Authors Note: I am a very avid student of Tudor Dynasty of England. I have seen every episode of The Tudors and find them to be exceptionally historically accurate, the only exception being Charles Brandon's marriage to Princess Margaret, but I understood why production staff made that choice. In the most recent episode, we saw Princess Mary finally break down under all the pressure and unhappiness that she's felt most of her life. This story is an add on to the scene with Ambassador Chapuys and the Lady Mary. I'm not sure out of which brain cell it came, but I think it rather unique, and therefore, I hope you will like it!
Disclaimer: The Tudors is the property of Showtime and produced by Peace Arch Entertainment for Showtime in association with Reveille Productions, Working Title Films, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This piece is not being written for profit, will not be sold, and is done for the sole purpose of entertainment and enjoyment. I only own the premise for this story.
It was still late when the ambassador finally left the Lady's chambers. Princess Mary was by no means feeling any better than she had when she'd began packing for Hunsdon, but she did feel more resigned in that she was doing the right thing. The King's new queen was an offense to everything the office and position stood for, and Mary was aghast each time she saw the hussy take advantage of such emeritus standing as was due a woman in her position. Her mother, the true and rightful Queen of England, Katherine d'Aragon, would have never acted in such a fashion. She would have thrown her body on the blade first.
Queen Jane had handled the office with such grace that one would scarcely realize that in all technicality, the woman had been born to a rather low family, and as such should not have possessed the tact and skill that she displayed in handling the duties of her new found stature. Anne of Cleves, though not notable for her political charm or her handling of policy, was a perfectly amiable Queen, and carried herself with a measure of humility and modesty that Mary herself hoped she could also show one day as Regent.
And, though it pained her to admit it, even her father's harlot, the cause for most of the misery in Princess Mary's world, Anne Boleyn, had shown a shrewd understanding of most all her father's favorable policies and procedures.
No. She would not conciliate this new queen, who in Mary's opinion, only amounted to a silly girl who knew nothing of the world and preferred it that way, for as soon as she would start to learn, it would get in the way of her dancing, her singing, her drinking, and her ridiculous obsession with frivolities such as the new dresses that she demanded or the tiara's and crowns she preferred reset for her and her alone.
I will not conciliate her.
"Nor should you."
Struck by a voice that Mary knew not ought to be in her bed chambers, she turned on her heel quickly, wondering what would cause her maid to say such a thing. But she had sent the Lady Margaret to retire for the night as they would be leaving early the next morning. She glanced curiously about the bedchamber and rose from her seat, striding into the principle chamber and looking around carefully. There was no one there, but she was certain she'd heard a voice, almost positive, as God and the Virgin Mary were her witnesses.
As she turned back to re-enter her bed chamber, she caught a movement near the curtains of the canopy bed on the other side of the room. For a moment, she thought about calling in the guards, but negated that idea almost immediately. She was growing tired of dependence upon others to consulate and protect her. Besides, it was impossible that someone could be in these rooms with her. Squaring her shoulders and picking up her skirts, she marched back into her bed room and stopped in the center. There was no one by the curtains, no one by the head of the bed…just as she knew it would be.
The voice startled her and Mary let out a sharp gasp, turning swiftly around. Immediately her eyes fell on the figure in front of her and her mouth dropped, partially in fear, partially in confusion, but mostly in utter disbelief. "You?"
Mary crossed herself, for surely she would need all the protection from her Lord to shield her against the evil which had entered her chambers.
"Not evil, Lady Mary, for I was as sure a good Christian woman as you are now, though I must admit, not as devout to your particular faith."
Standing before Mary was the late Anne Boleyn and surprisingly, her head was still attached.
"Of course my head is still attached. It was only my body which was broken; my soul was still fully intact when I received the good Lord."
Mary got the feeling that Anne was laughing at her inwardly, though the tones of her voice did not indicate so. The very idea that the woman could hear her thoughts was worrisome enough. "This is not possible," she stammered out.
"And why ever not? Catholics believe in the immortality of the human soul as well, do they not? Why is this event impossible?" Anne sauntered (why in bloody Hell did that woman always have to saunter? Couldn't she just walk?) past the princess and stood by the chair positioned next to the entrance to the principle room.
"You're dead," Mary replied, dumbly she thought to herself. Having no better idea at the moment, she continued to watch the second wife of her father watch her. "On this plain, yes, I am."
"Why are you here?"
"You thought of me. I came."
"I…" the Lady swallowed. This really was too much for her right now. As if having to deal with a petulant queen who was so many years her junior wasn't enough, now she had to deal with a dead one as well come to visit her? "I thought of my mother as well; why is she not here?" At this she could not help but glare accusingly at Anne. Surprisingly, the woman's face remained stoic, unemotional as she answered. "Because the advice you need on your particular Great Matter would not be useful coming from her."
"And what do you care of my matters?"
"Your matters will one day become my daughters matters," Anne answered evenly; "it is my desire, much as I can, to ease her burden. I can only do that by easing yours. So," Anne sat in the chair and beckoned the Princess forward. "Let us share a conversation in my death now that we never were able to in my life."
"I care nothing for what you have to say," Mary shot back, standing her ground, "you are the base of all my misery. Had you not interfered in the marriage of my mother and my father, they would have lived happily; my mother may have even been able to have borne a son unto him!"
"Your mother was no longer bleeding as a woman should." It was maddening, Mary decided, listening to a whore who had been the scandal of all Christendom lecture her, the legitimate and rightful heir to the throne of England. It was maddening still that this woman was supposed to be unable to speak from the grave, but speaking she was, and no matter how hard Mary tried to tune her out, she could not. Finally, she glanced at Anne Boleyn. The woman only raised her eyebrows in question. Through the expression on her face, Mary relented and indicated with her hand for the harlot to continue speaking. When she did not, Mary digressed to her normal standing position, her hands clasped neatly against her stomach.
"What advices have you for me on my own, as you say, Great Matter?"
"Only that you must remember who you are," Anne responded gently. "For all your poise, dignity, and stubbornness, which no doubt you inherited from Katherine, you also seem to have obtained the King's pettiness, his pride, and his swift temper."
Mary's eyes flashed, but never the less, she said nothing, though Anne could see her lips thinning, tightening as she continued to listen.
"Do not allow a girl who has not one wit of sense to her name to cause you to act in a rash manner. For the moment, she gives the King great happiness; allow her to do so, whilst keeping your dignity."
"She angers me with her incessant frivolity!"
"She is a thought, capable of bearing sons," Anne smiled as she used Mary's own words against her. "Do not risk everything you have regained on so fleeting a thought."
The Princess considered the woman's words for the moment. They rang true, she knew they did, but she couldn't understand why they were coming from one who hated her so much in life, and who, quite possibly, was behind what she was sure was her mother's poisoning. Mary had heard the reports from the doctors before her mother was buried. Black spots on the heart and on the inside of the former queens body was indicative of a vile substance being entered into her.
"I did not poison your mother. Her death, welcome as it was to me at the time, was also entirely of Gods will and His plan."
Mary stepped forward, her hands now wringing together, a mixture of discomfort, anger, and confusion swarming over her face. "How dare you say such a thing! The Queen did nothing to you. She bade you a position in her house hold as one of her ladies. She said nothing of your conduct, even though she knew you were sinking your heretic nails into his heart and seducing him with your sorceress ways. She never sought vengeance on you in any way, though she had every right to order your removal from White Hall. And yet, you wanted her death. You had everything you wanted; you had attained the rank of Queen, given birth to a child, you had the ear of my father the King on matters regarding policy, especially on the matter of France, a country which you held higher than Spain!"
Through her rage, Anne sat still and calm, letting Mary rant on. It was startling the similarities between father and daughter. Where Henry's loud lectures were violent and terrifying to behold, his daughters were quieter and sharper. However, both royals had the unfailing ability to command attention when ordered, strike fear when desired, and above all remind whomever it was their anger was directed at that the person was addressing a King or Princess of England. Even Anne had to admit that if she were still alive and receiving the kind of scorching comments she was presently, she may be a little nervous herself. Mary had grown. She knew her power.
Now she just had to understand it.
"Why do you just sit there?" Mary demanded of her. "Why do you not say anything? Do you deny any of what I have said?"
Anne shrugged and leaned back further in the chair, crossing her legs. Her mouth twisted into one of her trade mark knowing smiled and she shook her head. "No. Why should I? You are quite right."
The Lady Mary was at a loss. Tiredly, she crossed to the chair parallel to the one the Lady Anne sat in and descended, somewhat ungracefully, into it. "Your life was spent torturing most of mine. Do you desire to continue your torture of my life in your death?"
"The other item of emotional similarity you share with your father is your inability to let go of the past." Anne spoke as though she hadn't heard Mary's question. The Princess sighed.
"Jesus teaches us all that we must forgive, Mistress Anne," Mary folded her hands on her lap, trying to regain some of her dignity and poise that she was so renowned for.
"I agree. And I do believe you have forgiven me, which I thank you heartily for. But in forgiveness, you must also let go the bitterness, for bitterness has a nasty habit of becoming paranoia, a fact I know all too well."
"You believe I am bitter towards you?"
Anne rose from her seat and turned to look at her. "Not so much me as your father."
Mary's eyebrows climbed to their highest peak. "You are mistaken. I love and respect my father. He must do as he will."
"Of course, of course. But take care, my Lady Mary; I loved and respected my father as well…and yet, I was still bitter towards him for all that which he made me do so that he could accomplish that which he could not on his own." Her feet carried her to stand before Mary and look down on her.
"Your burden is not the current Queen, much as you may think it be so. Your burden is your own fear that she may produce another son which will hinder your right to the throne of England. Your burden is your pettiness at the way you decide to handle such a threat. Your burdens, quite simply, are your fathers' burdens, and because of that, may well become my daughters. Master them well, Princess Mary, for if you do not, like your father, they will also consume your every decision and move."
It must have been a dream, for the Lady Anne was no longer standing before her. Mary must have dreamt the entire thing. There was no evidence of anyone having been in her apartment. Everything was as it was before the wretched conversation took place. Yes, she must have just been imagining it.
None the less, Mary lay in bed holding her mother's crucifix in her hands that night. She did not sleep. Instead, she thought of the phantom words she'd spoken with her father's mistress…or with herself. She wasn't sure.
She wasn't sure of anything anymore.