A Queen Twice Over: Mary Tudor the Elder Marries Francis I of France

Yeah, I agree François will be the name of their first boy, and I like the idea of a Marguerite! I can imagine they will have many children, considering how many times Claude was pregnant OTL. I read that Mary was sickly as a child, but so was Claude
Yeah, I agree François will be the name of their first boy, and I like the idea of a Marguerite! I can imagine they will have many children, considering how many times Claude was pregnant OTL. I read that Mary was sickly as a child, but so was Claude
Oh, Francis and Mary can't keep their hands off each other, so yes, a big family is a definite where they're concerned!
Section X - February 1516
Chateau d’Amboise, February 1516

“My brother has a daughter,” Mary looks up from Henry’s letter to glance across at Marguerite. Her older sister raises her head from the tiny shirt she is sewing and raises an eyebrow.

“Well. It took long enough for his Spanish pomegranate to start bearing fruit. Is the child healthy?”

Part of Mary wants to spring to Katherine’s defence. In many ways, the Spanish infanta is the only maternal figure she can remember, at least apart from Mother Guildford. It is over a decade since her birth mother died, after all, and by now, Elizabeth of York has been reduced to a cloud of golden hair, a soft voice and the scent of rosewater in Mary’s memories.

But, at the same time, there is no denying that her brother and his wife have been remarkably unlucky when it comes to starting a family.

In the end, she voices none of her turmoil, merely shrugs, “Seems to be. Henry’s named her Mary and asked if I’ll stand as her sponsor at her Confirmation.”

“You’ll have said yes, of course?” Marguerite’s voice is light and teasing. She knows Mary well enough by now that she doesn’t really have to ask.

Mary laughs, “How could I not? Henry also asks that, since he has paid me the signal honour of naming England’s newest Princess for me, I return the favour and name my coming child for him, should it be a boy.”

“He would have you name my brother’s first son anything other than Francois?” Marguerite arches an eyebrow, “My brother would never allow it and I think you know that. Charles for our father, perhaps, if he’s in a particularly sentimental mood, but even that…”

She trails off, though the words she doesn’t say hang pregnant in the air between them. No Dauphin will be named Henri, not as long as Francis is alive.

“It would be nice to name a son for my brother, though,” Mary murmurs. Her tone is wistful, but not truly protesting. She is happy enough to change the subject as Marguerite suddenly clicks her fingers and leans forward in her seat, as though she has suddenly remembered something.

“While we’re on the subject of children, let me take little Anne into my household while you’re in confinement, would you?”

“Annie?” Mary echoes, glancing across to where the raven-haired little girl sits among her ladies, folding cloths that will be used as napkins for Mary’s coming child. Anne’s tongue is poking out from between her lips in concentration, “Why do you want her? She’s just a child. A clever child, I grant you, but she’s not even nine yet.”

“Exactly. She’s eight years old and within the last year, she has, in different ways, lost both her mother and her sister. I don’t think it will do her any good to be cooped up in your lying-in chambers with the rest of your ladies. You know how women like to talk of the horrors they’ve seen at other labours.”

“Yes. I’ve never understood why. Are they not afraid of cursing the mother to bear the monster if they scare her too much?”

Mary raises her eyebrows, but even as she speaks, her mind is whirring. She’d heard that Anne's mother Lady Elizabeth had died of childbed fever, of course she had. Sir Thomas had summoned fifteen-year-old Mary home last July to care for her new-born sibling – a girl Lady Elizabeth had apparently named Eleanor the one and only time she’d been well enough to hold her. Mary had had to ask permission to leave France, of course, and had told Mary why. Nevertheless, until Marguerite had mentioned it, Mary hadn’t stopped to consider what effect no longer having her older sister around might have on little Anne.

In truth, it’s hard to imagine anything having much of an effect on the child. She’s so bright, curious and eager to please.

But Mary lost her own mother to childbed fever when she was seven. She might not be able to remember Elizabeth of York, but she does remember how devastating that loss felt, and how it was only compounded when Meg was sent to Scotland only a few months later. Moreover, she knows it is only her royal training that is letting her hide the terror that grips her like a vice every time one of her ladies so much as mentions her lying-in. Marguerite is right. Her chambers will be no place for little Annie, no matter how much she might appreciate having someone to chatter in English with.

“Sister? Is everything all right? Should I fetch the midwife?”

Marguerite’s soft question breaks into her reverie, bringing her back to herself.

Mary shakes her shoulders slightly and nods to her sister.

“No need, Marguerite. I’m fine. But you’re right. My lying-in chambers will be no place for little Annie. Take her. Let her share lessons with little Renee, and serve you when she’s not in the schoolroom. I hope she serves you as well as she’s served me. And let’s hope your nephew arrives without too much fuss.”

“Indeed.” Marguerite rises and kisses Mary’s cheek, before signing to her maid to pack away her embroidery hoop and curtsying her farewells. Mary waves her away and watches as Marguerite crosses the room, crouching down in front of little Annie.

They exchange a few soft words, and then Annie looks across to Mary, a question in her big brown eyes.

Mary nods encouragingly, and Annie doesn’t need telling twice. She jumps up and follows Marguerite and her handmaiden out of the room, pile of linens forgotten. Mary lets them get out of earshot and then calls for a footman to move Annie’s things from the room housing her maids to the room housing Marguerite’s. She’s going into confinement next week anyway, so if Annie is happy to go into Marguerite’s household, then there’s no use prolonging things.
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Interesting! Elizabeth Boleyn dies much earlier TTL and gives birth to an extra Boleyn girl... I wonder what is in store for this Boleyn ;) Perhaps an English or French mistress some day?
Indeed! And given that she was invented for this TL, I'm betting that there are great things in store for her :D
She wasn't actually invented for this TL. She's an old OC of mine from my very first fan fiction, all the way back when I was thirteen or so. The story was a complete rip-off of the Other Boleyn Girl, but I have always had a soft spot for little Nora, so I am using her again here...
Oh, little annie is on the way to become boleynnette as she did in your The Queen is Dead timeline, or my reading this completely wrong?