A Different England

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Tudorfan, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Tudorfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2014
    According to history, Anne Boleyn had a "a stillbirth or miscarriage as early as Christmas 1534". What if she didn't, and have birth to a child in August of 1534?[1]

    Palace of Whitehall,
    August 8th, 1534
    On August 8th, 1534, Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, King of England, goes into labour. For Anne, this child is crucial - she had almost lost the child at Christmas, but the physicians had managed to save it and confine her to bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy - and, to keep the King's love, she needs the child to be a boy.

    It is.

    Henry Tudor, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester is born in the evening and his mother is, for now, assured in her place - sons can, of course, die. But, for now, Anne is safe. She is Queen and only death can change that.

    The Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, writes to the Emperor and Catherine of Aragon. The Emperor realise he'll have to make peace - again - with England. Catherine of Aragon, for her part, is angry at God, angry at his betrayal of her, but resigned - he must know what he is doing.

    News spreads throughout England, who, despite their hatred of Anne, celebrate - at last, a living son! - and the news arrives at Hatfield House. The King's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, are in residence. For her part, Elizabeth is eleven months old - too young to understand. Mary, however, is eighteen; she's more than old enough to understand. God has betrayed her and her mother. God has given Anne a son.

    Mary's health plummets and she faints. Reluctantly, her father sends his physician to treat her. For now, Mary is alive.

    Henry VIII, to celebrate the birth of a son - at last, a living son - has a joust and ennobles some people. And, of course, has notice of his son's birth sent to everyone in the world that matters.

    In the last week of September of 1534, Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, is raised to a Dukedom and his son, George, is raised from Viscount Rochford to Earl of Rochford. But, not all of Anne's enemies are the King's enemies. His sister disapproved of his annulment with Catherine, but never publicly spoke out against his marriage to Anne, so her son, Henry Brandon, Henry's eleven year old nephew by her marriage to Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, is given a second Earldom, becoming Earl of Lincoln and Kendal - a title that had belonged to the father of King Henry's grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort.

    Supporters of Catherine, such as the Poles and the Courtenays must, in Henry's eyes, be punished for their continual support of someone who is no longer Queen and for their refusal to acknowledge Anne...

    Before his execution, the Duke of Buckingham had married his son, Henry, to Ursula Pole, the daughter of the Countess of Salisbury. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, also had a claim to the Earldom of Warwick.

    So Henry strikes the Poles and disgraced Staffords where it hurts - and, unintentionally, strikes Thomas Boleyn where it hurts too - by ennobling William Stafford[2] with the Dukedom of Buckingham and Warwick. Unbeknown to Thomas Boleyn, his daughters don't actually loathe each others existence and William Stafford's ennobling is at Anne's request so that she can have her sister back with her.

    Margaret Pole is unhappy that her family's ancestral Warwick titles and lands, and the titles and lands of Buckingham, have gone to an ally of the Boleyns - but, out of favour with the King, there's nothing she can do about it.

    But not all of the titles being handed out go to relatives and allies of Anne. Sir John Seymour of Wolfhall, an old friend of Henry's from his campaigns in France, is made into Viscount Seymour of Wolfhall.

    In the first week of October, when it is sure he will live, Prince Henry's baptism occurs. Henry, proud father of a living son, strikes hard against Catherine and Mary, both of whom are still refusing to accept Henry's marriage to Anne.

    Mary is summoned to court to be Godmother to her half-brother; to many this would be an honour, but to Mary it is not - it is a punishment; she is poor and a godparent is expected to provide an expensive gift, so she is forced to pawn what little jewellery she has to purchase a silver spoon for the Prince. The French Ambassador stands as proxy godfather for King Francis of France.

    When confronted by her father over Mary's appointment as godmother, Anne informs him that it was her idea - a final punishment to Mary and Catherine.

    News of Mary being forced to be godmother to Anne and Henry's son is sent, secretly, to Catherine of Aragon by Eustace Chapuys. Catherine is ill in health and the news of her daughter's plight does little to make her recover.

    Mary returns to Hatfield Palace - Princess Elizabeth is too young to come to court yet - and, within hours of her return finds herself being accosted by Thomas Boleyn, Duke of Wiltshire and Ormond, who is ordered to not leave Hatfield until Mary recognises Henry as head of the Church of England, repudiates papal authority, acknowledges that the marriage between her parents was unlawful, and accepts her own illegitimacy.

    Mary refuses. Now that he has a son, Henry has had enough of his insubordinate daughter and, in the first week of November, Mary is hauled to Court and thrown into the Tower. During the cold winter months and suffering gravely from ill-health, Mary suffers terribly but refuses to submit... so her father leaves her there.

    Desperate to help her, Eustace Chapuys writes to the Emperor. But he's not interested either - he's acknowledged Henry's marriage to Anne as he wants an alliance with England; as far as he's concerned, his aunt and cousin have made their bed and now they have to lie in it.

    Mary ails in the tower and her father refuses to send any physicians to attend her.

    Christmas arrives and Mary freezes in the tower, the rest of the royal family spend Christmas together at Court.


    1535 begins successfully for Henry - his son is still alive and Mary is, for now at least, dealt with. Anne, too, has a successful beginning of the year; her sister, Mary, now Duchess of Buckingham and Warwick, gives birth to a son: Edward Stafford, born in January.

    At his Christening - an affair that occurs at Rochford Hall at the end of January - Anne stands as godmother. Having given birth in August, Anne is still locked away in her chambers, ready to be churched in February; her mother, Elizabeth Howard, Duchess of Wiltshire and Ormond, stands as proxy.

    Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, becomes a grandmother again when her daughter, Ursula, gives birth to a son, Edward Stafford, on January 7th.

    Anne returns to court in February, churched and allowed to be seen by the world. In Ireland, Lord Leonard Grey storms Maynooth Castle in March while the 10th Earl of Kildare is absent gathering forces to defend it.

    Preparing for the Royal Progress in July, the King receives news, in June, that the Emperor's wife has just given birth to a daughter, Joanna. His mind begins working. He receives more good news in July - Fitzgerald, seeing his army melting away and his allies submitting one by one, asks pardon for his offences. He is still a formidable opponent, and Grey, wishing to avoid a prolonged conflict, guarantees his personal safety and persuades him to submit unconditionally to the King's mercy. The Earl is arrested with his five uncles and his younger half-brothers, Gerald and Edward, who are being raised at the English Court. All of them are contained in the Tower; despite this, Grey assures them they will not be executed.

    In July, shortly before the Royal Progress, Thomas More, who refuses to sign the act acknowledging the King as Supreme Head of the Church of England, is executed on Tower Hill.

    For now, at least, the Earl of Kildare and his uncles remain alive - the King and Anne are on progress; also coming with them are many members of the court, which includes the Boleyns, The Marquess and Marchioness of Dorset, Ralph Sadler, Thomas Cromwell and his fifteen year old son Gregory, William Stafford and a now churched Mary, the Duke of Suffolk and his son, and Henry's illegitimate son and his wife. Mary Tudor remains, ill, in the Tower.

    In September, the Royal Progress reaches Wolfhall, home of John Semour, Viscount Seymour, and his family. John Seymour has an enormous family - including several pretty daughters. Henry isn't the only one to have noticed either: Thomas Cromwell is looking for a wife for his son, fifteen year old Gregory, and he may have found just the person - Elizabeth Oughtred, widowed daughter of Viscount Seymour. Four years older than Gregory she's pretty, intelligent, and big in the breasts.

    Everything her sister Jane is not; Jane is small, meek, small breasted and blonde to Elizabeth's brown. She's also everything Anne isn't - Jane isn't argumentative, Anne is; Jane is blonde, Anne isn't.

    The King sends her money on their second day at Wolfhall; Jane looks at the letter he sends, kisses it, and returns both. Unopened.

    The King nearly goes mad with desire.

    While the King is busy with his possible new mistress, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, is busy too. Having sex. With his wife. Against his father's orders.

    After three days at Wolfhall, the Royal Progress leaves to head to Suffolk - Jane Seymour is now the King's mistress. Elizabeth Oughtred is sort-of-technically-yet-not-technically-yet-sort-of-technically engaged to young Gregory.

    Though she does not know it yet, Anne conceives in the first week of October at Warblington Castle, home of Margaret Pole and her family. They're not happy to have Anne there - they'd lock her out if they could - but they have to obey the King. And he's chosen to stay at Warblington Castle, so they have to accept her.

    The Royal Progress ends at Westhorpe Hall, home of the Suffolks. For the Marchioness of Dorset, it's good to be home - she wasn't born at Westhorpe, that honour goes to Hatfield House, but she has grown up at Westhorpe with her recently departed mother. It's also a chance for the Duke of Suffolk to see his wife, Catherine Willoughby, and his one month old son, Edward. Henry Brandon, who's struggled with his health for the entirety of the Royal Progress, stays behind at Westhorpe with his stepmother, sister, and half-brother when the Royal Progress leave.

    When the Royal Progress returns to Court at the beginning of November, Anne is feeling unwell. A trip to the physician reveals the truth - she's pregnant again. The King is delighted - but not delighted enough to change his mind about bringing Jane Seymour to court as one of Anne's ladies. Anne is furious - she knows what it means; she was the other woman to Catherine of Aragon after all.

    Anne isn't the only one pregnant - Mary Fitzroy, Duchess of Richmond and Somerset, has conceived too, with the announcement coming in the first week of November, shortly after the Queen's. The King is both furious and elated - he's getting a grandchild, but his son has disobeyed the "no sex" rule.

    Christmas of 1535 arrives and the Royal Family are together again at Christmas; even Fitzroy and his wife are in attendance. The Prince of Wales, now fifteen months old, is shown off at court. When Catherine refuses, once again, to acknowledge that she is only Dowager Princess of Wales and that Mary is illegitimate, Henry punishes her again.

    Henry, as far as he's concerned, only has one legitimate daughter - Elizabeth. So, he decides to show it by creating a new title for her: The Princess Royal. In the grant of the title, it is written that the title is conferred on the King's eldest legitimate daughter and can not be granted to another female until the current holder is dead.

    As the snow falls and England freezes, so does Mary - still confined to the tower, Mary is ill and sicker than ever - and it is believed by Eustace Chapuys and allies of Mary that she is going to die.

    Right now, she's not.


    But the FitzGeralds are[4]. Despite Grey's promises, Henry is taking no chances. The Kildares are hanged and beheaded and quartered, except for the Earl, who is merely hanged and beheaded. With the direct line of the Earldom of Kildare now dead - all the sons of the ninth Earl have been killed and no heirs remain[5] - the title falls extinct and reverts to the crown.

    On the day of the FitzGeralds executions, Grey is created Viscount Grane in the Peerage of Ireland and promptly sent back; of all the Greys, Leonard is the nastiest and slimiest, which is probably why he has no children.

    In what is seen by some to be a little vulgar, Henry throws a joust to celebrate the deaths of the FitzGeralds - though he claims it is, finally, to celebrate the Queen's pregnancy which is absolute bollocks. During the joust, the King is unseated from his armoured horse and crushed by it - an event which leaves him unconscious for two hours.

    Immediately, everyone panics. Anne, pregnant and absent, is not informed while plans for Prince Henry's coronation are hastily drawn up and guards are increased on Mary's cell in the tower. Thankfully, the King survives, waking after two hours of unconsciousness. It is obvious though, by the injuries sustained to his legs, that the King will never joust again.

    In February, the Howards celebrate the birth of another son; the family breed like Jack Rabbits and the 3rd Duke of Norfolk's brother, William, has fathered a son - Charles.

    Geoffrey Pole, youngest son of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, becomes a father, again - this time to a daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is Geoffrey's fifth born child, but the fourth surviving. She joins her siblings, Arthur, Thomas and Catherine, in the family nursery.

    Henry Hastings, eldest son of Geoffrey's niece Catherine, is born in February; Henry is her second child with her husband, Francis, the eldest son of the Earl of Hastings.

    In March - war! Once again, France and the Emperor are having a spat - this is a normal thing for them; it happens incredibly frequently. Francis seizes control of Savoy, and captures Turin. Charles triumphantly enters Rome, following the Via Triumphalis, and delivers a speech before the Pope and College of Cardinals, publicly challenging the King of France to a duel. Francis, smartly, declines.

    While the King of France and the Holy Roman Emperor are having one of their many spats of manliness, the Howards get to celebrate more - Norfolk's son, Surrey, has become a father at the age of nineteen. His wife, Frances De Vere, has given birth to a son - born on March 10th - also named Thomas. How unimaginative. Fitzroy, married to Surrey's sister and a good friend of Surrey himself, stands as godfather.

    At the time the Emperor and Spain are having a spat, the King of Scotland is thinking with his... ahem... lower regions, rather than his head. He's decided to marry. A contact is made - King James of Scotland will marry Mary of Bourbon, daughter of the Duke of Vendôme and she'll have a dowry as if she was a French Princess to satisfy the alliance between Scotland and France. James has decided he'll go in person. Later in the year.

    In April, Thomas Cromwell and the King begin the Dissolution of the Monasteries - Cromwell begins by closing down the Abbeys of Basingwerk, Bourne, Brinkburn, Buildwas, Cartmel, Dore, Haltemprice and Tintern, though the last two hold out until August 12th and September 3rd respectively before capitulating to the King's will.

    Jane Lewkenor, widow of Arthur Pole, is released from Bisham Priory, where she was being forced to be a novice by her mother-in-law and brothers-in-law, in May. She is taken away by Thomas Cromwell to marry Sir William Barentyne. On command of the King, The Countess of Salisbury is forced to give Jane's family fortune back to her and a pension as befitting a widow. Bisham Priory is closed down.

    At the end of the third week of June, Henry Fitzroy, aged just seventeen, becomes a father when his wife gives birth[6]. A boy named Henry, after the King. The King is very pleased and shows it by giving his newborn grandson a title. For allies of the FitzGeralds, it stings - newly born Henry Fitzroy becomes Earl of Birmingham and Nottingham. Earl of Nottingham is his father's subsidiary title, Earl of Birmingham is granted by his grandfather.

    Three weeks later, at the end of the second week of July, Anne Boleyn's labour begins. His Royal Highness, Prince Arthur, Duke of York, is born at three am after an eight hour labour.

    As soon as Mary, languishing in the Tower, hears the news, her already poor health spirals out of control even more; this time, the King has no choice but to send a physician to her. Catherine of Aragon, holding stubbornly on to life, suffers another bout of ill health too at the news. Two living sons to a marriage hardly accepted throughout the world.

    Mary Boleyn gives birth to a daughter, Anne, in August; once again, the Queen stands as godmother, but this time the King stands as godfather, perhaps showing favour to Anne's family.

    Arriving in France at the beginning of September, the King of Scotland changes his mind. He'll make babies - but not with Mary of Bourbon. He wants the attractively beautiful Madeleine of France, Francis's daughter, who makes his... ahem... lower regions feel things at the sight of her. Immediately, he asks Francis for her hand in marriage. Citing her frailty and the harsh climate of Scotland, which he fears will prove fatal to his daughter's already weak health, Francis I initially refuses to permit the marriage.

    For months, James remains in France, nagging and nagging and nagging until, finally, reluctantly, Francis gives in when Madeleine makes her interest in James known. James spends Christmas in France and a contract is signed at Blois. In a moment of surprise to everyone, Madeleine refuses to give up the claim to the French throne for herself and her descendants[7]. The contracts also states that, if James dies before she does, she will, for her lifetime, retain assets including the Earldoms of Fife, Strathearn, Ross, and Orkney with Falkland Palace, Stirling Castle, and Dingwall Castle, with the Lordship of Galloway and Threave Castle.

    Now, while King James is busy thinking with his cock, England is not. It's busy... executing people. The Pilgrimage of Grace in October 1536 rails against the King and his plans for the Monasteries[8]. The Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk are sent to put the rebellion down. The rebels demands are clear - restore the monasteries and restore Mary to her rightful place.

    Under Norfolk and Suffolk every member of the Pilgrimage of Grace is slaughtered, all of them hanged, drawn and quartered or drowned - whichever is more convenient at the time. Norfolk is wounded in the fighting against the rebels but lives to fight another day. As does Suffolk.

    Now seeing the truth - that his daughter is inciting rebellions by being alive - Henry strikes out, hard. Mary is hauled from the Tower to court and forced into a trial to ascertain her guilt. Anne is horrified; whatever her feelings towards her, Mary does not deserve death for being loyal to her mother - she's barely twenty, just a young girl.

    It's no use - Henry will not be reasoned with. Mary will sign the act acknowledging Henry as head of the Church of England or die.

    Unfortunately, Mary is equally as stubborn as her father and mother and sticks to her guns. Henry is apoplectic in his fury. Mary is hurled back into the tower.

    Anne beseeches her husband to not execute Mary. Henry agrees. He won't have her executed, as per Anne's wishes; he'll have Mary burned alive instead. Two days after her refusal to give in to her father, Mary is dragged to Tower Hill and tied to the stake. Henry had promised gunpowder, to make it a quick death, but changes his mind. Catherine is dragged from The More, where she's been left to rot, to watch her daughter die.

    The final speech of Lady Mary Tudor is recorded in history as being merely fourteen words: "I die England's one true Princess. God save the King. God punish the harlot!" before the flames are lit[9].

    All Catherine of Aragon can do is watch her daughter be burned alive...

    [1] According to "Williams, Neville: Henry VIII and His Court (1971)" Anne had a miscarriage in 1534, which is what this timeline is based on - namely, the miscarriage not occurring.

    [2] William Stafford, husband of Mary Boleyn, was a distant relative of Buckingham.

    [3] IOTL neither of his brothers were arrested and, in fact, his younger half-brother, Gerald, was restored to the Earldom of Kildare in 1554. I, for this timeline, chose to kill them all off.

    [4] I moved this forward. IOTL this occurred on 3 February 1537; I moved it to January 2nd, 1536.

    [5] If there are any heirs left, I could not find them in my research. Tudor Place states that the 8th Earl's eldest son, Sir James FitzGerald of Leixlip, had two sons - Maurice FitzJames FitzGerald and his brother, Henry, who both died in 1547 - but no mother is noted, implying they're illegitimate. Tudor Place also states that the 8th Earl's youngest son, Walter, also had a son - Maurice FitzGerald of Glassely - but no mother is stated for him either. This implies that all three boys are illegitimate - if they are legitimate, for the sake of this timeline, they're not.

    [6] As you can probably tell, I butterflied away Fitzroy being ill. And dying.

    [7] As you can probably tell, I have plans for Madeleine of France. Hence, no tuberculosis for her.

    [8] IOTL The Pilgrimage of Grace was put down in October 1536 by Robert Aske. Another rebellion in 1537 sealed his fate and death. In this timeline, I'm conflating them together.

    [9] I'm sorry for this. Please don't kill me...
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
    BELFAST, Torbald, arcee and 5 others like this.
  2. BlueFlowwer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2017
    Jesus shitting Christ, he burned Mary alive????
    Tyler96 likes this.
  3. mrmandias Regent

    Nov 29, 2006
    The Great Empty
    That was horrible. Is Henry VIII going to get his just retribution in this TL? Need to know before I keep reading.
  4. Tudorfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2014
    You'll be pleased too know, Henry won't get off scot free - sure, it's not exactly the Emperor that ends him, but I have plans for him.
    mrmandias likes this.
  5. marcus antonios Active Member

    Sep 15, 2015
  6. Nazi Space Spy Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2011
    Kinda ironic that Mary is the one burning.
  7. BlueFlowwer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2017
    I hope Catherine stabs Henry in the throat, that ********** bastard
  8. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Jesus, you've made Henry worse than IOTL; even @Space Oddity's TL didn't do that to Mary...
    Jonathan likes this.
  9. Rheinbund Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2017
    In fact she don't get any claim to the french throne because the salic law forbidding not only inheritance by a woman but also inheritance through a female line (In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant).

    translation of this source :
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    The Professor likes this.
  10. TruthfulPanda Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2017
    Mary is cannonised ASAP?
    Please fix the typo - "Mary is dragged to Tower Hill and tied to the steak" ....
  11. Kerney Making America Sane Again

    Feb 23, 2010
    She was hungry.
  12. mrmandias Regent

    Nov 29, 2006
    The Great Empty
    Hahahaha! What's the rule that says that any post criticizing a spelling error will have at least one egregious spelling error? :)
    Mark1878 and TruthfulPanda like this.
  13. TruthfulPanda Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2017
    Me bad!
    Maybe Mary's and the steak's ashes get fired from a cannon?
  14. Sevarics A Bidet In Every Bathroom

    Feb 9, 2011

    Now we just need George Boleyn to make babies like a bunny.

    Boleyns, Boleyns everywhere
    Jonathan likes this.
  15. FriendlyGhost Haunting history for 45+ yrs

    Apr 26, 2014
    Na Crìochan, An Rìoghachd Aonaichte
    This is it:
    TruthfulPanda likes this.
  16. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Fantastic start, I really look forward to seeing what you do with this set up.
  17. Tudorfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2014
    Apparently, not under Francis I. IOTL, Madeleine was made to sign away her rights and those of any children she had... meaning she was eligible to inherit the throne.
  18. Tudorfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2014
    As for those of you wondering if Mary will be canonised - the answer, for now, is no. Not while her father is alive - he's shown he'll kill his own daughter and anyone who rebels against him, like the Pilgrimage of Grace. People are learning now: Keep your gob shut and live... or speak out and die. This includes the Pope - Rome was sacked once. What's to stop it from happening again and leading to his death at Henry's hand?
  19. Lost the game Nixon 2020

    Apr 20, 2011
    West Philly
  20. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2010
    Dominion of Scotland, Imperial Commonwealth
    Surely that just means that regardless if French law changed to allow women she'd still not be allowed