Chapter 175, June 1531
Durham House, Kingdom of England, June 1531
A blue-grey dress was what the bride, just weeks shy of her nineteenth birthday, wore. On top of her head was a silk veil of the same color. A silver necklace hung on her neck, the sapphire pendant winking in the midday sunlight. She had an oval face while her eyes were green. However her hair was dark, and she had olive skin, betraying her Catalan ancestry on her mother’s side. The young woman carried herself with great dignity, though a small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

It was perfectly befitting of Agnes, the twelfth Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, who had been one of the wealthiest women in England in her own right and was now joining the royal family. Standing at the entrance to the chapel, the young woman strode elegantly through the space, her maids carrying her train.

Agnes’s half-sisters by her father’s second marriage to Jane Popincourt: Alice, Lucy, Eleanor, and Maud, were all in attendance, grins on their faces as they looked on. Though she and her stepmother had a rather adversarial relationship, she was cordial towards them and doted upon the six-year-old Maud. Given the status of both bride and groom, the wedding was no small affair, with dozens of other guests, including Giovanna of Naples. Leaning on her walking stick, the woman watched as the groom waited for the bride to walk over to him. His blue eyes were wide in anticipation, but otherwise, he looked confident, hands resting on his hips. Jasper, with his blond hair and blue eyes greatly resembled his mother, though he was also tall and well-built like his father, King Henry.

Speaking of which, the King of England along with his son and heir were also there, though Queen Eleanor was a conspicuous absence. She bore no grudge against the bride, but she refused to see her husband’s youngest bastard son, and instead claimed that she needed more rest after giving birth in April. Still, she had sent Agnes a small trousseau of gowns as a gift. Not one to spend too much of the money she was hoarding from the monastic lands she acquired, the Queen of England had purchased them from Dutch merchants, and as someone who grew up in the Netherlands, received a discount on them. The Prince of Wales didn’t share any thoughts on attending, but the fact that he did so demonstrated that he wasn’t nearly as opposed to it as his mother. I am glad that he is more flexible than his mother... Giovanna thought, It is a quality that will serve him well in the future. Soon enough the ceremony itself was underway.

It was the Duke of Richmond who escorted Agnes down the aisle, with her father having died five years ago, he was the closest male relative that she had, even if only by marriage. Technically speaking, one of the bride’s many paternal uncles’ would have done, but she had informed him that they decided not to, as being escorted by her stepbrother could show off the connections that the Willoughby family had to the Tudors. It didn’t hurt that John was close to both Agnes and Jasper, as stepbrother to the bride and half-brother to the groom.

Passing the young woman off to Jasper, John smiled,”Here she is brother, be kind to my sister.”

The other Duke gave him a nervous smile, and it seemed that he’d try his best, lest he anger his half-brother.

As the Archbishop presided over the exchanging of vows, The King of England, who had been standing slightly ahead of Giovanna whispered,”I hope that these two will have more luck in giving me grandchildren than my Lord Richmond.”

Though slightly disturbed at what seemed to be a barb towards Margarery Kymbe, Giovanna merely shrugged,”God will bless their union I am sure. Agnes’s mother was pregnant three times in just as many years.”

“Well, today I see that Agnes has more to recommend her than just her wealth. Let’s just say if she were not marrying my son, she’d be a lady of high favor within my court.”

The Dowager Queen of England ignored that remark, after all, such speculation was pointless. Agnes was now a Duchess, safe from the wandering eye of her father-in-law, and Giovanna knew that, unlike Henry, Jasper would come into his marriage a virgin. Giovanna just wondered whether that would be enough to keep the boy loyal to Agnes. Antonia’s daughter deserves better than someone who will constantly stray from her.
Oink Oink
Chapter 176, July 1531
Northumberland, Kingdom of England, July 1531

Eleanor of Austria, the Queen of England sighed as she dismounted her horse. It was the end of the line; she and her daughter had made it to the border with Scotland. She told herself she'd try to stay strong, but it was incredibly hard. Mary was her favorite daughter, and it pained the Queen to part from her. Eleanor had insisted that she accompany Mary, at least as far as the border with Scotland, and Henry, satisfied with the fact that they now had three sons, granted her permission to do so. Though it gave her the chance to spend more time with her eldest, it was a bittersweet feeling. It reminded her that soon Mary would be leaving England, for an uncertain life in Scotland. Eleanor could only take comfort in the fact that Scotland was near enough to England for the two to perhaps see each other again one day.

Despite it all, the woman pushed those negative thoughts away, it would not do to look weak when her daughter needed her most. Walking forward, she met the girl on the side of the road, where daisies bloomed in the glory of that midsummer day.

Mary was almost done growing in height and was still a bit shorter than her mother. Otherwise, with her scarlet red hair and pale skin she looked a Tudor through and through. She was clad in a green riding gown and wore a French hood. The girl had proven resolute throughout the long journey, not a single complaint had left her mouth.

The teen's green eyes were filled with purpose,"I shall do my duty mother. To keep the peace between England and Scotland. To protect our family."

"I know you shall my dearest girl. I just hope that you are ready." Eleanor smiled.

Mary shifted her head, looking at her surroundings "I suppose I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. About King James, and how Scotland shall receive me."

The Queen of England nodded her head,"You are right to be. England and Scotland have not always been at peace. James the Fourth died in his foolish invasion of the North, some in Scotland may resent you. Just as they did your Aunt Margaret until she disposed of Angus and his allies. Trust nobody there but her. Your English maids and ladies will prove essential in their service to you as well. Your friend Maggie Sandys may still be young, but in time you can use her and the others to tie Scottish lords to you."

"And what about James? I remember when I was little my father's misconduct made you so sad…"

Eleanor saw her daughter's face darken. Clearly, she knew more of her father's failings than she let on.

"Do you think James may be the same?" Mary asked.

"I'm afraid he's already taken mistresses for years now. Do not do as I did when I was young, don't make a scene about it. However, make sure James depends on you, deceive him if you must. Pretend not to care but make yourself influential enough to eliminate any threats to your power. As for happiness, well, if James acts improperly, you must find distractions. Reading, little luxuries or just moving forward with the day. Never surrender to your enemies or your feelings. That is what you must do to prevail as Queen."

Having listened to her mother's advice, Mary stepped forward and embraced her mother,"Thank you, mother, thank you for this, for everything. I'll do my best; I promise I'll make you and Father proud."

Eleanor tightened her grip around her daughter, breathing in the air around her to take in the scent of her daughter's perfumes,"I know you will. I love you."

"I love you too mother."

Pulling away, Mary shot a glance at her entourage. They were waiting patiently, but she'd have to leave soon. So, she gave her mother one last smile, and turned away, striding towards her horse. Mary would be safe from the border reivers at least, her large detachment of guards would ensure that. There was no threat to her safety, at least not before she was wed. Helped onto her mount by one of the soldiers, she settled into the saddle, now prepared for the final part of her journey. Then she spurred her horse, prompting the horse, and all the other riders, to steadily move forward, their colorful attire peaking over the grassland that surrounded them.

Eleanor's face became wet with hot tears as she watched her eldest daughter ride off, only interrupted when Mary turned back to wave at her. It was then that the woman forced herself to smile and waved back. She didn't want what could be Mary's last image of her to be of a woman who couldn't hold herself together. So, she made herself look happy, hoping that her daughter could not see the pain on her face. It was only when Mary's entourage fell out of sight that she let go, and Eleanor sank to the ground, sobbing.
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Poor Eleanor. Hopefully James learns discretion with his affairs and Mary takes after her mother’s more prudent qualities.
It's certainly a hard time for her. Between the time of Elizabeth's death and Henry's birth Mary was Eleanor's only living child, so she has a special bond with her, one that makes marrying her off terribly hard. As for James, well he might, hopefully he'll recognize that he can't live the same life he lived as a bachelor. Mary most likely will be more patient, she's received some good advice from her mother before the wedding after all, and she saw that (directly) fighting over affairs had mixed results at best for her mother...
Good luck to Mary, perhaps she can manage James like Eleanor came to manage Henry.

At least your daughter is in Scotland Eleanor and not as far away as Poland or Hungary, you can still write quickly and of course your Progress should be able to get this far north occasionally for a meet.
Good luck to Mary, perhaps she can manage James like Eleanor came to manage Henry.

At least your daughter is in Scotland Eleanor and not as far away as Poland or Hungary, you can still write quickly and of course your Progress should be able to get this far north occasionally for a meet.
She'll need the luck for sure, but she's also partially witnessed the early struggles of her mother's marriage to her father, so she knows that discretion is key.

Yeah it's not so far away that it would be impossible for them to see one another again, but it'll be at least a couple of years at the earliest, and it'll be a very long wait for Eleanor...