graven with diamonds in letters plain
by AngelQueen

Chapter Five: April 1540 – December 1541

12 April 1540

Forgive my lack of writing these past months. I accidentally left this journal back at Queen's Hall and didn't dare ask one of the servants to pull it from its spot to send to me, lest they read it. It wasn't until recently that Nan agreed to retrieve it when she paid a visit to Queen's Hall on my behalf, and I knew I could trust her not to violate my privacy.

Henry's marriage has not prospered as Cromwell and his allies have hoped. In fact, it is still talked about that after he returned from meeting the Lady Anne, he came roaring through the court, "I like her not!" Cromwell has been walking softly ever since, especially when he declared that there was no way to prevent the marriage.

Henry's distaste for her aside, I've found that I actually like this young woman from Cleves. She's a gentle sort, and yet not simpering and playing the modest maiden like the Seymour woman did. Perhaps what's even more surprising is that she even seems to like me! The lady often asks for my company, asking that I call her Anna, by the custom of her country and so that we might avoid confusion due to our similar names. She also enjoys the company of the Lady Mary, and both of us have attended her together. That has been awkward at times, but Lady Mary and I have come to the mutual decision not to be unpleasant for the new Queen's sake.

Not that the Lady Mary has had been in the mood to be unpleasant to anyone lately. The Queen's cousin, Philip, Duke of Bavaria, has been visiting for the past several weeks, and both he and the Lady Mary have taken a shine to one another. I confess, I don't think anyone has ever seen her so happy! Of course, who could blame her? His Grace is quite handsome, appears quite amiable. It would be a smart match for her on all fronts. He seems a good man who will treat her very well, and Bavaria is a fine state among the German principalities. Also, Henry would never have to worry about Bavaria attempting to back any claim Mary might try to make to the throne when he passes, because while Bavaria is prosperous, it isn't wealthy enough to mount an army needed to take England itself and bring it to heel. All in all, it fits everyone's tastes.

In more recent news, Norfolk has brought one of our many kinswomen to court. Katherine Howard is the daughter of one of his many nieces by one of his younger brothers, Edmund Howard. I supported him becoming the Controller of Calais, a position he held for nearly eight years, until shortly before his death just last year. I admit, I was surprised that the girl was brought to court, as Norfolk usually seems inclined to leave the Howard girls in the care of his stepmother at Lambeth. Perhaps he plans to put the girl in my charge, seeing as I am more than equipped to provide the girl with a decent dowry once she finds herself a suitable husband. It would take at least one of the many Howard girls off his hands.

14 April 1540

My Dear Thomas,

And so the plotting continues. My uncle is up to his old matchmaking tricks again, this time intending to throw one of my many cousins in the king's face to see if he'll take a shine to her as he did Anne. Rumors have it that he's been seen plotting fervently with the Duke of Suffolk and the Earl of Hertford. God's breath, the last time Uncle and Suffolk plotted together, they helped bring down Katherine of Aragon, but ended up hating each other – and my father, but then, just about everyone hated Father. Then there's Hertford. The man's a rumored Protestant, though he carefully adheres to the king's strictures, at least in public. My uncle, on the other hand, is the premiere Catholic in the land, though he pretends otherwise to the king's face.

Still, I don't believe that anyone has yet to tell Anne of our uncle's plans for little Kitty Howard. She's currently under the impression that the girl's going to join her household to find herself a husband. I've yet to find the courage to tell her the truth.

Would you believe me, Thomas, if I said that I think I'm losing my taste for the scheming of court? Though I always enjoyed the benefits of gaining power and position – my own title is a result of it, after all – but I never thrived and enjoyed the process the way my father did and my uncle does. A part of me longs to just retire to my estates and become an old country gentleman. I have no children to distract me, seeing as I've never brought myself to touch my wife in years and we live completely apart now. Mary and her husband agreed to allow me to make their young boy my heir, though they've yet to part with him so that he might be raised in my own household to prepare to take on the responsibilities that will be his one day. In all honesty, my friend, I think I'm enjoying the fact that a Boleyn won't hold the Earldom after I'm dead and gone. Father tore our family apart to gain all that he did; it seems just to have it all go to the boy who is the fruit of a marriage that Father neither sanctioned nor approved.

Tell me of your doings, Thomas. Distract me from this insanity that is court life.

Yours, etc.

George B.

24 April 1540


God's Goat, I cannot believe this! I am so angry I can barely write! Henry has gifted Katherine Howard with two houses and some lands, confiscated from a convicted nobleman. I couldn't believe it when I heard of it, and asked George what reason could the king have to grant such lavish gifts to a child like Katherine? He didn't want to tell me at first, but George has never been able to stand against me when I wanted to bully him for information, as you well know. He broke under the pressure soon enough.

Uncle Norfolk didn't bring Katherine Howard here to court so that she could become my ward, as I had assumed. He brought her here to dangle her like a treat before Henry's eyes, and of course, like the good little fish that he is, Henry has taken the bait! He's enthralled with her, acting much as he did during the early days of our courtship!

I don't know whether I'm aghast or heartbroken, Mary, and I don't know who I'm more angry with, myself or Henry. For nearly a year, he wrote to me constantly, begging me to come to court and spend time with him, and I did so. But yet again, I am thrown over for a younger woman! As if it wasn't humiliating enough the first time to have to give way to that blasted Seymour slut, this time it's my own cousin and a girl that is young enough to be his own granddaughter!

The world is going mad, Mary!


10 June 1540

I can scarcely believe it. The entire court is being torn apart at the seams!

Cromwell was arrested today at a meeting of the Privy Council, on charges of treason, heresy, corruption, and plotting to marry the Lady Mary, of all things! The charges are ridiculous! Though I haven't agreed with him on much of anything in recent years, I know well that he has always been a devoted servant and minister to the king. Everything he has ever done has always been in service to his master. He even renounced Wolsey, whom he owed and loved much, for the king's sake! I did not think anything like this could ever happen. Cromwell has been so long in the king's good graces that I thought nothing could break him from that spot.

As if that wasn't enough to set the world on its head, Duke Philip has been sent away. Queen Anna broke the news to the Lady Mary, and although the Queen told me that the young lady seemed to take it very well, I can guess that the poor girl was heartbroken. She was too invested in the young man for her to be otherwise, no matter her words about how their differing religions making any match between them impossible. Oh, the poor lady…

24 June 1540

I've sent the Flanders Mare off to Richmond. Her ambassadors have followed her, as chicks follow their mother. It's well enough. They'll not be able to stop the annulment from going through, and thus not free my conscience of the cloud that hangs over it so long as I am married to that woman.

24 June 1540


I shall be leaving court on the 25th. Make ready the manor for my household's return. I shan't be returning to court in the near future.

Queen Anne, Duchess of Pembroke

27 June 1540
Queen's Hall

I'm home, thank God. I'll have no more to do with the madness that has engulfed London. Henry didn't even offer a token protest to my going. I will promise myself now that I'll never allow myself to care for that man again. I am done being treated like a toy, to be played with and then thrown aside when something better comes along. Twice now he has done this to me. Let him rot.

Cromwell's execution is scheduled for tomorrow, something else I could not bear to watch. Even now, I cannot help but cry for him. He and I disagreed on so much, but this isn't a fate that he deserves – to be thrown aside and crushed beneath the boots of men far too full of their own self-importance. I'm sure Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertford, and their allies are having a merry time, toasting their success in bringing Cromwell to this. Wretches, may God punish them all.

28 June 1540


It's done. Cromwell's head has been set on London Bridge. I attended the execution with the rest of the Privy Council, and it sickened me to see the man – who was once an ally and even something of a friend – laid so low. And Uncle, Suffolk, Hertford, Gardiner, and many of the others were enjoying his torment! As if that wasn't horrible enough, I saw Cromwell's son, Gregory, standing down at the front. God, I cannot even imagine what that is like, watching a father die in such a fashion!

The marriage between the king and Anne of Cleves has also been officially dissolved, due to a pre-contract on the part of the lady with the Duke of Lorraine's son. The king offered to make her his 'beloved sister' and to grant her extensive estates for her own use so long as she remained in England. I think he's learned from his experience with you. Still, the king got what he wanted – the freedom to marry a woman more in step with his preferences. The king supposedly once told Thomas More that he wanted to be immortal. I think he's achieved that through his marital adventures alone! Four wives and the distinct possibility of a fifth!

England has certainly gone to a very strange place, sister. Perhaps you are the wiser of the two of us in retreating back to your estates. Would that I had that same privilege.

George, Earl of Wiltshire

1 July 1540

My Dearest Mary,

Such rumors coming out of London! It seems that the king has married Katherine Howard. I can barely stand to write such a thing. She's a child, for God's sake! I know she is seventeen and many girls are married younger than that, but you haven't met her. She may be seventeen, but her demeanor is of someone half that age! Elizabeth shows more maturity and self-control than she does! If she is representative of the girls that the Dowager Duchess is raising at Lambeth, then I fear for the entire Howard clan.


2 August 1540

My Most Royal Cousin,

I hope this letter finds you well. Be that I have recently returned from my time in France, I have grown greatly disquieted with the state of affairs here in my beloved home country. Not only is the court filled with men of vile birth, these new men who cling to the good will of the king, but I find that our new queen is hardly prepared for the exalted position to which she has been raised. To be frank, cousin, the little chit is a child playing adult. She has no concept of the power she wields, and thus uses it to elevate her equally foolish friends and to bait the Lady Mary. Her lack of education and dignity astounds me.

If the Queen and her friends are examples of the kind of woman coming out of the household of our illustrious matriarch, the Dowager Duchess, then I think it is time that the woman be allowed an honorable retirement, so that she will no longer be bothered with such strenuous duties as caring for a crowd of unruly children. May I request your assistance in this matter?

Your loyal cousin,

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

4 August 1540


I am glad to hear that I am not the only one shocked by our cousin's lack of refinement and general common sense. If the girl's lack of qualities truly is a result of lack of care in the Dowager Duchess' household, then I will of course support you in seeking to find them all a better establishment. We may, however, find opposition from your father in such a plan. He is the one who laid Katherine in the king's path, and found her to be just to his liking for the position of the king's wife. He may not wish for the Howard girls to be any better educated.

If, however, you find that we may have recourse to go through with breaking up the Dowager Duchess' household, I believe I may have the room with which to house them. Several of the manors given into my care by the king would be fit for habitation with little effort, though, of course, there would still be funds needed to support those houses – funds for staff, general upkeep, food, and such. I myself cannot afford to house, keep, and educate them without assistance. That is something else that would require the help of your father.

Please, let me know what we can do for these girls.

Queen Anne, Duchess of Pembroke

5 August 1540


Did you really write to Surrey that our uncle wishes for the Howard women to be uneducated whores? Uncle is furious and Surrey doesn't know whether to be furious as well or to simply laugh. What are you up to?


4 September 1540
Chestnut Great House

Elizabeth arrived here today. She'll be celebrating her birthday on the seventh, and then will be going on to court to visit her father and latest stepmother. I never cease to be amazed over my daughter's cleverness. Almost seven now and thanks to the excellent tutoring by her new governess, Catherine Champernowne, Elizabeth is now quite fluent in Latin, French, and Greek. My darling girl is a linguist, and looks to be surpassing my own expertise on the subject! It's so gratifying to see such intelligence in her.

Surrey seems to have convinced Norfolk of the necessity of ensuring that the Howard girls and dependents receive a better education and supervision than what they are obtaining with the Dowager Duchess. He pointed out to him that it's only a matter of time before one of them disgraces the family, though he refrained from mentioning that it might very well be the Howard that Norfolk has just thrust upon the throne. Surrey apparently, for all of his hot-temperedness, has more discretion than I on the subject. I might very well have said that Katherine has the discretion of a rabid sow and that it's only a matter of time before her misconduct (and I've no doubt that there is some misconduct) comes to light.

George still occasionally writes to me, though his letters rarely bring me any pleasure. They're full of news of how the king continues to dote on and spoil his new wife. I cannot think on it without becoming very discomposed, and so I will say no more of it. The only good news George sends to me is that our nephew, Edward Stafford, has been permitted by his parents to begin spending time with George so that he might begin receiving the education needed for a future earl.

21 October 1540

Your Grace,

I had heard of your recovery from your recent illness and thought to write to you to convey my relief. My younger sister has been greatly worried and was also much comforted to hear of your recuperation.

I confess, madam, that I had another motive for writing to you. I have been at court these past few months, and I have observed the new queen at length, as well as the behavior of the king towards her. Forgive me, I know that she is kin to you, but in all honesty, she is a very silly girl! She cares for nothing but dancing and other lighthearted pleasures, paying no attention to the maintenance and salvation of her soul. The king, in turn, showers her with gifts and dotes upon her in every possible manner, and pays no attention to how her behavior must seem to the rest of the world. This from a man who once called some of the very best educated women in the world his wives, Your Grace included. I cannot make out why His Majesty behaves in such a manner.

Elizabeth continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and loves being at court. For all of the queen's many flaws, she is very kind to Elizabeth.

I hope we shall see you at court for Christmastide.


Lady Mary Tudor

25 October 1540

Lady Mary,

Your concern was very kind, and I am quite grateful for it. I too hope you are in good health, and that the air at Hampton Court agrees with you.

I also noticed that the Queen did not have the advantages of the education that you and I and many other notable ladies were privileged to have. The Howards, much as I esteem them, are a large family and as a result, education is mostly provided mainly for the heirs. My lord Surrey, for example, had a fine education in all areas, militaristic and not. The Queen, however, is the youngest child of a third son. She was left in the care of the Dowager Duchess as a young girl, and while that lady is many things, an advocate for the rigorous education of females she is not.

As for His Majesty's blindness to her less than admirable qualities… alas, Lady Mary, he is the king and must do as he will. He is reliving the graces and experiences of his youth, and delights in the experience. He will see what he wishes, no matter what others see. I have finally learned to accept that, and not expect anything different, no matter how much I wish it were otherwise.

Queen Anne, Duchess of Pembroke


"Anne's project of taking in and educating the Howard girls consumed much of her time from late 1540 to the summer of 1541. Her diary entries in this time period are full of the details of the project, which she coordinated with the Earl of Surrey and the still-reluctant Duke of Norfolk. She seems to have genuinely enjoyed herself in supervising the girls and preparing their new homes.

On the subject of Henry and Katherine, however, she is silent after her October 1541 letter to the Lady Mary. It doesn't take much to speculate that Anne used the Howard project to avoid thinking of Henry and his wife as much as possible. She did not mention him in any of her surviving letters from this time period, nor did Anne join the court for Christmastide in 1540, but perhaps it was just as well. Anna of Cleves did join the festivities that year, dancing merrily with her successor and playing cards with many of the courtiers, even, reportedly, the Duke of Suffolk, her erstwhile teacher. Having one former wife at court with his current one was likely enough for Henry.

However, Anne couldn't avoid the outside world indefinitely. In the summer of 1541, the king chose to take a progress, to make his way into the North and in those areas that had rebelled against him in 1536. The story that Anne tolerated the king and queen's stopping at Queen's Hall merely so that they would not feel inclined to stop at Hatfield, where Elizabeth dwelled, seems apocryphal, but given that Anne was known to disapprove of Katherine, perhaps it isn't completely out of the realm of possibility that she wished Elizabeth to be as little influenced by this stepmother as possible."

1 July 1541
Queen's Hall

The king's progress is to pass here in less than a month, and even now, we are in a flurry of preparations. Everything is being scrubbed, especially within my chambers and the unused master's chambers, which will be used by the queen and king during their stay. I've also personally overseen the decoration and preparation of one of the other chambers for the Lady Mary's use, since she is to accompany the progress. She and I have found a kind of peace, and I wish to make her feel welcome in my home, if only to attempt some kind of atonement for the horrible thoughts I had about her during my marriage to Henry. I cannot think of those thoughts without trembling in shame.

The progress is to pass into the north, touching on those areas that supported the rebellion – Pontefract Castle, Lincolnshire, York, and such. I think Henry is having the Lady Mary accompany him because of the continued popularity that she enjoys among the populace there. The northerners have always been conservative, clinging to older ways until they are finally dragged forward into the present, usually kicking and screaming. I still recall what happened to the Earl of Northumberland during the reign of the king's father. The Earl was immensely disliked amongst his subjects, as was the king. When the Earl was sent to collect unpopular taxes from them, a mob formed, and they pulled him from his horse and murdered him on the spot. Of course, there are whispers that it wasn't just the taxes that caused the people to turn on him, but also he did not commit his forces to the cause of Richard III during the Battle of Bosworth, as he had promised to do. Richard III had for years lived and ruled the northern areas of England, and was as popular. The people had not forgotten him, and when the opportunity came to exact some form of revenge, they didn't hesitate.

I've never forgotten that story that Henry Percy once told me during our courting. So much is written against Richard III, mostly at the behest of the current royal family, who deposed him. It makes me wonder just how true it all was. Did the man truly have his nephews murdered in the Tower, as the lore goes?

I suppose it doesn't matter anymore, and in any case, I've lingered here long enough. There is still much work to be done.

22 July 1541
Queen's Hall

Arrived at Queen's Hall today. I haven't seen Anne's home since its restoration, and I have to say, the rumors about its improvements do not do it justice. She's turned this place into a grand home for herself, her family when they choose to visit, and for Elizabeth when she stays here, which is fairly often. Katherine was delighted with it, and with the use of Anne's chambers, which she vacated for the duration of our stay.

No expense has been spared, I think. The entertainments have been lavish, headed by Mark Smeaton, who still even now refuses to abandon his beloved patroness, no matter how much he's offered to return to court. If I didn't know better, I would think that he was in love with Anne!

Anne has her horses and dogs ready for a hunt, which the men shall partake of on the morrow while the women entertain themselves. Even Charles is looking forward to it, and seems not to think overly much of his duchess, who continues to bar him from her bed and heart. I never did care for that woman, and the pain she causes Charles wounds me as well. I'd offer him the option of obtaining a divorce, but he still clings to the love the two of them once had for each other.

In any case, this visit is our first stop on our progress and it shows all signs of being a great success, even if I know that the real test will not truly begin until we start north, which will happen next week.

24 July 1541

My Dearest Sister,

The king and the detachment from court that is traveling with him have been here two days and I am already exhausted. I'd forgotten just how tiring such entertainments could be. Keeping someone like our young cousin amused at all times is a job for an entire regiment, not just me!

Things seem to be going well. No one is complaining, at any rate, and my servants are also content. At least, none of the maids have come to me in tears yet because some young buck tried to insult their honor, which is a relief. I have no desire to deal with such a situation.

It was strange, though. I told the queen of our family's attempts to better educate our girls and how many of the girls from Lambeth are now at some of my other estates, and she seemed a little nervous over it. Even some of her ladies looked vaguely alarmed. I don't know what to make of it, not to mention the frantic denials the queen made when I offered to have some of her former friends brought to Queen's Hall for her to see again. She looked positively terrified!

I've also spent considerable time with the Lady Mary, and I think I have more in common with her than I do with my own kin. I even showed her the small chapel that is within the house. It isn't used for Catholic ceremonies any longer, of course, but I offered it to her for her exclusive use for as long as she's here, so that she might have some privacy for her prayers, and she was quite grateful.

We talked further, and though she was reluctant initially, the Lady Mary did reveal something of the rumored tensions between her and the queen. It seems that Lady Mary didn't take kindly to her father marrying Katherine any more than I did, especially since Katherine is actually some years Lady Mary's junior. It is rather insulting for her, to see her father in such lust for a girl that is closer to her younger sister's age than her own. She also told me of how the queen spitefully removed two of her maids for 'not showing her proper respect'. God's bones, does the girl really know nothing of proper behavior? Even when I was queen I didn't muck about with the households of other people, not even Katherine of Aragon's!

For all of this, though, there haven't been any outbursts from either side here at Queen's Hall, thankfully. It would be rather strange, me trying to mediate between them.

I shall write more when the stay is over, dearest. Right now, I am exhausted and must sleep.

Your Loving Sister,

Queen Anne, Duchess of Pembroke

29 July 1541
Queen's Hall

They're all gone now, and I can only give thanks. I've hardly had a moment to myself, seeing to everyone's comfort and needs. It's never this stressful when Elizabeth visits, and she is Henry's secondary heir.

The king wished for a quiet evening on his last night here, and so there was no enormous banquet, which we might have had otherwise. Food was provided in the hall for anyone who wished it, and many partook, but the king, queen, Lady Mary, and myself all dined together in private, and then settled to play cards.

The Lady Mary retired first, though she thanked me warmly for the lovely time she'd had here, and even offered to host me at Hunsdon some time in the future, if I should ever wish to visit her. Katherine of Aragon's daughter inviting me to visit her – will wonders ever cease? I may one day take her up on it. I've grown quite fond of her, I think, and only wished that such fondness could have come earlier.

The queen did not remain with us much longer after the Lady Mary left either. Indeed, she seemed rather eager to retire for the night, practically scampering out of the room with her ladies, including my sister-in-law, hurrying after her.

Henry and I played together for a time, each of us doing fairly well, though I won the last hand and a fairly substantial pot. Henry took the loss quite well, far better than he would have in years past. Still, there was no talk of that past, only a gentle and leisurely enjoyment of the present. We teased and laughed, and spoke of Elizabeth. He was quite pleased with our daughter's education, seeing how clever and learned she and how she grows more so every day. He even complimented me on my project of educating the Howard girls. I admitted to him that it was quite nice to feel so useful, since Elizabeth's education was so well in hand that there was little need of close supervision. I received regular reports from both Master Grindal and Mistress Ashley, but I'm not needed to watch over the process constantly.

The Howard girls, however, are another matter, I told him. The Dowager Duchess has spoiled them shamelessly, and they are unused to being watched so closely. Indeed, it seems that many of them thought they might be able to continue as they had at Lambeth, and were in tears when they saw that the number of men, or rather, eligible men, was quite sparse in their household. They are there to learn, not flirt and dally with men. It's quite an uphill battle for the chamberlains and mistresses that I've put placed in charge of them. I've even had to go to the various houses on more than one occasion whenever a Howard girl becomes too unruly for them to handle. I daresay I may be becoming a dragon to these girls, a threat to frighten them into obedience.

Henry was much amused to hear my stories of the girls. Eventually, it grew late and it was time to retire, as they were leaving by midday. I rose to take my leave of him, when suddenly Henry's hand shot across the table and grasped my own, preventing me from moving any further.

"May I come to your bed tonight?"

I think I may never forget those words so long as I live.

My first reaction was one of shock, but that soon changed to fury. He dares ask such a thing of me? In the final year of our marriage, I would have been thrilled to have such a request. But then my boy died after I saw Henry with his Seymour whore. After that, if I hadn't stepped aside for Elizabeth's sake, I don't think I could have endured his touch on my body. And if that wasn't enough, being thrown over twice for another woman hardly endears him to me either, however amiable I behave toward him.

And yet… I look at him, and despite his older, rounder appearance, I remember the happiness during our time together. Though those seven years we waited to be together were arduous, there were pleasing moments. Then we finally came together as a husband and wife should, even if we were not yet married, and conceived Elizabeth. Those days, from when we finally came together to Elizabeth's birth, were perhaps our greatest days, and even today I remember them as being golden, perhaps the best days of all my life.

It was strange, no, insane, but I was actually tempted to give in, to try and touch the beauty I'd once known. I suddenly wanted that more than anything, and knew the opportunity was right there, at my very fingertips…

Until I recalled the reality we lived in. I was his former wife, our ties had been legally and religiously severed. The only true bond we had now was our daughter.

I had not come to where I was in my life by being a whore.

Taking a deep breath to remain calm, I replied, "You have a wife, Your Majesty, and she is no longer me."

I gently pulled my hand away and stood up. I moved to leave, when he asked me if such semantics really mattered. For my own pride, it certainly did. My sister was forced to take on the epithet of 'The Great Prostitute' for the sake of our family's ambition, and I was certain that I was still known as 'the Concubine' in many corners of Europe – and even Henry's own court. I, though, knew that whatever men like Brandon or Chapuys might call me, it wasn't true. I had been a virgin on my wedding night, and no man save Henry had ever touched me, and only then when our marriage was truly a forgone conclusion.

That could never happen again, and so we could never be together again in that way. Or else I truly would be what they called me – a concubine, and a whore. My dignity was all I had, and I meant to keep it, no matter what my actual desires were. I said as much to Henry, placing a kiss on his cheek, but then I left him alone.

This was how it had to be, no matter what I wanted.

They left the next day as scheduled, and Henry bade me farewell kindly enough, as though what had happened between us was merely a dream, a fancy on my part. I nearly believed it myself, except for the long, intense expression the king gave me just as they rode off, his queen by his side.

Of course, as the court left, those of us that remained behind were left with setting the house to rights. I won't remain here long either, but will go to Forsythe Manor, allowing Queen's Hall to be aired and cleaned. I can spend time with the Howard girls that are sequestered there.

Also, as if the strangeness of Henry's behavior wasn't enough, several of my servants reported also the peculiarity of the behavior of the queen's ladies, particularly George's wife and Mistress Bulmer. It seems that they were seen darting through the lower corridors below the queen's borrowed chambers, trying to avoid the guards as they led another, cloaked figure. No one had ascertained the person's identity, or their destination, and in the end, I could only assume that it was Katherine, sneaking out like a child to have fun with her ladies when she'd officially retired for the night.

Still a silly child, as always.


"In terms of politics and PR, the northern progress of 1541 was a partial success for the king. Many of the former members of the Pilgrimage of Grace did respectful homage to Henry, and he offered his forgiveness with a free heart, assuring that he indeed did not hold 'any relics of indignation' for their unlawful rebellion. The people turned out in droves to catch a glimpse of him and those who accompanied him, most particularly the Lady Mary.

The only real political blow to Henry's time in the north was that his nephew, James V of Scotland, failed to appear in York as promised, which so enraged the king that he smashed the gift he'd ordered for his fellow sovereign on the floor of the cathedral. Learning that instead James had summoned his army to cross the borders into England to rain destruction down upon every village and farm they came across was a terrible blow to the king's ego and personal prestige. As such, it's hardly surprising that Henry ordered that troops be gathered so that they could to retaliate against the Scots, which would happen with impunity.

Another blow, much more personal, also came on that very same day. News arrived from Hampton Court of Prince Edward's illness, which caused Henry to take only a small retinue to dash back south to his son's bedside. That left Lady Mary to take the reins of the rest of the royal retinue and to guide it back to London. No one seemed to have remarked that she acted precipitously or overstepped her authority, given that the queen was also present and should have, in theory, been the one to take charge. No one seemed to have expected it of the young Katherine.

Speaking of Katherine, although it wasn't known at the time, she and Culpepper had deepened their relationship on the trip into the north. Rumors abounded after the fact that even Henry himself almost caught them once, appearing at Katherine chambers unexpectedly. The Countess of Wiltshire had been left to stall the king while Culpepper grabbed his discarded clothing and slipped out of Katherine's chambers through a servant's entrance.

The loudest whispers, however, the ones that truly helped lead to the lovers' eventual condemnation, were of the behavior of the queen and her ladies at Queen's Hall, in Hertfordshire. Anne herself wrote of it in her diary, although she dismissed it as just Katherine being a 'silly child'. The duchess' servants, ever the watchful type, spotted the countess and Joan Bulmer leading 'another, cloaked figure'. It likely would never have occurred to Anne that her kinswoman was summoning her lover to meet with her in the very apartments Anne herself often used.

Still, the noose was slowly tightening around Katherine and Culpepper's necks. One of Katherine's former roommates at Lambeth had confessed of Katherine's sexual adventures during their time under the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk to her brother, John Lascelles. He, in turn, wrote to Archbishop Cranmer, telling him the whole of it.

From there, events went from a snowball to an avalanche, and no one would be unaffected by it."

3 November 1541
Forsythe Manor

I can't believe what is happening! I was visited today, by the Earl of Hertford and Sir Richard Rich. They had come, on the king's authority, to question me on my knowledge of the queen's conduct both before and during her marriage to the king. When I protested their ambushing in my own home, Rich informed me, quite testily, that it was only due to His Majesty's fondness of me that I was not dragged to London and to the Tower to be questioned there. The years have clearly made the man most rude, that he would speak so to one so far above him in station. I am the Duchess of Pembroke, currently the fourth lady of the kingdom, and he dares to threaten me?

In any moment, they wished to know of my motives of taking the Howard girls and female dependents under my protection, asking if I thought that they, and Katherine by extension, were behaving in a manner ill-befitting their station. I informed them, quite truthfully, that my uncle and cousin, the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Surrey, and I had come to an agreement that the Dowager Duchess had advanced far enough in years that she needn't be bothered with the care of dozens of young girls. I was in a position to offer the girls a stable home and a good education, something that their own parents were, in most cases, unable to provide them. My generosity would then assist them in making honorable marriages, since I was firmly of the opinion that few men of sense wanted stupid wives. All of it was true.

I certainly wasn't going to tell them the rest of the truth. I could hardly tell them that I thought that Katherine was an uneducated, flighty girl, prey for any rake who came along whispering sweet nothings in her ear. I couldn't blurt out that I believed Henry was an unmitigated fool for making her his wife.

Whether or not they believed me, I don't know, because they abruptly changed the subject. Hertford asked me, "Did you know of a pre-contract between the queen and Francis Dereham?" I informed him that I didn't even know who Francis Dereham was! It was explained to me that he had once been a member of the Dowager Duchess' household and who had enjoyed Katherine's favors. He had even confessed to have had carnal knowledge of the queen, not to mention claimed to have been pre-contracted to her.

Good God, if this is true, then the stupid girl has lost everything, and she might very well have dragged the Howards down with her into dishonor and disgrace! I informed them quite clearly that if Katherine had gotten up to some mischief before the king so graciously – and lustfully I thought to myself but didn't utter out loud – raised her to an honorable estate, then that was no fault of mine.

Hertford and Rich seemed satisfied that I knew nothing of these scandalous proceedings, because they left soon after. I was glad to see them go. I wasn't exactly pleased to have one of those wretched Seymours in my home, the sanctuary I'd built for myself on account of them. No doubt Hertford, a very clever man, was the one who coached his cow of a sister on how to gain Henry's love. The man's certainly intelligent enough to do it, unlike his brother, whom George has told me is a hotheaded fool. Rich, on the other hand, was once a member of Cromwell's staff, and a driving force behind the Reformation. Now, however, he seems to have thrown his lot in with Bishop Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester, and the other conservatives at court. Quite a turncoat, I'd say.

I cannot believe Henry set his dogs on me like this! I cannot abide this inconsistent behavior on his part. One day he's asking me to become his lover, the next he's accusing me of conspiring to commit treason? I must write to George at once and demand to know what is happening.

3 November 1541


What in the name of Christ is going on? Hertford and Rich have just interrogated me about the queen's behavior before and during her marriage. What is happening? Send word posthaste.


3 November 1541


The Queen has been accused of loose living before her marriage and adultery after her marriage to the king. Everyone is being questioned, and one of the men of the Queen's household has been taken to the Tower, one Francis Dereham. Will write when I know more.


7 November 1541


Forgive the lack of correspondence these past several days. I've been confined to my chambers and thoroughly questioned by the king's representatives on the subject of the Queen's misconduct and those who were party to it.

Anne, it is much worse than was originally thought. Hertford has been investigating Katherine's history. He discovered that under the lax guardianship of the Dowager Duchess, Katherine and many of the other girls living with her dallied with men of the household, having what amounted to orgies in their dormitories. It is also claimed by Francis Dereham, a former secretary to the Dowager Duchess, that he and Katherine had behaved so because they had planned to marry. You know what this means, if it's true. A pre-contract would invalidate her marriage to the king.

But that isn't the worst of it. It seems that Dereham had been replaced in Katherine's affections by another man, and not the king. It seems that she took our distant kinsman, Thomas Culpepper, as a lover, and apparently with the assistance of my wife! God's blood, I knew she was the biggest fool to walk this earth, but to actually actively assist a woman proclaimed Queen of England in committing adultery and treason? Could she truly be that stupid?

For her part in all of this, I was confined to my chambers, as I stated. Hertford came and questioned me on any knowledge I might have had, and I insisted, of course, that I knew nothing. Jane and I have been estranged for years, and aside from me providing her with a quarterly allowance that is due her as my countess, we do not interact. It would explain our lack of progeny, after all. It's public knowledge that she and I live entirely separate lives, me as a courtier and councilor to His Majesty, and she as a lady-in-waiting to whoever happens to be Queen. I learned long ago that I do not have to spend time with my wife to have an amicable marriage.

Hertford didn't disbelieve me, I think. Indeed, I think I was only questioned in the hope that I might be able to provide some insight he might not have thought of. He knows as well as any about the state of my marriage. If anything, I think he almost envies me, because he still actually lives with that harpy of his, Anne Stanhope.

But all that is neither here nor there. The fact remains that our first cousin is no doubt to be charged with treason. If we're not careful, we could all go down with her, even those of us who had nothing to do with this entire shameful situation. The Dowager Duchess, who is most certainly involved, having known of Katherine's loose behavior under her roof, is in the Tower for her foreknowledge, as are a few other Howards, such as Cousin Mary. Our uncle and cousin Surrey seemed to have escaped that fate, for the moment. Hopefully we too shall be spared. I have never been in the Tower, but the sight of it has always filled me with dread.

I know you're probably already doing this, but nonetheless I'd urge you to act to protect my niece's interests above all. You probably did right in doing whatever you could to keep the contact between Elizabeth and Katherine to a minimum.

It may sound cruel, but I'm leaving Jane to her fate. She made her own bed, let her lie in it. I'll not lift my hand to save her, not after her actions threaten to bring down not only our family, but her own as well. Her father and siblings and their families are all working to distance themselves from her too. Even they won't have me beg the king for mercy for her.

I shall write more when more information becomes available.

George, Earl of Wiltshire

15 November 1541

Why? Why has God cursed me with so many ill-conditioned wives?

How could she do this? As if Dereham was disgusting enough, but Culpepper too?

I cannot bear this. I can't.

21 November 1541

Dearest Sister,

Forgive me, but our plans for Christmastide will have to be cancelled. I've been ordered to come to court for the holidays, and I daren't protest, not with how things are in the current political atmosphere. The king has raged against our cousin for her indiscretions, and with the Dowager Duchess still in the Tower, I fear he may throw ume/u in there with her if I were to try to demure.

I'm sending the gifts I prepared for you and your family. I pray you all have a merry time together, and maybe spare a thought for your sister stuck in London.


10 December 1541

This is unbearable. The entire court is treading softly, as though there is a Minotaur rampaging throughout the palace, seeking to feast upon them. Henry's behavior has been intolerable, being full of expectations of making merry this holiday season one minute, and weeping and bemoaning his piteous state over Katherine's indiscretions the next. It's enough to drive any woman mad.

When I asked him why he'd insisted that I come here, Henry said it was that he desired my company along with the rest of the family for Christmastide. A patent falsehood. He hardly says two words to me a day, leaving me to work with the Lady Mary to prepare the court for the Christmas celebrations. Instead, he indulges himself, hosting a dinner party in which all of the guests are beautiful women of the court. Sisters, daughters, and nieces of his noblemen were all invited, while I am left to do the work that should either be the lot of his wife or eldest daughter. The Lady Mary and I work well together, and indeed, she is far more cheerful these days than she has was during the visit to Queen's Hall this past summer. I suspect she is quite relieved to see Katherine cast off. No longer does she have to make way for a stepmother who is several years her junior. Still, I easily suspect that she could easily have handled the preparations for the celebrations herself. Indeed, it would be good practice for her, since such responsibilities will be her lot when she marries one day.

I try pointing this out to Henry, that his eldest daughter is no child and thus more than capable, and doesn't need me to supervise her work. He just says that he's missed my company since the summer, but he barely spends any time with me now.

Impossible man!

20 December 1541

I'd had enough. Henry had continued to veritably ignore me most of the time, and when he did condescend to acknowledge my presence here at court, he did nothing but bewail his fate for having an unfaithful wife.

I'd never had much patience for his bouts of self-pity. During the seven years that we waited for him to secure an annulment, Henry had constantly lamented Katherine's behavior, her claiming to be his true and faithful wife and subject while also being the most disobedient woman he'd ever laid eyes on. He would often confront her, demand her obedience, only to come to me complaining about her tears and pleadings and how she vexed him. More than once I'd lost my temper with him, telling him that he was foolish to challenge her, because she would always have the upper hand.

I am older now, and wiser, but while Henry matches me in the former, he certainly doesn't in the latter. I have tried to hold my temper better over the years, and have largely been successful, but today I could stand no more.

The two of us were dining in private, one of the few meals Henry had condescended to share with me since my arrival at court. Of course, it was hardly a pleasant one. He spent the entire time complaining in between the bites he took of his food, and even occasionally tiny bits flew from his mouth as he spoke. It was rather off-putting, to say the least. His manners have clearly lost out over the years.

My sigh of impatience must have been louder than I thought, because Henry stopped his ranting and actually asked me, quite irritated, if there was a problem. I am blaming the wine I'd taken with our meal for the fact that I actually answered him truthfully instead of demurring.

"I honestly don't know what you expected, Henry, taking a flighty, uneducated girl as a wife."

Oh, those words. From anyone else, they would have earned them a one-way trip by boat to the Tower. Instead, Henry just stared at me. I, to my later horror, took that as permission to go further. I told him that if he had just made Katherine his mistress, the fallout wouldn't have been nearly as bad. It might have even been unnoticeable by the court and world at large. Instead, because Henry decided to put a ring on her finger and a crown on her head, he had opened himself to the world's scrutiny and derision when his young wife behaved naughtily. It was his own fault that he had been humiliated. "Why?" I asked him, and my tone, shockingly, had changed from one of anger to one of sadness. Suddenly this had become more than just me taking him to task over my kinswoman. "Why did you have to marry her?"

I didn't shout it, but I might as well have, for all the impact that the words had.

"I loved her!" Henry certainly shouted that, but no matter how loud he was, I didn't believe it for a moment. That he'd taken Katherine to bed long before marriage vows were even an option, given that he was still bound to Lady Anna at the time, spoke to just what it was that he felt toward Katherine, and that wasn't love, but lust. I told him so.

"You waited seven years before you bedded me," I added, with some pain. "You threw down the Pope's authority, cast aside a woman who was kin to the most powerful man in Europe, and did it all without taking my maidenhead before our marriage was a complete, forgone conclusion. That, my lord," I said with every ounce of bitterness I had within me, nearly six years' worth, "is love. Or so I thought."

The room was silent for several moments as we stared at each other, like two lions sizing each other up for control of the pride. Thankfully, the servants had long since made themselves scarce.

"You've grown cruel, Anne," was all Henry could say, and it was barely more than a whisper now. "You loved me once, and would never have been so cruel to me to say such things."

I snorted. I had always tried to be truthful with him, even when it hurt. Clearly, he had a selective memory. "For the past five years you've lived with everything I've lost, Henry, and proven over and over again just how little my love meant to you!"

He'd thrown me out of bed for his precious Seymour slut, the bitch who had helped him to kill our son in my womb and was now answering to God for her actions. He'd permitted Elizabeth to endure repeated insults, like half of his court dismissing her and not recognizing her status as his second heir behind Prince Edward. He'd spent months complaining and begging me to stay with him, be his companion and friend, and yet hadn't hesitated to throw me over when Hertford and his cronies dangled Katherine in front of him. Yes, he'd more than shown just how little regard he had for me.

I laughed bitterly. When listed, Henry's sins against those he claimed to love were great indeed. "You call me cruel, Henry, and claim to have loved me after all you have done to me? Love such as yours would kill a woman!"

I had wanted to say so much of this to him for so long, and now, after years of holding my tongue, of trying to remember that Henry held my life and Elizabeth's in the palm of his hand, I had finally gotten to say it. And though I knew that I could very well end up with my head on the block for my words, I couldn't bring myself to regret them or feel afraid. My losses had dwelt in silence long enough.

Henry made no answer to my rampage, and finally, when I saw that he was not going to speak, I left him. There was no reason to stay. Our appetites had long since departed.

I'm going home. I knew coming here to court would eventually bring trouble. I should never have agreed to come back the first time.

20 December 1541

Yet again, Anne has stepped over the line, and this time, I'm inclined to cut her head off for it! How dare she speak so! Insulting Jane's memory, calling me a fool for marrying a girl who should have just been my mistress, and even claiming that I helped to murder our son! Has she gone completely mad?

Does she really think I killed our boy? Has that been in her mind all these years, even when we have sat and laughed together, become friends again, akin to how we once used to be? Does she truly hate me so?

I should throw her into the Tower for speaking so. She could easily share a cell with Katherine, or even the Dowager Duchess. I'm not sure which would be a harsher punishment for her.

I am so tired. Katherine's betrayal has left me in no state to argue with Anne. To do so has always required every one of my wits, and I have barely half of them at my disposal. I've spent these past years missing her, and only now do I see the hatred that has festered in her heart. She never recovered from the death of our son.

No, throwing her in the Tower would only further harden her heart against me. Then there's the fact that she still manages to court the popularity of the people, even after all these years. They'd never stand for both Katherine and Anne to go to be restrained, especially when their crimes are so incredibly dissimilar.

Nay, Anne shall stay here. I'll not see the mother of my daughter hate me.

Addendum: God's bones! Anne is gone! She's returning to her estates! Damn it!


"The events of December 1541 were incredibly dramatic, literally something out of a romance novel. After Anne erupted at Henry, she dashed out of London, making for her estates. In retrospect, Anne's impulsive flight could have spelled her downfall. After treating Henry in a way that anyone of that time would call scandalously disrespectful, possibly even treasonous, her running could easily have been taken as an attempt to evade justice and possibly even mount a rebellion against the king.

Fortunately for Anne, Henry didn't see it that way. Instead, he pursued her, despite the frigid, December weather, eventually finding her back at Queen's Hall. Again, actions all worthy of the cheesiest of romance novels."

22 December 1541
Queen's Hall

My arrival took Anne's servants quite by surprise, probably the second in as many days, given Anne's abrupt departure from court. One of her footmen looked as though he didn't know what to do when I entered the manor. Upon hearing the voices of the women a short distance away, I waved the man off, saying I would find the Queen myself.

I found her in one of the sitting rooms, attended by Nan Seville and a few of her other ladies. All of them, including Anne, froze when I strode in. Without looking away from Anne, I ordered the women out. I was determined to speak to her alone.

Once they had left, Anne and I stared at one another. My indignation had carried me from my court and its celebrations, but now that I was faced with her, I was at a loss as to what to say first. Finally, I blurted out, "You left quite precipitously."

Anne looked fairly incredulous, and replied that she'd been there long enough. When I said that she hadn't let me respond to her many charges, she said, "I think there was enough talking." She might have continued, but I sat down next to her and cut her off.

"No, Anne," I said, "you spoke your piece. Now it's my turn." I took a deep, steadying breath. I wasn't entirely certain how to fix this, but I had to try. Anne was dear to me. Even the height of my happiness with Jane had never reached the depths of my feelings for Anne, no matter how much I wished otherwise at the time.

I somehow brought myself to apologize to her, for the pain and heartache she had suffered. I had not comforted her as I should have when our son died, nor had I considered her feelings due to being so besotted with Jane. I hadn't acted honorably then, and I couldn't change happened. Taking her hand, I swore that I'd spend the rest of my days treating her as I should have treated her from the beginning. I couldn't marry her again, we both knew that, but I promised to treat her as my queen in every other way.

Anne was shocked by my outpourings, to say the least. She stumbled over a reply, but then finally asked me, "Why now? Is it merely to salve your conscience?"

My first instinct was to tell her no, that it was merely out of the love I truly bore for her, but had not I always told her that truth and honesty were the essence of love? Slowly, I said, "In part, yes, but my most important reason, Anne, is…" I took another deep breath, and then continued, "I swear to you, Anne, I've never stopped loving you. Never. I want to show that to the world, however I can. I've wronged you, but I swear, I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you as best as I possibly can."

She still watched me warily, but as I stared into her eyes, I was certain that I also saw a hint of longing as well. Anne wanted to believe me, I could tell. She opened her mouth to speak, but I shook my head and told her to think on it. I didn't want her to make any other rash decisions.

I've laid it all down for her. I've set aside my pride and bared my soul to her. I can only hope she'll not grind it beneath her heel, no matter how entitled to do so that she is.


"Anne's diaries from 1542 to 1549 were lost in a fire during her daughter's reign, as were Henry's diaries from 1542 until his death. As such, we are left without a firsthand account of their relationship during the final years of Henry's life, forcing us to rely on the interpretations of other people, both friendly and hostile.

Anne did return to court with Henry, making it back on the twenty-fifth of December. She spent much of her time there, and despite her best attempts at remaining out of the political limelight, became a leader of a more progressive faction within the court, often working in conjunction with people like the Earl of Hertford.

She was at court in February 1542, when Katherine Howard and the Countess of Wiltshire were executed, and surprisingly, kept Henry distracted from the situation as well as his initial plans to host another dinner for the women of the court.

So much happened in those last five years of Henry's reign, and with the loss of those diaries, we have no way of knowing of their own feelings on them – Henry's returning the Lady Mary to the succession after Edward and Elizabeth, the war with France, Anne being entrusted with the regency during Henry's absence, as well as Stephen Gardiner's attempt to unseat Anne from Henry's favor, which ended in a humiliating defeat for the conservative faction. Sadly, we are only left with those final entries in December 1541, when Anne and Henry finally confronted one another in a manner that they had held back from for years.

Previous biographers and historians have always insinuated that the king kept Anne at court constantly, implying all sorts of methods that he used to keep her there – blackmail, begging, or even outright restraint. However, by cross-referencing court records and other primary accounts of the time period, there is ample evidence that Anne actually did return to her estates. Queen's Hall, Forsythe Manor, and all the others received periodic visits from their mistress throughout the final years of the king's life. She sometimes even brought some of the Howard girls with her to court, perhaps as a reward for good behavior and diligent studying.

As for the truth of Anne and Henry's relationship in these final years, it has been analyzed, studied, and speculated upon for centuries, from when it was first happening to the present day. However, the basic facts are these: Henry never remarried after Katherine Howard's execution; Anne spent much of her time at court with him and was trusted by him for some of the most vital tasks in England. Whatever the depth of their relationship, nothing was known for certain, though many people wondered about it. For instance, the foreign ambassadors often wrote to their masters of the atmosphere of Henry's court, and Anne's place in it was no exception. For example, Eustace Chapuys, always hostile to anything concerning Anne, said in one dispatch, "The Concubine sits beside the king as if she were again his wife and consort. God save us from this heretical bitch. She keeps coming back, like the worst of rodents." Hardly the most flattering of things to say, but it does indicate the level of notice that Anne received.

The French ambassador was a bit more charitable. "Her Highness serves as the king's chatelaine, welcoming all official visitors, and leading the court merrily." Of course, how he felt later, when England went to war with his country, is up to speculation.

Still, there is a single quote that has bedazzled scholars for centuries, from a letter written by the Duke of Suffolk: "The king kisses her on the mouth in public, much as he did of old. I wonder if she shall be the sixth wife as much as the second one." Brandon, at least, seems to imply that love had grown between Anne and the king once more.

Again, the loss of Anne and Henry's diaries leave us unable to know for sure. Still, it seems unlikely that she would suddenly switch from spending five years hating him to suddenly loving him again. On the other hand, Anne herself did state on more than one occasion that she loved him as much as she hated him, so who knows what she might have felt. Whatever her feelings, she stayed with the king for much of the last years of his life. Even when he fell into his final illness and he sent all three of his children away, Anne remained with him. She was even at his bedside on his death, in January 1547.

We can never know exactly what became of the two of them in their final years together. However, it can be thought that Henry's last will and testament makes his feelings plain enough. In addition to the orders he left for the care of his son during his minority, the bequests for his daughters, and other instructions, Henry also recorded his wish that a place be left open in his tomb for Anne when she died. He actually wanted her to rest with him and Jane Seymour, who had been buried there in 1536. Ultimately, Anne didn't take Henry's offer, of course, preferring to be buried wherever it gave her daughter pleasure and hoping only that it might be near her beloved child. Nonetheless, the offer was obviously a genuine one.

Despite the loss of Anne's diaries from this crucial time period, there are still some primary sources from Anne available, though they aren't as revealing as the diaries would be. Anne was a diligent correspondent, and many of her letters survive. She wrote frequently to her sister until Mary's death in 1543, and those letters as well as those to her brother are perhaps the best source for gaining insight into Anne's thoughts, since she trusted her siblings with words and feelings that she'd trust no other with. Anne also kept in close touch with Mary's children, Edward, who became the Earl of Wiltshire after George Boleyn's death in 1550, and Anne, who joined Elizabeth's household after Mary's death in 1543 and remained a part of it until her own death in 1603. In many of these letters, Anne speaks, even just in passing, of her continued fondness for Henry. Some might call it damning with faint praise, but it's just as likely that Anne was being cautious. She'd endured the theft of her private letters in the past, and thus could very well have been writing with that in mind, not wanting to give her enemies any thorough insight into her mind.

Additionally, there is Anne's relationship with Elizabeth's children. There is ample evidence that Anne doted on all of them, but it was to Elizabeth's third son, Henry, Duke of Somerset, that Anne left her worldly possessions to, minus a few bequests to the rest of her family. There are plenty of indications that Anne was closest to the prince, who was twenty when she died in 1580. She served as the boy's godmother, and was known to have him accompany her across England when she chose to travel. That, combined with the fact that Somerset did in fact closely resemble his grandfather in appearance and temperament, can also speak to Anne's continuing hold on to her former husband's memory.

Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor have fascinated the world for centuries because for all of the wealth of material that they left behind, they are still a mystery to us, both as a couple and as individuals. Still, whatever disagreements they had, whatever resentments they held toward each other, they did share one thing – a mutual devotion to their daughter, Elizabeth. Anne lived to see their daughter become Queen after Edward's death in July 1553, marry the future Frederick II of Denmark in 1554, and saw the births of all seven of her grandchildren, of which two would become kings, one of England and one of Denmark. Her descendents still sit on the thrones of those kingdoms today. She remained a close advisor to Elizabeth, if an unofficial one, and remained quite popular with the people until her death. Elizabeth didn't follow her mother for another twenty-three years, but laid the following inscription before her mother's sarcophagus:

'Here lies Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, wife of Henry VIII, mother of Elizabeth I. A valiant woman, beloved of her husband even unto separation and death, here she lies, in hope of resurrection.'

Perhaps that is what Elizabeth thought of her parents' relationship, and perhaps that is enough, in the end."


1. The title for this story, graven with diamonds in letters plain, is a line from a poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt, Whoso List to Hunt. Popular legend believes that Wyatt wrote this poem with Anne Boleyn – and her courtship with Henry VIII – as his inspiration. The poem is as follows:

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

From the Anne Boleyn Files

2. This story is based loosely on the 'Marquess of Pembroke' challenge at the Tudor Fanfic Forums. It doesn't follow the challenge's requirements exactly, but there was a bit of inspiration involved here.

3. The Duke of Norfolk's involvement in bringing Katherine Howard to Henry's attention is true to history, rather than to the show. The duke's presence at court provided me with a method of giving Anne an additional source – and nemesis – of the goings on around the king.

4. Readers might notice that some of the lines in Anne's confrontation with Henry over Katherine Howard's behavior are quite similar to dialogue in the 1966 play by James Goldman, The Lion in Winter. The play is based upon another royal powerhouse couple, albeit one from a few centuries earlier than Henry and Anne, Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The events of the play are fictional, but the events leading up to the play are fairly accurate, in that Henry II really did imprison his wife for taking part in his sons' rebellion against him. The best-known adaptation of this play is the film from 1968, which starred Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn as Henry II and Eleanor, and also with then-newcomer Anthony Hopkins as one of Henry and Eleanor's sons, Richard (the future Richard I 'the Lionheart'). This movie is one of my absolute favorites, and some of the dialogue helped to inspire this story as much as the Marquess of Pembroke challenge.

5. The inscription mentioned in the final paragraphs of the story is based on the actual inscription at the tomb of Elizabeth I and Mary I.

6. The mention of Henry's love letters to Anne being stolen from her is also a nod to historical fact. At some point, the letters were stolen from her, and they were rediscovered some centuries later in the Vatican Archives in Rome. Clearly, someone in the Vatican wanted as much ammunition as possible against the king and his lady. Or, they just wanted some heady reading material.