I don't own the song, Never Grow Up; this is Taylor's Swift's...Alexander's mine though :)

Anne Boleyn, once Queen of England, Ireland and France, but now little more than a fallen prisoner, held at the King's mercy, sat in her rooms in the Tower, thinking of the one good thing that had come out of the last ten years. Her daughter Elizabeth.

Lisabelle, as Anne called her.

Only two years old and already so precocious. Anne would give anything to protect her; to shield her from the wrath that would surely fall upon her bright coppery little head once Anne herself was gone.

Closing her eyes, Anne willed herself back to the last happy day she had spent with Elizabeth.

Your little hand's wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in and turn on your favourite nightlight

Lady Bryan had brought Elizabeth to her at the pond and they had spent the morning playing games. Games that were filled with the kind of simple happiness that Anne had almost forgotten existed.

They had eaten lunch by the pond as well and then Elizabeth, full to bursting and worn out by the morning's activity, had drifted off to sleep.

Picking her up, Anne had carried her back to her rooms, refusing Lady Bryan's offers of assistance.

She had put Elizabeth to bed and then darkened the room, making sure to leave the door ajar so as to allow a sliver of light into the room. Despite Lady Bryan's protests, she had seated herself on the edge of Elizabeth's bed, finding a fragile, yet utter, sort of peace in watching her little daughter sleep.

To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have honey
If you could stay like that

Elizabeth had giggled in her sleep, Anne remembered. The sound had brought a genuine smile to her lips, as she wondered what her little girl was dreaming of to make her laugh like that.

She had leant over and kissed the child's forehead, murmuring "I love you with all my heart, Lisabelle and I bid you never forget it. May you never change, because you're gorgeous just the way you are."

Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
No one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up

At the thought of her daughter, her precious little girl, growing up without her, Anne felt tears prick her eyelids.

Who knew what awaited her darling Lisabelle in the coming years?

Anne had done her best to protect her, begging her chaplain, Matthew Parker, to look out for the child if anything should happen to her. She had even written to her estranged sister, Mary, to ask her the same thing, but how much could a simple chaplain and a kind-hearted woman of the gentry do against the might of the King of England and his councillors?

Anne held no illusions on that score.

She only hoped that, whatever happened, Elizabeth would retain some memory of the time that they had had together and never forget how much Anne loved her.

For one moment, Anne closed her eyes again and let herself imagine what life might have been like if she'd given Henry a son and got a chance to see her beloved Lisabelle grow up.

You're in the car on the way to the movies
And you're mortified your mama's dropping you off
At 14, there's just so much you can't do
And you can't wait to move out
Someday and call your own shots

"Introducing Her Highness Princess Elizabeth Tudor, Duchess of Angouleme and Buckingham!"

Anne leaned forward at the herald's call, barely waiting for Henry to raise their daughter from her curtsy before enclosing her in her arms.

"My darling Lisabelle."

"Mama! I wish you'd remember that I'm Elizabeth these days!" Elizabeth pulled away from her mother's arms, half-scowling.

She glanced at her brother, Alexander, Prince of Wales, who just raised his eyebrows, as if to say "Let it be, Elizabeth. You've been her little Lisabelle for too long."

And Elizabeth, who always listened to Alexander, did let it be. She swallowed her Tudor pride and, for once, let Anne fuss over her.

Anne was grateful for it. Her little girl, her precious Princess, was 14 and she was back at Court from Hatfield for a last visit before she sailed for France to marry King Francis's youngest son, the Duke of Angouleme. After the Royal Progress to Dover to see her off, Anne wouldn't see her again until their next state visit to France. Whenever that would be.

Oblivious to her mother's turmoil, Elizabeth accepted Alexander's hand and went out on to the floor to dance.

Watching her pretty daughter whirling round the room, first with her brother and then with Robert Dudley for her partner, gave Anne a lump in her throat.

Sensing her emotions, Henry placed his hand over hers.

"You can be proud of her, sweetheart. She's a jewel; a rose to rival any of the wildflowers at Francis's Court."

"I know, but she's still so young. Only 14."

"She's a Tudor, though. Our Tudor women are often old for their years. Besides, I've warned Francis that if anyone harms a hair on her head, he'll have me to answer to, so set your fears at rest, sweetheart."

Nodding, Anne forced a smile. If Lisabelle learned of her fears, she'd accuse her mother of not trusting her and they fought often enough in private as it was. Their last weeks together ought to be happy and golden, not blighted by strife and tension.

But don't make her drop you off around the block
Remember she's getting older too
And don't lose the way that you dance around in your PJs getting ready for school

In the end though, Lisabelle wasn't quite the poised young woman she always tried to be. Princess or no Princess, she was still only 14.

Taking her formal leave of the Court was one thing – she did that with her head held high; bidding them all farewell in a strong, clear voice, but the private farewells to her family were a little too much. By the time Anne folded her into her arms, tears were openly flooding down Lisabelle's cheeks.

"Oh Lisabelle." Anne sighed, holding her little girl close.

This time, Elizabeth didn't scowl at the use of the childhood nickname. She just leaned into her mother's arms, inhaling her scent.

"I love you, Mama."

"I love you, Lisabelle. My Lisabelle. I love you with all my heart and I bid you never forget it."

There was nothing more to be said. Anne clutched her daughter to her chest for a little longer before turning and accepting her husband's arm as they swept from the state cabin. Alexander, already having said his goodbyes to his sister, followed and there was a rustle of silver and green satin as Elizabeth sank into a final, silent curtsy behind them.

Anne didn't need to see her daughter's face to know that Elizabeth – Lisabelle – was steeling herself to rise with a smile on her face. That was just Lisabelle all over.

Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
No one's ever burned you
Nothing's ever left you scarred
Even though you want to, just try to never grow up

Elizabeth had always been the Tudor of the two children; the wild one, the one who could never quite control her emotions.

That was Alexander. He might have been the very image of Henry, but his nature was all Boleyn. He stayed coolly calm in almost any situation, able to analyse the pros and cons of it, no matter what they were. That's what made him such a worthy Prince of Wales; such an admirable King-to-be. All this at just 13 years of age.

But Elizabeth was the one the people loved. Her wild tempestuous nature and her ability to throw herself wholeheartedly into any situation endeared to them like no Princess ever before.

Her inborn determination, though, like Anne's, enabled her to bounce back from almost any setback. She could never be mortally wounded or fatally scarred. There was always a lesson to be learned; some sort of silver lining to be salvaged from the cloud.

Anne didn't know where Lisabelle had got it from, but she was grateful for it nonetheless. It was the gift that made her Lisabelle, England's Rose Princess, so fit to lead a Court. She could hold her head high, even when rumour and scandal followed in her wake, as they did so often and had done ever since she was of marriageable age.

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what is sounded like what your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favourite songs
I just realized everything I had is someday gonna be gone

A knock on the door startled Anne out of her reverie. An instant later, the bitter truth crashed over her. She hadn't given Henry a son. She was sentenced to die for false crimes of adultery and incest. She would never get to see her Elizabeth grow up.

"Come in" she called, watching with dull eyes as her maidservant, Emma, entered and bustled about, stoking up the fire to heat the water for Anne's bath.

Anne let her, in no mood for conversation. And Emma, even if protocol hadn't forbidden it, would never have dreamed of striking up a conversation of her own accord. After all, what could one say to such a fallen Queen?

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It's so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on

After her bath, Anne found herself shivering, so she called Lady Kingston to help her prepare for bed and then sank into the welcome cushion of the goose feather mattress.

The cold didn't leave her, however, and gradually she realised that she wasn't physically cold. The cold she felt wasn't a physical chill, it was the chill of fear and dread.

Even though she knew she was hallucinating - walls didn't really move - it felt to Anne as though the walls of her chamber were closing in on her. Hastily screwing her eyes shut to block them out, she let the memories over take her again, this time of her own childhood.

Wish I'd never grown up
I wish I'd never grown up
Oh I don't wanna grow up
Wish I'd never grown up
Could still be little
Oh I don't wanna grow up
It could still be simple

"Anne! Anne! Watch out, he'll get you!" Her brother shouted a warning. It was the two of them against the world. It was always the two of them against the world. It always would be.

Evading her father's hands with a giggle, she slipped towards the copse, running past the sundial as she went, hoping to hide in its shady recesses.


This time, even though she heard George's warning, it was too late. As she tried to put on a burst of speed and lose her pursuer, she felt a pair of strong arms encircle her waist and she was lifted off her feet.

Collapsing with giggles, she squirmed as her father carried her back to the sunny lawn and twirled her over his head.

That was the last time they had ever played together so happily. Her father had left for Court the next day and by the following summer, Anne had left for the Court of Margaret of Austria in the Netherlands.

By the time they saw each other again for any length of time, Anne was already a young woman and her father's love for her was becoming overshadowed by his ambition for their family.

If only it hadn't! If only he'd let her marry her cousin Thomas Wyatt and live happily at his country estate, or as a maid to Katherine of Aragon, rather than throw her at the King. If only he'd learnt his lesson with Mary. Then she wouldn't be in this horrible position of abandoning her daughter and leaving her motherless in such a Court of wolves.

Burying her face in the pillow, Anne wept. Wept for everything she had once had, everything she had lost and everything she had yet to lose.

Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
Won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
And even though you want to, please try to never grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just never grow up