Titulus Princeps: Bessie Blount Has A Girl

X: Christmas 1528
Well, this is a timely chapter.. Enjoy - and best wishes for the festive season!

“Her Highness the Princess Mary!”

The heralds’ trumpets echoed through the hall, and the twelve-year-old glided down the hall of Greenwich Palace, the skirts of her dove-grey woollen gown pooling out around her as she curtsied to her father.

“Papa,” she greeted, and a surprised murmur rippled round the hall at her words, for Mary was a woman grown, far past the age where she could really get away with greeting her father so informally in public.

Henry, however, didn’t move to chide his only daughter. It was, after all, Mary’s first appearance at Court since her mother’s death, and he knew his pearl well enough to know that, despite her façade of poise, she was only one ill-timed comment away from breaking down completely.

“My precious pearl,” Rising from his throne, he clasped her in his arms, kissing her on both cheeks, “How good it is to see you. We shall have a merry Christmas together, shall we not?”

It took Mary a moment to respond, and, indeed, those closest to the dais, such as the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, saw her shoulders heave with effort before she managed to nod, “Yes, Papa. Mama would want us to celebrate Christ’s birth with all due honour.”

“It pleases me to hear you say that,” Henry replied, squeezing Mary to him for a moment, before turning her round to face the plump, dark-haired woman seated on the steps of the dais, “I agree with you, darling. Your mother, bless her soul, was ever one for piety and duty. As such, I know she’d be pleased to see me marrying again so that England may have a Prince and be spared the horrors of a repeat Cousins’ War. May I present my sweetheart, the woman who will be your new mother, the Lady Mary Talbot?”

The Duchess of Suffolk winced to hear her brother bring his paramour into things so quickly and publicly. Had her brother no tact at all? Even agreeing to try for a merry Christmas had clearly cost her niece nearly everything she had to give, and now she had to face her new stepmother immediately? Couldn’t Henry see that this was bound to go disastrously?

The silence stretched uncomfortably, the two young women all too obviously sizing each other up. The Court waited with bated breath, wondering which of them was going to blink first. Mary Tudor was a Princess born, but Lady Mary Talbot was the future Queen. Which of them would bend the knee to the other?

In the end, Her Grace of Suffolk needn’t have worried. Queen Katherine and Lady Salisbury had taught Mary better than to collapse, no matter what the men in her life asked of her. Reading the room in the tick of her father’s jaw and the mulish set of his shoulders, the young Princess swept down to the floor.

“My Lady. It is a pleasure to meet the woman who plays such an important role in my father’s life. Please, allow me to present you with a gift for the season. You too, Papa.”

The young blonde clapped her hands, and a page scurried forward, bearing a pair of matching caskets, one slightly bigger than the other.

Henry took them in his hands, passing the larger one to Mary Talbot as his daughter directed him too.

They opened them together, and Henry gasped in pleasure at the sight of his gift. It was a finely tooled belt of emerald leather, thickly embroidered with blackwork in the shape of roses and pomegranates entwined together.

Emboldened by his obvious pleasure in his gift, Mary leaned her head on his arm, more affectionate than she usually was in public, “I did the embroidery myself, Papa. I know Mama always liked to bless you before you rode out hunting, so I thought, this way you could take her with you forever.”

“Oh, Mary,” Henry’s breath caught in his throat, and, for a moment, tears gleamed in his blue eyes, before he collected himself and looked up to the dais, to Mary Talbot, “What have you been gifted, my darling?”

Mary leapt in, beaming, before her mother-to-be could form a word to reply, “Oh, I embroidered her a hood to match your belt, Papa. After all, you said it yourself, Mama would want you to marry again and sire a legitimate son. As such, I thought my new mother should have Mama’s blessing too, and Lady Salisbury thought it was a lovely idea.”

Mary’s tone was as sweet as honey. Her blue eyes sparkled as she looked up at the woman who would become her stepmother in a matter of days.

The plump brunette was trapped and she knew it. However distasteful she might find such a brazen display of her predecessor’s emblem, to refuse the Princess’s gift would be seen as outright churlish, particularly if she did so in front of the Court, who still adored Mary beyond all reason. And given she’d already omitted to curtsy to Mary… she couldn’t afford to make a scene. At least not here and not now.

She gritted her teeth, managing a thin smile for her betrothed’s sake.

“How…thoughtful, Mary, darling. I’m sure we’ll be very good friends before long.”

Forcing herself to her feet, she crossed the room to the younger woman and pecked her lightly on the cheek.

“Well, isn’t that a pretty picture?!” Henry burst into applause at her actions, and the Court, ever sycophantic, followed suit.

Whatever their private thoughts on the matter, the two Marys had no choice but to smile sweetly and acknowledge the praise.
 
Interesting chapter. Good on Mary Tudor the Younger to act well. BTW, just out of curiosity, I checked around Mary Talbot's family tree and found out that Edward III is most recent common ancestor she share with Henry VIII. They are 5th cousin twice removed on both sides of Henry VIII's parents. Ah, cousin marriages*, like or dislike them, one have to agree that they make things interesting.

*Just because I am okay with the cousin marriages doesn't mean that I approve of 1st and/or 2nd cousin marriages every generation. That's just dangerous to the genes of family lines.
 
Last edited:
They are 5th cousin twice removed on both sides of Henry VIII's parents. Ah, cousin marriages, like or dislike them, one have to agree that they make things interesting.*
Healthier then first or second cousins. Fifth cousins aren't as closely related as others.
Just because I am okay with the cousin marriages doesn't mean that I approve of 1st and/or 2nd cousin marriages every generation. That's just dangerous to the genes of family lines.
True that.
 
Very clever acting Mary… your new stepmother will not have an easy life around you…
Oh yeah, Henry's going to have FUN juggling these two!
Great job! Mary really acted well!
She did, didn't she?
Interesting chapter. Good on Mary Tudor the Younger to act well. BTW, just out of curiosity, I checked around Mary Talbot's family tree and found out that Edward III is most recent common ancestor she share with Henry VIII. They are 5th cousin twice removed on both sides of Henry VIII's parents. Ah, cousin marriages, like or dislike them, one have to agree that they make things interesting.*

*Just because I am okay with the cousin marriages doesn't mean that I approve of 1st and/or 2nd cousin marriages every generation. That's just dangerous to the genes of family lines.
Unfortunately, if I am going to give Princess Mary a crown her mother would approve of TTL, as I have promised, I suspect she'll have to have a first cousin marriage. I take your point and will try and avoid them for her half-siblings!
 
Last edited:
They are 5th cousin twice removed on both sides of Henry VIII's parents.
Healthier then first or second cousins. Fifth cousins aren't as closely related as others.
Fifth cousins are sometimes not even related. 1st cousins share between 4% and 23% of their DNA. 2nd cousins share between 2% and 6%. 3rd cousins share between 0% and 2.2%. And 4th cousins share between 0% and 0.8%. 5th cousins maybe if they are very lucky (or unlucky 🤷🏻‍♀️) will share 0.05% at the most.
 
Unfortunately, if I am going to give Princess Mary a crown her mother would approve of TTL, as I have promised, I suspect she'll have to have a first cousin marriage. I take your point and try and avoid them for her half-siblings!
Like I said, I doesn't approve the 1st cousin or/and 2nd cousin marriage happening every generation. However, with Henry VIII and Mary Talbot being 5th cousin twice removed, their children will be fine when it comes to the genetics.
 
Fifth cousins are sometimes not even related. 1st cousins share between 4% and 23% of their DNA. 2nd cousins share between 2% and 6%. 3rd cousins share between 0% and 2.2%. And 4th cousins share between 0% and 0.8%. 5th cousins maybe if they are very lucky (or unlucky 🤷🏻‍♀️) will share 0.05% at the most.
That depends on the number of ancestors, I believe. I didn't look at the whole family tree of Mary Talbot but I can tell you that she was descended from William the Conqueror at least four times.
 
Don’t you mean their daughters will be fine when it comes to genetics?
No, I mean their children. There is no way to tell what gender the babies would be before they would be born in that time period. Of course, I wouldn't want the son of Mary Talbot to be on the throne, but still! However! Just because Henry VIII's OTL sons were born dead or died young, it doesn't mean that there was something wrong with their genetics. Mortality for the babies and children was far higher at the time than it is today, after all.
 
Don’t you mean their daughters will be fine when it comes to genetics?
No, I mean their children. There is no way to tell what gender the babies would be before they would be born in that time period. Of course, I wouldn't want the son of Mary Talbot to be on the throne, but still! However! Just because Henry VIII's OTL sons were born dead or died young, it doesn't mean that there was something wrong with their genetics. Mortality for the babies and children was far higher at the time than it is today, after all.
Everyone just wants Mary and Henry to have daughters... I'm saying nothing at all, other than to promise I'm not giving this pairing the same trajectory as it was in Queen Twice Over :evilsmile:
 
Everyone just wants Mary and Henry to have daughters... I'm saying nothing at all, other than to promise I'm not giving this pairing the same trajectory as it was in Queen Twice Over :evilsmile:
I am not even going to try to figure out what is going on in your head(though it is entertaining, even if I don't agree with some of the events). But long as you make it hard for Mary to get a son, that is fine with me.
 
Last edited:
Top