Author's notes – I've been reading a lot of Tudor's fiction lately, and most of the time, the recurring theme is either Anne avoiding that final miscarriage and delivering a son or Katherine and Henry's son surviving infancy. I had a sudden thought about what would happen if Katherine's prayers for a son were finally answered. Yes, Anne will be in this story as I cannot leave her out. She's too important to both the plot and history. If you're interested in being a beta/sounding board for this story, please message me. Historically, Katherine (or Catherine) had six pregnancies, the last being an unnamed daughter. In this story, I've decided to give her a seventh and final one. This story probably takes place sometime in 1520, so it'll be a bit before Anne Boleyn is introduced as Henry didn't begin pursuing her until around 1525-26. It's unlikely Jane Seymour will be in this story, and you will see why. I mean no disrespect and if you see an idea that may have been yours, please let me know and I will give you credit where credit is due.
Queen Katherine knelt within the cool dimness of her private chapel, staring beseechingly at the image of the Blessed Virgin smiling serenely at her. The quiet click of the rosary beads moving through her fingers as she prayed were a soothing balm to her whirling thoughts. Could her prayers to God and before Mary finally being answered?
Her courses were long since due, and she knew her ladies were whispering that maybe she was too old to bear children. Something within her refused to believe this, and now she prayed that her instincts as a woman were right. Henry's bastard by Lady Blount proved he could sire a living son, and now as she prayed before the Virgin, she silently prayed that she could finally give him another. This time, she could not fail and she knew it.
Her husband hadn't been faithful to her for years, she knew this, and part of her knew that he was starting to believe he would never get a legitimate heir from her beyond her beloved daughter Mary. One hand slowly drifted to her stomach, pressing on it gently. Please, God, let me finally give Henry the son we so long for, she prayed fervently before crossing herself and rising. The midwife she had sent for discreetly was due any moment.
"Your Majesty." The woman before her curtsied low before the Queen, keeping her eyes lowered demurely. Katherine studied her a moment before nodding.
"Rise, young lady," She told her, motioning with a hand for the young woman to rise from her curtsy. "You are the midwife?"
"I am, my Lady. Mistress Parr told me you required a midwife?" The reply came hesitantly, unsure exactly why her services would be required. Everyone knew that the Queen hadn't had a successful pregnancy for years now so the woman was confused as to why she was here. King Henry had some of the finest physicians in England at his beck and call, so why would this great lady need the her humble services?
"That is correct, Mistress. I find myself in need of your services. I require your absolute discretion, the King can never know you were here," Katherine told her, her accent thickening as she warned the woman before her. "I trust a fellow woman in these matters rather than the royal physicians."
The woman nodded, dipping into a curtsy again. "Yes, Your Majesty. How may I serve you?"
Katherine inhaled deeply, glancing to where Mistress Parr stood a discreet distance away. At the other woman's encouraging smile, Katherine returned her gaze back to the midwife. "I need you to confirm if I'm with child."
A few weeks later, Henry and Katherine sat together in her chambers. Flames danced merrily on the hearth before them, and a veritable feast sat before them. Her ladies were spread throughout the room, within distance in case their sovereigns needed something from them. Henry had been quiet all though out dinner. He was clearly in a mood, Katherine noted, smiling to herself. Hopefully this would get him out of his dark mood.
"Henry?" She queried softly, attempting to draw his attention to her as subtly as she could.
"Hmmm?" Henry raised his gaze to meet her. "What is it sweetheart?"
Demurely, she lowered her gaze and took a sip of wine to steady her nerves. "I have some good news."
Henry didn't reply at first, and she wondered if he had heard her. His gaze locked on hers, narrowing his eyes slightly. Katherine had never been hesitant to tell him anything, and if this was good news like she claimed, he couldn't fathom why she was hesitating. "What is it?" He finally demanded, trying to control his temper.
"I'm with child."
Those three words seemed to take forever to penetrate Henry's brain but when they did, he genuinely didn't know how to react. He'd long since given up getting another child off Katherine and now, now he didn't know what to think. His mouth worked soundlessly for a number of moments before he finally found his voice again. "Truly?"
Katherine smiled that secretive smile she always reserved just for him. "I've had both a midwife and Dr. Lincare confirm. I am indeed with child."
Henry paced futilely in his presence chamber, reminiscent of a caged lion. Katherine had gone into labor earlier that morning and now it was nothing but waiting. Prayers fell from his lips absently, praying for a son, praying for his wife to survive, just praying at this point. He was sure if his court saw him they would think him mad, pacing around and muttering like a mad person. When the door opened abruptly, he whirled to face the frightened groom that had been sent to fetch him. "Your Majesty," the boy began before being cut off.
"Yes? What is it? What news?" Henry peppered the boy with questions, stalking towards him.
"Her Majesty is delivered of a son," the boy began, only to jump slightly in fright as Henry let out an almighty shout of joy ,"as well as a daughter."
The grin on Henry's face only seemed to get bigger as he hurried off to his wife's chambers, ignoring the groom. Courtiers backed out of his way as he quickly raced towards Katherine's rooms. "Congratulations to you, your Majesty," Charles Brandon called as he hurried to catch up with the king.
"Thank you Charles!" Henry replied, turning the full force of his grin on his best friend as they finally came upon Katherine's chambers.
Dr. Lincare greeted them as they arrived, with a low bow. "Your Majesty is to be congratulated on the birth of a healthy son and daughter."
"Thank you, Doctor. How fares the queen?" Henry queried, clapping the doctor on the back as he headed towards the inner chamber, not giving Lincare a chance to speak. As he entered, he noticed Katherine lying pale and almost still on the bed. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow. Two of her maids were each holding an infant and both of them curtsied as best they could with the infants in their arms. Pulling a chair to Katherine's bed, he slowly sat and grasped her hand gently between his.
Her eyes fluttered open and she turned her head to look at him. "Henry…"
"Sweetheart, you've made me so proud!" He whispered, bringing her hand to his lips and kissing it gently. "What shall we call them?"
Katherine smiled weakly before her eyes fluttered shut once more. Her breathing slowly began to grow ragged, sending Henry into a panic. The maids, seeing what was happening, hurried to fetch Lincare. The physician ran into the room with his assistants following behind, even as Henry slowly fell to his knees from the chair, begging Katherine to stay with him.
The babies, which had been quiet until now, began to wail loudly. Henry remained weeping beside Katherine's bed, pleading her not to leave him now that she'd at last given him his son.