Today I’m pleased to share with you a new story from Lisa Misak! I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa and her husband at TudorCon. Both very lovely people, Lisa is a true Tudor enthusiast! This is her second submission to ATWC, and if you haven’t read her first story about Anne Boleyn, click here.
HIS TRUE QUEEN
My mother taught me well. Here I sit, a serene smile on my face watching the masque. I am Katherine, Queen of England. But I am also a woman; nay, a wife scorned. Hal my husband. His Royal Majesty, King Henry the Eighth to the court and the world, and he is dancing with…her. She goes by many names. Hal calls her Nan. Chapuys calls her the concubine. I call her Mistress Boleyn, or Lady Anne. She is one of the ladies in my chamber; my mortal enemy.
She is not the first to have caught the King’s eye. But my heart tells me…she will be the last.
It looks to others that I am enthralled watching the dancing. But I do not see it. More and more as the time passes I am lost in memories. They are more real to me as I sit here than the dancers on the floor. So many memories. When did everything change?
I remember how you loved me Hal. You were Coeur Loyal; Sir Loyal Heart. Riding in the joust in honor of the birth of our son you were magnificent. I know how you longed for a son. England needed an heir. Your father Henry VII told you many times there must be a male heir to secure the throne. The Tudor throne. Always the threat of war; not only from France but civil war from usurpers still loyal to the Plantagenets. I knew my duty and wanted so desperately to give you a son. But it was not to be so. In too short a time our young son was gone. How tender you were with me. I know your heart was breaking as was mine. Every young babe that we lost, a piece of my heart was taken. But after a time, as more of our babes were not to be, I began to wonder if you were as sorrowful as I.
I see another dance starting as Henry has again partnered with Mistress Boleyn. But it is not Mistress Boleyn that I am seeing. Another haunts my memory. Bessie Blount. She who gave you what I could not. A son. Your bastard, Henry Fitzroy. I remember the rumors, the whispers. There were those who thought I knew not of your meetings in secret. Alas, the court is not as large as one would think. I knew. Yet I turned a blind eye, for though you were with her for a while, I would always be your Queen. But Henry, I am still a woman. To have to be civil to your whore in mine own chamber. To have her in my presence every day; knowing that at night you would meet with her as my bed stayed empty tore into my very soul and broke my heart.
When they told me Mistress Blount had born a son I said nothing. Inwardly, I prayed she and her bastard would die in childbirth. But it was not to be so. You were so happy at his birthing that you paraded him through the court and called him Fitzroy? Did you not care a whit of my humiliation? How could you make your bastard Duke of Richmond and Somerset? By this act you were stating you had given up having a legitimate male heir. You planned to make Fitzroy the next King of England. Henry, how could you forget your pearl? Our own daughter. Did you not think about our Mary? Our daughter who loves you and should rightfully be Queen. Were you so quick to steal our daughter’s birthright; only for reason of her being a girl? Did you not remember mine own mother, Isabella? Did you not remember how I ruled as regent in your stead and my victory over Scotland? Why are you so blinded that you believe you must have a male heir?
I vaguely hear the lute playing. Another dance starting as memories are swirling in my mind.
There were others. Jane Popincourt, Elizabeth Carew, Anne Stafford and Lady’s Anne’s own sister, Mary Boleyn. Some say not all were your mistresses, but I know the truth. A wife always knows. In my heart I knew that in time, you would once again be mine, only mine. Until now. I cannot explain how I know. But I know that my time with you my husband is short. It is not of my doing.
Mistress Anne Boleyn, just back from the French court. She is more French than English. Is that was caught your eye? Did you tire of the women of your court?
At first I dismissed her, just another distraction like the others. But she is not like the others. She is cunning and ambitious. She grows bolder with each day, as you my dear Henry become more besotted with her. Has she has bewitched you? Oh yes, I have heard the rumors that Mistress Anne has bewitched you to capture your heart. But nay, I do not believe she is a witch, but a woman who will use her lips saying words of romance and cunning to ensnare you.
That is why I know she is more dangerous to me than the others. Even Bessie Blount. The others were content to be the king’s mistress. Mayhap even give the king a son. But Mistress Boleyn reaches higher. Oh yes Henry. I am not so blind and trusting that I cannot see that you are looking for a new queen. You long for a male heir born legitimate. Oh how I know this. And you seek to have a Tudor prince with your Boleyn whore.
They say you are seeking to put me aside. Your true and lawful queen. A princess of the blood of the great Isabella and Ferdinand. Henry, mayhap you are bewitched. To think that you are so besotted that you would defy God in whose eyes we are wed. You risk not only war with Spain but your immortal soul!
I can no longer be in the sight of Henry and his whore. As the music fades I stand and signal to my ladies that we are retiring. Mistress Boleyn looks to me and then to Henry who says she will tarry. I say nothing as I take my leave. Enjoy this night Henry. For on the morrow you will see a difference. I love you Henry and I will fight for your love and your immortal soul. I will not be set aside quietly. I have been your true and lawful queen for many years. But Henry, I am also mine own person. The daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand. I go not meekly. For I am Katherine, Queen of England.