The Sunne in Splendour: A War of the Roses Timeline

I feel for Catherine here, everyone is going to look down at her because of her sister’s foolish actions. At least Magdalena seems to be forgiving. Also Kunigunde and Maximilian are really sweet together. This makes me think he will be good to Magdalene, considering Kunigunde and Magdalene are the same age.
I feel for Catherine here, everyone is going to look down at her because of her sister’s foolish actions. At least Magdalena seems to be forgiving. Also Kunigunde and Maximilian are really sweet together. This makes me think he will be good to Magdalene, considering Kunigunde and Magdalene are the same age.
Well, Kunigunde is his sister and Magdalene is going to be his wife so not really the same relationship.
@pandizzy: getting Kunigunde as wife is more than enough for Matthias Corvinus, without any need to give her lands who are part of her brother’s inheritance (as Austrian holdings are inheritable in male line only).
Nice run down on the Woodville family. I am curious about who Catherine is going to marry in this timeline as both her OTL husbands are either married to someone else or dead.
May 1478.
May 1478. Château d'Amboise, France.

The Dauphin rode in the track set up by his instructor with colour high on his cheeks, dark hair whopping behind him as he let out shrieks of joy. His hair was too long, Margaret thought. They ought to cut it. But Charles was at that delightful age where he didn’t want to touch his hair, only occasionally allowing his grooms to brush it and only after much battle. Margaret had an inkling as to what would happen if they were to even bring about the idea of cutting his hair.

Charles would run and hide, or maybe bite and pinch the person who attempted to find him. She could probably avoid such a scandal for another month or two, until he was more malleable and the hair was beginning to bother his sight. Then, he’d come to her and she would smile and pretend nothing was wrong, but if he really insisted on it, then yes, they could arrange for him to have a haircut.

Philippe was on his pony, blonde curls as soft as an angel clinging to his sweaty face. He was too young to be trusted on a grown horse alone, so a stable boy attended to him, though Margaret wondered if the term boy fitted him. The servant was closer to sixteen than twelve, with a sort of boyish innocence that was at odds with his tall frame and large shoulders. He held the reins to Philippe’s pony in his hand, coaching the animal into a circle as another instructor taught the younger boy from his stand with the ever so often order.

Margaret and her ladies sat under a canopy, fanning themselves because of the hot May sun. There were rumours about a war in the south, reports about armies coming to Artois and Calais, so Charles could not travel to the Dauphiné as he wanted to. She arranged the day of riding and leisure to cheer him up. Her eldest son was a stubborn boy, wanting to be seen as a man and a grown-up, but he was still a child. Even the delay of what he saw as his glorious future without a mother and tutors to fuss over him – even if the tutors were going to the Dauphiné as well – was sure to break his heart.

Margot, her only daughter, was present as well, her hands primly held over her chest as she observed her brothers playing. There was an eager look on her face to join them, but an equally intense desire to be the perfect lady, sitting beside her mother, the Queen.

Margaret brought a cup of chilled watered-down wine to her mouth, sipping it slowly. It was far too warm for her to be outside, her complexion didn’t allow it, but she also didn’t want to miss Charles’ moment. He was a lively and cheerful little boy, always wanting to play and have fun. He would not be a scholar king like his father, but maybe a warrior like her brother.

Though she would never give voice to the comparisons between Charles and Edward in her mind, Margaret was far too clever not to see them. Charles had the same charm of Edward, able to convince his nurses an extra hour of sleep in the morning, an extra moment of playtime in the afternoons. And if he continued to be like her brother, Margaret pitied Bianca Maria. He would never be able to be faithful to one bed.

But that, of course, was not important.


Palace of Westminster, England.

Cate Woodville held her breath. The priest, a French man of the name Etienne, read passages about loss, survival and the life that followed a death. The Queen and her main ladies wore gowns of deep dark blue of royal mourning, while the others had to do with their simple black garments. Cate herself had her face hidden by a dark veil, her hands clasped in front of her as she listened to Father Etienne read from carefully-chosen passages from the Holy Bible.

She was not proficient in Latin, but Cate could understand enough to know what he spoke. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”” It was probably a poor comfort, but a comfort nonetheless for a woman that had seen three of her children taken from her before their fourth birthday.

The mass was held for the souls of lost royal heirs. George, Margaret and Anne of York. Cate had never seen them, in fact she saw only glimpses of the Queen’s surviving children, but she could only imagine how much it might still hurt. The Queen herself was sitting at the front of the chapel, hidden under her blue veils as she held tightly her crucifix and her Book of Hours.

She remembered her mother, the Duchess of Bedford. Her mother lost only one of her fourteen children. His name was Lewis. He was after Elizabeth and the Lord took him by the form of a fever in his twelfth year. Cate was born many years after his death, but she could still remember her mother and the box she had of Lewis’ things, a lock of his fine blonde hair and a letter he wrote to her when she was away at court. The box that was opened only twice a year, once on his birthday and another on All Souls’ Day. Only when it did not hurt to remember.

Father Etienne continued his readings, a book especially made of passages to comfort one after a loss. Cate wondered if this mass was held every year. She hadn’t been at court for long, but it seemed everyone else, including those that came with her, already knew what to do. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me,” said the Frenchman. “John 14:1.”

The Requiem for the Queen’s lost children did not take over three hours. At the end, they were all expected to offer coins or jewellery as alms for the Queen’s children. Cate didn’t know she was supposed to do so and had nothing to offer, save for a pearl ring at her little finger. She removed it only with much reluctance, dropping the ring on the silver platter as the others produced their own valued offerings.

The ring was not a favoured object. It had been a gift of her sister Mary at her fifteenth birthday, nothing else, but Cate wished she’d been aware of the need for alms. She would have been prepared, with either coins or another piece of jewellery. Now, all she had was her little finger that felt strangely naked as the servant holding the platter moved away.

After that, Cate followed Her Grace and her ladies out of the royal chapel, surrounded by other women who hoped to shine in the royal court. They were pretty, bright-eyed and she wondered how she could possibly make a difference among so many other flowers of England.

The answer came with Jane, her sister-in-law, removing herself from the line of the Queen’s most treasured companions to come to her. She took Cate by the wrist to a corner and, although the procession did not stop, she could feel everyone’s eyes upon her. “What is it?” she asked.

“Keep your voice down,” said Jane, rolling her eyes. Her fingers tightened around Cate’s wrist, eyes moving about the corridor and the Queen’s procession moving further and further away. “The Queen wants someone to fetch Lady Richmond.”

Cate hesitated, mouth agape and Jane rolled her eyes again.

“Go on then, don’t stand there looking like a donkey!” Jane replied, her voice a sharp hiss.

“Me?” said Cate and Jane nodded.

“Who else?” she asked. “The Queen said ‘someone’ and you are someone. Now, go!” For emphasis, Jane turned her around and shoved her forward in the direction of the nursery.

Cate moved slowly. She knew who Lady Richmond was. Everyone knew. The Queen’s closest friend who worked and worked until she managed to have many of her son’s estates restored to him. She was named governess to the Princess of Wales as a reward, not just because she was the only palatable choice both to the King and Queen and the Dowager Duchess of Lancaster.

But she felt somewhat offended by it. Fetching someone. That was a fool’s errand. Something a lowlife should do and yet, she was that lowlife, wasn’t she? Just another lady, of no great importance, sponsored by her sister-in-law because her brother wanted her to find a husband and stop being his problem. Jane also wanted her to leave, Cate was sure. Lionel and Edward were the only brothers still alive after Anthony’s entire thing, but Edward was travelling across Europe as the King’s ambassador and Lionel was a bishop. He lived at his priory.

So only Cate remained at home and Jane wanted her gone, so her children could flourish as the sole Woodvilles in the house, save for their father. There were four of them now; Edward, Richard, Jacquetta and Mary. With Cate gone, there would be more money to clothe them, feed them. Maybe even bring them to court, or somewhere else. Edward was close in age with the Duke of Clarence and could be sent to Warwick Castle to be his companion.

That was, with sufficient coinage.

Cate continued to walk down the corridors. The royal nursery had been moved when the Queen had her seventh child, to larger and bigger rooms to accommodate all of the children. A good thing for them, though rather inconvenient when one considered the old nursery was in the same corridor as the Queen's rooms. Now, she had to walk and walk for what felt like miles.

When she reached the nursery, she saw the youngest surviving royal daughter having a dancing lesson with one of her tutors. Mary of York was a beautiful young girl of five, with dark brown hair and light blue eyes. A musician played a lute as a tutor instructed her and another train of young girls on how to dance.

The little children were laughing, having fun, but Mimi, as she was often called by those familiar with her, had a serious face on, pouting slightly as she attempted to mimic her teacher.

A high-ranking lady came to her. Cate saw that she was not Lady Hastings, the royal governess, but possibly someone that worked for her. Under her. Many English noblewomen strove to find positions in the nursery.

"The Queen requests Lady Richmond's presence," said Cate and the woman nodded, eyes flicking slightly to the brooch at her chest that denoted Cate's allegiance to Her Grace.

She curtsied and left, though her steps were slow and measured, not at all hurried. Cate moved her eyes around the large hall of the nursery, feeling awkward in her standing still.

She saw two little girls, wearing dark garments of mourning as they played together. She could see their faces only slightly, elegant noses and ruddy cheeks, but then they turned. The two girls held hands and spun around, laughing slightly and Cate was able to see that they had dark auburn hair hidden under dark hoods and identical diamond-shaped faces, with sharp green eyes that seemed to hold much pain.

They were twins. Cate came close to them, observing as they held hands and spun around, singing, "Ring-a-ring o' roses, a pocket full of posies. A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down."

Suddenly, they both fell to the ground laughing, and Cate came close, hands itching. "Be careful," she urged them. "You don't want to hurt yourself."

They turned to her in shock and Cate could feel the entire nursery looking at them as well. It was clear, even if she did not know, that these two girls were highborn, more than she and had never before heard a stranger speak to them with so much liberty.

One of the girls stepped forward, green eyes full of strength. “We won’t fall,” she said with a high-pitched voice. “My mama taught us this herself!”

Cate took a step back, but she didn’t let the smile fall from her face. The other girl, jumping from one foot to the other, seemed unable to hold back her words and blurted out, “You’re very pretty! Are you a princess?”

Her twin looked at her. “Don’t be silly, Joan,” she said. “Our cousins are the princesses, not her.” She turned back to her, squinting her eyes and frowning as if in confusion. “You must be a fairy! My mama told me about the fair folk and she said they can’t tell lies, and they are very pretty!”

“Are you a fairy?” Joan asked, grabbing Cate’s hand and clinging to it. “You have to tell us!”

“Do you grant wishes?” the other twin said, also coming to cling to Cate’s hand. “I want a unicorn, and a pony, and a new doll!”

“Phil!” Joan said, admonishing her sister. “Papa said you can’t have a pony until your next birthday!”

Phil turned to Joan, sticking her tongue out. Then she looked at Cate, smiling, “Talk to papa, then!” she said. “Please, please, tell him, I’ve been a good girl and I deserve a new pony!”

“Girls!” the sharp voice of the royal governess made the three turn around, observing Lady Hastings and Lady Richmond watching them both with serious and angry expressions on. “The Duke of Gloucester wants you both to study while he has a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not distracting the Queen’s attendant.”

“But we weren’t distracting her, Lady Hastings!” Phil pleaded. “Tell her, mistress fairy, tell her!”

Cate felt a sense of kinship to the two girls, whom she now knew to be Philippa and Joan, the eldest children and twin daughters of the Duke of Gloucester. She looked at Lady Hastings, both girls clinging to her hand and shrugged, trying on her best smile. “We were just talking while I waited for Lady Richmond, my lady,” she murmured. “Truly, I meant no harm.”

Lady Hastings didn’t seem to believe her and she extended her hands for both girls, who very reluctantly let go of Cate to follow her. They turned to wave and Lady Richmond approached her while she waved back at them.

“Now,” she said with a stern expression, “I believe the Queen is expecting me?”
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@FalconHonour has made me fearful every time I see a French Prince on a horse. I was really thinking that Charles was about to have some accident there for a minute. Poor Magdalena, hopefully she can find some comfort in the words of the Bible. Joan and Philippa seem like sweet young girls, I have a feeling they met Cate for a reason…