Henry looked at Elizabeth mournfully, she was dying their son Edmund was lying in the cradle feet away from his parents.
"Elizabeth, please I must know is Anne my daughter?"
"No, she is not, your majesty." Elizabeth weakly told the story of how Thomas wanted the the King to believe Anne was his child hoping he would favor the family and raise their position in life. Henry was astonished she would confess such a thing against her own husband until he saw the bruises on her arm. It was clear that someone had grabbed her tightly leaving a distinct imprint of the abuse.
"He did this to you?" Henry asked as he stroked her arm. She did not answer but her eyes told the truth.
"He will pay for this, Elizabeth. I swear it." Henry kissed her softly.
"The children, he..." Elizabeth did not finish her thought before she lapsed into a coma. Henry stalked out of the room, Thomas Boleyn was standing before him smug as ever. His wife lay dying and all he could think of was the benefit the infant Edmund Fitzroy's birth meant to him. Henry shoved him to the wall, his hand around Thomas' throat.
"How dare you lay a hand on a woman such as Elizabeth? And you dared to deceive your King to believe your daughter could be mine." Thomas was taken to the tower to await trial for acts against his King. Elizabeth Boleyn died two days after Edmund's birth, leaving four children motherless and soon they would be without their father as well.
"Katherine, I ..."
"Henry, my love, I will miss her as well." Henry never knew how he came to have such a kind and loving wife, but it wasn't Elizabeth he was thinking about. All he could remember as he walked out of Hever Castle was the faces of three little children without their parents.
"The Boleyn children are without their mother, that is all I was thinking about sweetheart. I could hear in Elizabeth's voice she feared for their safety, but now they have no one to care for them." Katherine stared at her husband, she had never heard such sadness from Henry. Not even when his mother had died, or they lost the child she was carrying a few months ago. The miscarriage had been early in her pregnancy, and the physicians said she was healthy enough to try again to have a child.
"I must speak to Charles, good day madam." Henry looked at Katherine lovingly as he walked out of her chambers.
"Charles, old friend." Charles looked at Henry wondering what he had up his sleeve this time. The last time he saw that twinkle in his King's eyes he was married off to Maud Green.
"Charles, my son Edmund Fitzroy will be given Hever Castle as his primary residence, along with the title of Duke of Kent, but that leaves the older three Boleyn children without a home or parents to care for them."
"Your majesty..." Charles began to speak but was cut off abruptly by Henry.
"They are to be taken in by you and your wife as your wards, along with the granting you the title of Duke of Suffolk and annual income to help with the burden."
"Yes your majesty." Charles was already wondering how much life would be different with the upcoming birth of his first child, now he would have a ten year old girl, Mary, six year old boy, George, and the two year old Anne Boleyn to raise as well.
"The children will be sent for in the morning, I heartily thank you Charles for your graciousness in this task." Thomas Boleyn was informed the next morning at the Tower that he would die for his crimes against the King and that his children would be cared for by a man of much greater character. Thomas laughed at the notion of Charles being a greater man than he, everyone at court knew Charles' character was far from great. He just happened to have the King's love and friendship blinding the King to see the flaws of his friend.
Charles stared out the window as he watched the children playing, Mary, George and Anne really brought a happiness to his household that he never knew could exist. His wife had given birth to their own daughter, Cecily, a few months ago and Charles finally understood what true love meant when he looked into the eyes of his infant daughter.
"Papa." Charles turned to see little Anne looking up at him, her dark eyes were wide with excitement. Of the three children, only Anne referred to Charles and Maud as mama and papa due to her young age. "Look what I found." He bent down in front of the little girl, to see in her hands she had caught a small frog.
"Anne, sweetheart, lets us find a spot in the garden for your little friend," He could see the disappointment in her face when she realized she couldn't keep her friend.
"Bye Froggie," Anne exclaimed as her little friend hopped away before splashing his way into the pond.
"Charles." Maud called out to her husband from inside the doorway. "The King is here to speak with you. Mary, George come let us get you washed up." Anne had not let go of Charles hand, and Maud knew better than to try and separate the child from him.
"Your majesty." Charles greeted Henry while Anne slowly moved to hide behind him.
"Charles and I take this is young Anne." Charles slowly moved her from her hiding spot,
"Hello." Anne at two did not know how one should greet her King, and Henry just smiled at her.
"Anne, my sweet girl, go find your mother I must speak to the King."
"Yes papa," Anne hugged Charles before running out the door to find Maud and her siblings. Henry explained that he needed Charles' help with an important errand in France that due to the Queen's impending delivery of their latest child he would not dare leave her side. Henry sought a bethrothal between his son Prince Arthur and the younger daughter of King Louis XII's, Renee. It was not uncommon to bind such young children into marriage contracts, and Henry felt France would be a strong ally.