AN: Welcome to a new chapter. Sorry for taking a while to update though. I hope that you enjoy. The next chapter should be out soon as well.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own The Tudors, never have and I never will.
Chapter Twenty: To Send You On Your Way
15 January 1561
Catherine didn't know what to do or say to calm her sister so she just let Jane pace the room, hoping that she would calm herself. As her sister did so, Catherine placed a carefully positioned hand over her belly. It had only been a month ago that she had started thinking about having little blonde-haired children of her own but she had been surprised to find out she was indeed expecting. She wasn't showing yet and she was grateful. She needed to hide it from Jane for as long as she could. Jane would be displeased but the child had not been conceived sinfully. She was married and she wouldn't be ashamed. She just wouldn't be.
Thankfully, Jane was too preoccupied with her own problems to see what Catherine was doing.
"Does he not value my opinion?" asked Jane as she paced back and forth, rubbing her fingers back and forth across her lower lip as she did so, a trait she had when she worried too much. "Does he only ask so that he can do the opposite? I don't understand Catherine."
Catherine looked at her sister with sympathetic eyes. Truthfully, she had been paying little attention to Jane's rant. She knew though that it had to do with Edward and the betrothal of Princess Alberta to the Prince of Asturias. It had not been Jane's choice apparently, and neither had it been Edward's until his council member's brought it up and he decided that they were right. Catherine was sure what Jane was particularly furious at though. Was it that Edward had changed his mind without her consultation or was it because she felt her opinion wasn't valid? Catherine supposed that they had merged together in Jane's mind and that Jane herself wasn't entirely sure what she was made at either.
Jane huffed. "I bet he will do the same with Harry and Jane as well. He will marry them and I should surely only find out at their weddings."
Catherine stood up then. It was not healthy for Jane to think this way, even if she was not pregnant at this time. Besides, it was starting to give Catherine a headache and she was in no such condition to be able to handle it until more than seven months time.
"I am sure that he appreciates and values your opinion sister," Catherine said, rubbing her sister affectionately on the back. "But your husband has a Kingdom to run and much to your guidance, he is doing it himself without the help of the Duke of Northumberland, much to your own design. Do not forget that sister."
Jane sighed and nodded. "I shouldn't complain so much," lamented Jane. "I am sure other Queens do not lament as much."
Catherine smiled. "I am sure they do but they put a good face on in public just as you yourself are doing."
"Alberta never complained."
"Alberta never had the chance to complain. She had stars in her eyes and was barely married a year. Edward married you for love, not duty. You two have been married longer and you have much more responsibility that is placed upon your shoulders."
Jane nodded. "The Spanish ambassadors shall be arriving soon. I have planned a masque for them to attend."
Catherine smiled; glad her sister had moved slightly off the burning topic. "You have you deigned worthy of performing in this masque then?" she asked.
Jane laughed and Catherine was glad to hear it. "I suppose you shall if you are up for it," she replied and Catherine nodded. "Lady Elizabeth said she would be at court so she shall dance, as well as her lady-in-waiting, that cousin of hers, Anne I think her name is. I suppose I shall be in it as well considering Edward is convinced he should be in it, mainly because his father performed for Spanish ambassadors when they came once."
Catherine smiled. There will be more people surely but at the same time, she could see just how eager Jane was to have the event completed. She didn't want to be reminded that she was to have her step-daughter handed over to Spain.
30 January 1561
Truthfully, Elizabeth was quite glad to be back at court with Anne for company. While she enjoyed spending time at Hatfield, the recent events there needed to be aired out and thought upon. She did not think that she could handle another day trying to avoid Robert's presence and when she had received word from Jane that there was to be a masque, Elizabeth had jumped at the opportunity and had asked for Anne to have a position within the masque as well.
Thankfully, Jane agreed and Elizabeth felt a world of weight lift from her shoulders.
The Spanish ambassadors arrived in due time and the masque went off without a hitch but she couldn't help but notice the intimate conversation that seemed to be going on between Anne and Edward. Elizabeth shook it off as nothing but as she passed Jane in the dance she noticed that something was unsettling her.
It didn't take her long to find out though as Jane requested her within her chambers.
"What is the story of your cousin?" asked Jane bluntly.
Elizabeth scrunched her face in confusion before answering. "Anne is a good lady, your grace," replied Elizabeth. "She may not have the highest pedigree but she is charming and beautiful."
"But is she married."
"No," replied Elizabeth. "No, she is not married and has told me on numerous occasions that marriage will not suit her and that she would prefer to spend the days in my company, us two poor maidens that we are."
Jane nodded, but she didn't seem entirely convinced. Jane had asked her to leave then, somewhat satisfied with Elizabeth's answer. Elizabeth charged back to her rooms quickly after that. She had not seen Anne since the masquerade earlier and she did wish to find out what he brother had so eagerly been talking to her about.
Anne wouldn't do anything so foolish as to ensnare a King, thought Elizabeth. She knows what happens if you do.
Elizabeth found Anne in the chambers that they shared. Anne seemed to be humming a song but abruptly stopped when she noticed Elizabeth walk into the room. "Elizabeth," Anne jovially said to her cousin. "Was the masquerade not wonderful?"
Elizabeth nodded half-heartedly and she knew that Anne knew something was the matter. "What happened in the masque?"
Anne looked confused. "What do you mean what happened in the dance?"
Elizabeth sighed. "I saw you dancing with the King and the Queen saw it as well."
Anne face contorted into realisation and Elizabeth knew something did happen in the dance. "Oh Elizabeth," she replied, her face once again happy and charming as ever. "Only the King did not recognise me you see even though I have been your lady-in-waiting for years now. He asked my name and I simply replied with my name. It was nothing you can be assured of that Elizabeth and I do not wish to cause any grievance with the Queen."
Elizabeth nodded, relieved. Her brother simply wanted to know who she was. That was all well and good. A King should know the names of the people that pass him daily at court; there was nothing wrong with the whole premise of it at all.
Just don't be foolish Anne, those with Howard blood do not sit will on royal thrones...
Alberta did exactly what Lady Hoby had told her to do when she greeted the ambassadors. They seemed pleased with her appearance, calling her the prettiest Princess they had ever seen and where sure to tell her betrothed all about it. Alberta had been very happy when she was told that she would be marrying the Prince of Asturias, that she would become the Queen of Spain one day.
Princesses married Princes, it was a known fact.
Alberta did not know much about Spain though Lady Hoby said that Queen Jane was to assign her a tutor to learn the language now so it would be easier for her other there. Alberta had been delighted at the prospect. The last time Spain and England had a marriage was between her grandfather and Catherine of Aragon, the Lady Mary's mother. Alberta did not know much about her grandfather's wives, only that he had six of them and that he left the Lady Mary's mother for her other Aunt's, the Lady Elizabeth.
She hoped that she made Prince Carlos very happy so that he would not marry someone else.
She could be a good Queen, she knew she could.
Harry had been upset that Alberta had been betrothed and he had not. Alberta laughed at this and had to explain to him that he would one day but betrothals were for big girls and boys. He had lamented that he was a big boy but she had replied not big enough. In any case, this was her time to have a betrothal; he could have one in a few years. It was only right, she was older after all.
Lady Hoby had agreed with as she knew that she would. She had also explained that the Prince would have his Princess come to him while Alberta had to go away. Both Alberta and Harry had not been happy about this. "But Aunt Mary and Aunt Elizabeth did not have to go away," he cried in frustration.
Lady Hoby had smiled at them. "Yes but that is... different. Alberta and Jane will be married to Princes elsewhere while you will stay and become King one day."
Harry had shaken his head at that, refusing one point. "No, papa will live forever."
Four Months Later...
10 May 1561
Catherine sighed and gained the courage to enter her sister's presence. She had managed to hide the pregnancy for as long as she could but she couldn't any longer. The babe had become too big within her womb and her corsets couldn't hold it in any longer for fear that she might harm the baby and she was sure that she would faint if she did have to for there was scare any room to breathe.
It was the Queen's ward, Lady Mary Seymour that opened the door. The pretty young girl had been spending more time in the Queen's company of recent and she was pleasant company and well read. The poor girl had never known her mother and her father had been branded a traitor but Jane had taken her in as her ward as soon as she could. Catherine knew that one of Jane's happiest memories of her childhood was spending it in the company of Catherine Parr, the Queen Dowager, who sadly passed on due to complications with Mary's birth. Jane had been chief mourner at the funeral.
"Lady Catherine," said the thirteen year old, almost tripping over her own words as she looked between Catherine's belly and her face. Catherine simply smiled. She seemed to have fooled everybody for the last few months but that farce was over now.
"I have come to see my sister," she said and Mary nodded, quickly scampering off to tell the Queen that she was here. Mary returned to the door and held it open to let her in.
Jane started speaking as she continued to read from a paper. "You know that you don't have to knock..." she started saying but stopped immediately when she noticed the swell of Catherine's belly, her face contorted into one of shock. "Catherine."
"Sister," she said as smile came across her face. She had to be positive about the situation. The more positive she was, the more positive Jane had to be surely.
"You are with child," stated Jane, which Catherine saw as almost stating the obvious. "How did this happen? We knew nothing?" she continued, looking between Catherine and their sister Mary who was also sitting in the room as she had come full time on board now as one of Queen Jane's ladies.
"I'm married," she said which seemed to throne Jane off even more.
"Married?" Jane replied back, still obviously thrown off by the whole situation. "So who is your husband?"
Catherine smiled. "Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford. It is a good match Jane."
Jane nodded but all of this news seemed to have taken the breath right from underneath her and she had to sit down. "That is a good match Catherine," she replied but only faintly. Catherine instinctively over her belly, she was starting to get worried about Jane's reaction though truthfully she hadn't know what to expect.
"Why did you marry him in secret?" asked Jane. "Why didn't you ask for my approval?"
Catherine stumbled on her words. "I was frightened that you would say no Jane. I love him and he loves me. There is so little chance for love in our world. You have it, I know I have it and I hope both Mary and Elizabeth marry happily and for love as well. I want all of us sisters to be married to loving husbands. And besides, do I need to ask your permission to fall in love?"
She could see her sister's resolve fall at that, her eyes swelling at tears. "Edward will not be pleased with this," Jane whispered. "Not that you married his cousin but that you did not ask our permission." Catherine nodded. "I have to banish you from court, you realise that don't you Catherine. I promise it will only be for a short time. It will give you and your new husband time together." Jane stood up and walked to Catherine. "I will not take away your income; I could never let that happen, especially for the sake of my niece or nephew that is growing in your womb. Please write to me to tell me when the baby should come. I should like to be with you when you have the baby for you have been there for both of mine."
Catherine nodded, tears coming out of her eyes before she launched herself as best she could into an embrace with her sister. "Thank you Jane," she replied quietly into Jane's ear. "I thought that things would have gone so much worse Jane, thank you."
"I am sorry I have to send you away."
"Don't be, I wanted the country air anyway, it is healthier for the baby."