The Queen is Dead!: Katherine of Aragon dies in 1518

Section CXIV - October 1522
Eltham, October 1522

Marie?” Anne called softly, knowing her sister was in Maria’s bedchamber and not wanting to wake the little Princess, who had only just fallen asleep after sobbing in her mother’s arms for over an hour, her six-year-old defences finally broken after the arrival of her mother, who, in her eyes, could make everything all right again – or at least, take control so that she, Maria, didn’t have to be the strong one anymore.

Nonetheless, her need to speak to Marie was growing desperate. It was over a week since she had found out she was pregnant and she still hadn’t managed a private word with Marie. First William’s illness, then his death and the mad dash to Eltham which had followed it, had driven all else from anyone’s mind. However, they were at Eltham now, and the need to comfort Maria and Lionel had begun to draw Marie out of her shell. Anne thought she might now, at last, have a chance to confess what she and Harry had done.

Much to her relief, Marie came to the door, “What is it, Annie?”

“I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?” Marie glanced up, but clearly wasn’t fully paying attention. Anne shifted, knotting her fingers together. Unusually for her, the words wouldn’t come.

She gulped hard several times.

“Oh, out with it, Annie! Whatever it is, it can’t have been that bad,” Marie snapped, grief making her unusually impatient.

“Harry and I got drunk at William’s christening and slept together and now I’m with child,” Anne blurted, desperate to get the awkward conversation over with as quickly as possible.

Marie’s jaw dropped, “What?!”

“I’m with child,” Anne repeated, deciding there was no need to repeat exactly when it had happened. It would only make Marie more upset. “Harry Percy’s child.”

That, if nothing else, got Marie moving. Sliding off the bed, she snatched hold of Anne’s arm and dragged her back into Maria’s presence chamber. No sooner was the door shut behind them then she whirled on her younger sister.

“Annie! What the Hell are you telling me?! I thought – He promised to wait until you were married!”

“He wanted to, but I – I – He’ll stand by me and we’ve been waiting a year, Marie! More than a year!” Anne defended, breaching about a dozen rules of protocol in the process.

“And you would have been married in March! We were going to marry you on your sixteenth birthday! It was meant to be a surprise!”

To Anne’s surprise, Sarah, whom, she suddenly realised, was also in the room, burst out laughing.

“I see the cat’s out of the bag at last!”

Marie spun round to her, “You knew?! You knew my sister and Harry Percy had broken a solemn vow they made to the King himself and you didn’t say anything?”

“Forgive me, My Lady, but I thought you did! It’s been all round the Court for weeks! Tom Seymour saw them tumbling into that room together, when they thought they were being discreet, and he wasn’t shy about sharing that news either. If Your Majesties haven’t heard, it’s only because no one wanted to be the first to tell Your Graces that your beloved little sister wasn’t the innocent virgin you both still thought she was. Indeed, if the rumours are to be believed, she’s so much a harlot she forced herself on Harry Percy!”

“I was drunk!” Anne snapped, colour flaring in her cheeks at Sarah’s implicit accusation.

Marie shot Sarah a quelling glance as she made to retort. Startled at the intervention on her behalf, Anne flashed grateful black eyes at her older sister. Marie, however, made no indication that she’d noticed, merely took a deep breath, pressing her lips together in an effort to calm herself.

“I suppose the ceremony will have to be moved forward now. I’ll have to focus on Maria and Lionel while we’re here but I’ll tell the King as soon as we go back to Court. But you’ve not made things any easier for me, Annie. You know how badly William’s death has shaken my relationship with Henry.”

Anne nodded, shamefaced. Even though she and Harry were prepared to stand united, there was no point arguing that they hadn’t done wrong. Not when, in the eyes of her sister, they so clearly had. It wasn’t worth the argument, not when Marie was already grieving William.

Marie exhaled and blew out her cheeks, “And you’d better prepare yourself for the King’s reaction. He sees you as his sister, Annie. His innocent little sister. However he reacts to the news that you’ve taken matters into your own hands and are now no longer a virgin, it’s not going to be good.”
 
Maybe Henry can bury himself in a building project and knock together yet another palace?

Or maybe go tour/subdue Ireland for a bit?
 
That would probably not be a bad idea... Maybe he should build a palace and name it after William...
This is a lovely idea.
Maybe if I could be bold enough to suggest, converting Rochester Castle, into a modern palace, with it housing young sons and orphaned sons of nobility, who train to enter the catholic church in the princes honour and memory.

The new order could be named after Saint William of Rochester, a Scottish saint who was martyred in England, who fittingly is the patron saint of adopted children. With Cardinal John Fisher as the first head of the order.
The Order of Saint William (Known in England as the Williamites) dedicate themselves to the belief that the church’s future is in the hands of our children, and that when the second coming of Jesus does happening it will first be in the form of the baby Jesus.
 
This is a lovely idea.
Maybe if I could be bold enough to suggest, converting Rochester Castle, into a modern palace, with it housing young sons and orphaned sons of nobility, who train to enter the catholic church in the princes honour and memory.

The new order could be named after Saint William of Rochester, a Scottish saint who was martyred in England, who fittingly is the patron saint of adopted children. With Cardinal John Fisher as the first head of the order.
The Order of Saint William (Known in England as the Williamites) dedicate themselves to the belief that the church’s future is in the hands of our children, and that when the second coming of Jesus does happening it will first be in the form of the baby Jesus.
Right, this is totally happening at some point. You have my word on that!

Also @Ogrebear, I put Sarah's comment about Tom Seymour having seen Harry and Anne together into the last chapter for your benefit, because you're right, someone would have seen them together...
 
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Section CXV - November 1522
Greenwich, November 1522

“You should have left her in Ireland!”

Kathy glared at George, a scowl knitted so deep between her brows he feared it would never smooth out again. “I always knew she’d be trouble; she’s far too smooth-tongued for her own good.”

“Kathy, listen, it might not be all that bad,” he protested.

“Not that bad?! Our own ward is flirting shamefully with your older sister’s husband and you’re telling me it’s not that bad?”

“Yes.”

“Marie isn’t even here to defend herself! How could it be worse?”

“It could be another family’s flirt prancing brazenly around on King Henry’s arm. At least this girl we can control.”

“Control? You didn’t exactly manage that earlier!”

“Touché,” George sighed, “But I shall do my level best to do so now. I shall make sure Honour knows that her interests remain tied to Marie’s, so she’s not to injure her more than she can help.”

“You’re not going to try and forbid her from taking things any further?”

“I can’t. Not if the King’s taken an interest. But I can limit the damage she does to Marie. I do have my sister’s interests at heart, whatever you may think.”

“You’re going to make your sister stand for the King’s philandering? With your own ward?” Kathy was still incredulous; still stuck on that point.

George nodded, “I’m going to make the best of the circumstances.”

“No Stafford would stand for it.”

“Maybe not. But then, it was refusing to adapt to the status quo that got your father killed.”

George knew he’d made a mistake as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Kathy’s jaw dropped.

“How dare you?” she breathed. “How dare you?”

“Kathy...I...”

“Don’t. I don’t want to hear it.”

She spun on her heel and slammed out of the room, leaving George staring after her, stunned and exhausted.
 
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Makes sense someone would be outraged by the King taking a mistress er friend er companion er Interest in someone close to them.

Not going to stop Henry though.
 
Incidentally, you guys think I'm bad when it comes to cliffhangers? Let me tell you, I've got nothing on Diana Gabaldon and the end of the 8th Outlander book!
 
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