Don’t have my notes on me, but can confirm that Jane spent some time in Edward Seymour’s household as part of her parents plans to marry her to his son. She abd Anne Seymour are quite close and Anne will be coming up again soon
Henry and his family had been in Scotland for some four months now, and he had to say it was a surprisingly bright and vibrant court. He had to admit he had thought that it would be dire and dower. After all Scotland was not England, it rained four days out of every five here, and it also smelled a little. Worse than London, even on London’s worst days. However, the King and his Queen did their best to keep things interesting and their courtiers entertained. There had been a masque, a ball, and various other events. It was a nice place. And very much different to London and Whitehall.
The King himself was a vibrant man, with a positive attitude and a cunning that would have made the man’s grandsire proud. Henry looked at the man and then listened as he spoke. “Lord Grey, we trust that you are enjoying your time here? And that all your needs have been met?”
Henry bowed his head. “Court is fantastic, Your Majesty, and it is something that I think has made everything very nice. And yes, our needs have been met, thank you, Sire.”
The King nodded. “Now, tell us, you have been sent here as ambassador for our cousin Queen Eleanor. We would hear tell of how she is doing.”
Henry took a moment, he had not actually seen much of Queen Eleanor, or the court for some time before his appointment. His time at court had ended when Queen Dowager Catherine had left with her husband, but he knew he could not say that to this King. “Her Majesty is well, Sire. She continues to develop into a smart and intelligent young lady. She is most interested in history. With a particular focus on the tales of her grandsire King Henry.”
For a brief moment, Henry thought he had made a mistake mentioning King Henry, the first Tudor monarch, but then the King before him smiled. “That is good. Our own ambassador reports that she has been asking much about our shared heritage. We are much delighted with that, and would be most happy to share stories of her own father, should she wish.”
Henry did not know whether that would be a good idea, considering the relationship between the two Kings, but he said. “I will be sure to mention that when I write to London next, Sire.” He did not think Norfolk would reply in the affirmative.
The King smiled. “Good. Now there was something we wished to talk to you about.” Henry wondered at the way the King held himself then, his shoulders were back and he looked relaxed, but there was a look in his eyes that spoke of a man about to pounce on his prey. “What are your views on this reformation that is currently gripping the continent? Do you think it is long lasting?”
Here, Henry hesitated. The King he knew was a devout Catholic who had brought some reforms to his own church but had not embraced the reformation in full, whereas, he was a devout Protestant, fully embracing the teachings of men such as Luther and Zwingli. He did not know how to respond, and so he chose a diplomatic response. “I think we are seeing the results of centuries of neglect, Sire.”
The King raised an eyebrow. “How so?”
Here, Henry knew he would need to be very careful. “Sire, before the reformation came, the church gave away favours in return for copious amounts of coin. It did little to try and enforce the word of God. It instead corrupted it to suit its own purposes, and as such it grew weak and corrupt. And it allowed the Muslims to gain influence in other areas, where the lord’s writ such have run strong. The only way to change this corruption is for the reformation to bring change to the way things are done.”
“And you think that the reformation has done this? You think that the corruption present within the church in the Protestant States of the Holy Roman Empire is okay, because they are sticking to a nominal teaching?” the King asked.
“I do not know of which corruption you speak of, Sire.” Henry replied honestly.
“The corruption which saw seven young men slaughtered for not following the direct words of a mistranslation of a Bible, done by that man, Luther. The corruption which saw the lands of a minor knight stolen by a Duke simply because the knight was Catholic and refused to convert. This sort of corruption. There has been no accountability. Would you say that that is right?” the King demanded.
Henry was stumped. He did not know about these cases, having spent more time keeping abreast of what was happening in London than anywhere else. Reluctantly he said. “No, Sire, I do not think that this is right. I think it is indeed a deep corruption.”
The King nodded. “Good, at least you have sense. When you are here, we wish for you to attend some of our sermons and masses, to see how things might change should this course continue to be pursued.”
Henry swallowed, he did not like the thought of that, but said. “Very well, Sire, it would be my pleasure.”
The King nodded. “Good, and be sure to bring your family, especially Lady Jane, our son, James has taken a liking to her.”
Henry nodded, and internally thought this was a good thing. “Of course, Sire.”
Henri was more worried about his mistress than the Kingdom. He knew that was a stupid thing to feel, but it was true. Diane had been unwell for the past three weeks, and she showed no signs of recovery. Truly he did not know what would become of him if she died. She was his whole world. Catherine, that idiot, had tried to comfort him, but he had never liked her and found her touch repellent now. They’d done their duty and had children, multiple heirs indeed. Though Henri did not view his immediate heir, Francis with respect. The boy was weak and would be eaten alive once he became King. So, Henri supposed he had to pay attention.
He looked at his ministers and barked out. “So? What is the situation?” They had just about managed to sort out the Kingdom’s finances following the absolute mess of it that his father had made with his endless wars.
“Well, Sire,” that was Anne de Montmercy, his chief minister and most trusted counsellor speaking. “We are slowly seeing the increase in tax revenues that we were promised, and as such, I think we should soon see the accounts move into the green for the first time in years.”
Henri smiled, that was good news. “So, we were right to not want to pursue more war with Spain.”
Some of his lords had been deeply angered when he’d agreed to a treaty with the Emperor, a few months back, but he had known then that they could not sustain a continuous war, not when the Ottomans were ripping one another apart. “Yes, Sire.” Montmercy said smiling.
His Grand Chamberlain, Claude, Duke of Guise spoke then. “Sire, I think that whilst peace for now is preferred, eventually, we shall have to consider the military option.” The man paused and then continued. “After all, the Emperor is not going to allow our control of Savoy go uncontested, for it threatens his hold over Milan, and then of course, there is the Low Countries. We should be looking to stir discontent there, within reason.”
“Stirring discontent in the Low Countries would have to be on religious lines. For the nobles and the peoples of the Low Countries are fiercely loyal to the Emperor. However, if we do that, we risk encouraging the Huguenots here.” Montmercy said.
“Perhaps that is a risk we must take?” Guise replied. “We cannot allow them to sit easily, after all.”
Henri thought for a moment and then asked. “How strongly are the convictions of heresy within the Low Countries?”
“Sire, they are leaning more toward that most horrendous form of heresy, Calvinism, than anything else.” Montmercy replied. “Indeed, I believe that their leader, the Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau is someone who might be persuaded to lead such a rebellion if we can simply offer him the right terms.”
Intrigued, Henri asked. “And what would those terms be?”
“We offer him the chance to free himself from the shackles of Brussels, and in return he gives us preferential trade access. And we might even offer him the right to rule the Low Countries himself.” Montmercy said.
Henri thought about this for a moment and then said. “Not rule them himself, they are ours.”
“Indeed, Sire. But it is a mere suggestion.” Montmercy said.
Henri nodded, then Claude spoke. “Sire, there is another issue that we must discuss.”
“And what is that?” Henri asked.
“Scotland, Sire.” Claude replied, the man then bulldozed onwards. “I believe that we must ensure that the Scots remain tied to our alliance. Currently, it seems that King James is toying with marrying his second son to Queen Eleanor of England, or marrying his firstborn son to Jane Grey who has a direct claim to the English throne. Either one would be bad for us, for both ladies are in the Protestant Faith. We must keep them Catholic and tied to us and the alliance.”
“How? They have two sons, and a daughter. their daughter is of no value to us.” Henri said.
“Perhaps offering Princess Elisabeth as a bride for the Duke of Rothesay?” Guise suggested.
“That will not keep them Catholic, a woman does not control her husband. It is the other way around.” Henri said. “We would need the two boys to die before we even consider a marriage to Scotland.”
Guise did not like that, but he remained silent. Henri said. “Find another way and we shall consider it.”
Winter was always a cold time of it in Stirling, the place had not been designed with the view that the winters would get colder than they had been all those centuries ago. And yet here they were. John was convinced that the Almighty was punishing them for something, some sin or the other. What it was he did not know, but he knew not to question God, or the King. He had charge of the Duke of Rothesay and Duke of Albany’s education and knew that that was the most important thing he could do to ensure that the future was secured for Scotland.
He cleared his throat and the two boys looked at him intently, though he knew Arthur’s mind was already beginning to wander. “Now then Your Royal Highnesses, it is said that when he held the Last Supper, Lord Jesus broke the bread and told his disciples that this was his body, and when he poured them the wine that this was his blood. And that by giving them these two things, he was making them one with him. Why do you think that was?”
James, the Duke of Rothesay raised his hand. “Because he wished to show that they were united in their brotherhood and that those who held doubts would not always have those doubts.” James was surprisingly observant for such a young lad. He was only nine years old after all.
“Indeed, Your Royal Highness. We know that in his last few moments before he was betrayed that Lord Jesus was one to ensure that the brotherhood he had developed over the years would not break. That the word of God would remain strong even after his end.” John said.
“You mean, he knew he was going to die?” Arthur asked surprised.
“Well of course he did, stupid. He was the Son of God!” James snapped at his brother.
“Your Royal Highness!” John said, he did not tolerate such words in his presence.
The Duke of Rothesay bowed his head and said contritely. “I apologise, Minister.”
John nodded and continued. “But yes, you are right Your Royal Highness. He knew he was going to die, for he had seen it in his future. He was not a witch, no, but he was the Son of God, and God would never let his only son be abused of the notion that he would not serve his purpose.”
John watched as the words he said sunk in, and then he continued. “This is one of the things that has led to the great example of King Robert the Bruce. His relationship with the church was one of the defining features of his rule and one of the ways that Scotland differs from England.”
“We were never rude to the church?” The Duke of Rothesay asked.
“Exactly, Your Royal Highness.” John said impressed. “The Church lent its support to King Robert and in return he provided them with land and laws of protection, to ensure that God’s word could be heard freely without the dangers of war.”
There was a look shared between the Princes then that John did not like, and when the Duke of Rothesay asked. “But if King Robert got his right to rule from God, surely the Church should have been his anyway, why did they demand something from their sovereign?” John knew he would need to toe around this very carefully.
John thought about this and said. “Whilst yes, the King gets the divine right to rule from God, the church is the house of God, and therefore it is an agreement, as Lord Jesus said when he announced that he would build his church on this rock of Peter. Subsequently all Kings must rely on the church and the church must rely on the King for support and sustenance. It is a fair relationship in the eyes of God.”
“But then why does the Church demand we pay a tax for their upkeep, when it seems they do not do anything with it.” James asked.
This did not seem like a question that the boy he knew would ask, and so John asked. “Where did you hear this, Your Royal Highness?”
The boy squirmed slightly, not wanting to speak out against whoever had said these words to him. eventually though he said. “Lady Jane did. She said that the Church of Rome was wrong and evil, and that Father should be the head of his own church.”
John bit back a sigh, he had thought the presence of the English family would be dangerous. The lady Frances was a devout Protestant as was her husband, it was only natural that their daughters would be as well. He took a moment to think over this and then said. “Your Royal Highness, what Lady Jane says is true in part, however, she misses certain details. Though the Church of England does not owe obeisance to Rome, it still demands protection and favour from the crown of England. Much like Rome does. Consequently, it is little different to Rome. The only difference being that the Queen of England is head of the Church.”
James looked shocked at that. “So, why was she so insistent?”
“Because she is a woman, my Prince and women are often insistent on things they know nothing about.” John answered simply.
A look passed over the Prince’s face but he merely nodded. “Please don’t tell the King about this, Minister.” The boy pleaded.
John smiled. “Do not worry, Your Royal Highness, your words are safe with me.”
For two months now she had been married. For two months she had been able to call someone husband. It was a delightful feeling and one she thanked God that she finally got to enjoy. Her husband was a bit gruff and a bit rough around the edges, but he had a very good heart. He was kind and he was interested in her. That was a major relief for her, for she had been terrified that her husband would end up being like her father. Thankfully, Luis was nothing like King Henry had been.
She looked at her husband then, he was reading over something from the council meeting and she felt a smile come to her lips. Her husband looked up at her and asked in Spanish. “What?”
Mary shook her head. “Nothing. I am just happy.”
Luis smiled in return. “Good, I am glad.”
There was a moment of silence and then she asked. “What are you reading?” For a moment, she wondered if perhaps she had pushed too far. It was one thing to make her feel happy and included, and quite another to include her in the business of state. Her husband was a proud man, and she was not sure he would take kindly to his wife getting involved.
He surprised her when he said. “The King is looking at a way of ensuring that we continue to benefit from the trade routes with Asia, without needing to rely overly much on the Spanish.”
Mary thought on that. She was very much in favour of her Spanish cousins, having been raised that way by her mother. But she knew that her husband had Portugal to think about, and so she thought as his wife, not the daughter of a Spanish Princess. “How does he propose to do that?”
Her husband grinned at her wryly. “He wants to use you.”
“Me?” Mary asked surprised.
“Yes. He wants to use the ties you bring with England to bring about an alliance in shipping, to ensure that we have a secure fleet to guard us as we pass through the shores.” Luis replied.
“I am not sure that that will work. I do not have anything to do with the court.” Mary said. She had not even spoke with the Duke of Norfolk before her wedding.
“Really?” Luis asked sounding surprised.
Mary nodded. “I spent most of my time in my estates in the south east, and little time at court. They did not want me there.”
Her husband stroked his beard and said. “Then I am going to have tell the King to change his plans.”
Mary thought on her feet then. “Not necessarily,” her husband raised an eyebrow at her and she elaborated. “I might not have direct ties to court, but we are still allied with England. Propose a three-way naval alliance. English and Portuguese fleets working together to transport goods from Asia, whilst the Spanish would get aid in the attempt of a naval battle against the Muslims.”
Her husband pursed his lips. “That might well work, and it would play well for my brother’s piety.”
“Exactly.” Mary replied. She knew just how pious King John was, that was why she had suggested it.
Her husband took her hand and kissed it then. “You are quite the smart one, aren’t you, my darling wife?”
Mary blushed, but said nothing, delighting in the praise.
“You know, Frances, I never thought I would be so happy to be in Scotland.” Henry said. His comment eliciting a laugh from his wife. She looked at him and not for the first time he was amazed at how beautiful she looked. “I’m serious.” He said. “I think this place has more refreshing things to do in it than London ever did.” There was also the fact that their estates were closer to the border, meaning they could venture there when the need arose. “I do think this might be the best appointment yet.”
His wife laughed. “I am inclined to agree with you, Henry.” There was a pause and then she added. “You know, I think it is a good thing we got the girls out of court and away from the Seymours as well.” Henry frowned then. He did not like Edward Seymour, and his brother Thomas was completely suspicious. “I think something terrible might have gone on had we not left.”
“Well you know that Warwick is trying to get his earldom moved up to a peerage.” Henry said. He might not be at court, but he still had friends who wrote to him. “I think Norfolk is growing tired of the man.”
“Tired enough to see him executed?” Frances asked. Henry did not know what exactly had happened between his wife and the Earl of Warwick some years ago, but whatever it was, it had left a distinct bad taste in his wife’s mouth whenever she talked about him.
Henry mused on this and then replied. “I think we might see something such as that. Of course, if the rumours are true then Warwick is about to seal his own death warrant.”
Frances raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“I heard from the King himself, that there was word of some plot to crown his sister Lady Lennox as Queen should something happen to Queen Eleanor.” Henry said.
“And Warwick was involved in this plot?” Frances asked.
“Apparently, there were rumours he was. Though he denies them. The man mainly responsible for the plotting, one Sir William Sackville used to work for Warwick.” Henry said.
“How did King James act when he told you this?” His wife asked.
“He laughed.” Henry said. “Why?”
“I think the King was testing the waters to see how you would act when he said something like this. I think he wants to know where things go.” Frances said.
“You think he is interested in the throne of England?” Henry asked out loud, surprised.
“I don’t see why he wouldn’t be. He has the next best claim after our Queen. Lady Mary was only legitimised after King Henry died, and anyway she is married abroad. I am not sure the people would support such a thing.” Frances said.
“But he is also Scottish. I am not sure that the people of court would accept that either. We both know Northumberland and Westmoreland never would.” Henry pointed out.
“He shares their religion though, which means that they might bite the bullet and accept him.” Frances countered.
“That is assuming of course that he wants the throne. Queen Eleanor is a child yet, she might well live into adulthood and marry. And that might be the way he intends to get his blood on the throne, by marrying his second son to her.” Henry replied.
“Indeed, this is true.” Frances said.
Henry saw the way she changed her posture and asked her. “What are you thinking, dearest wife?” His wife raised an eyebrow and he laughed. “I know you are thinking something by the way you are sat.”
His wife laughed. “I am thinking that perhaps we had best invest more time in courting the King and Queen, and ensuring that our Jane is friendly with the Duke of Rothesay. The boy is smart; he will want a wife he knows.”
“He is ten, Frances. I do not think he or his parents have even thought of a wife for him yet.” Henry said.
“All the more reason for us to court a relationship with them.” Frances replied. “If we are close to them, they will automatically look to us when the time comes. One son married to the Queen of England, another son married to the next in line? Why would that not fit the vision King James has.”
Henry thought on that for a moment and then said. “You might just be onto something there.”
For the first time five years, Parliament was meeting. Edward had pressurised the Duke of Norfolk into allowing Parliament to meet. He knew that things were not good in the country, and that some thought they were descending into tyranny. The Duke was old now and his mind was not at its best. For Edward, he thought summoning Parliament would be the best way to handle any lingering issues that might be there. Norfolk had tasked him with leading the government’s side against the opposition, and he had spent the past three weeks preparing for what he would say. Ireland, Scotland and France. Those were the three big issues of the day.
The Speaker of the House of Lords, and Lord Chancellor, Lord Rich spoke. “Gentlemen, order. I beg we come to order.” The house fell silent. The speaker continued. “We are here for this first session of Parliament to discuss issues pertaining to the governance of Ireland, relations with both Scotland and France, and any other business members of the house feel to bring.” There was a moment pause. “The Honourable, Earl of Northumberland has a speech for the opposition.” The speaker banged his gavel.
Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland rose. He had kept peace in the north throughout the reforms, throughout the reign of the King Henry and King Edward, and now here he was. He looked angry. “Thank you, my lord speaker.” A pause, then. “My lords, we are here after five years. Five years since the death of King Henry, and no parliament since then. We sit here now, to discuss the ruination of our government in Ireland. How is it that rebels armed and fed by God knows who, were able to overwhelm the carriage and procession of the Lord Lieutenant, to such a grave extent that the man is now lying in Belfast Castle, bleeding and on the verge of death. Has this government got no sense?” Northumberland sat down.
Edward rose. “My lords, the right honourable Lord, has voiced a concern. However, he forgets. Ireland is an unruly province at the best of times, and with the famine it has experienced recently tempers are sure to be up.” He took a breath then continued. “We are doing what we can to ensure that our members in the Pale and the Anglo-Norman Lords within the Kingdom are protected and safe. We are working on figuring out just who supplied the arms to the rebels.” He sat down.
Northumberland rose. “Five years it has been since this man ascended to the regency, in that time how much attention did you pay to Ireland, Sir? How much time did you spend looking through the accounts of Ireland and seeing where the weaknesses were?” A murmur started then. “I would wager little time at all, Sir, little time at all.” Northumberland sat down.
Edward rose. “My lord, I think you are confused. As a regency council we have done all we can to ensure that Ireland is protected and safe. We are doing what we can to ensure that the perpetrators of these great crimes are found and reduced to nothingness. Indeed,” and here was where he knew he would get into trouble later. “We are preparing to launch an expedition into Ireland to deal with the rebels.”
Northumberland stood up then. “So, you think this problem will only get worse then? Why else would you be considering this sort of move?”
Too late, Seymour realised that by saying what he had said that he had walked right into the trap. “We are doing all that is necessary.” He said, and sat down. Warwick, sat next to him leaned over.
“Well done, Somerset, you’ve royally fucked us.”
Edward ignored the man, and listened as Northumberland spoke. “You see, my lords, the man has no ability to handle simple things. Either we are going to be going into Ireland and stamping out this rot once and for all, or we are not. If this is how the Duke handles business, no wonder relations with Scotland are where they are now. When the Queen Dowager was in power, we were told that her husband and the Earl of Lennox would bring Scotland right into our orbit. Instead, the Scots are on their own, developing relations with Denmark and Sweden, and developing a navy that is far superior to our own. Our government has failed.”
Edward rose. “My lords, Northumberland knows not of what he speaks. Scotland is moving closer to our orbit every passing day. The King of Scots has agreed for a betrothal between his son the Duke of Albany and our Queen. Furthermore, we are building ships with the Scots near the border ports. Something that the Lord would know if he spent less time being a papist, and more time looking at what was happening around him.” That brought a cheer from his side, Northumberland glowered.
“Order. Order!” The Lord Speaker said banging his gavel as hard as he could. Once silence eventually fell, the man looked at Northumberland. “Is there anything more you wish to raise?”
Northumberland consulted with the man next to him, Westmoreland, and then shook his head. “No, my lord.”
The Lord Speaker then banged his hammer. “Then we are done here for today. Session is at an end.”
Edward rose and walked out of the chamber, Warwick behind him whispered. “Good save. Just make sure the old man doesn’t hear about this.”
Thomas blinked. Increasingly he was finding it hard to stay awake. Old age was getting to him and he did not think he would last through this winter. Still he knew that to announce defeat would allow his enemies to get the better of him. Thomas still wanted his son to succeed him as Lord High Treasurer and he did not think that would happen if he were to just retire into the night and to his estates. And so, he continued onward, ignoring the signs a lesser man might have taken for his resignation.
Right now, he was sat with Sir John Baker, the Chancellor of the Exchequer to go over the accounts of the realm. Baker was a smart man and someone who Norfolk trusted. He cleared his throat and said. “Right then, Sir John, let us now dawdle about the place. We have not engaged in any wars in the past decade and though the French might be strengthening their hold over Savoy, I think we are within our rights to expect they will not go for Calais any time soon. What is the situation with this in mind?”
Baker looked at the books and then said. “It is pleasant, Your Grace. Certainly, far better than we could have imagined when Her Majesty ascended the throne. I do however, worry that Calais might be a cause for concern.” Thomas raised an eyebrow and Baker continued. “You see, Your Grace, there are some areas where we might spend more than we are seeing as a return. Calais’ walls are in constant need of manning and the cost of that far outweighs whatever reward we get from trade. Furthermore, the Pale has seen some shortfalls in terms of crop yields for the past year and a half.”
“And what of Boulogne?” Thomas asked. The city that King Henry had taken during his last engagement remained one of the high points of Thomas’ military career.
“That is something else, Your Grace. It brings rewards more from the trading routes and the black market trading.” Sir John said.
Thomas considered that. “We cannot sell Calais back to the French, that would be an insult to the Queen and to her father, and to every Englishman who died for it.” For his own father and grandfather and all the bloodshed that had gone into the War between York and Lancaster also. “I say we must send someone of better repute to be governor than the man we have now.” He thought for a moment and then decided. “We shall send Warwick.”
Baker raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure that is a wise idea, Your Grace? Warwick is smart, I will grant you that, but he hates the French. What is there to say he won’t try and start a war with them?”
Thomas laughed. “He is not a fool, Sir John. He will not do something quite so catastrophic as that. He knows he would never get the support he needs from London.” In truth Thomas just wanted to be rid of the scheming bugger as well.
Sir John thought for a moment and then said. “I suppose you are right, Your Grace.”
Thomas nodded, then turned his attention elsewhere. “There is of course the shortfall in revenue from the crown lands. Do you think there is any way we can increase the turnout there?”
“Unless you wish to risk something along the lines of a northern revolt, I am not sure, Your Grace. Stanley has said that his tenants are not willing to be subsumed into the Duchy of Lancaster, despite the historic claims.” Sir John replied.
“Then we will have to resummons Parliament.” Thomas said. He had dissolved it using the seal, following the debate over France in November.
“Indeed, which means giving into Northumberland and his mob.” Sir John said.
Thomas stopped a sigh from escaping his lips, Northumberland had grown ever more troublesome in the days since that session. The thought of having to handle him alongside Westmoreland and others was painful. He was about to say something, when an attendant came hurrying into the room. Before Thomas could reprimand him, the lad said. “Your Grace, you must come quickly, something has happened to the Queen.”
Thomas got up and walked quickly, following the lad. As they got closer, Thomas could hear screaming. “The Queen was playing, Sir, and then she slipped and fell.”
They stopped and there at the foot of the steps was the Queen, she was lying in a pool of blood. “She slipped?” He asked.
“Yes Your Grace.” The boy said.
Thomas said nothing, then turned to Sir John. “Write to the Queen Dowager and Princess Mary.”
Would she risk it though? And who might replace them in her favour? Given they were loyal to her mother, during Henry's little flirtations here and there. Me thinks the Courtenays and the Greys might well rise.