Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

Anne was the only queen consort of England to be crowned w/ the monarch's huge jewel-encrusted crown & using the ceremony designated for the monarch only. Mere consorts did not get anointed in oil & stuff as Anne did, at Henry's order (tho Richard III did have that done for his Anne, even if she had her own little circlet instead of a real crown). This was quite significant of his great favor toward her & everyone knew it. The usual celebrations were spectacular & Henry even had the London water conduits piped full of wine! Then the queen retired for her lying-in at Greenwich while the king confidently had messages prepared to fly out to all the important peeps about the birth of his fine prince.

But it was another princess & Ss had to be hastily squizzled onto the proclamations of joy. Henry was now 42 in an era where the average life expectancy didn't go much beyond that & he'd turned Rome on its ear & it was all for another legit daughter? Can you just imagine the veins pulsating in his head when some brave soul had to come tell him the news?

Henry VIII in 1535

He pasted on a happy face & tried to seem pleased; at least this one was alive & healthy & he had a much younger wife who could pop out a brother for her next yr was the best spin he had. But he did scale way down the planned celebrations for the birth of Elizabeth.

He had Cranmer & Cromwell make up an official Act of Supremacy regarding his Pope-ness & it declared Princess Elizabeth his heir presumptive whilst illegit-ing his other daughter to merely the Lady Mary. Then every peep in the kingdom had to swear an oath to uphold it & proclaim their loyalty. Cath wouldn't do it, sniffing she was no subject & Spanish-born. Mary wouldn't do it b/c it reduced her status, so she was forced into sharing Elizabeth's new household at Hatfield.

Mary Tudor

Just about everyone else did, except for 2 really important peeps. One was Henry's chancellor, Sir Thomas More, who promptly resigned; the other was the only staunch supporter Cath had left, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.

Sir Thomas More

Reasoning, yelling, threatening, & sending them to the Tower didn't work, & so finally Henry had them executed for their defiance. This is how they got to be saints. The Pope excommunicated Henry & he said pffft.

Meanwhile, Anne had a miscarriage & Henry began to look at her sideways & hmmm-ing to himself. Then he looked the other way & his eye lit upon a chinless wench, Jane Seymour.

Jane Seymour

There are 2 sorts of females who hover round a queen. One set is called ladies-in-waiting & these women have to be either married or widowed. The rest of them are unmarried girls called maids of honor. Jane Seymour fell into this category. Sure, the Seymours were prolific breeders w/ 11dy6 kids to get rid of & at this time the marriage age was no longer whenever it was convenient, but inching up into the 20s, but Jane was mighty long in the tooth to still not be spoken for. Another whose age we don't quite know, but she'd been in service to Cath for yrs b4 continuing on for Anne, & she couldn't have been a spring chicken or the age difference btwn her & the king would've been remarked upon. She might've been close to 30 or a little older when she caught Henry's eye & since she'd been at court a good long while, it was long enough for her to absorb what her predecessors had said & done. Henry was looking for a little rec time & Jane said NO.

Well, mostly NO; there were reports of them sharing a kiss & a cuddle in darkened alcoves & such. Jane's ambitious bros (tiresomely) Edward & Thomas encouraged her to follow Anne's lead in holding the king off. If he would wed one subject, why not another? The Tudors' marriage was not going well. Henry was impatient for his boy & Anne wasn't delivering. And Anne was a party girl esp when compared to Cath. Being invited to the queen's chambers to hang out was more fun than the king's. There was always music, dancing, good eats, & great goss to be had in her apts. Yes, they had separate ones as was tradition, so instead of hanging out w/ Henry all the time as she'd done when waiting for him to man up, she couldn't keep an eye on him anymore, & he was busy wooing Jane behind her back. Were you gonna be the one to tell the volatile queen the lech king was cheating? Um NO. When Anne got pregnant for the 3rd time it was even more of a reason for Henry to try to get some elsewhere & she finally stumbled across him w/ Jane in his lap one day & pitched a fit as ya would. Henry merely stared her down & told her she'd best learn to close her eyes to it as her betters had b4 her.

Anne was shocked at the realization that she could be so quickly & EZ-ily replaced after all Henry had done just to marry her. He glowered at her & reminded her that he had raised her high & he could just as well lower her if it pleased him. It was reported that Anne didn't react well to stressful situations & this had to be the mother of all stress, to know that if this time she didn't produce a son that simpering chinless wench could well be the next queen of England & she was unfussed at the slap that Cath was better than she was. However, Henry would be in a most peculiar imbroglio if he decided to cast aside THIS wife. The Pope would tell him to take back Cath, & Cath was pushing 50 & her eggs were all expired. Mary had been bastardized, but if he dumped Anne then Elizabeth would be, too, & he'd have no heirs at all unless he shoved legit-ing Richmond thru Parliament, which he was considering if Anne didn't have a boy this time. But it would be peculiar to say the least for a king to have a pair of living ex-wives & would draw the whole succession into confusion if he managed to get a son on a 3rd one. Some peeps thought Anne was the rightful wife, but others still thought Cath was, & to toss a 3rd wench into the mix was just asking for trouble.

Then Cath died in her prison at the manor of Kimbolton. She'd been sickly for mos & the postmortem was shocking, b/c her heart was completely blackened & lumpy. Likely it was just a really odd spot to get cancer, but back then they were all superstitious & didn't know about such things & it made the rounds that poor Cath had died of a broken heart. Henry partied like it was 1999 when he heard DW#1 was no longer an issue. He made everyone dress up in yellow & celebrate, dragging little Elizabeth around & patting Anne's growing belly complacently. Now there was no question of who was the rightful queen & Anne's son would be indisputably legit.

Henry decided to throw a nice tournament as part of his celebrations. He was in his mid-40s & getting as tubby as Grandpa Edward, but he still was going to participate in it. Some men are just like that. Of course he got whacked in the head by a lance & lost his seat & crashed to the ground, cold-cocked. They couldn't wake him up. Peeps was in a panic thinking he was going to die & 2 yo Elizabeth was going to be the queen if Anne didn't have a boy come spring & either way, Anne would be regent, large & in charge,so everyone who'd crossed her was afeared. Anne's uncle, her mother's brother (tediously) Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, came running in all come over unnecessary (Anne being excused from sitting out in the January cold at the tournament b/c she was carrying the heir) & told Anne the king was about to shuck off his mortal coil. She had the swoons posthaste just thinking about the mess this was going to cause & all the peeps who hated those jumped-up Boleyns & what if she had another girl & Elizabeth had to be the queen & all that stuff. Finally they managed to wake Henry up w/ a really bad headache & a nice gaping wound in his leg, all grumpy as ya would be, & hauled him off to recuperate.

Henry didn't want a big fuss made over Cath's demise, so her funeral took place at Peterborough Cathedral near Kimbolton & no one was allowed to go. On the day Cath was being buried (creepy), Anne went into labor. She was only 5 mos pregnant & there was no way this kid was going to survive if labor couldn't be arrested somehow. It didn't, but she was far enough along for them to be able to tell it would've been a boy. The Spanish ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, whose colorful dispatches to Charles are a great Tudory source, had a lovely turn of phrase & informed the Emperor that this day "the concubine" (as they called her) had "miscarried of her Savior".....

No comments:

Post a Comment