1542: The year opens in France, where Queen Eleanor lay in her apartments awaiting to give birth to her first child by Francis Valois. At 44, there was a risk that she would not survive, but she was healthy and there wasn’t much she could do now. When she began to go into labour on the 16th of January, it was noted that she simply went (translated into English): “…excuse me, would you kindly fetch the midwife? I am at the start of a miracle that is known to most women…” The birth, which began so nonchalantly lasted a grueling 28 hours, in which the queen broke the hand of one of her attendants. In this time rumours began that the queen had/would die/d and as such people put forward their candidates to be the next queen of England. But on 18th of January Queen Eleanor finally gave birth to her daughter, the soon to be named Eleanor Valois. Born with a clubfoot and a severe birthmark across her back, the girl was immediately pegged for the church by her mother. But at her birth, she was simply the new French princess for Francis to place on the marriage market. In Scotland, James Hamilton began preperations for the upcoming birthday of James Stewart. There was a performance to be planned, a banquet to be cooked and a title to be given. The bookish prince looked forward to the proceedings, with a hope that he might be given new lands or titles (he had begun to love the idea of titles and had a keen eye at finances, and realised that he had quite a small income for a crown prince). Having no knowledge of the plan to give him the title of ‘Prince of Moray’, he hoped for a new dukedom to add to his titles. When the day finally came, the festivities were lavish. A play of the story of Hercules was done, with the symbolism that Prince James would be the mighty man obvious. Then the banquet, where beer and mead flowed freely and five noblemen were escorted out of the court to settle their differences away from the young princes. Finally, a sense of decoroum was achieved when, at the request of the king, the crown prince was brought to the front of the court. With a ceremony that had been written by a court poet (unfortunately lost in the Great Fire of 1739) that from this point forward all crown princes would rule over the area of Moray as ‘Prince of Moray’ and would live there while growing up. But until the ‘Manor of Moray’ ws completed, James Stewart would stay at the court as usual. In England, Jane Clere was pregnant again. After roughly six months of lowered favour from the King, she felt secure in her position as his only mistress. But Jane was gettingly older, and her face was beginning to show it. The once plain yet sweet and youthful woman now aged dramatically, losing Henry as a lover at the same time. After roughly five years of a relationship that gave Jane a loveless marriage, one (soon to be more than one) child and a few small properties up north, Jane was told that she would be moved t more ‘appropriate apartments’ for her husbands station. A slap in the face to the woman, she took a stance that no one expected. Now obviously pregnant but still months away from giving birth, she had her servants pack up her things, got her daughter and left the court. While Henry was fine with her leaving, he loved his daughter and was most put out that he was losing her. Anne Boleyn, meanwhile, was getting ready to give birth. By now her pregnancies were routine and the court expected her back by the next month. But the pregnancy had been a hard one. Anne had grown bigger than before. She couldn’t keep much down, and her hair was falling out. She grew to hate the small of horses and also roses, the latter of which most annoying to Henry as he sent a bouquet of roses that he did not see when he visited Anne in late February. In early March (9th) Anne went into labour. The punishing 41 hour labour took a lot out of Anne. Slowly, she managed to get the three children in her belly out of her. Out of the three babies, only two lived. The third, a boy child, was thought to have been much smaller than his brothers; with chesnut hair and Henry’s eyes. The other two, named Edmund and Arthur after their dead uncles, were both big and healthy. Anne did not survive the birth, losing too much blood and dying only three days after she had finished. Henry reacted badly to the loss of his wife and consort, with a fit of madness that had been coming for years. He supposedly did not speak for a week and cried for two, and pulled his hair from his head. One poem that is still said by school children reads: Poor King Henry, He Lost his Wife. Poor King Henry, She was his Life. Poor King Henry, He went Sad. Poor King Henry, He went Mad. Poor King Henry, He lost his Hair. Poor King Henry, We don’t know where. Poor King Henry, He Lost his Wife. Poor King Henry, She was his Life. In France, Christina of Denamark was awaiting the arrival of her second child. While there was a real love of Princess Catherine, it was made obvious that the court and especially the King was hoping for a boy. But, it was also made clear that she was young, and as such would still be able to provide an heir if this was another girl child. So, on the 3rd of April, she waited to her chambers and the court held their breath. And low and behold, on theshe gave birth to a second daughter. Named Marie-Anne, she was another pretty girl who was immediately placed on the marriage market. And although England’s King was currently holed up in his rooms, there was an offer (sent at Thomas Boleyn’s request) to marry the princess to Arthur Tudor. A good match, they agreed and it was accepted that the girl would leave for England on her tenth birthday. In Spain, Elisabeth of Brunswick-Calenberg was almost completely recovered from her arrival trip. Her hair, which was still not very long, was still longer than before and she had gained back all of the weight she had lost. Whie it was obvious to everyone at the court she wasn’t especially bright (she never completely grasped Spanish and Latin remained a complete mystery to her) she was extemely charming and very naïve. When asked if she would ever sit for a portrait, she apparantly said (translated into modern English): “…only when my hair is longer and my complexion is clear…” But in the meantime, she was trying to get pregnant. At the beginning of the year, Charles V (subtly) told his son that he should begin to try for a child, and that he hoed that the girl was fertile. The Emperor (and his son) were lucky when, in late May, the young girl announced that she was expecting. In Scotland, James Hamilton surprised the court by announcing that there would be no huge celebration for the birthday of Robert Stewart. For the first time since he had taken the throne, the now annual festivities were replaced by a day where the royal family ignored the rest of the court and simply spent time together. Nobody knew the reason for this, but it would begin a tradition for the princes, where they would connect with their stepfather in a way that royal children had not done before. In England, Henry VIII was slowly coming out of his crazy fit. Supposedly having no memory of it (he apparantly asked Charles Brandon what had happened for the past two months), he spent the next few months eating and, surprisingly, spending time with his children. When he first met his two new sons, he allegedly lamented: “…I have been but a neglectful father, and to two beauties of boys…” With this being said, both children were immediately sent live at the royal residence at Hatfeild, where they were joined by a small group of attendants. Then, after only three months of mourning, Henry was approached about marrying again. The King, who was still grieving over Anne, purportedly yelled: “…she is but not yet buried and ye want me to marry a new woman? Do you have no repect for your dead queen…” On that note, Anne’s funeral was a massive event, with a series of somber events taking place to celebrate the life of the woman who had placed a ongoing education plan in England and Ireland and also given the country a plethora of heirs. In France, the marriage of Charles Valois and Margaret Douglas appeared fruitful when, in mid July, Margaret announced that she was pregnant. She reacted to her pregnancy with a nonchalant attitude that she seemed to take everything at this point. Charles, conversely, reacted passionately. He immediately had a set of baby toys ordered to built for his child, along with a series of cradles and carriages that would become collector’s items later on. In Cleves, Mary Tudor was pregnant again, but so was Catherine Howard. While Mary seemed to have had trouble getting pregnant (there was a rumour that she had a miscarriage mid year 1541), Catherine had simply walked into court one day and -poof- she was pregnant (Catherine had not been at court for 7 months due to a long illness). But Mary was confident that this child would be both an heir to the Dukedom of Jülich-Cleves-Berge and also a way to separate William from Catherine. But in the interim she ate like crazy and visited her daughter. In England, Henry was now seeing enemies everywhere. Without the steadying influence of Anne he only had Thomas Boleyn to look after him, and Thomas couldn’t live forever. He was already 65 and Henry wanted younger friends to make him feel like the young prince he once was. Henry wanted a war; he wanted to prove that he could be as ‘glorious’ as he had been in his youth (he forgot that he wasn’t particularly successful in his youth with wars) and looked for reasons to start a fight. But there realy was nothing to do in this respect. France was pretty quiet, non of the Hasburgs were making much noise and Scotland was just trying to settle down and stablise. He looked around for a country to go at, but there really was nothing. Even Ireland was slowly steadying, with relations with the English at an all time high due to the schools and other reforms Anne had set in place before dying. So he waited, having armour made to fit his expanding form and having a higher level set to the army. Over the past ten or so years Europe had gone through a ‘peaceful period’ that had lead to economic reform and a series of marriages that were either done or were coming. But Henry VIII would be the King that would start a war, all because he was feeling lonely after his wifes death. In Spain, Elisabeth of Brunswick-Calenberg was feeling sick every morning. She began to hate the taste of fish and love the taste of goat milk and raison bread (something that Phillip had on constant standby). It was obvious to everyone but her that she was pregnant. A story is still told that Phillip mentioned the pregnancy to her and actually made it known to her. But in anycase, Elisabeth was pregnant. Charles V was delighted, with the succession now more secure. While he was ot wrong, it didn’t mean there wasn’t going to be trouble in the near future. In contrast, Isabella of Portragul was slowing down. After the near fatal miscarriage of a infant boy in 1539, she couldn’t seem to get pregnant again. Warned by her doctors that another pregnancy would almost certainly lead to her death, she persisted and finally, in late october she found herself again pregnant. Elated by the news, the Emperess fund her spirits sufficiently higher than the sadness that had consummed her before (later psycologists felt that she was depressed). One person who was not happy that she was pregnant, however, was Charles V. After months of advice from the doctors, he really felt that she was putting herself in danger, and he truly loved her wife. Finally, Catherine of Austria, wife of John III of Portugal, died of unknown causes. A shocking moment, it placed the King into a panic. While Catherine had not been the most politically active Queen, she had kept him in Charles V’s good books through her constant contact with her brother and had also been a figure of reason. And with only one living son, he now had to remarry, to sure up the succession. So he sent out requests, asking if their were any Catholic Princesses of age that wanted to be Queen of Portragul. One big reply was from the Henry II of Navarre in regards to his daughter Jeanne d'Albret, Princess of Navarre. While a good offer (there was a very high chance that this marriage would result in the union of Navarre and Portragul) he also had to consider other monarchs. But he also had few options open and so, he sat on this thought for a while.