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Gone Fishin'
I'm surprised at the blame being placed on Giovanna - it verges on victim blaming.

That she should have known better than to provoke her step-son, when Henry was the one who said the hurtful stuff.

Admittedly, she probably shouldn't have put the idea of the whipping boy into her husband's head, but the blame in the inciting incident lies on Henry not Giovanna.
 
I'm surprised at the blame being placed on Giovanna - it verges on victim blaming.

That she should have known better than to provoke her step-son, when Henry was the one who said the hurtful stuff.

Admittedly, she probably shouldn't have put the idea of the whipping boy into her husband's head, but the blame in the inciting incident lies on Henry not Giovanna.
Well, though I have some fondness for Giovanna, I'd hesitate to call it victim-blaming. She probably should have known better anyway, but then again she's essentially reiterating what her husband has told his son countless times. As for the punishment, well, the fault in that lies with Henry VII, Giovanna even tried to stop him but to no avail...
 
I'm surprised at the blame being placed on Giovanna - it verges on victim blaming.

That she should have known better than to provoke her step-son, when Henry was the one who said the hurtful stuff.

Admittedly, she probably shouldn't have put the idea of the whipping boy into her husband's head, but the blame in the inciting incident lies on Henry not Giovanna.
No, she was the one who provoked Henry in rushing to defend her husband and reacted for something who Henry had not mean. We are also in a period in which the first duty of any Queen and wife was giving heirs to their husbands. Henry is a 17 years old who is kept in cage by an overprotective father and that is NOT normal. Not being allowed to doing anything who has only little chances to be dangerous is NOT normal at Henry’s age in that period.
 
No, she was the one who provoked Henry in rushing to defend her husband and reacted for something who Henry had not mean. We are also in a period in which the first duty of any Queen and wife was giving heirs to their husbands. Henry is a 17 years old who is kept in cage by an overprotective father and that is NOT normal. Not being allowed to doing anything who has only little chances to be dangerous is NOT normal at Henry’s age in that period.
I'm sure that Giovanna shouldn't have reacted badly to her son's death because Henry "didn't mean it".

Giving heirs, sure, but that does not mean that anyone should make mockery out of the death of a child.

Overprotective parents that don't allow their growing children the space required? Never heard of such people.
 
I'm sure that Giovanna shouldn't have reacted badly to her son's death because Henry "didn't mean it".

Giving heirs, sure, but that does not mean that anyone should make mockery out of the death of a child.

Overprotective parents that don't allow their growing children the space required? Never heard of such people.
Henry was not thinking at all to his late half-brother OR he would have reacted differently. He was simply tired to be locked in a cage and to have all burden of the situation on his shoulders as he feel to be punished and blamed when he has no fault at all for it
 
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Chapter 24, September 1508
Alcázar of Seville, Kingdom of Castile, September 1508

It was early in the morning when Catalina went to her nephew’s rooms to wake him for his lessons. As she made way her way through the dim room, she heard Ferdinand’s soft snoring, and she barely suppressed a chuckle, Just like his mother. She walked over to his bed and smiled,”Come now Ferdinand, you have your Latin lessons with the Lady Galindo in two hours.”
The boy groaned, and shifted in his nightclothes,”I don’t feel well Auntie Catalina.”
Catalina raised an eyebrow,”Let me see then, you are well enough to speak at least.”
She then pressed her hand against the boy’s forehead, and nearly pulled it away at the heat that she felt. He felt hot, too hot, especially for this time of year. Panic welled inside her, for she had never seen her nephew ill with a fever, for he normally had robust health. Still, her brother Juan’s death, as well as that of her husband Arthur taught her that sickness can strike one down easily, even if both young men were rather sickly, they were both older than Ferdinand when they took deathly ill. So, what chance did a five-year-old have of surviving without quick intervention? Stroking the boy’s dark hair, she tried to remain calm,”I will be right back Ferdinand, and I will fetch a physician to help you feel better.”
The boy simply nodded at this, apparently not having the energy to respond verbally. She then rushed from the room, quickly as she could, though careful not to fall. As soon as she came upon a servant she briefly stopped, and gave a desperate order,”Fetch Doctor de Villalobos, the King is ill, tell him it is some sort of fever!”
The young man ran in the direction of the physician's chambers, while Catalina continued on, to her sister’s rooms. When she entered Juana’s rooms, a minute later, walked over to her bed, and shook the snoring woman,”Juana, it’s Ferdinand.”
The other woman nearly jumped from the bed scowling,”Good God you frightened me!” She paused to rub her eyes, and when she was finished asked,”What of him? Is my son alright?”
Catalina shook her head quickly,”No, when I went to awake him, he felt far too hot, it was as if I was holding my hand to a fire. It must be a fever!”
Juana sat wide-eyed,”Then we must do something to help him!”
“I already have sister. I had a servant send for the Converso, Francisco López de Villalobos.”
“You trust him?”
The younger sister nodded,”Yes I do, he treated father when some madman in Barcelona stabbed him.”(1)
“Ah yes, I remember… Father was in very rough shape, so I would think that de Villalobos will be able to save my son.”
Catalina quickly nodded,”Yes, but please make some haste, I think your presence would comfort him there.”
As Juana slipped on a pair of slippers, Catalina opened the door to leave, and her sister asked,”Where are you going Catalina?”
She turned around,”I am going to get Beatriz Galindo, she has some knowledge of medicine.”
Juana said,”Very well then.”
Catalina quickly left the room, and made her way back to the hallway, where she found Beatriz Galindo waiting for her, holding some small clothes and a bowl of water Catalina exclaimed,”You already know of what ails the King?”
The older woman replied,”Yes I do, I have been working with Doctor de Villalobos and we were reading on herbal medicines when the servant informed us..”
Beatriz started walking towards young Ferdinand’s chambers, with Catalina in tow
“That is fortuitous then. So, you have an idea of how to help him?”
They stopped outside of the room, and Beatriz gave her a nervous smile, looking down at the bowl of water,”I think so. This has been known to bring down fevers, but there is no guarantee of it.”
Catalina felt a quiver of fear as they opened the door, hoping that they were not too late.

As it turns out, they were not too late. Dr. de Villalobos and Juana arrived soon after, and the former concluded that while Ferdinand was still in a delicate state, there was some hope for his survival. Catalina made the sign of the cross, as she finished a prayer for the boy’s life, and suddenly had an idea. If she wanted God to spare her nephew she needed to make a sacrifice of sorts, to humble herself before Him. As prepared to make her exit, her sister, who was reading to Ferdinand asked,”What are you doing sister?
“I... I am not abandoning you and Ferdinand. Do not worry. I need to appeal to God on my own.”
Normally a statement speaking of God would have elicited a cynical response from her sister, but for once she seemed to be grateful for Catalina’s piety,”Go then, any sort of help will be appreciated.”

Catalina sat in her chair a pair of shears in her hand, as she looked in the mirror. Lord, I humble myself before you, and sacrifice my earthly beauty, I gladly do so. Please… Let my nephew live. She took the shears and cut off a long strand of her red hair, and did so again, one after the other. As she continued, she thought back to when she prepared to leave for England, and the advice her mother gave her. It was nearly ten years ago, yet it was still fresh in her mind. Her mother had said,”Beauty is a weapon that is sharp as any sword. It can inspire men to fight and die for you. But beauty without virtue is useless… To have a beautiful soul and a connection to God is what we all must aspire to, only then, can we change the world.” She then cut even more, until it did not even go past her shoulders, and clung to the back of her neck. She grabbed a white wimple from a table, one of her mother’s, and put it on top of her head, to hide what remained of her hair. She then got up, and left the room, to see if her penance to God was successful… As she went to her nephew’s rooms, Beatriz de Galindo exited them, and Catalina asked,”How is he?”
Beatriz smiled,”He is well, I think he is starting to feel better.”
Catalina crossed herself, it really worked!, Thank you Lord for sparing my innocent nephew.


(1) This is in reference to an assassination attempt on Ferdinand II of Aragon in Barcelona in 1492.
 
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Luckily poor little Ferdinand live and his mother and aunt are taking good care of him
He is very fortunate to have them both, as the two will be the most important women in his life (with the exception of course being his future wife Isabella..) As for exactly what caused him to survive, it's mostly his generally good health though the spiritualist side of me just had to add the penance bit... Thank you so much!
 
Thank god that Ferdinand survived. And poor Catalina, shearing her hair like that! 😭
If he did die, let's just say it would be a terrible tragedy, for both personal and political reasons... Well you know how Catalina is sometimes when it comes to her God... Still it will grow back and at least she's not starving herself. Thank you very much!
 
If he did die, let's just say it would be a terrible tragedy, for both personal and political reasons... Well you know how Catalina is sometimes when it comes to her God... Still it will grow back and at least she's not starving herself. Thank you very much!
Yes, that is sure... Cutting her hairs was among the less dangerous reaction in her list and is not like she need to made impressions on some suitors so...
 
Wonderful update. I love seeing the relationship between Juana and Catalina. And I'm glad little Ferdinand is on the mend!
Thank you so very much! I would imagine that the two were fairly close IOTL and that though they have contrasting personalities (much like their parents; Juana is sullen and cynical like their father while Catalina is pious and strong willed like their mother)... Juana is especially grateful to Catalina for not only taking the burden of ruling Castile, but through allowing her to do what she wants and stay with Ferdinand and Catarina (Catherine of Austria)... Ferdinand's survival is certainly a boon for everyone involved...
 
Chapter 25, December 1508
Greenwich Palace, Kingdom of England, December 1508

It was just two days after Christmas, and Giovanna sat in a sitting room with her youngest two stepdaughters, a roaring fire offsetting how cold the evening was, and they were all illuminated by candlelight. Mary was reading a book on philosophy, while Catherine was learning needlework under Giovanna’s direction. As the nervous little girl finished a weave her stepmother praised her,”Good work Catherine! You are a quick learner.”
Catherine gave her a toothy grin,”Thank you, lady mother.”
As Giovanna began to work on the second of her husband’s shirts, she heard loud footsteps pass by the door. Curious, she got up and set aside her needlework, and sung the door open. Who she found, was her stepson Henry, lumbering past in the way he often did. The two had not interacted much since August, for Giovanna felt guilty over how harshly her husband had punished him, especially as she did not even want him to do so in the first place. So, she called out to him,”Henry.”
The teen turned around, an eyebrow raised as he looked back at her,”What do you need of me, lady stepmother?”
“I… I wanted to speak with you, Mary and Catherine are also in there.”
Henry sighed,“I suppose it would be rude of me not to join you.”
She nodded,”Thank you very much, Henry.”
As they went back into the room, Giovanna returned to her seat, while Henry plopped down into an empty chair in between Mary and Giovanna. He smiled at Mary,”What are you reading sister?”
Mary shook her head as she closed the book,”Just some writings by Saint Augustine... It’s terribly boring.”
The young man chuckled,”It is rather tedious dear sister, be grateful that father lets you read what you like. I had to read it in its entirety”
Feeling this was a good opportunity, Giovanna said,”I am sorry for how your father treated you last August… I, did not want him to do what he did, but he would not listen to me.”
Her stepson gave her a rather bland response,”I am sure…”
Giovanna continued,”But there is reason to hope that he may be less strict with you soon.”
“Why would he change his conduct towards me?”
“Because I am with child again… If it is a living son, I think I can convince him to allow to have some more freedom.”
Henry, as well as his sisters, congratulated Giovanna, and he even walked over to her chair and gave her a gentle hug,”I would be very grateful if you did so… Thank you.”
Giovanna returned his embrace,”Of course, I am sure that I will be able to do so…”
 
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