Mary woke up with a feeling of dread but she could not remember why. Then suddenly the evening before came back to her. She was in France and tomorrow she would wed King Louis and enter the city of Paris. She called quickly for her chamber pot and retched as her nerves took over. Lady Guildford shooed all the women away and held Mary’s head as she ran her hand through Mary’s tawny tendrils. She had to calm Mary and let her rest today for she needed to be lively for her sumptuous wedding.
Mary Rose Tudor UK Z
My head throbbed as I laid it on Lady Guildford’s shoulder. I swore I would not see Charles before I was wed but every thought was of my Duke. I had to find a way to see him. I could not marry the King without seeing Charles before my wedding. I took Lady Guildford’s hands and looked into her eyes with a pleading look.
” Lady Guildford, you MUST help me. I can not marry King Louis tomorrow unless I speak to the Duke of Suffolk. You must bring him here and let me speak to him. You will stay with us and chaperone so there can be no question of anything improper taking place. Please Lady Guildford, you must help me. I have to see him NOW. ”
I could no longer contain my tears and felt the bile rising in my throat again. I stood up quickly, stepping upon the new rushes and took a seat at the desk. I took a quill and dipped it into the dark ink as I wrote a missive to the man I love, Charles Brandon. I put my seal into the liquid red wax and bent a knee to Lady Guildford. I held the bottom of her black, velvet gown and pleaded.
I wiped my tears and blew my nose into the linen that Lady Guildford handed me. ” Please Lady Guildford, you are a second mother to me, you have raised me as a child. I beseech you to give this note to his Grace and bring him here. I give you my word that tomorrow I will make the world proud as I happily marry King Louis but for now, I must see the Duke. I can not go through this unless I speak to him here.”
I hoped that she would understand the urgency with which I needed to see Charles Brandon……..
I listened to Mary as she begged me to bring Suffolk to see her, I know that I should not, that she is to be married to the King of France, but if it will help her to calm down then I shall send for him. “Mary, my Mary you must rest, flitting about like this will only make you sicker, just lie down and drink some wine.”
I took her letter to Suffolk and set it on the bed, then I took her hands and sat her down on it. “I shall fetch his Grace forthwith and bring him here, but you must remember that it is Louis you are marrying tomorrow. Once you marry him, you must rescind your affection for the Duke.”
Mary Rose Tudor UK Z
I pace the floors back and forth working myself into a frenzy. How can I rescind my affection for Charles? It is impossible but I can hide my feelings so that no one is the wiser. I will not do anything to embarrass Arthur and England. I will do my duty but I must see Charles. I take a seat in the ornate gilded chair and look into the loving eyes of Lady Guildford.
” I give you my word, I will marry King Louis tomorrow and be the perfect wife and queen. None will ever know of my affection for his Grace. ” I bite my lip so I will not shed anymore tears and drink the wine that Lady Guilford handed me. I must calm myself but my nails keep tapping the arm of the chair nervously. ” Just bring him dear Lady Joan and I promise all shall be well. ”
Joan Vaux, Lady Guildford
I trust Mary, she is a smart girl. She won’t do anything to jeopardize this union between the English and French kingdoms. “Alright, I shall return with His Grace as fast as I can.” I leave her with one more parting glance and then hurry toward the Duke’s quarters. I discovered quickly that he was not there, he must be with the other men doing the things men did. Drinking and gambling and talking about unseemly things.
One inquiry later had me headed in the right direction, in no time I found Mr. Brandon. I whispered in his ear that Mary wished to see him and then he was following me back to her chambers. Thankfully we encountered no one, but that did not mean there were not eyes everywhere. I opened the door and breathed a small sigh of relief when I saw Mary still on the bed nursing her wine. “My Lady, His Grace, the Duke of Suffolk, is here for you.” I stepped out of the way so Charles could go to her.
Charles Brandon Z Q
Hearing the words I did not break movement, my hand keeps the goblet pressed to my lips, my arm continues to rise pouring the smooth liquid into my mouth.
The taste, depth and complexity of the beautiful wine is completely lost upon me. I merely crave alcoholic oblivion from the world around.
I believed my isolation in the palace wine cellars would have kept me hidden from all, but Lady Guildford had tracked me to this cool and dark retreat.
I do not wish my mind to comprehend the circumstances around me. I had lost all regard for what the others would say, so I drank, but no matter how much I throw down my throat the crippling despair still gnaws away at my heart. The acidic hollow pain radiates through my body, totally suppressing my spirit and numbing my soul. The only other person to have discovered me here was a pretty serving lady, if I had met her in this cellar a few months ago we would have exchanged a few words, my charm and seduction would have been at it’s finest and then we would have been locked in an ecstatic embrace against the far wall.
Instead, when she saw me she’d looked concerned asking if I was unwell, I had simply replied, “No Mademoiselle”, but my silent thoughts concluded ‘I am heartbroken’, Draining the goblet I place it on the rough wooden table that was probably used for decanting the many wines that were racked against the stone walls. My eyes are held by the flickering flame of the candle, reluctant to gaze upon Lady Guildford as I do not wish to leave the wine cellar and enter the cruel world I am hiding from, but I know I must.
Sighing I quickly glance at Lady Guildford as I nod my acknowledgement. Resting my finger on the wax seal of the missive, I trace every line and contour, wishing that the smooth wax delves and rises were the smooth skin of my Princess, taking the parchment in my fingers I place it into the silken purse hanging from my waist. I cannot read it, if I do I will hear her voice in my head and the pain and desperation of my heartache will double.
Rising from the bench I follow Lady Guildford through the tapestried corridors, royal guards with immaculate livery display admonishing expressions at my unshaven and scruffy appearance.
Had that happened months before they would have felt the wrath I display on the tiltyard for sneering at my appearance, but then again I would not have appeared this way in a palace months before.
The outer chamber is cool and airy, Ladies in Waiting float around, dealing with their given tasks in a quiet and hushed tone. I cannot help but notice the glances towards me, whispering behind hands and hushed conversations that concern my presence in the ante chamber. I have experienced similar situations in the past, but they were filled with lust fuelled gossip and scandalous intrigue, now I could almost smell the pity and sadness that was weaves into their hidden conversations.
Suddenly, I am staring into the door that leads directly to my princess’ chamber, as the door opens my heart lifts, forgotten passion injects a glorious energy through my body. She gazes at the door from a chaise lounge, on seeing me her beautiful eyes widened a little, but despite my bearded face, scruffy hair and wrinkled clothes, my princess smiled at me. An honest and open display of her happiness at my arrival, the fact that she smiles at my presence is more intoxication to my exhausted body than the four bottles of wine I had consumed. The pleasure her smile invoked in me was pure and clean, not a pleasure tainted with greed, power or lust, She was my intoxication, she was my drug, she was my true love. Yet, her face is marred with a despair, a deep melancholy and sadness, her situation was a crippling as mine.
‘You selfish bastard’ my mind whispers, ‘stop whining and get a grip’, suddenly feeling pathetic and useless I walk over to my princess. Kneeling next to her I take her hand in mine, her touch, warmth and softness increases the energy that is bounding through my muscles, looking into her eyes I whisper, “Forgive me, your Highness, we’re both traveling through a valley of nightmares. I seem to have lost my way and forgotten my duty, above all else I am here to protect you. I will forget the despair that has eaten my soul, I will not leave your side throughout this darkness.” Gently brushing her hair from her eyes, I then caress her hand in both of mine, “To watch the events of the next day will torture my heart and bury my soul, but I will remain strong and by your side. I am sorry my Princess.” Bringing her hand to my lips, I place a soft kiss onto her skin…
Mary Rose Tudor UK Z
My sorrow is lifted the moment his Grace enters my chambers. He takes my hands and kisses it. My body reacts as it always does and I remember the glorious nights we shared together on the boat, when my knight taught me what it meant to be a woman.
I whisper to Lady Joan to please ask all my attendants to leave but for her to stay here with us as our chaperone, for I cannot risk one blemish against my name. As they leave, I reach up and caress his stubble on his face from not shaving. Lady Joan gives me a disapproving scowl and hands us both a goblet of a ruby claret. I can see from his Grace’s countenance that this is not the first drink of the day. I swallow my wine quickly, waiting for the velvety elixir to warm me and settle my nerves. How I wish that I could drink the entire flagon and drown my misery in this heady ambrosia. But I know that I must keep a clear head. One mistake and I will be doomed and lose my chance of happiness in the future with my Duke.
“Charles, forgive me, I had to see you before my wedding tomorrow. I could not go through it without speaking to you and reminding you of my true feelings.” I poured us both more wine and offered my beloved, pungent cheeses, warm, crusty bread, smoked venison, Dover sole, wild strawberries with a thick custard. I had no appetite but how long had it been since my knight had eaten? I bring his hand to my cheek and kiss it. ” Charles, my heart is heavy with sadness. I do not know how I can find the courage within me to marry King Louis, but if there is a glimmer of hope that one day, we will be together as husband and wife, then I must marry no matter how my body rebels and cries foul. ” I wrap my arms around his neck and run my hand through his dark, curly hair.
His scent engulfs me and I want to feel his strong body once again on top of mine. Showing me what it means to love, how to please and be pleased. My body was meant for his, our union was a perfect fit, body and soul. Without me knowing my tears could no longer be held back. They had a will of their own as each tear drop rolled down my cheek. Charles kissed each tear and held me strongly in his arms as Lady Joan looked away. ” How will I bear it Charles? How can I lay with this man as his wife when my heart and soul are married to you. I beseech you to help me find the strength to follow through with Arthur’s demands. Tis my only hope for a future with you. Do not let me scream out NO, when I am forced to recite wedding vows to the wrong man. I need your strength and love to help me through this worst day of my life. Once I am married to Louis, I dare not ever be alone with you. ”
I feel his lips upon mine, crushing them with the passion, desire, and hurt which we both feel. How can I ask him to watch this travesty. If I was truly a good woman, I would send him back to England, but I am much too selfish for that. I need to be able to lay my eyes upon him and turn to him for council. ” Oh my darling Charles, I only love you. Tis always been you. How will I bear it? ” My throat catches and no words come out for I feel the weight of the world crashing down on me.
Charles Brandon Z Q
My body relaxed into the sweet ocean of ecstasy that only my princess could invoke, her soft lips against mine, her soft body next to me. This was all I wanted, this was all I desired, I could die a thousand deaths, burn for eternity in the deepest circles of Hell and this moment would be my solace, my paradise and my joy.
Then the cold finger of reality stroked my back, sending a shiver deep into my heart as my stomach knotted and bubbled with the pangs of fear. I felt my eyes clench even tighter and every fibre of my soul screamed at me, “DON’T STOP, STAY IN HER EMBRACE”. But, a duty compelled me to act, not to my country, not to my king, not even to myself, but to my Princess!
I would no longer think of myself and be a selfish bastard, wallowing in my self pity! She needed my strength, even it I must sell my soul to Lucifer, that I may scream in the white not flames of hell, she would have my strength now and for all time.
As my hands rested upon her soft flesh, my skin tingled at her touch, but my arms obeyed my commands. I gently moved her back, my eyes opening and gazing into her beauty, a true beauty that would captivate me forever, “Princess, I will always be your love, I have never doubted our love, its strength, it’s beauty, it’s depth and it’s purity! It is the only solace I have in my despair and it is the one thing I hold in my arms when I dream at night. I will never stop loving you and I will keep you locked away in my heart, but at this moment of time you need a strength that I must give you, a support that will never fail and an ear that will hear your every word!” Dropping my eyes, I stare at the stone floor, my throat choking with emotion, “we must accept the inevitability of the situation that surrounds us, forces that are beyond our control force our actions”, Raising my gaze I look into her beautiful eyes, praying I could loose myself in the ecstasy that they promise me. My hands take hers, her smooth skin so delicate against mine, holding them firmly I steady my voice.
“So, I swear to you, my Princess, even though I am already your loyal servant, I will never leave your side. I am your guardian angel, for all time. The wicked and the evil if they set foot in your path, or harm you will feel the wrath of my blade, yet in your hands I am like a lamb. My words to you will be the sworn truth, Though my heart may split into a thousand shards, you must never fear again for I am the one who will protect you from all your fears and ensure you are safe, no matter where you may be!”
Joan Vaux, Lady Guildford
I scatter the ladies in waiting and shut and lock the door. I know that I should not allow this to happen in the Court Mary is to be queen consort in, or on the eve of the wedding. What would her mother, Elizabeth say? I was charged with seeing to Mary’s upbringing as a good and pious girl and here I’ve let the man whom she truly loves, and he her, to be alone in Mary’s private quarters together. Of course I know that Mary is no innocent little girl, it is my job to know everything so that I may lessen the damage or prevent disaster. I know about their romps while we sailed across the sea to France.
Brandon certainly needs to hide his emotions better and be grateful that I’ve even allowed him to see Princess Mary. I roll my eyes at their silly love-sick declarations, but keep the looks to myself, busying myself with tidying up what the lazier maids didn’t do. Pretending I’m unaware of what the Duke and Mary are doing is not a good governess make, but they need this. The closure and the strength to do what they both must do.
I watch as Brandon does the honorable thing and moves away from Mary. The look on her face is confusion and heartache, but I know she knows that she’s lucky I even allowed Brandon to see her. Their parting is sappy, but genuine, Mary will need to be calmed down I know, but I smile knowing that I’ve raised a girl who will do what she must do for her kingdom.
Written by: Mary Rose Tudor , Joan Vaux, Lady Guildford, and Charles Brandon