Chapter 173, October 1530
Palace of Collyweston, Kingdom of England, October 1530

The birthing chamber was dimly lit, which reflected that day rather appropriately, as wails filled the space. This was no crying infant, for how could there be… No, the wails were those of a grief-stricken mother, whose lifeless child had just been carried out by the midwife. All Giovanna could do was hold the woman’s hand and do her best to try and soothe her. This wasn’t at all what the Dowager Queen had expected when the Duchess of Richmond had invited her to witness the birth of her child. The other woman was still alive, but she was hardly in a pleasant state, losing a child is the kind of pain that is worse than death itself, and this was the second stillbirth that the Duchess suffered in five years of marriage. The nursery of the castle had been empty this whole time, and Giovanna could tell it troubled her former lady greatly.

Margarery laid in bed, after having been dressed in a new shift by one of her maids, and the maiden looked at her mistress with some concern,”Are you sure you’re alright Your Grace?”

The Duchess of Richmond shrugged her shoulders,”I guess I will be fine Lucy, I am just worried.”

“I understand. What worries you, milady?” Lucy asked.

Margarery grimaced as she looked down at her now clean legs,”I am worried that I will never be able to have a living child. I am worried that my position is not secure. I am worried… worried that I shall never be happy.”

Giovanna tried to comfort the woman,“Oh dear, you’ve been through too much already. I know there is no way it can make up for your loss, but you will bear more children, trust me. As for John, well, he still loves you, he wouldn’t ever set you aside for this.”

“How can you be sure?” Margarery asked.

“He didn’t marry you for the children that you may give him. He married you for love. That and…He is a different man than his father. Lady Bryan, Lady Salisbury, and the late William Willoughby raised him well.”

The Duchess of Richmond nodded,”I think you may have a point, but I am still worried. I want to do for John what I couldn’t do for George. I want to give him children…”

“I know you do but you must give yourself time Lady Richmond. You mustn’t try again too soon, or else the next pregnancy could go even worse…”

The sound of the door swinging open on its hinges caused both women to look towards the entrance to the room, and there was John, his face ashen. He turned to the nearest midwife; his eyes wide.

“Is she alright? Is Margarery alright?” He demanded.

The woman grimaced,”Her Grace is fine but your daughter was…”

The Duke shook his head, impatient,”That is not my concern right now. I want to see my wife. Bring me to her.”
“Yes Your Grace.”

As her godson strode over, Giovanna got out of her seat by the Duchess’s side, knowing that he would want to be closer to her.

Margarery buried her face into her palms and cried,”Oh John, I failed you again… I’m so sorry”

John had outgrown the lankiness of his youth, and was now a stocky, perhaps shorter-than-average man. Nonetheless, he was able to wrap his slightly taller wife up into a loving embrace,”Shhh. Do not apologize. You did not fail me, these things happen.”

“Are…are you sure?” The woman asked.

John gently straightened the woman by her shoulders and looked into her eyes,”Yes, I am absolutely sure. You will always be my Duchess.”

Margarery’s voice cracked,”Thank you.”

It made the Dowager Queen happy to see that John had grown into such a fine young man. He may have been illegitimate, but he was a credit to the family.

The man briefly glanced at Giovanna,“Thank you for coming, I appreciate it. I apologize for being uncouth and not greeting you. I hope you can understand.”

“Of course. It doesn’t bother me at all, I didn’t need your attention, John, your wife did. There is nothing wrong with a husband being concerned for his wife above all else. If you will pardon me, I shall take my leave for now. This is a moment for the two of you to get through this, and I shan’t intrude.”

With that, Giovanna left the birthing chamber, hoping that John and Margarery would never have to bury another child.

Author's note: It'll be a few chapters before we're back in Iberia according to my outline, just so you all know.
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A sad but well-written chapter. Just one question, who is Lady Salisbury?
Aww thanks, I'm so glad you thought so! As for Lady Salisbury, she's Margaret Pole, Henry VIII's Plantagenet cousin. Though she primarily cared for Henry's legitimate children, for a time she gave some lessons on religion to John before Henry and Eleanor had a living child.
Chapter 174, April 1531
Bridewell Palace, Kingdom of England, April 1531

Her confinement had begun at the royal lodgings of Wolsey’s palace, as the man was all too happy to host the Queen of England while she was with child. To his credit, Wolsey was an attentive host, which was a comfort to Elanor given the grief that she had felt in the past months. Oh, her children and Henry were all in good health, it was a different sort of loss that she felt. It was her aunt Margaret, the woman who had raised her as her own, who had died that past December. Eleanor had naturally taken the loss rather hard but had taken solace in the fact that her aunt left the mortal plane seeing the future of her surrogate children secured. Eleanor provided Henry with his heirs and served as a go-between for her brother and her husband. Charles had ruled the Empire rather well, and since winning at Pavia years ago, had brought peace between Europe’s foremost powers.

Then there was Isabella, the Queen of Poland. Much like Eleanor she played an important diplomatic role for the family and seemed happy enough with her old husband. Most crucially, her marriage to Sigismund helped keep Sultan Suleiman in check. In short, the return of this match far exceeded the dowry that their grandfather had paid.

This left Mary, who was still grieving her husband but was serving as Regent of Bohemia and Hungary for their uncle Ernest. With assistance from the local nobility, Mary had managed to prevent the Turks from pushing any further than Esztergom. Now, despite the occasional skirmish, the woman had been able to start collecting the money that Ernest would need to push the Turks out of Hungary. Only time would tell how that would go, but within the next few years, she’d be relieved of her duties. Eleanor was grateful that at least Aunt Margaret didn’t suffer. The woman died before any amputation of her foot could occur, saving her much pain as the wound from the broken glass had become gangrenous.

In any case, as her pregnancy advanced over the months Eleanor of Austria had tried her best not to think about it. After all, she had to have more positive thoughts if she was to have a healthy baby. When her labor had concluded on the late morning of April Sixth, Eleanor was relieved. Not only was her pregnancy over, but it had ended with her delivering a boy, and a healthy one at that.

Cradling the dark-haired, light blue-eyed babe in her arms, the woman looked to Martijna,”Phillip. Tell the King that we shall name him Phillip, after my father. They met once you know, and Henry looked up to him, thought he ruled as a powerful man should.”

Her lady smiled,”I am sure he will be happy to do so. You’ve just made England’s succession more secure than it has been in decades.”

The Queen of England agreed,“You could say that.”

Looking into the wide eyes of her newest child, Eleanor smirked and whispered,”You and Harry will do great things together one day, of that I am sure.”
Huh, everything went better than expected for Eleanor here. A pleasant surprise! Welcome to the world, Philip Tudor! I wonder what title he'll get - Duke of Bedford perhaps?
Huh, everything went better than expected for Eleanor here. A pleasant surprise! Welcome to the world, Philip Tudor! I wonder what title he'll get - Duke of Bedford perhaps?
Indeed, she may be getting older but Eleanor's luck has improved somewhat. As for the title, we shall have to see, though I have other plans for Bedford, so perhaps he'll get Kendal...
philip…an interesting name, but I guess Henry is probably in a mood to indulge Eleanor, what with their having not two but three sons now
It sure is I agree, though Eleanor didn't really know her father that well, she likes him better than her mother who she felt left her and her siblings by choice, whereas Phillip died. Henry certainly will indulge her, she's given him everything he needs in terms of children!
Welcome to the world Prince Phillip - long and prosperous life to you.

Nice one Queen Eleanor - you have certainly made King Henry very happy.
Welcome to the world Prince Phillip - long and prosperous life to you.

Nice one Queen Eleanor - you have certainly made King Henry very happy.
Phillip certainly is set up to have a nice life, that much is certain. His birth certainly made Henry very happy, and while he and Eleanor may still bicker occasionally they ultimately love each other, even if Eleanor is a little cynical about him.