Can’t wait to see how Joanna reacts to her son marrying Anne. Here’s hoping she takes the news well.Toledo, Castile. 31st of July, 1522.
“My lords,” said Charles of Habsburg to the convened nobles, “I understand your feelings, truly I do, but my marriage is a private matter, as well as a state affair. By taking the Lady Anne as my queen, I have made the best decision in regards to all of my holdings, not just Spain.” He looked at them, Elvira Fernández, the 2nd Duchess of Santángelo and Fadrique Enríquez, the 4th Admiral of Castile, among many others, “Were it not yourselves who told me that I should marry and produce an heir? Well, with Mary Tudor, I would have to wait a decade. Now, in a year’s time, I can have a son in the cradle.”
The nobles of Castile and Aragon looked between themselves, shaking their heads and muttering things under their breath. To say that they were displeased with this match was to put it mildly. They had wished for him to marry one of his maternal cousins, a princess with Iberian blood and ties to the land, a princess who would bring him such hefty a dowry as England or the fortunes of Portugal. It was a pity, thus, that this could never be. He was married now to a woman of his own choosing and no one could do a thing about it.
“Tell me something, my lords,” he continued, “What should I have done? You ask of me to marry Isabella of Portugal, and yet my Flemish subjects tell me to take Charlotte of France as my bride. The Imperial Diets offer me their daughters and sisters, who are German and will serve as payment for their votes in the election. Who should I listen to? Which land is more important to me?”
They say nothing, as they clearly would like him to focus more on his Iberian matters, despite his recent imperial election. Charles sighs and settles back on his throne as he ponders about the decisions that led him to this moment.
Perhaps he should have married Isabella of Portugal or Charlotte of France, or even Mary Tudor. Perhaps that would be a wiser decision, made by a wiser king, but he had married Anne. He needed her, wanted her and no one could tell him that he had wronged by making her his wife. She deserved better than a single night of passion and a lifetime of ruin. She deserved the throne and that was what he would give her.
The 2nd Duke of Frías stepped forward and said, “Your Majesty, we would be more assured if His Majesty could ascertain that yourself and the Queen will make Castile or Aragon your principal residence. And that any children soon to be born will be raised in these kingdoms.”
Charles put a hand to his chest, “You have my word.”
Later, after assuring the nobles of his intentions to remain in Spain for the next years, he went to visit Anne. She smiled when she saw him and ran to greet him, jumping in his arms. Charles laughed and spun her around, delighted to have her there with him, in his arms, in Spain as his wife, his eternal wife.
“How did it go?” she asked, kissing his face.
“Better than I expected,” said Charles, “They have agreed to accept our marriage, as long as we live in Spain and that our children be raised here. You will have to learn how to speak Castilian and have local ladies-in-waiting, of course, but things could have gone so much worse.”
Anne’s expression shifted and for barely a second, he saw her frown, displeased with what he had said. The second passed and her face smoothed down again back into a neutral expression. Charles frowned too, “What’s wrong? Are you upset, my darling?”
“Nothing,” she said, “It’s nothing.”
Charles settled her on the floor again and looked at her, his wife. His beautiful and loving wife. She was wearing a dark red gown, an old one from England. They had arrived in Toledo only the day before and there was still time before the seamstress would be finished with her new dresses, gowns worthy of a Queen and Empress. It was why he had not asked her to attend the meeting with his nobles. He thought they would be less willing to accept her if she was dressed more poorly than them.
“Tell me,” he said, pressing a hand to her face, “Sweetheart?”
“It’s just…” she shrugged, “I thought we would be soon on our way to the Low Countries. It has been so long since I last saw the Dowager Duchess and I miss her very much.”
“Oh,” he said. This was not what he expected, “We can’t. Not now, at least. But soon, I promise. I know my aunt is eager to see you again, not just as Anna de Boullan, but as her new niece.”
It was a lie. His aunt was less than pleased with his marriage, but she did not need to know that. He wanted to make Anne happy and if that meant lying to her, then so be it.
“But I tell you what, my darling,” he said, “Next week, we will have to travel again, so Toledo will not seem as terrible.”
“Where are we going?” Anne asked with a smile, circling his neck with her arms.
“To Tordesillas,” he answered, “You must meet my mother, after all.”