AN: May I firstly apologise for the gigantic wait for this chapter. It has been almost 3 years since I last updated this story and I am sorry for those who have been waiting so long for an update but don't worry because the update is here. Also, I have the rest of the story planned out. This chapter is short but it is just updating everyone with what is going on and really, it helped me re-establish the characters. Hope everyone enjoys and I hope to update again really soon.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own The Tudors/Elizabeth; never have and I never will

Chapter Eighteen

29 December, 1572

Mary of Scotland had not wanted to believe that it was true. One of her ladies had come to her with scandalous news involving the King Consort and one of Elizabeth's ladies and truthfully, Mary had not wanted the rumours to be true. It would crush Elizabeth if she were to hear of her husband's infidelities, Mary was sure of it.

Elizabeth had suffered it once before and while she had not been at court when that had happened and while Elizabeth looked at Lady Alice with affection, Mary still thought she saw some animosity behind the Queen's eyes. It was understandable.

So Mary had decided that she would do something about it.

Mary did not feel like she needed to knock into Robert's chambers. She had, no was, an anointed Queen of Scotland. She held higher precedence over a simple consort. She had shocked Robert that was for sure. He looked up from his papers and it took a moment for him to smile at her. She knew that Robert had not been as fond as Elizabeth of the idea of having her here at court but Mary knew that she had nothing to hide, not like Robert.

She noticed that he was about to start his pleasantries but she waved her hand, which confused Robert. She was glad that he was confused, maybe being confused would finally knock some sense into him, she couldn't be sure if it would though.

"I know what you have been up to Robert," she stated to him. "Think of Elizabeth, think of your daughters. You know what Alice's life is like, would you wish that upon another child."

Robert smirked at her and Mary wanted to slap him. How dare he smirk at a Queen of Scotland?

"I think you are mistaken and are listening to far too much gossip," he states, his arms crossing under his chest. She will not be intimated by him. She has had her fare share of hardships due to men and she knows that has to stop now. She has to do this for herself and for Elizabeth... and even for Lettice Knollys.

"I hope that I am but... think about all of the women that shall be hurt by your actions, my actions have hurt many because I was foolish and I am giving you advice now. Return to loving the family you have already before it is too late and you have destroyed it all."

Robert nodded. She wasn't sure if she had convinced him or not and she silently hoped she had. "Thank you for your... words of wisdom Mary."

It was a dismissal if she had ever seen one. She huffed and marched out of the room. She hoped for everyone's sakes that he had listened to her advice but deep down inside she feared that he had not, that once again she was to be a woman ignored and a woman to be looked down upon as the lost Queen of Scotland.

But at least she tried.

Kathryn was to be at court for Christmas. It was her favourite time of the year, especially as soon it was to be her own birthday. She was to be eight four days into the New Year and she was excited. It meant that it was another year closer to marrying and whilst her mother said that it would be many years away from marrying but Kathryn was still excited. She didn't want to have to be second fiddle to Anne any longer. Anne was to be Queen of England and while Kathryn was one prone to jealousy, she felt that Anne was more special within this court.

In Scotland, she would feel the most important for once in her life.

Anne had different opinions on the matter though, Kathryn knew that her elder sister always had an opinion. Anne had told her that her husband would be better, that a French match was always better than a Scottish match.

Kathryn had wanted to cry but she knew that she shouldn't. Princesses did not get upset at such things. Her mother would not get upset at such thing and the only one who should was little Elizabeth, and she was only a couple of months old so it would be understandable. Secretly, Kathryn vowed to never treat Beth the way that Anne treated her sometimes. Anne could be nice at other times but Kathryn did not like that Anne always seemed to have everything nice, everything better.

Kathryn wished that she had the nicest things for just once in her life.

In Scotland, in many years time, she was sure that this would happen. That would be her time to shine and not be diminished in her elder sister's light.

4 January, 1572

Even though Anne continued to press the issue to Kathryn that she was too old to run into their father's arms, Kathryn did just that anyway. Anne was always one for decorum. She was to be Queen one day and this was just the way that things had to be. They were Princesses and they had to set a standard but she decided, that as it was Kathryn's birthday, that she would not chide her later for her behaviour. She silently admitted that she wished she could do the same on her own birthday but she was just too old now.

Anne smiled and curtsied at her father before walking over to him as he finished his hug and small birthday congratulations. They had all decided to meet in the nursery and their mother was there with little Beth. Anne had been more than happy to see that she had a new little sister. Beth was already the perfect little Princess though; Anne had heard her mother saying, that she cried more than Anne and Kathryn. Anne had smiled at that. Her youngest sister's fiery hair seemed to match her attitude it would seem.

Kathryn soon walked over to her mother who was holding Beth in her arms. "Happy Birthday my Princess," said Elizabeth, kissing the top of her middle daughter's head and hugging her as best she could as she was sitting down and holding an infant in her arms. The nursery at Whitehall had been set up after the birth of Beth. It had been decided that she would not move out to Hatfield until after Anne's birthday in a couple of months. She wanted her family together for as long as she could have them together before Kathryn and Beth returned to Hatfield and Anne to Ludlow.

Elizabeth hated to part her children but it was ultimately for the best. They would be separated one day and Anne needed to learn how to rule. Elizabeth had never been afforded that opportunity and while she had been a diligent student growing up, she would have liked to have had more experience if she had known that she would have been Queen.

Her father never thought that Edward would die and merely being a wife of a King hardly needed proper training it would seem.

Elizabeth couldn't help but smile every time she saw her daughters. Anne, her Boleyn beauty, was a proper Princess now, a proper Queen in waiting though not for many years Elizabeth prayed. She wanted to be here to see her children grow, to see them have families of their own.

Anne did have a tendency though to correct any mistake. Elizabeth had first found it endearing but as she was getting older Elizabeth worried a little, not so much for Anne's sake but for Kathryn's. Kathryn, the little Guildford, had always been a shy little thing. Ever since Anne had left for Ludlow, Elizabeth had thought she had seen an improvement in Kathryn's confidence but with Anne around it seemed to diminish a little. Anne oozed self confidence, confident in what her future was meant to be. Today though, her spark seemed to be in her again, though Elizabeth thought that might be because it was her special day.

Little Beth though, her fiery Tudor girl, was already a handful at two months. She was different to Anne. Anne had been fiery but with a sense of steel determination behind her but Beth, she was a fire cracker waiting to explode Elizabeth was sure. She was already a beauty, as her sisters were, and sometimes it made Elizabeth laugh that she had been able to create three distinctly different daughters, each of whom where loved all the same.