knowing she was her mother’s daughter?

To be honest readers, I really don’t know what draws me to this woman in particular. I don’t know if it’s because I as a woman feel in weird way I can relate to feeling ‘destroyed,’ by a man. Or if it’s because I have a dark obsession with romance gone wrong. Or maybe if it could be that I simply cannot understand Henry and why he killed someone who he clearly adored. All I know is he must have had sleepless nights over Anne’s fate. How could he have not? The strangest thing for me is how he just continued living day after day with what he did. No angel descended from heaven to chastise him, to our knowledge Elizabeth never approached him about it, Anne’s ghost probably never appeared in his bed at night to scare him, but rather his actions just were. Her death just was a part of her life. As sad and as upset as I am with what happened to her I truly feel that wherever she is, she is okay.

I not once got any sense of regret, sadness, or resentment as I walked by all the sites associated with her. In fact, in my quest to find Anne Boleyn I cannot even say I really found her. Instead I found myself, and I gained a true understanding of her story.  It so ironic, looking for Anne was like looking for something that cannot be found, she’s hidden, and her secrets will always truly be her own just like they were in life. She is mysterious, elusive, and there is something incredibly seductive about her story, not even Henry could take that away from her.

And that’s it folks, please feel free to message me on here with any questions or writing requests

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege writing for you all, thanks for reading!

Cumnor Calls, S Court

September 14, 2013 in Stuart Dynasty S Court by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Amy4

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Cumnor house, West of Oxford. Robert Dudley approaches the manor on his chestnut colored stallion with an unsettling sense of dread. He had not seen his estranged wife Amy in months, nor corresponded with her regularly. A stable boy seeing his approach, meets him and takes the animal’s rein. Dudley dismounts and removes his hat as he enters the manor entrance…Upon entering, there is a strong musty smell of damp. No one is there to meet him. the only light is the sunshine streaming through the leaded windows. The furniture of the parlor looks dusty and dingy. The sun rays catching floating dust particles throughout the room. Even the ornate paintings adorning the walls look dreary and dull with a coating of dust. ”Amy?…Amy are you here?” Dudley fumbles with his hat and looks about the chamber. He saunters into the vacant hallway to the long winding staircase leading to the bedrooms and starts to ascend them. ”Amy?”

 

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Amy Dudley

Amy lays in bed drifting in and out of sleep and thinks she is dreaming when she hears her husband, Robert call out her name. His new duties to their new queen keep him too busy and she can barely remember the last time he came to visit her. She cries out and holds her hand to him. ” Robert, is it really you or am I still dreaming? Come take my hand and sit by me. Entertain me with stories about court and our new queen.” Her voice is merely a whisper and she turns her head as she is racked by a coughing spell but tries not to let Robert see how much pain she is in.

 

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Robert Dudley

Walking cautiously into the bedroom, Dudley sees Amy laying there and for a moment cannot move or speak at the sight of her condition. He lifts a closed hand to his mouth and tilts his head. Her face upon the pillow looks pallid and gaunt. Her flowing hair more white than golden. he slowly walks over to her. ”Amy?…I am here…” He sits upon the bed beside her, and as she reaches out a thin, frail-looking hand, he reluctantly takes it in his own and clasps his fingers around hers. ”I…I’m sorry, but I hardly think this is an appropriate time to discuss the court…how do you feel, Amy…are you being attended by a physician or nurse?” he looks about for another soul, but it is only the two of them, alone.

 

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Amy Dudley

She can see the disgust in his eyes and tears fall on her cheeks. She loves him and they were very happy but now he is never here and she is alone. She pulls the bed sheets up to her neck so that he cannot see her ravished body and thinks of the time they were in love but now ambition is his only companion. ” The doctor tends to me daily and my ladies look after me. I can only rest till the sickness leaves me. But seeing you has been the best medicine.” She knows that she is dying and that it will be a slow and painful death. But having Robert by her side brings her comfort.” I hear word that the queen relies on you for most matters; I remember her at our wedding. Please Robert, tell me about life at court. I want to know about your duties.”

Robert Dudley

He wrinkles his brow. ”Now, Amy? You wish to hear of court life NOW?” He exhales deeply and continues. ”Very well. I may well say that life at court is the nearest one may be to a nest of vipers! The worst of the lot is Sir William Cecil. Truly a villain if ever there was one!” He looks down to see Amy smile up at him and brushes her hair with his fingertips. ”The queen is as stern and dour as a Sergeant at arms! With all the warmth of a statue on a snowy February day!” He smiles as he draws a mild laugh from her color- less lips. ”That is all I wish to speak of the wondrous court of the realm, for now!… I am glad to be rid of it, if only for a while. I promise to spend at least a fortnight with you here and I shall see to it you are taken care of properly and eat well” he said, whilst in his mind asking himself if he ever really fell out of love with this woman and why?…He quickly pushed the thoughts aside. Surely he was merely being chivalrous and sympathetic to her plight. Then his mind snapped to the image of Elizabeth and Sir Christopher Hatton. Her Gesture of dismissal, and as the rage again builds within him, he looks down at Amy’s now twinkling blue eyes. ”Perchance when you’re feeling better, we may play some card games” He says and she smiles, squeezing her hand tight.

 

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Amy Dudley

She smiled at everything he said; he was more charming then ever and just the medicine she needed. ” Robert, can you not stay longer then a fortnight? I have naught laid eyes upon mine husband in so long. I feel if you were here with me ; we could go for a walk and I could feel the sun on my face again and smell all the flowers. How easy it is to take such simple pleasures for granted. ” she looked up to his face pleadingly.” Who knows when we will have the chance to see each other again once the queen gets you back. ” Tears were falling from the corner of her eyes. She knew that this would be the last time she saw him again and she tried to paint this image of him in her mind forever. She would die alone with just servants but she could not blame him. His life would go on and he had a great future in front of him. He could make up for the shadows of his grandfather and father, both dying a traitors death. But she was terribly lonely and missed her handsome husband. 

Robert Dudley

Gently squeezing her hand in his, Robert nods and smiles at her. ”Of course… I may remain at least that long”. At that moment, it was as though his duties at court were but a far off memory…inside his feelings for Elizabeth still beat within his heart, however, she was monarch of England first, and his intimate second. Just as she was able to set him aside as she pleased when the occasion called for it, so he would~he thought~turn the tables and place her on the shelf whilst attending to Amy. All for the better, he thought. For no one may accuse him of devoting less than his full attention toward Lady Dudley~particularly Cecil~during this time of her sickness. Furthermore, as Elizabeth was perchance gallivanting at this very moment with Sir Christopher Hatton somewhere, he could only wish she choked thinking on what he and Amy were up to here at Cumnor. He reached out to touch her cheek, again smiling. ”Perchance… even longer still”

Amy Dudley

Amy looks up into Robin’s eyes, she is feeling the desire she thought long gone, to make love to her husband. His soft kisses make her feel better then all the bleedings and concoctions the doctors have given her.  ” Robin, I know I am frail but I want you to make love to me slowly and tenderly. I want to be one with you. One night  where you belong to me and me alone. Or doth my sickness repulse you? ”” Amy tried to control her tears but a few fell down her cheek. She wanted to pretend that she was healthy and that Robin still loved her and belonged only to her. She raised herself and gave Robin a soft kiss

Robert Dudley

Amy’s kiss lingers, pushing aside all thoughts of courtly duties, Elizabeth and Sir Christopher Hatton, and a world that now seems so far away, yet one he had only recently left behind…as though time itself had in some miraculous way turned back to a day when he and Amy were carefree and in the cream of their youth…it was the early summer and they had secreted away to some hidden place in the woods, beside a running stream… ”No…no my dear, you do not repulse me in the least… allow me to show you the true sentiment of this heart” Robert begins undressing, tossing his garments carelessly on the floor whilst smiling down at her pretty yet gaunt face. The call of starlings and thrushes mingle with the serene gurgling of the rushing stream…Robert’s hands caress her warm, frail body beneath the sheer linen gown, whilst his lips ply soft and tender kisses upon her lips, and warm cheek… sliding the gown up over her arms and rich, flowing golden locks, he tosses it aside and kisses Amy’s delicate bare shoulders and fair, modest bosom… A cool breeze comes through the open window, blowing the gossamer fabric of the curtains as Robert and Amy’s bodies move entwined as one. Their expressions of pleasure low and breathless …in his mind, they were lying on the soft grass, Robert laughs, brushing the stray blades of grass from her hair, looking into her eyes, as blue as the stream who’s rushing sounds accompany their own, stimulating their desire… ”Amy…dear, sweet Amy” Sir Robert says in between hushed breaths. ”hold fast to me and I shall not let you go”.

 

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Amy Dudley

She gave Robin a radiant smile;  as she began to feel herself bloom from his attentiveness. She even began to possibly believe he was the cure for her malady. Ever since Elizabeth became queen she hardly had laid eyes upon him. She almost forgot how dark and handsome he was. She reached up and touched the back of his hair at the nape of his neck. ”  Robin, lay with me, even if it is just to warm me up and hold me in your arms. Let us reminince of all the joyful times we spent together. ” She looked adoringly at him, sweet and undemanding, everything Elizabeth was not..

Robert Dudley

Her words come unexpectedly, and for a moment Dudley is unsure how to proceed. But as he sees her laying there, her former youth and beauty returning to her in the streaming sunlight, he cannot help but feel drawn to her. She seems so vulnerable, he thought. ”Very well” he says and pushes the down blanket aside, crawling fully clothed beside her. Amy shifts to her right side and Robert pulls himself up to her. Wrapping his left arm around her. Clutching her hand beneath the blanket. Suddenly he begins to feel a stir of mixed emotions…guilt and desire intermingle at feeling Amy’s warm body pressed to his own……wrath at the thought of Elizabeth frolicking with that boorish Hatton…the scent of Amy’s hair as her warm cheek touches his own, fills his senses and breaks down his inhibition. He puckers his lips and begins kissing her cheek and forehead. Brushing his face against her flowing, golden tresses. Her fingers wrap tighter around his own. Robert whispers into her ear. ”I…I do not wish to cause you any inadvertent injury in your frail state, my dear”.

Amy Dudley

Tears run down Amy’s eyes as she lays in Robin’s warm arms. She could not remember the last time  that Robin and her had laid as man and wife. He was so attentive, tender and loving; if he could be with her more, surely she would recover. She sighed contentedly as Robin ran his fingers down her arm and kissed her tears away.  ” Robin ” Amy spoke softly,” is there any way that Queen Elizabeth would let you stay here and see to all the problems at Cumnor? Is it wrong for your wife to want you with her while she tries to recover? If you were to take me on short walks till the color returned to my face and my strength returned, then I could manage Cumnor again. ” Amy looked at Robin with pleading eyes, she was able to make herself believe that Robert’s attention would make her well again and she did not want to think of the possibility of wasting away here with only servants to care for her. She loved her husband , who could not love such a handsome and confident man? Her eyes were growing weary, their coupling took a lot of her strength but she was afraid that if she succumbed to sleep that he would be gone in the morrow. ” Please Robin, I need you with me, even if it were for 2 weeks.” She yawned, and laid her head on Robert’s chest, clinging to him, not ever wanting him to leave her, as she drifted off to a pain free sleep.

 

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Robert Dudley

Whilst Amy closes her eyes and falls off to slumber, Sir Robert strokes her hair. Staring up at the canopy with a blank expression, his mind snaps back to Elizabeth and court…once again, conflicted feelings raise their head…he was truly enjoying Amy’s company, as fragile as she was in her current state…but he had long ago eschewed life in the countryside for the excitations of London and life at court…as his weary thoughts began to slip away, he reconciled in his mind that he would indeed stay with Amy here at Cumnor, until recalled by her majesty…Amy was the past, Elizabeth the future…for a short while Robert would cling to the past…the future would just have to wait~for now.

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William Cecil

Sir William Cecil strolls out to the palace grounds where Elizabeth, accompanied by Sir Christopher Hatton are arriving back from a morning of exercise upon their mounts. Cecil looks a bit uncomfortable as the pair, laughing gaily, approach him. The burly Hatton dismounts and assists the queen off of hers.  Cecil gives a curt bow as he stands before them. ”Majesty… Sir Christopher…if I may have a word with you privately, your majesty?” Turning to Hatton. ”affairs of state, Sir Christopher, you understand”.

 

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Queen Elizabeth

” Ah Cecil, you always manage to find a way to end my fun. ” She puts on a dazzling smile for Sir Christopher ” Do not forget Sir Christopher, we have a date for cards tonight where I intend  to beat you again. Then you shall lead me with in the first dance. ” Sir Christopher’s eyes twinkle; he bows and smiles thanking his good luck that Dudley is away. ” Alright Cecil, you have my full attention. What is so important that could not wait?” She taps her foot displeased as Cecil walks with her and starts to explain the situation to her Majesty.

 

William Cecil

”Majesty…we have just received word from France…his Majesty King Henry was mortally wounded in a jousting match a fortnight ago and succumbed to his wounds…the Dauphin, Francois, is to be coroneted as the new King of France” Cecil halts and looks over to Elizabeth~locking eyes with her~and raises an eyebrow. ”…Which means Mary Stuart is to be France’s new Queen Consort”.

 

 

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Queen Elizabeth

Elizabeth stops dead in her tracks and looks horrified upon hearing Cecil’s news. ” Mary is now queen of France as well as queen of Scotland!” Elizabeth feels ill and holds on to Cecil. ” Has she proclaimed herself queen of England again?” Oh Cecil, when will this cousin of mine cease being a thorn in my side? She now  has the French and Scottish army at her command. What is to stop her from invading England and trying to steal my crown? My grandfather put an end to the wars of the cousins, will it start again in my reign? Now tis Protestants against Catholics. England can ill afford a war now. We must be most cunning while dealing with my cousin. Tell me Cecil, what does her brother have to say on this matter? He doth not wish her in England or Scotland.” She looks to Cecil for his sage council which had helped her through all her times of peril till she finally became queen of England. Now she needed him to guide her through these new treacherous waters.

William Cecil

”If it pleases your Majesty, I have also received word from James Stuart that Edinburgh has fallen and the queen regent is at this very moment retreating toward Dunbar with Knox, Stuart and the lords in pursuit…it is now just a matter of time before she must capitulate and accept Protestantism in her realm…I believe this news could not have come at a more opportune time” Cecil smiles. ”Thus with the papist queen and her French mercenaries on the run and the Mary Stuart’s influence soundly bottled up in France, I daresay there is much to be cheerful about this day, your Majesty”.

 

Queen Elizabeth

Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief  and practically hugged Cecil. She wanted to prevent war at all costs! Hearing that the French were retreating. while Scotland become Protestant under Knox and James Stuart acted as regent was music to her ears. ” My Spirit, we must make sure that James Stuart knows that he has a strong ally in England but secretly. ” She grinned. ”This good news calls for a celebration, perhaps we should request Sir Robert’s return to court so he can enjoy in the festivities”. She snapped shut her ornate, ivory, fan with a loud clatter. It was inlaid with gold and diamonds with the finest lace from Belgium that matched her sleeves and collar. Elizabeth took after her mother when it came to fashion and the latest styles. Now that she was queen, she was able to cast aside the simplistic gowns that she wore as a princess and indulge her vanity.

 

 

 

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William Cecil

With creased brow and expression of resignation, Cecil folds his hands behind his back. ”Indeed” he says dryly. ”As your Majesty commands, I shall send a message to Cumnor Place instructing Sir Robert to return to court at once”. He bows and retreats backward, at last turning around and whispering under his breath. ”Whether the Lady Dudley will allow him to go, is an entirely different matter altogether!” He grins and walks off.

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Written by: Robert Dudley S, Amy Dudley S, Queen Elizabeth S, and William Cecil 

Ghost

June 7, 2013 in Historical Fiction by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Chapter 1

“So Will Cooper, you have no explanation why so many of my sheep have just died or gone away. Do you suppose that those that have gone decided they thought the place too dangerous?  Do you take me for a fool?”

“N n no my Lord. But I don’t know what’s been ‘appening. “

“Are you sure you’ve not been stealing and selling on to feed that scrawny family of yours? Because if you have I’ll have your tongue out!” bellowed Richard de Scures. Richard was the younger brother of John de Scures, Lord of the manor. John was easily the nicest of the two but his interests were more in law and being the Justice of the Peace. He tasked the management of his lands to Roger, although if he knew just what was really going on he might have changed his mind.

“NO! Honestly, I ‘aven’t been doing anything I shouldn’t. I do  everyday what I’ve always done. Watering and feeding and checking them over. I’d never steal any of them or ‘urt them.”

“All right. I believe you. For now. But find out what’s going on or I’ll have you out of here.”

“But where would I go? What could I do? Not with another baby on way.”

“Look. All I see is you losing me money. How am I expected to explain that to John? Now get out.”

“Yes my Lord. Thank you my Lord. I’ll do what I can my Lord” said Will as he scurried away clutching his ragged hat.

 

“I do declare Richard you get more malevolent each time I see you. The coven would be most pleased.”

“Ah, noble Henry. You are too kind. Well one must be convincing at all times and if we are to persuade John that the land isn’t profitable then he will want to sell cheaply in order to be rid of it.  Cheap land that the circle can buy on which to build it’s own lodge….and then..grow. Wine?”

Richard poured Henry a goblet of red wine which they then raised in toast to each other while sharing a conspiratorial look.

“To his diabolical highness.”

 

Like any tavern in Portsmouth, the Barley Mow had it’s mix of patrons. Labourers, tradesmen, a couple of wives. The landlord, James, was a stout man. Big arms and body developed from not just heaving the barrels around but also from working in the local smithy. His wife, Jane, was just as well built but her size was built more on the good food she cooked which brought the Barley Mow a good reputation amongst the local folk. The quality of ale and company was what brought Will Cooper there that night.

“…and then he threatened to cut my tongue out!”

There were gasps of horror and one or two crossed themselves.

“But I told him I know nothing. Would my kids and Sarah be so hungry if we were eating his stock? Of course not. But the farm is so hard to work with so few people since plague was here.”

Will took another slug from his tankard. Drink obviously getting the better of him.

“ I don’t know what’s happening. Could be witchcraft for all I know.”

More gasps and crossing of selves. Will turned and lurched as he did so. As he tried to recover himself he grabbed hold of a merchant who was obviously better off than Will judging by the quality of the cloth his clothes were made of. As he grabbed him he pulled his arm which was holding his own drink causing it to be spilled down his tunic.

“Be careful man!” he shouted. “Now look at me. You think these clothes are cheap? You’ve ruined them.”

“I, I’m sorry sir. I didn’t mean… James, please, replenish this man’s drink?”

“My drink I can live with but what about my clothes?” he continued ranting.

“I’m sorry. Look, here let me dry you…”

“Get away from me with that filthy rag.”

As he said this he brushes Will aside but being such a big person he inadvertently pushed him in to others causing more chaos.

“I have to go and see the Bishop of Winchester tomorrow. How can I go before him like this? What are you going to do? Shall I have your tongue out instead?”

This comment caused a sudden silence which was broken by a voice in a corner by a window.

“It was an accident. He apologised and has replaced your drink. I doubt you’ll get much more from him tonight or any other night.”

The crowd turned to see where this authoritative voice came from. They couldn’t see his face as he not only sat in the shadow but had  a cowl covering him. Probably to protect him from the draft coming in by the poorly fitted glass window. The cowl itself was made of a coarse grey material which made him harder to see.

“And who are you to tell me what to do?”

The character stayed sitting where he was not looking in their direction.

“I sir? I’m not anyone. Just another local trying to enjoy a pleasant drink after a hard days labour.”

“Well let me tell you this. I am a good friend of Robert Horne, Bishop of Winchester and he will not appreciate me visiting him dressed like this…and you sir are the cause of it.”

As the merchant’s voice grew in volume he quickly turned drawing his fine bladed sword.

“Please! No violence in here,” shouted James the landlord. “Stop right now or I’ll send for the Justice.”

This seemed to be the final straw as the merchant raised his blade to strike the barman. But as he does so the cowled stranger suddenly appeared behind him. He had his arm round his neck raising his face and exposing his throat to which he held a flat bladed sword. A fine trickle of blood slowly appeared where the blade had cut showing how razor sharp the blade was.

The people in the tavern gasped yet again as they couldn’t believe how fast this man moved or how close to death this man may have been.

“Let’s do what the landlord wants and leave shall we? That’s it, walk straight ahead and no harm will come to anyone.”

The man led the merchant out.

“Now then. Our friend over there has had a trying day and possibly deserves a little ale from what he’s been through. Maybe he’s had too much? Maybe not. You, however, seem just a little worse for wear from general overindulgence. Let me help cool your rage and bring peace to you.”

As he said this he pulled the merchant back. When he tried to step back he slipped and fell backwards straight into the horse trough.

This caused a tumult of laughter from the locals.

“He’ll really have to get changed now before visiting the Bishop.” Said one.

Despite being cooled down the merchant became even more incensed.

“This is intolerable!” he boomed.

“As soon as I get out of this you’ll all feel the edge of my blade!”

“and you, sir, will simply get dunked again. You make your choice,” said the landlord.

Turning to the cowled figure one taverner said “What say you to that good sir” only to find him gone.

“What? Where’d he go? He was here just a second standing right by me. Who was he? Anyone know?”

“If he is who I think he is,” said the landlord, “He is known as Ghost.”

“Ghost? Do you mean a ghost because he seemed quite real to me….and he spoke to us all.”

“No, not a ghost. Just Ghost. I’ve heard tale of him, or someone like him from my brother in Liphook. Just sort of appears at particular times and then disappears. Much like a ghost.”

“Now you sir. I suggest you take this sheet, wipe yourself down and be on your way.” Saying that the landlord gave the merchant a sheet of cloth which was snatched from his hands as he turned and walked away.

 

“Here, drink this brandy Mark,” said Richard de Scures. “It’ll help prevent you getting a chill.”

“Thank you my lord. Most kind. My clothes should soon be dry and I’ll be on my way.”

“Nonsense. Best stay the night. We’ve had too many people robbed and killed on that road. Safer to stay here.”

Mark nodded in acceptance.

“This man who bested you..”

“He didn’t best me my lord. He tripped me. If I ever see him again I’ll slit his throat like a pig.”

“Yes, of course. But in the meantime we can make any association with him uncomfortable.”

“How so my lord?”

“Well to start with, in the morning I will make any association with him an act of witchcraft.”

Mark nodded in approval. He liked the irony of that.

QAB Round Table Chat With Historical Fiction Writer Christy English

October 22, 2012 in News, QAB Guest Interviews and Chats by Beth von Staats

Historical Fiction Writer Christy English

Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers is pleased to host an internet round table discussion with historical fiction writer Christy English, author of  To Be a Queen; A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Queen’s Pawn and How to Tame a Willful Wife. Christy is joining QAB’s court administrators to discuss the remarkable lives of some of England’s early queens, whose strength and determination helped pave the way to England’s future world dominance. Today’s discussion will focus on Holy Roman Empress Matilda; Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England; Catalina de’ Aragon, Queen of England; and Anne Boleyn, Queen of England. Welcome to QAB, Christy.

Christy English: “I am very excited to talk with the group about these strong women. I am completely obsessed by Eleanor of Aquitaine, but I have been a fan of Matilda, Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I for years. I’ve even come to admire Queen Catherine of Aragon. So this is going to be an amazing time.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Christy, it really is a shame, but Empress Matilda seems all but forgotten in English history, despite her huge impact. What would you like to share with QAB readers about this remarkable woman?”

Christy English: “Matilda, or Empress Maude, as she was also known, was the rightful heir to the English throne. When her father Henry I died, she was not in England but in her holdings in France. She did not rush to London to be crowned, and her usurping cousin, Stephen leaped in to fill the gap.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Even though he swore to uphold Matilda’s claim to the throne.”

Empress Matilda (Maude)

Christy English: “Can you tell I am no fan of Stephen’s? I love the historical novel about that time period by Sharon Kay Penman, When Christ and His Saints Slept. The war between Matilda and Stephen raged for decades, and the English peasants were caught between them like wheat between mill stones. Just bloody awful…literally. Ah yes, Stephen did take an oath, but as was mentioned in the BBC She Wolves documentary by historian Helen Canter, he probably didn’t think anyone would hold him to it. During Eleanor’s life, some churchmen suggested that an oath to a woman held no power. God would give you a do over, so to speak.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “This was also shown beautifully is Pillars of the Earth.

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Who would hold any man to an oath of a female monarch?”

Christy English: “Elizabeth and her sister Mary were the first women who really managed to hold men in their sway. I make it sound so nefarious. Elizabeth I just wanted to rule as a prince as she called it, and she pulled it off.”

Mary I (left), Elizabeth I (right)

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Yes, she was the ultimate CEO, also surrounding herself with an excellent group of privy counselors whom she remained loyal to.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Why do you think the people accepted Mary?”

Christy English: “I think they were tired of the new religion and wanted their church back. An over simplification, no doubt. And she was the daughter of a queen and king, both from the Spanish line and the English. Though I wonder if a peasant or burgher would really care about that?”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Are we off topic?” <laughs>

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Yes we are.” <laughs> Back to King Stephen and Empress Matilda now. Did they jockey for power to gain control of the crown?”

Christy English: “They fought tooth and nail, killing a lot of people in the process. It took almost two decades of civil war before Stephen surrendered and accepted Matilda’s son, Henry, as his heir.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “There was only one Stephen for a reason. How did a woman manage to lead an army of supporters for nearly 20 years in 12th century England?”

Christy English: “She had right on her side, for one thing, and she was a powerful woman with a powerful husband. She had supporters as far away as Aquitaine. Eleanor of Aquitaine’s father, Duke William X, fought to help her hold onto Normandy for example. There were some men who chose not to break their oaths to her.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Christy, if Matilda was allowed to rule, what kind of queen would she have made?”

Christy English: “I suppose there is no way to know what kind of queen Matilda would have made. From her bid to the throne we can see that she was ruthless, that she would trample over villages and crops to fight a battle to win territory. This is no different from any man during her time, but I do wonder if she would have been so fond of establishing a rule of law, the king’s peace, as her son Henry II was.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Remarkable, what was her influence if any on her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine?”

Christy English: “Eleanor of Aquitaine, my hero, became Queen of England in 1154. I often wonder if anyone other than her father ever had influence over Eleanor. To me, she seems like a woman who lived by her own rules. That said I like to think that she and Matilda got along once Henry married her. No doubt they saw the world in much the same way, and shared the same goal: of keeping Henry II in power. As long as he stayed in power, so did they. Both women served as Regent for him in his holdings on the Continent from time to time when he had to be in England, but as far as I know, Eleanor was the only one to rule for him in England when he was dealing with his barons in Normandy and Anjou. Henry and Eleanor had a very strong political marriage for the first ten years at least.”

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Excellent point. He certainly had the support of two very strong and influential women.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Maude reminds me a bit of Margaret Beaufort. They both secured the throne for their sons.

Christy English: “So true! They were a lot alike. Two fabulous women!”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Margaret Beaufort… I would never mess with her. <laughs> Now back to Matilda, Henry and Eleanor…”

Margaret Beaufort

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “What do you think Eleanor thought of Matilda?”

Christy English: “There is no way to know for certain, but I think the two women worked well together. They were a lot a like, but that is not always a bad thing. They both served as regent for Henry II on the continent at different times, though Eleanor was the only one to serve as Regent for him in England. But as Henry in my novel at least is fond of saying, there can be only one king. I think Matilda understood this, but Eleanor never truly accepted it. She always wanted power of her own even while they were married. She did not really gain that power until her favorite son left her as Regent when he went to the Holy Land on the Third Crusade.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “I have a hard time seeing Eleanor let Maude dictate to her.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Well fortunately Maude did not live forever, and Eleanor lived a long life. Do tell us Christy, was Eleanor effective as England’s regent? After all, she was basically queen in all but name for both her husband and her son at different times.”

Christy English: “I believe Eleanor was tired of England after spending 15 years under lock and key there for rebelling against her husband. She did find England useful when it came time to raise the ransom for Richard I’s release from a German prison. Richard got kidnapped by one of his ‘brother kings’ on his way back from the Third Crusade.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Did she not rule while regent as Cataline De’Aragon did while Henry VIII left England to fight in battle? Or did she basically hold things in status while her son was out of the country?”

Christy English: “As far as I know, she was officially Regent while her son was away.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: <speaking of Eleanor’s first husband King Louis VII of France> “Christy, why do you feel Eleanor abhorred Louis so much?”

Christy English: “I don’t think Eleanor hated Louis. I think she wanted to love him in the beginning, or at least to have a working political marriage, But the problem was Louis really was more monk than man, and he did not want to go to bed with her. It took eight years and an alliance between Abbot Suger and Bernard de Clairvaux to get him into bed with her so that she could get pregnant with their first daughter. The second daughter did not come until the Pope himself put them to bed together when they were in Roam on their way back from the Second Crusade. Amazing! You really can’t make this stuff up… it’s just too wild. Truth really is stranger than fiction.”

King Louis VII of France

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Amazing. In an age where heirs were everything, the man was a monk. Truth is always stranger than fiction, which makes historical fiction such a wonderful genre.”

Christy English: “Louis was raised to be a monk. Only when his older brother was killed was he brought out of the church school and made to be heir to the throne. I have always felt sorry for him. I have a theory that Louis VII was a good man, but as Henry II says in The Queen’s Pawn, a good man rarely makes a good king.”

King Henry II of England

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “True. George VI is the only one I can think of, and he was just a constitutional monarch with no real power.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “T’is better to be feared than loved.”

Christy English: “Henry II would absolutely agree with that.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Machiavelli would have loved Henry II.”

Christy English: <laughs> “I tend to put words in Henry’s mouth, since I write fiction about him, but my sense is that he was politically savvy while also wanting to maintain a rule of law. He never wanted to return to the times of civil war thatEngland has seen when his mother was trying to take back the throne. If you’ll notice, Henry has hijacked this conversation that is supposed to be about Eleanor and Matilda. <laughs> I wonder if Eleanor and Anne Boleyn would have liked each other.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “I predict a cat fight. <laughs> Anne Boleyn did not shine a candle to Eleanor. I say that with every respect of Anne, but come on.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “I agree. I think Catherine of Aragon was more like Eleanor and Matilda. Look how Catherine defeated King James VI.”

Christy English: “I suppose it is hard to include Anne Boleyn in a discussion of women born to rule. She just didn’t have the advantages of being raised in a royal court. She served in France as a courtier, but being a courtier is very different from a ruling queen. Of course with Henry VIII on the throne, a queen had trouble keeping her head, much less ruling.

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Let’s turn to Catalina De’Aragon. She was an amazing queen consort. Princess Mary Rose and Christy, please share your thoughts.”

Catalina de’ Aragon

Christy English:  “Touching on the subject of Catherine of Aragon, I love the mention you <Mary Rose> make of her defeat of James VI in battle. Of course, she had fighting men to wage this war for her, but she was the ruler, the regent for Henry VIII at that time. Truly an amazing woman. ”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Oh yes, the daughter of Isabella she surely showed plain.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “She was her mother’s daughter, no doubt. Catherine always fought for England to ally herself with Spain. She knew how to handle Henry back then.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Catalina was a remarkable woman and a survivor.”

Christy English: “Catalina did handle Henry VIII well early on. And she had a lot of help from Wolsey, at least for most of her marriage. I love how Catalina held her ground and made it possible for Mary to take the throne one day. She never blinked and never backed down. Isabella would have been proud, though Isabella also might have said, “Why don’t you have someone poison that Anne Boleyn?” <laughs>

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “How tragic that she never saw Mary again.”

Christy English: “That really breaks my heart. It amazes me how truly hard hearted Henry VIII could be. Self-centered I suppose.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Well, a male heir was essential in the minds of the day. No one believed a woman could rule in her own right. Catalina was an outstanding queen consort, and her ability to survive under both Henry VII and Henry VIII was remarkable.”

Christy English: “She really did an amazing job of hanging on during the worst of circumstances. The way she survived Henry VII was truly impressive, and she was a young woman then – alone in a hostile country and friendless.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Can you imagine if Henry VII married her?”

Christy English: “It would have been interesting. She would have been taken off the table of history altogether, truly a dowager queen.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Yes, think of poor Mary Rose.”

Anne Boleyn

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Well she won over Henry VIII, and had she born him a living son, Anne Boleyn would never have come to power.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Henry would have easily gotten his way if Charles V did not invade Rome.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Maybe, maybe not. In my mind, Anne was the result of her father and Norfolk’s ambition.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Look at Louis XII and Joan. What man would in his right mind pursue Anne knowing the king wanted her? Did Anne have a choice at all?”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “No she did not. Her success came in holding Henry off for seven years. That took some doing, no doubt.”

Christy English: “That is an interesting question. I guess we’ll never know the answer. Was Anne Boleyn a pawn? Or was she a political animal? Or a pawn who decided to get in the game and make her own plays?”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Great discussion point. I believe she was both pawn and political animal. She wanted the crown.”

Christy English: “I think so too. I think she made the best of a bad situation, but it got away from her.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “And she did hold influence over Henry, which helped the rise of both Cromwell and Cranmer. Cromwell may have rose without her. Cranmer clearly would not have.”

Mary Rose Tudor Uk Z: “Henry took her youth and the ability to marry another. Maybe she saw the crown as her right.”

Christy English: “Once more, her power depended on having a son, the same as Catherine of Aragon, the same as Eleanor of Aquitaine when she was in France. But you make a great point, Anne did a great deal for the Reformation in England.

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Yes, agreed. The ability to have a son was everything. Regarding the reformation, her contribution was just enough to get into power those who did <a great deal>.”

Christy English: “Maybe we should end on that note?”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Christy, we both would like thank your for your generous time in discussing some of England’s remarkable early queens with us. Before you leave us, please do tell our members about your new novel How to Tame a Willful Wife which will be released in the United States on November 6th.”

Christy English: “Ah yes…what does the re-telling of a Shakespearean comedy have to do with Eleanor of Aquitaine? Like Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew and a bit like Eleanor herself, my heroine Caroline Montague is a woman to be reckoned with. She rides astride her war horse Hercules, fences, throws knives, and can best any man she has ever met with a bow and arrow. When she meets the handsome and domineering Anthony Carrington, the man her father has chosen for her to marry, she does not shirk her duty. She marries him, but she refuses to obey him. Anthony, a man of strength, is certain that he can tame her and make her a biddable, demure bride. They have a lively battle of wits and wills even as they indulge in their attraction for each other. The question that remains is: who is taming whom? Thank you for indulging me with mentioning the new book. I do love our discussion. Your review copy went in the mail yesterday so I hope you get it soon. I am so excited to be a part of your site.”

TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, CLICK ON THIS LINK. http://www.amazon.com/Tame-Willful-Wife-Christy-English/dp/1402270453/ref=la_B002RF8Q52_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1338555028&sr=1-3

WATCH FOR QAB’S REVIEW OF THE BOOK SOON!!

 

 

 

The Fifth Son

September 6, 2012 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Elizabethan Court, Historical Fiction by Beth von Staats

I pause to reflect before I scratch the worst of news to my father onto parchment. My father, yes he is a mad man. As I settle here in Lynn, my forces depleting with men deserting in favor of the Princess Mary, who now proclaims herself Queen of England, I resign myself to the inevitable. Jane Dudley, imposed wife of my drunkard brother Guilford, will lose the crown thrust so unwillingly upon her head, and the heretic will reign. I look out at my depleted forces, now scurrying to Farmlingham Castle where Mary presides, disgusted. With no backbone to dispute it, I did my power hungry father’s bidding, leading men to arrest the true heir to the throne. What was I thinking? Did I really believe Northumberland could reign as king through the puppets of Jane and Guilford? Yes, I suppose I did. My father, he is a force in his own right — a brave knight, a master of manipulation, a demigod, I do swear. I thought no one could upend him, especially the sickly virgin old maid daughter of a forsaken Spanish queen. Though my father and brothers do not yet know it, we are all dead men, following my grandfather to the block. Even Princess Elizabeth, also usurped in this folly, will be unable to save us. And even if she could, why should she? After all, we betrayed her – betrayed her birthright, her friendship, her trust.

Until this very day, I was a blessed man. Fifth son of a Duke, favor and prestige is not supposed to follow me, but God looked kindly upon me anyway. Raised among royalty, educated by the masters, friends with the boy king and his beautiful Protestant sister, I wanted for nothing. When not in study, falconing, hunting, and riding horse filled my days. With no heritance coming and right poor future prospects, I lived like a prince, the rightly proud son of a Duke that was soon Lord Protector and king in all but name. Then I was matched to Amy Robsart, daughter of a knight in Syderstone, with no brothers, heiress of his Norfolk lands and estate. Our wedding grand, even King Edward and Princess Elizabeth attended. Love matters not. The marriage match is envious, and I am glad to have it. At 20 years old, I am a member of the Privy Council, member of the House of Commons, and knight with lands in Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire – a great fortune bestowed to a 5th son, a great fortune bestowed to any son.

With Princess Mary, or should I say Queen Mary, rallying support far and wide, disaster lies on the horizon. My father will fall hard, and like the deck of cards beneath him, we all will follow. Yet, he knows not. While I watch events unfold around me, the Duke of Northumberland is spinning his web, pushing his agenda, pressuring that poor girl Jane to do his bidding, to rule as he would if the crown were his. As my father struts with his chest puffed full of the power of the moment, along with Henry Grey and Thomas Cranmer who abet him, the petite virgin waif all discounted, all shunned, all mocked, all ignored, all disdained, all denied for these many years, prepares to be England’s first ruling Queen. Norfolk, that bastard, will rejoice as she reunites this blessed realm with the Bishop of Rome. Spain, that heathen land, will rejoice as she reunites with her blood relatives against all English pride. God, I pray you protect and hold this blessed land in your loving hands, and may You see your way to ultimately lay St. Edward’s crown on the woman most able and willing to reign true to you, my beloved Elizabeth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sisters, Queens, Stars and Omens

August 26, 2012 in Elizabethan Court, Historical Fiction by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Three days ago, the St. Edward’s crown was traitorously placed on the head of Jane Dudley, and I remain here at the home of a pagan begot of my mother’s butcher, desperate for news of my sister, Queen Mary. As the crown was laid, my sister sent the privy council word of her rightful proclamation as Queen of England. Although Dudley and most of the privy council have tied their fate with my cousin, the people are rallying around my sister. As news trickles to me through messages from Dr. Dee and my Spirit, Cecil, I begin to become hopeful that against all odds my sister will prevail. T’is God’s will. T’is my father’s will. Only God knows why, so I do not question. His will be done.  As I read Greek mythology in the study while Blanche, Kat and their husbands take some respite outdoors, I hear voices from the dining room. My  heart lifts. My dearest of friends John Dee is here, along with a women by the sounds of it. Should I get up and enter? I decide to hold back until I am sure who this women is. I close my book, and crack to door open and listen.

Iris Sedena-Cromwell: My poor Bess. I am pleased that she has come out for a visit on such a lovely summer day, but she looks drawn, pale and disheartened, the repeated assault of losses wearing her down, draining all her energy. My poor Gregory would be upset so to see her this way. The journey from Laude is long, but I know why she so ventures. “Oh Bess… do come in. Awwwwww, well look at baby Thomas. He has grown so.” I look beyond and John Dee approaches behind her. “Well, look here. My tormentor has arrived. I supposed I should let you in, as well.” I say teasingly, “Bess, what this man has done to me… I shall never forgive.”

Elizabeth Seymour Cromwell: As sad as this last year has been, I can’t help but smile at Iris’ comments. Gregory always said, she is too free with her words. T’is true. As I hold baby Thomas with one arm, and hug Iris with the other and kiss her forehead. “It’s been too long since I’ve seen you Iris.  You need to come Laude and visit before heading to Europe. Everyone misses you. Anthea, Lilith and I could use the help. There are children running every where.”

Iris Sedena-Cromwell: Guilt ridden, I look at the woman who accepted us as family on a crown when the truth finally came to be known. How much more can Bess endure? In the last year, she has lost her brother, then her husband, then her last remaining blood family tie, the King. Raising five children of her own and three of her brother, Somerset’s, no time for mourning weighs heavy. I say knowing I will not go back there, “I will try and come out after my company leaves, Bess.” I look over at John, “Come, come, do sit down then. There’s much afoot. I’ll get us some soup and bread.”

John Dee: I sit gladly at the table after such a long journey. Bess insisted in coming, hoping her proximity to court will increase her chances of attending funeral services for the late boy king. The only Seymour blood relative close still living, she feels duty bound to her sister and to His Majesty. “So Iris, where is your company now?”

Iris Sedena-Cromwell: I begin serving the soup and bread, and bring out some goblets and a pitcher and ale. I say with a hint of hurt, and a hint of sarcasm,”The company to whom you most desire is my father’s study, sitting at my father’s desk, writing with my father’s quill on my father’s parchments, and reading my father’s books. The rest are out for a walk through the gardens.” I say to John pointedly, “If my omens did not foretell she will be a glorious queen, John, I would do this not. They call me the butcher’s daughter. I have kept my mouth shut, but just barely.”

Elizabeth Seymour-Cromwell: I look over at John, and his resolve does not falter. This must be done. As much as I loved my nephew, I fear he was unduly influenced by Northumberland and the Protestant Privy Council. The crown is Queen Mary’s, and if not heirs from her, then Princess Elizabeth. I learned over time from Gregory, Nicoleen and the girls that a Sedena begotten omen never lies. The daughter of Anne Boleyn will reign. I offer, “Iris, our prayers will be answered, and you will have your life back soon, dear. I think it most urgent that before this day is done, we lay the plans for your exile. We will need to get you, Lilith and Anthea out of England. I fear the queen will burn you.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: I listen intently from the door. Lady Iris is a bitter one. She expects me to be gracious? I will settle for civil, and leave things lie there. Lady Elizabeth, I have not seen her in ages. A Lady-in-Waiting for my mother and  Queens Jane, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Parr, I know her well enough. I forgot she was married to the butcher’s son, as you rarely saw him at court. A Baron, yes… but from afar. Smart man, as the sweat took him, not the ax. I decide to listen a little longer before entering. Yes, these women better swiftly head to exile. Mary will ruin them; I am certain of it.

John Dee: Iris finally sits down with us, and I look over at her and state, “Iris, you have precious cargo. All signs lead that Mary is building her forces from Farmlingham, and forces under Robert Dudley are dwindling the closer he comes to her. I have carefully looked at the stars and charts, and all goes her way. I give it days and Northumlerland’s cards will fall all around him, and Mary will reign. I have come to consult with the Princess to ready her to show support to her sister, perhaps ride in to London as one. The princess must be careful, as who is queen matters not. The days ahead will be fraught with danger for this Lion’s cub.”

Iris Sedena-Cromwell: I listen to John speak and see the truth in it, nodding. I look over at Bess. “Can I hold baby Thomas?” Bess nods, and passes him over to me. The babe lies sleeping, and I look down upon him. So bittersweet a child is he. Born after my Gregory’s death, the man both brother and father to me, will never be a father to him. Saddened as I think of this, I fight back tears. Oh how I miss Gregory. “Bess, he is a bonny looking lad. He looks of you, not Gregory, I’d say. You were brave to name him after my father. Thank you. The omens say  he will serve Her Majesty well, but from afar.”

Elizabeth Seymour Cromwell: I look over at my Thomas and Iris. Will the Lord bless this beautiful woman with a babe someday, I wonder? “Yes, he is a happy boy, and very…” As I speak, I look over and see Princess Elizabeth enter. We all stand up dutifully. Iris and I curtsey, while John bows.  I offer… “Princess, it has been too long since I have seen you.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: As I listen to John Dee speak, my heart lifts. Queen Mary, yes I did not give her the credit due. She is rallying the people, who see her as rightful queen. Thank you, God. Although I question the omens of the butcher’s daughter, I believe John’s gifts to be real. I must speak to him alone. I must. As they continue talking, I head back to the bed chamber I’ve been sleeping in and get a shawl. I then scurry into the dining room. I look over, and lift my hand that they all rise, and respond… “Yes, it has been, Lady Elizabeth.” I say sincerely to this kindly woman, always like her sister the Queen a support to me, “Please accept my condolences at this difficult time. It pains me that the King lays still with no service or burial. I trust that Queen Mary will attend to it, and that we both will be there.” I then look over at John Dee. “We must speak alone John.” He nods, and without another word, he graciously holds me by the arm and we leave the house. John guides me through a path within the woods that he obviously has traveled before, and we walk along briskly until we arrive upon a secluded hidden treasure, a lush and beautiful lily pond in full bloom. “John, this place is absolutely delightful. How did you find it?” He looks at me, and smiles, “Never you mind, let’s talk about the days ahead. You must be prepared to meet Queen Mary just outside of London as she makes her triumphant entry into London. The stars foretell we are only short days ahead. You must show every support of her and live humbly and quietly as you wait her out.” My astrologist never lies, and he never falters. As he continues to speak, I hush him for just a minute, stand in the soft grass looking out to the lily pond and raise my arms, “God I thank you most abundantly. Give me strength to endure the dangerous days ahead.” I then turn around, and sit upon a nearby rock. I take off my slippers, and dip my feet in the water. Such a peaceful and spiritual place this spot is. I feel relaxed and energized, all in one. I turn to John and say, “I will be careful, John, but I must also be true to myself. Have courage. We all must.” I then ask, the curiosity lingering in my mind now for days. “I know you are with one of the butcher’s daughters. Is she the one?” He slowly waves his head, no. The mystery continues. I think for a moment and add, “For you and for the risks that young woman took, if the stars and her omens are correct and someday I reign, they may return safe to England on the condition you keep them far away from me and mine.” On beloved mother, please forgive me.

Sunday at Hatfield

August 19, 2012 in Elizabethan Court, Historical Fiction by ADMIN: Royal Squire

Early July, a light breeze, sunny and warm, the birds sing and the scent of roses fill the air. Worship services done, prayers said, and my studies complete, despite my heavy heart for my ailing King, my ailing brother, I take my ladies out into the summer air, and we dance. Respite is sometimes good for the soul, says Ascham. He is so wise, as my heart lifts, if only for a moment. As I raise my arms and twirl, Blanche, Kat and my maids join me in unison… for this exquisite of moments we are one, clap clap.  Invigorated, we all dance merrily until tired, and then rest under a large maple tree as my servants bring us roast chicken, cheese, fresh bread and spiced cider. God gave us a perfect afternoon, and we take full advantage. As my beloved Kat begins reading psalms aloud from the New Testament, I look out into the distance… A messenger is approaching, galloping hard.

Messenger: Told the message is of urgency, I ride on hard until I approach the beautiful princess and her ladies. I dismount, approach the princess, and bend a knee. She smiles and motions a hand that I may rise. “Good Sabbath Day, Princess. I have here an urgent message for the Lady Blanche Parry.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: I hold out my hand, and he places the waxed, folded parchment in it. “Thank you, good man. I will insure she gets it. You may take you leave.” As the messenger begins to depart, I look down into my hand. The coded seal tells me all I need to know, and my hand begins to tremble slightly. I look over at Blanche. “It’s from your cousin, my spirit, Blanche. I fear what he is to tell us.” Knowing the message is for me, she nods that I open in. I detach the seal, and look down. “Blanche, I will need your help. The message is written in Welsh.”

Blanche Parry: I lean over and take the letter from the Princess’ hand, and begin reading silently to myself.

Anwylaf Dywysoges,
Mae’n boen i mi eich hysbysu bod y Brenin wedi marw. Ar Cyfrin gyngor a ddysgais heddiw fod ei ewyllys wedi enwi Jane Dudley fel y Frenhines, y etifedd cyfreithlon Mary a ydych disinherited. Dudley yn anelu at eich arestio ddau. Mary wedi encilio i East Anglia, a rhaid i chi adael Hatfield wth holl gennyt, ac ewch i’r lle y byddech yn disgwyl lleiaf. Os bydd Dudley yn drech a Jane yn parhau i fod y Frenhines, bydd yn eich arwain i alltudiaeth.
~ ~ ~ Eich Gwas Humble

Frozen in fear as I realize what has come to pass, I look all around to insure no one is nearby. In a trembling voice, I offer, “Princess, I think it best you dismiss the maids now.”

Elizabeth, Gloriana: I see dear Blanch is frightened, and I do as she suggests… “Ladies, you may take your leave. Head back now, and Kat, Blanche and I will meet you for dinner.” Once the maids have left our presence, I command in an anxious tone, “Blanche do read to Kat and me, now.”

Blanche Parry: My hands trembling, and my voice in a quiver, I read the message. While doing do, tears come. God help us.

Dearest Princess,
It pains me to inform you that the King has died. At privy council I learned this day that his will has named Jane Dudley as Queen, both the rightful heir Mary and you disinherited. Dudley aims to arrest you both. Mary has retreated to East Anglia, and you must leave Hatfield with all haste, and head to the the place you would be least expected. Should Dudley prevail and Jane remains Queen, she will guide you to exile.
~~~ Your Humble Servant

Elizabeth, Gloriana: “Jane Dudley, queen? This can not be. T’is Mary’s birthright, and after hers, mine. Kat, Blanche, we must leave now.” I look to them both, fear frozen in their eyes. “We will bring your husbands, and no one else. No carriage, no parcels, we will ride. There is no time to tarry.” We rush back to the estate, and Kat calls out for her husband, John. He looks over to me, and I state calmly, “T’is time to leave as we planned with my dearest spirit should there be need.” He nods knowingly.

Kat Ashley: As Blanche rushes around with her husband collecting just essentials, I look first to my husband and then the princess. “Where are we going?”

John Ashley: I look over to Princess Elizabeth, and she quietly says, “Tell her. It pains me to.” I swallow hard. “Kat, we are making haste to the protection of the princess’ beloved Dr. John Dee, and will hide for now in the home of the daughter of Queen Anne’s butcher.” Kat raises her hand, and I quickly add, “Before you say a word. There is no choice. We go, or we risk peril for us all.”

As I hear dearest John speak, my blood goes cold. “… the daughter of Queen Anne’s butcher.” Mother in heaven, please forgive me. Father in heaven, please forgive me. God in heaven, please forgive me. I do this for you Mother. I do it for Mary, the rightful Queen, Mother. I do it me, Mother… and for England, this blessed realm.

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