Chapter 107, August 1519
Alcazaba of Badajoz, Kingdom of Castile, August 1519

Her entrance into the Alcazaba was not without great fanfare. It is not, after all, every day that the King and Queen of Portugal come to visit neighboring Spain. All was well in Portugal, and Manuel felt this a good opportunity to give his heir some practice in rulership, so Prince João was left to govern as regent. Courtiers fawned upon them, Catalina had been popular when she governed Spain on her nephew’s behalf, and so it was only natural that they should pay her attention. But it was one person in particular that she sought out. Beatriz Galindo, always clad in widow’s black as always, curtseyed low before her,”Majestad.”

Catalina motioned for her to come and join her and Manuel as they walked through the gallery. Beatriz did so, walking slightly behind and to the right of the Queen.

“How is the Queen Doña Isabella?”

“She is well milady; the prince’s birth was rather difficult, but she is recovering.”

“Good.” She sighed in relief, she knew childbirth could be all too dangerous, and it wasn’t as if the women of her family had the best history of surviving births.

Making their way through the Alcazaba, where Bishop de la Mota had been hosting the King and Queen since the weeks before the birth. As it was the residence of the bishop, there were plenty of icons. Catalina felt soothed by the icons that represented both the purity of the blessed virgin and the suffering of Christ. God has blessed their union, and they will both lead Spain to greatness.



They soon found themselves within Isabella of Portugal’s bedchamber, where the young Queen of Spain was spending the last days of her confinement. Manuel and Catalina lingered by the door for a moment, as Isabella’s ladies fluttered around where she sat in her bed. They all curtseyed before them, but the Queen of Portugal was much more focused on their mistress. The young Queen sat up in her bed, smiling,”Father! Aunt Catalina, I am so happy that you have come!”

The King of Spain stood by her and placed a hang on her shoulder,”Careful love, please do not overexert yourself.”

Isabella rolled her eyes,”Do not worry Ferdinand, I am quite alright. Doña Beatriz practically confined me to this bed for the past two weeks.”

Speaking of which, Beatriz was in quiet discussion with one of Isabella’s ladies, likely trying to prod out any details on Isabella of Portugal’s health. Catalina walked to the woman’s bedside and hugged her gently,”Now Beatriz may be a little overzealous, but she has served our family well for decades. Why, she even saved Ferdinand’s life when he took ill as a child.”

She could see a slight smile creep its way onto Beatriz Galindo’s face as she overheard this, no doubt happy to be recognized. Manuel for his part patted his son-in-law on the shoulder,”Good lad, I am very happy that you are taking good care of my daughter… Now how is my first grandchild?”

“My son fares quite well father…” Isabella answered,”Were he not sleeping I would have you come and see him.”

“But I suppose he will need his rest before the ceremony, and then afterwards we can see him all we want…” The Queen of Portugal suggested

Manuel nodded at this, and Ferdinand replied,”Of course auntie, the two of you shall have a grand place within the ceremony too.”

Good, my niece is healthy, and the succession secured… Catalina thought



The grandees of the realm were all present. The Mendoza, De Toledo, and De Córdoba clans were in the throne room, just to name a few. The Queen of Portugal and her husband looked on with pride, standing just a short distance to the side of where Ferdinand prepared to swear his son in as the Prince of Asturias.

The lanky teen held his newborn son in his arms tenderly, presenting him to all gathered with a father’s pride. Taking a step forward, Ferdinand began,”I have summoned you all here today to present to you my son Prince Juan. As eldest son of my union with our must illustrious Queen Isabella, he is my heir. So, I ask of you, would you all shed your blood to preserve him, and thus this Kingdom as am willing to? To do everything in your power to protect the Prince of Asturias, and thus our future?”

Ferdinand, sixth of his name to rule over Castile turned his head to his aunt slightly, the signal that her part was now to come.

Catalina of Aragon raised her voice,”As an Infanta of these Kingdoms of Spain, I do so swear to serve Prince Juan. Long live Prince Juan, and long live the King!”

With this, all the others joined in, with cries of “Long live Prince Juan, and long live the King!” filling the room.

With this cacophony of noise, the child in Ferdinand’s arms whimpered a little, and Catalina smiled warmly as her nephew soothed his son into being quiet once more, tears of joy in her eyes Precious Prince Juan, I pray that you will honor your uncle’s memory and become one of the best kings Christendom has ever seen.
 
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Chapter 108, June 1520
Balinghem, Kingdom of England, June 1520

A woman to her left coughs a little, the horses neighed, stomping their feet impatiently. The Queen of England herself was growing rather irritated by the situation, How long could it possibly take for these two men to greet each other?

Well apparently, not too much longer. Her husband Henry rode back, trotting his horse, tall and imposing as ever. To his right was another man. A bit shorter, with a large nose and swarthy complexion, Eleanor swore that it was a Moslem in front of her rather than a Frenchman. The fine blue cloak, he wore, covered with gold fleurs de lis, as well as his jeweled crown proved this rather humorous reverie wrong. Sitting atop her mount, she was not near enough to hear the words that passed between the two Kings, Henry and Francis, but they can’t have been bad as the two rode up the crest of the hill together.

Soon enough the sound of trumpets filled her ears, and Eleanor turned to notice that her brother Charles and his entourage were there. Her brother! After all these years she’d set her eyes upon him and see how he’s grown into a man. Though she lit up with joy at this reunion, she knew she would have to wait until later to express her happiness. Now, in this meeting of Europe’s three foremost Princes, she would have to maintain an air of dignified stoicism. The next two weeks would be historic, and hopefully, productive in creating a more peaceful Europe, though Eleanor was somewhat skeptical on the last bit. These three proud young men not wage war to expand their realms? Unthinkable!



She sat at the head of the table, where the women of the three kingdoms were enjoying a sumptuous dessert. To the left side of the table sat King Francis’s relations. His wife, Queen Claude, who, if Eleanor was being honest, was rather fat and a little ugly chewed on a sponge cake. The other French woman was Marguerite, Duchesse de Bourbon, who, after both their spouses had died in 1518, had remarried to Charles III of Bourbon several months ago. This marriage seemed to cool down the tensions between King Francis and the Duke of Bourbon, while also providing Marguerite with a suitable match. To her right sat only one woman, for the Holy Roman Empress was unable to attend. Instead, her young sister Mary was there, which greatly pleased Eleanor. She had not expected to see her before she was to leave for Hungary, or in fact ever again.

“How is the Empress Catherine?” Eleanor inquired

A broad smile came across Mary of Austria’s round face,”The Empress is in good health, as is our niece the Archduchess Elisabeth. Aunt Margaret has made sure to purchase those oranges that Catherine is so fond of.”

I am so happy to hear that, Charles deserves such happiness, perhaps I can convince Henry to go visit our niece at Mechelen before we set sail for England again.

Setting her goblet of wine down, Marguerite of Angouleme leaned her head forward a little,”Perhaps then, the Archudchess could be betrothed to the Dauphin, and her cousin Princess Mary to the Duc d’Orleans. Such bonds of marriage could guarantee peace between our three nations.”

Marguerite was clever, Eleanor had to admit. Framing such a thing in this way, to make it seem unobjectionable. She would never stand for this, however. Her daughter Mary, as a presumptive heiress should never marry someone so dangerous as a French Prince, especially with other royal matches available. Chiefly her uncle Charles, who as Henry’s closest male relation could boast a claim to the throne, or even her young great uncle Ernst. Besides, Marguerite was not the only one adept at politics. Eleanor of Austria had cunning in her blood, courtesy of her grandfathers Maximillian of Austria and Ferdinand of Aragon. As such Eleanor could see through the rather transparent aim to potentially place the Valois on the English throne one day.

The Queen of England narrowed her eyes slightly, meeting Marguerite’s gaze,”We shall have to see what the future holds Madame Marguerite.”

Before the woman could respond, Eleanor turned to Claude,”Speaking of the future, I can see that you are with child again Votre Majesté. I must say that I have never seen a woman who glowed so when she was with child.”

The little Queen of France blushed when she heard this, clearly, she did not receive compliments on her appearance often. Indeed, this was not a real compliment, but a lie, a little flattery. It worked, at least with Claude, her more perceptive sister-in-law raising a brow at this.

“But about the betrothal…” The Duchesse de Bourbon added

Queen Claude cut her sister-in-law off,”Let’s not be rude to La reine d'Angleterre, she speaks of future children, surely a topic you should be keen on yourself.”

The Duchesse de Bourbon’s lip stiffened, it was evident that for the most part, it was she who dominated the court, not her sister-in-law the Queen. So, such a reprimand, mild though it may be, must be unnerving.

The Queen of England continued,“I suspect that you yourself will have a child soon Marguerite, there is a symmetry to these matters.”

“Oh?” Marguerite replied, puzzled

It worked, she had boxed Marguerite into this topic, steering her away from the talk of betrothals,”My sister-in-law the Queen of Denmark and I quickened in the same year twice, which I dare say is proof that these things happen in patterns. Tell me, have you thought of names yet?”

“I...” The Duchesse of Bourbon stammered,”I have considered Louise after my mother for a daughter, and Charles or Jean for a son.”

“Lovely names” Eleanor murmured, she reached for a pear, duplicity could work up quite the appetite.



The past weeks of celebration were certainly something. There had been quite a bit of hedonism, to say the least, plenty of food and drink, and while they tried to hide it, women for the three Princes. Eleanor’s husband had at least mostly stuck to her and Caroljin, though there were a few pretty French women. They were French though and would stay on the continent so the Queen of England tolerated Henry’s indiscretions. Francis was already a notorious lecher, and with his wife with child, he had no impediment. What troubled her, however, was that her brother Charles had partaken in such things. There had been this beautiful young Dutch woman, Johanna Maria who had been a part of Charles’s entourage, and there were several occasions where the two had both been missing. This was something that had surprised Eleanor, she did not think that Charles would do such a thing.

This had done much more than a surprise to Eleanor. In fact, she was infuriated by her younger brother’s conduct. Catherine is a better wife than I, and yet he strays as Henry does. So she endeavored to do something about it before they left for Mechelen.

The Queen walked alone to the chambers that had been prepared for Charles in the rather makeshift palace.

“I need to speak to the Emperor, alone.”

A tired old guard nodded,”Very well Majesty, I shall ask.”

He entered the room, and after what seemed like ages the guard returned to his post outside the door, bowing,”His Imperial Majesty is ready to receive you, your Majesty.”

“Thank you, sir.” The young woman replied, before entering the room.

Although the palace was very much a temporary one, the rooms were quite lavish. Tapestries hung from the walls, and fine furniture (including the bed that apparently had gotten quite a bit of use) no doubt was very comfortable.

“Leave us.” Was all that she said to the groom in the room, who naturally obeyed the command.

Rising from his chair, her brother hugged her, and for a moment the Queen had wished that Charles hadn’t needed to be scolded. Oh, Charles why must you ruin things?

Pulling away, she asked,”I hear that Johanna Maria has been seen here on several occasions, may I ask what the meaning of this is?

“Well, she is very beautiful…” Charles hesitated

Eleanor rolled her eyes, sarcastic,“I’m sure that will be great consolation to your wife when she finds out you are an adulterer.”

“Catherine wasn’t able to come with me, since she just gave birth. Besides, I am Holy Roman Emperor, it is my right to enjoy the company of a woman if I please.”

“You are a fucking disgrace!” Eleanor shouted

“Sister, how dare you speak to me like that?!” Charles rose his voice, red with anger

“I do because it is true. You wrote of your great love for the Empress, how she is a obedient, kind girl, and this is how you repay her?”

Her younger brother huffed at this and this only infuriated Eleanor further. Raising her hand, she slapped his bearded face. Her hand stung from his large, angular chin, and the young man spluttered,”What in God’s name was that for?”

“Your wife, she is far too gentle to do so herself. You deserve it and more, do you have any idea how this will break her heart? Yet you do not seem to care. I thought you were better brother, but you are just like all these other men. Weak… You tell your wife you love her above all other’s and then you betray her in this way? I hope that our sister Mary does not have to suffer what you have just put your wife through, but you seem determined to set a bad example for young Louis.”

He hung his head in shame,”Eleanor I am sorry, I was not thinking.”

“Yes, that much is clear. Now, when we go to Mechelen you will apologize to the Empress Catherine and never lay with Johanna Maria again or I will make myself an impossible guest.”

Charles the Fifth, Holy Roman Emperor sighed,”As you wish dear sister.”



As they made to leave, Eleanor of Austria approached Cardinal Wolsey, as a dozen servants scrambled to load the many chests and other belongings onto the carriage.

“I appreciate all of the work that you put into arranging this Cardinal Wolsey. While I know better than to think peace will last forever, perhaps there will be a few years of peace in Europe thanks to your efforts.”
The morning sunlight shone on Wolsey’s plump face,”I hope so my Queen, I hope so."
 
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Oh Eleanor, surely you can’t be too surprised by your brother’s behavior, especially since Catherine has just given birth and likely isn’t in any condition to sleep with Charles again anyways. But at least she’s accepted that Henry will sleep with other women.
 
Oh Eleanor, surely you can’t be too surprised by your brother’s behavior, especially since Catherine has just given birth and likely isn’t in any condition to sleep with Charles again anyways. But at least she’s accepted that Henry will sleep with other women.
Well, she does have skewed views in regards to Charles and thought he wouldn't do so. She (perhaps unfairly) holds her younger brother to higher standards than she does her husband. As far as the other women go, she begrudgingly tolerates it so long as Henry's main mistress is someone she can trust. Thank you so very much!
 
Well, she does have skewed views in regards to Charles and thought he wouldn't do so. She (perhaps unfairly) holds her younger brother to higher standards than she does her husband. As far as the other women go, she begrudgingly tolerates it so long as Henry's main mistress is someone she can trust. Thank you so very much!
You’re welcome! And Eleanor’s attitude towards Charles does make a lot of sense - I’m sure he was doted on by all the women in his life growing up haha
 
Eleanor seems to put Charles on a pedestal she does not expect Henry to climb. Charles needs to be more discreet.

What did the meeting decide in the end? What grand treaty will these King's children be ignoring over some slight later?
 
Eleanor seems to put Charles on a pedestal she does not expect Henry to climb. Charles needs to be more discreet.

What did the meeting decide in the end? What grand treaty will these King's children be ignoring over some slight later?
Yeah Eleanor definitely expects much more out of her brother, perhaps for good reason. It didnt exactly do anything different than in IOTL except for the very vague idea of keeping peace in Europe which will totally be effective /s Thank you for your input!
 
Yeah Eleanor definitely expects much more out of her brother, perhaps for good reason. It didnt exactly do anything different than in IOTL except for the very vague idea of keeping peace in Europe which will totally be effective /s Thank you for your input!
To be fair Henry IOTL respected basically none of the treaties he signed and the butterflies here will not change that core part of his personality...
 
Chapter 109, July 1520
Richmond Palace, Kingdom of England, July 1520

Giovanna of Naples was rather pleased that the King and Queen would be back soon. She detested being regent, she had little interest in ruling but as her stepson’s closest living relative, she was left to do so in his stead while he was away in France and Flanders. The woman was decent with managing finances though, so she supposed that even if she did not want the job, she, along with assistance from the prominent men of the realm, did well enough. Sitting in the council chambers, the Dowager Queen was eager for the day’s proceedings to end.

The old Duke of Norfolk, rambled on,”The rents from London have came in Your Majesty, and they are about what we had expected.”

“That is very good my Lord Treasurer.”Giovanna nodded

The woman looked around the room and could see that all the others looked rather bored, with several rather visibly searching for a chance to leave.

“I suppose that if there are no other pressing issues, gentlemen, you are dismissed.”

Standing from their chairs the men promptly scampered their ways out of the room, and, as Giovanna moved from the throne where she sat on Henry’s behalf, she noticed that one man had lingered. It was Norfolk of course, who was rifling through some papers in the middle of the table.

“Are there any other matters my Lord Treasurer?”

The man gathered up the papers, no doubt reports on taxation, and replied,”Nothing terribly important. My daughter Elizabeth wanted me to inform you that Agnes Willoughby has come to court.”

“Ah good, it will be nice to see her again…” Giovanna murmured in response.

Agnes Willoughby, the daughter of her late friend Antonia de Cardona, and her husband the Baron Willoughby was someone whom the Dowager Queen was eager to see. As Agnes’s mother had died birthing her, this left Giovanna to try and be a surrogate mother to the poor girl. Matters were not helped by the fact that her stepmother, Jane Popincourt, a Baroness thanks to her marriage, was often indifferent at best towards her. Giovanna couldn’t help but feel that the fact that Jane’s only son by the Baron was stillborn probably did not help, so her daughters by William were behind Agnes in terms of inheriting their father’s title. William and Jane's two living children, were both daughters, Alice, born in 1516, and Lucy who had just reached her first birthday two months ago.

As such Giovanna had a bright smile on her face when she stepped out into the courtyard to meet the girl. Young Agnes curtseyed before waving happily as the woman joined her and her father. Stepping forward she presented a piece of paper to her,”Your Majesty, I hope that this drawing will make you happy, my governess Mabel said it resembles you well.”

The Dowager Queen gently took the drawing into her hand. It was mostly correct, even if it seemed to idealize her somewhat, Giovanna noted that I’m a bit fatter than this would suggest

“It shall, it is very pretty, you have great talent for drawing Mia cara.”

The girl of eight smiled shyly at this, and her father, along with her thin, older governess both looked on with pride at Agnes. It seems she will make a fine Baroness one day, and of course, we will be family when she marries Henry’s natural son Jasper.

This gave Giovanna an idea, one that she hoped could mean that Eleanor would be good to the child when she inevitably married into the family, even if Eleanor did hate the boy’s mother Bessie,”Perchance I may introduce you to Their Majesties and the Princess Mary when they return from Flanders.”

The girl bowed her head,”I would be very honored to do so, thank you Queen Giovanna.”

“Of course Agnes, I owe it to your mother to do what I can to help you.”

Curious, the child asked,”What was she like Your Majesty?”

Feeling a bit sad, but also wistful at remembering her friend, Giovanna said,”Antonia was very kind, and diligent. She always looked after me, even when she had her own problems.”
“She sounds like she was a good woman.” Agnes murmured

“Antonia was, and I know that you will be like her, and you will be one of the foremost women of the realm.”

They all continued talking, spending a good deal of time in the courtyard, and it was occasions such as this that made Giovanna grateful for what she had, even if at times her duties were troublesome.
...
Credit to @pandizzy for giving me the idea of Agnes giving Giovanna a drawing of her.
 
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Great chapter! I love seeing Giovanna with her old friend’s daughter and I hope eleanor doesn’t hold it against Agnes that she’s engaged to Henry’s illegitimate son.
 
Great chapter! I love seeing Giovanna with her old friend’s daughter and I hope eleanor doesn’t hold it against Agnes that she’s engaged to Henry’s illegitimate son.
I'm glad that you liked it, thank you so much for your kind words. As for Eleanor, well we shall see but she probably will understand that Agnes didn't ask to be engaged to Jasper, even if it is a great match for her.
 
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