WI: All of Katherine of Aragon's children live to adulthood

Interlude-Letters II
Dearest Mary, Queen of France, greetings

Sweet child, a king never asks for forgiveness so I ask you instead as a father to a daughter. My words were made in grief and anger. My pearl, you are the milk of human kindness and a true Christian woman. Your brother and his pregnant wife (and that is another matter for another day) were homeless, so of course you would not let them be without bread and board.

My blood runs too hot, my darling girl, and it caused me to lash out at you unfairly. Your husband flaunts his mistresses, invites pagans to court, and keeps your children from you. And here I am, your beloved father, scolding you for behaving in a most holy of ways. The death of Harry's boy has utterly crushed me and your mother's collapse has filled me with fear. But that is no excuse, his Rose blooms as well as her sister, and they shall be raised better than that fool of a boy.

As angry as I am at that boy, I understand he is your flesh and blood. I am proud of you, my Mary, please never think differently. You are your mother's daughter and I am eternally grateful for that.

All my love, Henry Rex.

Dear sister Cat,

I admit I was weary of being the ambassador to France, with the rumors of the growing Calvinist movement, the worsening relation between our two countries, and now they house our disgraced Duke of York. Speaking of the latter, I was given the great honor of witnessing the christening of the Earl of Nottingham.

Allow me to paint you a picture. A hundred spectators including the priest, the Dauphin Henri, and young Piers Fitzyork looking at the babe in Mistress Cobin's arms and then glancing back at the grinning countenance of Thomas Seymour: a man of much wit and little judgement. Only the Duke of York seemed oblivious. He kept crowing on and on about how his son is his spitting image. There was a tiny part of me who remembered my old friend and I wanted to warn him. But if he refuses to accept the evidence in front of his face then I doubt he would listen to me.

It took all my energy not to scream as the Duke of Berry just added to the humiliation by constantly agreeing that the babe looks exactly like his father. Thankfully, in rare show of dignity, King Charles told him to knock it off. Furthermore, he at least had the decency to comfort his wife, sending her and dauphin out so she would not have to watch her brother make a fool of herself.

As for the Lady Anne, I thank God that I am married to my darling Bess and not that spiteful shrew. True, she married to floppish cur whose treatment of her is most cruel, but to not only have a lover, but also to birth a bastard and call him after said lover is utterly scandalous.

Truly, this is a blessing though. In fact, Princess Catherine should be kissing the feet of her uncle. If he had not driven his wife into the arms of Thomas Seymour, and had she not birthed an obvious bastard, I doubt the princess' cause would be so strong even with her grandfather and the parliament's backing.

Raise a diligent and intelligent queen, Cat, for England shall need one to keep that deluded cur and that Seymour in Tudor clothing from the throne.

Regards, Your brother, William Parr.
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Henry's six wives in the TL:

Katherine of Aragon: She is the queen and her husband is still head over heels in love with her.

Anne Boleyn: She is married to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and has little to do with court politics.

Jane Seymour: Currently serving Queen Katherine, but after her brother's scandal is planning on getting away from the drama and becoming a nun.

Catherine Parr: Has the honor of being governess to the future queen of England.

Kitty Howard: Got a brief mention where I hint at a developing relationship between her and....

Anna of Cleves: Stay tuned for the next installment where she gets married to a widowed king who treats her right.
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Interesting letters there.

I wonder what reply Henry got from Mary? I suspect it was rather terse.

That christening sounds hilarious. Edward is just showing what an idiot he can be in front of the French nobility, while Anne lets the insult just sit there in plain view. I bet Edward insisted his mistress was at the ceremony somehow....
Am I missing bits here? Which Bess?
Everyone has the same name so it can get confusing. Elisabeth Brooke was William Parr's second wife after he annulled his marriage with Anne Bouchier. In this tl, Elisabeth Brooke and William Parr marry earlier.
Interesting letters there.

I wonder what reply Henry got from Mary? I suspect it was rather terse.

That christening sounds hilarious. Edward is just showing what an idiot he can be in front of the French nobility, while Anne lets the insult just sit there in plain view. I bet Edward insisted his mistress was at the ceremony somehow....
Mary's response is brimming with sarcasm, assuring her father that she has gotten so good at turning the other cheek.

As for the Christening since Piers Fitzyork is there, part of the ceremony, his mother Eleanor is as well. And it just makes it so more absurd because anyone with eyes can see the difference between Piers and his "half-brother". Edward has really doubled down on he has a healthy legitimate male heir that he just acts like a complete idiot while his wife's lover just grins.
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London, England

"I dreamt of Harry and Bess." Katherine murmured as she cuddled against her husband. "Little Eddie was with them." They laid in their marriage bed together, enjoying the brief time they had before it would be time to get up.

King Henry stroked her hair, trying to ignore the tightening of his chest. If he were to be honest, Harry and Bess were his favorites. They had been born during the first few years of his reign. He had been young and foolish, believing that gaining everything he ever wanted meant that he could have it all. God had made sure he paid the price for his arrogance by taking away his greatest gifts.

"Harry implored me not to cry for them," Katherine continued, sniffling slightly. "He said they were happy. That they wanted us to know that we were doing the right thing. Our granddaughter will be a queen among queens. Another golden age for England." She knew that there were whispers around court about female ruler, even disparaging her beloved sister, who was also Princess Rose's grandmother. However, Katherine was determined to make her granddaughter queen.

Henry grunted. "I wish I could share our boy's optimism." He shook his head, his tone filled with disgust. "If only John had been born before him. John is a bright boy with a good head on his shoulders. He would never shame our family and he would never let his wife have a lover under his nose, and making himself a mockery by letting his wife's bastard be called a Tudor."

"I know, Henry, I know." Katherine's heart clenched as she thought of the foolishness of her son. When had it gone wrong? How did they raise such a cold-hearted, deluded child? But it mattered not, not to Katherine. Her mother had been queen in her own right as did her sister, why should her granddaughter be denied such an opportunity just because of her sex? She was not a lion, but she was a lion's cub.

"God willing I shall be able to mold her into the ruler her father and her brother never got to be," Henry prayed. He then smiled. "Have you read the reports from her tutors. Already she is fluent in Latin and Greek. They say her arithmetic is advanced for a girl her age. She has the stomach for a king. If only she had been born male."

Katherine reached up and stroked his cheek. "Don't get lost in what might have been, my darling. She is our granddaughter, great-granddaughter of----"

"Three great monarchs," Henry finished, an ounce of humor in his gruff tone. "You have told me, Kat, and I believe you." He would take his wife's advice and look towards the future. In fact, he would count his blessings that even after the many tragedies, he still had the love of his life.

Northumberland, England
Anne Percy nee Boleyn smiled as she watched her Henry running around with their daughters. Catherine, Elizabeth, and Anne ran from their father, shrieking delightedly as he pretended to chase them. Little Hal and baby George watched them from their spots on her lap.

The game came to an abrupt stop when one of Hal's manservant called him. Her three girls come over to the picnic basket and begin to dig into the food the cooks had spent so many hours preparing. While her older children dug in and her younger children snoozed, Anne watched her husband talking to Francis, suspecting she knew what they were discussing.

Her husband soon turned around, shooting her an annoyed look. He curled a finger and beckoned her over. Anne called for Martha to sit with the children as she got up and went to her husband.

"Yes, my love." The Countess of Northumberland bit her lip and batted her eyelashes coyly.

"Your brother just sent a message. Your spy has been installed in your uncle's household," He announced, a fascinated eyebrow raising up his forehead. "And that he is certain that his wife's family could be convinced to support us. Dare I ask what you have been plotting?"

"Oh nothing bad," Anne insisted, grabbing his face and giving his lips a quick peck. "I am just taking some precautions for when her Highness becomes queen."

"Anne!" Hal stared at her in shock, glancing around the lawn as if he was afraid that someone might be listening. "That's treason."

"She is His Majesty's heir," Anne pointed out. "We must be prepared to support her. God knows men like my uncle and that fool Buckingham would support Prince Edward if it will give them a scrap of power."

Hal opened his mouth to protest, but his wife cut him off. "Think about our daughters. What if they had been in line for succession to your earldom? Would you not want to protect them from your brother's ambitions?"

The Earl of Northumberland glanced over to where their children were gathered. He then sighed, rubbing his forehead. "Remind me again, why I married such an ambitious woman?"

"From what I hear, I seduced you," Anne japed before kissing him passionately.

"You certainly did," Hal gasped once they parted. They returned to their children arm-in-arm.

London, England
Jane Seymour wanted to throw herself at the queen's feet and beg for forgiveness. Her brother had shamed her family and made fools of the royals. She did not deserved such a hallowed honor as lady-in-waiting. Thankfully Queen Katherine was just as every bit as merciful and kind as she was known for. She even scolded some of her ladies who gossiped about the scandals that surrounded the Seymour family.

"The queen is most gracious," Jane murmured as she packed her begs. "She even offered to find a husband for me and pay my dowry."

"Edward will be most displeased that you did not agree," Elizabeth Seymour commented. "You know he is desperete to grab any sort of royal favor."

"Well there is little he can do about it," Jane noted, feeling a prickle of annoyance. She had two younger sisters who could be used as marriage pawns in Ned's games. Why could he not let her do as she wished? "The queen knows I wanted to join Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and now I finally shall with her blessing." It was a glorious thing, knowing she would be free of the drama and politics. Becoming a Bride of Christ, joining a world of virtue and holiness was something she had dreamed about.

It wasn't that she loathed the idea of marriage or having children, but she much rather spend her days doing good for the poor and the needy, praying for the poor souls. It was her chance to do some good in the world.

"I suspect he will be pushing for Dottie to take your place," Elizabeth commented.

"And I wish her luck," Jane proclaimed with a sweet smile. The first thing she would do once she entered the nunnery would pray that her sisters would not be tainted by court life like Tom was. She would also pray that when Prince Edward realized he was fooled, he would not harm her brother.

It was time for her to start her new life.

When Anna of Cleves arrived in the court of King Henri of Navarre, she tried not to feel nervous. But she could feel the eyes of the courtiers staring at her, judging her. Her predecessor was a refined princess of England, her mother constantly reminded her she was not as smart or as pretty as her sisters. King Henri of Navarre, it was said, would have been content to remain a widower, with only his daughter to succeed him, but his advisors pressed him to find a bride.

With the Calvinist movement growing strong in Navarre, he feared Emperor Charles would use it as an excuse to invade so he wanted to marry one of the German nobles with Lutheran sympathies. It helped that Anna was able to bring a large dowry. After a year of negotiation, Anna arrived in Navarre to meet her new husband.

"My lady," King Henri spoke in German, much to Anna's relief. He stepped down from his throne, smiling kindly at her. "We welcome you to your new home."

Anna curtsied lowly. "Thank you, Your Majesty, you have a lovely home."

"It only seems so since you have graced our humble halls," Henri countered as he took her hand, kissing the back of it. He then gestured to his side, beckoning a child forward. "This is my daughter, Catherine."

Anna beheld the girl who was to be her stepdaughter. She had strawberry blonde hair, a small nose, and brown eyes. She looked very grave indeed and did not seem impressed by the woman she knew was replacing her mother.

Poor thing. I cannot blame her, Anna thought sadly, wanting very much to pull the girl into her embrace. She instead crouched down so she was eye level with the girl. "Hello Princess, I'm Anna. I wish to be your friend if you will allow me."

Her translator repeated the words in French for Princess Catherine's sake. The princess seemed to hesitate for a moment but she then smiled, a true one. "We can be friends."

Anna glanced up at her new husband who was beaming at her. This was a good beginning.

London, England
Kitty Howard ran as fast as she could, her skirts clutched tightly in her hands. She glanced over her shoulder to see if he was still chasing her. She then tripped over a twig, tumbling to the ground.

"Kitty!" Prince Charles was at her side, his mischievous grin was replaced by one of concern.

"I am alright," Kitty assured him as she tried to get up, only for Charles to pounce on her.

"In that case..." he trailed off before capturing her lips in a deep kiss. His hands went from her shoulders to her breasts.

Kitty pushed him off of her, wiggling her finger in playful admonishment. "Naughty, naughty, your grace. Hasn't your mother ever told you not to defile ladies."

"I don't want to defile you," Charles assured her. "I simply want to make you mine."

"And what happens when you sail away to the New World?" Kitty demanded, knowing of his dreams to sail away from England, to mark his own path. "What will I do then?"

Charles looked at her like she was being dense. "You will come with me, of course."

Kitty scoffed. She had learned the hard way that men would say anything to have a woman in their bed. She could still feel Henry Mannox's hands on her, thrusting into her tiny...she shuddered.

"Kitty." Charles was suddenly sitting up, wrapping his strong arms around her. "Are you cold? Should we return to the palace?"

"Would you really take me with you?" Kitty questioned, searching his face for any trace of deceit.

"Of course I would," Charles insisted. "I would never leave my wife behind."

"Your wife," Kitty repeated, her eyes wide. "Do you really mean that?"

The prince laughed. "Of course, I do. I've loved you since you stepped on my foot."

Kitty rolled her eyes. Of course he would bring that up. Before she could comment, Charles turned her head so he could steal a kiss. She pushed him away and stood up. "If you want my hand, Your Grace, you'll have to catch me." She took off running again, her heart feeling as light as a feather.

Ludlow, England
Catherine Parr watched as her charge played with the other children. She smiled fondly. Since her second husband's death, she had given up hope of having a family of her own. Instead she would take care of Princess Catherine, or Rose as she was known to those closest.

She could hardly belive that she was governess to the future queen of England. The girl was now tweleve-years-old and seemed to understand the gravity of her postion. Even if at the moment she was ususing it to scold one of her friends.

"Bow lower, I'm the future queen." Rose's tone was regal but there was the hint of annoyance.

"According to my father, your Uncle Edward disagrees," Edward Courtney, the Earl of Devon countered.

Princess Elizabeth, the spitting image of her grandmother, flared up in anger. "How dare you mention that traitor! You should be punished for this!"

"Now, now, Betty, he can't help if he's stupid," Rose protested.

"Yeah----HEY!" Devon's expression was outraged even more so when the other children burst into giggles. Embarrassed, he shoved the Princess of Wales. Not expecting it, the princess toppled over, causing the other children to gasp. "See. How can you be queen if you are so soft?"

"Treason!" Elizabeth shouted, looking as though she wanted to punch the earl.

"I'll show you soft!" Rose was on her feet and in a move expected from her sister she slapped the earl across his face.

Catherine decided now she should intervene. "Children, if you can't play nicely, you will be sent to your rooms without supper." The other governesses chuckled fondly as Devon and the princesses looked aghast. "Now apologize."

"I'm sorry for hitting you," Princess Catherine uttered, sticking out her hand as she had seen grown ups do. "And for calling you stupid."

"I'm sorry for pushing you," the Earl of Devon answered, looking contrite as he shook her hand.

Soon enough they were playing again, and all seemed right with the world.
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Very nice chapter and a good look at what is going on all round the palaces. You do write kids well.

Wonder what Charles’ parents think of Kitty?
Okay, this interlude was adorable! I loved the look at all six of Henry's wives TTL. And yes, a convent is definitely the best place for Jane...
Awesome update! Can we get a family tree?
Yes, we will have family trees soon.
Aww how lovwly that Catherine Parr will be educating Henry's granddaughters here!
Catherine Parr needed something to do.
Very nice chapter and a good look at what is going on all round the palaces. You do write kids well.

Wonder what Charles’ parents think of Kitty?
Well Charles is the fourth son so he can marry who he wants provided there is no other heiress available. And besides it is always a good thing to keep the Howards close.
Okay, this interlude was adorable! I loved the look at all six of Henry's wives TTL. And yes, a convent is definitely the best place for Jane...
I can be a bit mean to Jane sometimes so it was nice to give her a happy ending free of drama that her brother caused. But yes, the girls are living their best lives.
@Violet Rose Lily ! LOVED it! Glad to See all of th content with their much better Lots in life!
I'm glad you loved it. The six wives deserve the best.
She deserves to live a long, stress free life.
I think that it is safe to say that all of OTL wives of Henry VIII deserves a long, stress-free lives!

One thing I find interesting when it comes to OTL wives of Henry VIII, the causes of death rhymes.

1st Katherine of Aragon: Cancer
2nd Anne Boleyn: Execution(wrongly, of course)
3rd Jane Seymour: Childbirth
4th Anne of Cleves: Cancer
5th Katherine Howard: Execution(she did cheat on Henry VIII(probably, her situation was complicated), unlike her first cousin)
6th Katherine Parr: Childbirth

Like I said, I find this interesting, even though last three didn't die in the order of death of first three.
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