|The Mare And The Rose
Author: theothertudorgirl PM
It's 1540 in Tudor England and Henry VIII is already looking for an anullment to his marriage to Anne of Cleves. In a desperate a attempt Anne finds a way to remain Queen but how does Katherine Howard not make Anne's position easy. AURated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Catherine Howard & Anne of Cleves - Chapters: 22 - Words: 61,705 - Reviews: 233 - Favs: 68 - Follows: 81 - Updated: 06-15-12 - Published: 06-12-09 - id: 5131603
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Welcome to the story of 'The Mare and The Rose'. This is a story that has been in my mind for awhile and I have discussed it with other various FF writers. I would like to thank Lady Eleanor Boleyn, ReganX, BoleynGirl13 and BoleynofAragon21 who have all helped with ideas for this story. They all have great stories as well and I would recommend them all to you. I would like to mention that the first chapter will have a large basis from the show. This story is AU however. I hope you enjoy.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'The Tudors' as it belongs to Michael Hirst. I have just changed the show and history canon.
20 January 1540
Cromwell was nervous, not just for himself but for the new Queen. The King had already told him about his dislike for his new wife and had asked for a way to be rid of the marriage, to find some legal way out. He had told the King that there was no way out but if Cromwell really wanted this marriage gone he could have done it, he had done it before and if it was in his best interest, he would and could do it again.
His best choice for the survival and longevity of the marriage came from the Queen herself, Anne of Cleves. He had found her nothing but charming and pleasing. She was not the fairest woman ever to grace the Earth but she was not this 'flander's mare' that Henry continuously told his council that she was. He needed to try and amend the situation. If he could make Anne see that she had to try and be more agreeable, then everything would be alright.
He knocked on the Queen's chambers and after waiting for less than a minute he was let in by one of Anne's German ladies. He walked in to her chambers which were rather dark, especially in contrast to the late Queen's, Jane Seymour, rooms when she was alive. Nerveless, he walked through a nodded to the other German ladies who curtsied towards him. One of these ladies rushed into the Queen's adjoining bedroom to tell her mistress that he had arrived. She walked over to him gracefully and a look of confusion to why he was here. "My lord Cromwell," said Anne, echoing the words that were spread across her face.
Cromwell bowed to the woman that he hoped would help England's reformation come a pace. "Your majesty," he said, with as much admiration as any man. "May we speak alone?" He wanted her ladies to leave the room. This was a matter that only involved themselves and the King, though Cromwell would never dare mention this meeting to him.
"Alone," said the young Queen who was confused. She caught the urgency in his face and realised that he had to be one some greater importance than a mere courteous visit. "Oh, yes, of course." She turned her head to the ladies that stood behind Cromwell. Cromwell looked around as the ladies curtsied and left the room. He didn't want to start this delicate matter when other people were still in the room. He didn't think that it would be polite. As the ladies left, Anne turned her head to face Cromwell once more. "My lord," she said, indicating that Cromwell was now free to speak to her alone.
"Madame, I have come on a delicate matter, forgive me," said Cromwell, obviously nervous to be even talking about it and he usually wouldn't have but he needed to save his own skin. "I must warn you not to antagonise the King."
Anne was confused. She had done nothing of the sorts. How dare he suggest such a thing? Yes, there marriage bed was still cold but that was nothing that couldn't be fixed and in truth, that did not bother her. She did not mind to remain a maid and of course it was not all her faults if Henry didn't want her or desire her.
"I must remind you of the expediency of doing your upmost to make yourself agreeable to His Majesty," continued Cromwell.
Anne was still confused. She really had no idea of how she had offended her husband and with the tainted past of his other wives, she never wanted to offend him. Maybe her nervousness came through when she was around Henry? Maybe that was why her husband did not truly lie with her? "Sir, I am not sure how I have given His Majesty offence."
Cromwell tried to smile for the Queen. He wanted to reassure her that everything would be alright and that her position was safe. He walked closer to the Queen, in case there were prying ears and eyes at the door or in special keyholes that some of the spies, and his enemies, in court had created. "It is in your interest and in mine to make your marriage to the King a success. If for example, you were to find yourself quick with child."
Anne snapped her head around and stared into the fire. How could she explain to this man that she could not become quick with child when her husband never lied with her? Of course, in time, she wanted to have a child of her own but for the time being the Princess Mary and the Princess Elizabeth, and of course little Prince Edward who she was yet to meet, would be fine for her. Maybe they could even help her win their father over.
At this moment in time though, she felt guilty. She felt guilty that she could not make her husband love her. She knew that soon enough, he would find a pretty English girl, most likely one of her own maids, to sleep with. She had been told before coming here that it was expected of King's to take mistresses and that he was free to sleep with whoever he chose. But was he not even freer to sleep with his own Queen?
She walked over to the fire. She needed the courage to tell Cromwell about her own problems with this marriage. Could he not see the difficulties that she had herself? He of course could not see them and continued to speak. "I am sorry to talk of such intimate matters but you are the Queen of England and you have nothing private anymore."
Anne finally got the courage from those words. If there was nothing private in her life then why could she not just tell him some of the problems in her marriage? She lifted her head and turned it sharply towards Cromwell. "How am I to become quick with child when the King leaves me a maid? I am not the Virgin Mary! And since you say that I have nothing private then I tell you that it is not all pleasing," she said with such force that even sent a shiver down Cromwell's spine. "I will do anything the King wants. But sometimes..." she paused. She also knew that anyone could be heard when speaking in a room. She knew that not many people knew her own native tongue so she decided to speak in that. "The sore on his leg is so bad. It oozes blood and pus. And it smells." She turned back around to face Cromwell and hoped that he understood. "It stinks," said Anne in the English native tongue again.
"It smells yeah? You understand?" asked Anne, which was certified with a nod from Cromwell. He needed to see her point of view and she was glad that he did. "Now, I am sorry my lord. I will go on doing all that I can to make myself agreeable to His Majesty, who is always gracious and kind to me."
Anne turned her head away from him. She couldn't stand looking at the face of pity that Cromwell was exuding. Maybe he could do something about it though she highly doubted that he could considering that the doctors could not. He in turn bowed towards her, "Your Majesty."
Cromwell left the rooms quickly. He did not want to see this hope that he had for a reformed England be buried alive so he had to tell her what he had just done but it pained him to see her suffer. If the King cannot consummate his marriage and produce a son within this German alliance, what power could Anne have?
Anne played with her some of her hair as Lady Bryan combed the rest behind her. Lady Bryan, though governess to Prince Edward, loved to here information and find intrigue within the court, obviously something that she had passed on down to her son Francis. She was curious to know how the King was treating her as she had already heard rumours. "Madame, how do you find the King," she asked politely.
Anne titled her head slightly upwards, surprised to receive such a question from all people. However, she knew that she had to have grace and dignity when she answered it as Lady Bryan could easily create unnecessary rumours. "Why he is most kind and solicitous Lady Bryan. When he comes to bed he kisses me, yes, takes my hand, bids me goodnight sweetheart. And then in the morning he kisses me again and says farewell darling."
Lady Bryan could see right through that answer. She could tell that the King had not yet consummated his marriage, most likely to find some way out of it for sure. Her son had told her that the King was not fussed on his new bride. She however continued to ask questions, just to make sure her facts were straight. "My lady, we all hope that you will be quick with child soon."
Anne was truly tired of everyone wishing that she was with child. If it came to the time that she was with child, she would shout it to the world so they would stop speculating, but for the moment she knew that she was not. "I know very well that I am not."
"But how do you know that you are not," asked Lady Bryan, walking around to see Anne of Cleves face. You are able to read more out of a face than just mere words.
Anne smiled at Lady Bryan. "I know it, I am not."
Lady Bryan sat down on a stool beside Anne and gently dabbed a towel into the warm water that lay beside her. She gently dabbed it on the Queen's hand before continuing her 'subtle' interrogating. "I think your majesty is a maid still. He must put his member inside you and stir it or else we shall not have a Duke of York which all of this country deserves."
Anne interrupted Lady Bryan. She did not understand the finer details of her marriage. "I am contented Lady Bryan. I receive as much of the King's attentions as I wish. I know no more."
Anne snatched her hand away from Lady Bryan, scared by how far this Lady was willing to talk of such matters with a Queen of England. Anne doubted that she ever spoke that way before to the two previous Queens that she had served under. She stood up and walked over to her side of the bed. Lady Bryan was quick to follow and helped the Queen take off her robe.
Anne sat on the edge of the bed. There was a question, to do with the King, that she had not dare ask Cromwell as he would have only given her reassurances. She needed the truth, or something at least close to it. "Lady Bryan," she said as Lady Bryan bowed to leave the Queen waiting for the King.
"Yes, your Majesty," she replied.
Anne, to Lady Bryan, looked like a scared child who just came out of a nightmare. She worried if she had gone too far with the Queen. In fact, she was surprised that the Queen's own mother had never talked to her on such things.
Anne stared down as she was about to ask the question. She knew that she had to see Lady Bryan's face so she looked up as she spoke. "If I cannot please the King, will he kill me?"
Lady Bryan had not been expecting this though she should have known that this Anne had heard about what had happened to the Anne before her. She was probably even terrified of the fate the Katherine and Jane had both suffered. In fact, she wished that she could have put on a better face for the Queen but she had startled her by the question and Anne was left to look at the plain truth of it.
Henry hit the pillow. Why couldn't he consummate the marriage? He believed he knew why but he wasn't going to be any quicker out of the marriage as Cromwell was yet to find necessary proof to get him out of it. If there was any other maid at court, he would surely be able to perform the duty that he could do not do with his own wife. He was angry at himself and he was almost scared at himself. Why couldn't he was all he could think.
Henry, no matter how much he refused to consummate the marriage, he hated to see her upset as she was a kind woman, even if she was not 'pleasing' for him. She truly cared for the welfare of his daughters and his son. She wanted to be there mother as they each had lost their own. He thought that the two youngest needed her the most as a mother while Mary needed her more as a friend.
Henry was angry, and this reason added to the long list that made him angry, was that he had made her cry. It was not all her fault and he knew that. He knew that her brother's lack of proper proof of breaking the betrothal to the Duke of Lorraine's son was part of it. He believed her to another man's wife and now he was stuck in the same position as he had been with Katherine.
Henry was left to go to sleep to the soft tears coming from his wife's side of the bed.
17 February 1540
Henry was still unable to perform his conjugal duty and right with his wife. They had been married for weeks, over a month, now and still nothing. He could not bring himself to do it. He needed the members of his council, which he had appointed himself, to find some way out of this mess. He wanted a new Queen. He didn't know who yet but he wanted the one that he had gone. If she agreed to annul the marriage, he was more than willing to give her titles and lands. She would be the fourth greatest lady in the land, after his new Queen and his two daughters. He could not see any impediment to Anne not agreeing to this matter. All he need now was for Cromwell to find a way out of it. He had to find a way out of it or otherwise it would be Cromwell's head on the chopping block.
AN: So did you enjoy that? I now that at the moment, it is pretty similar to the show but don't worry that will soon change enough. Also, chapters will be longer than this one. Remember, this is just a prologue. Now I hope you all review!! It would only take a minute and it would be greatly appreciated.