Jane's pregnancy was progressing well, and for the first time in forever she began to feel serene. Lady Bridget was her only friend at the Priory, but she was happy to at least have one person who would talk to her.
"My sister was a very proud and stubborn woman. She never told anyone, but I knew she felt she should be Queen in her own right as the heiress of her father's crown." Bridget spoke her mind not caring about the subject matter, with Jane she felt a kindred spirit.
"Was it true she didn't want He..the King to marry Princess Katherine?" Bridget had let it slip in a conversation a few weeks back, and Jane never felt brave enough to ask.
"She felt Katherine was too arrogant for young Henry. She had felt he was too impressionable and Katherine would control him, she had begged her husband to not allow the marriage to take place. He ignored her pleas, only after Katherine's own mother died did she begin to see what my sister was desperately telling him."
"Do you think she hated Katherine?" Jane didn't realize that she begun to drop the official royal titles while speaking.
"Oh no, dear child. She loved Katherine, but her son she feared would be easily swayed by a strong woman." Jane muttered under her breath about how Anne pushed him to marrying her.
"You should not speak of matters you do not understand, Jane." It was the first time Bridget ever took a harsh tone with Jane. "Queen Anne, is a good woman and does not merit your slanderous words. You should remember why you were sent away, child."
"I did not mean..."
"Yes you did mean the words you spoke, otherwise you would have not muttered them under your breath. I may be old, but I am not deaf." Bridget reprimanded her young charge. "Now, we shall get back to your studies." Bridget had felt sorry for Jane, she was unable to read and barely could scribble her own name.
"Mary, quickly take your sister to her chambers" Katherine shouted as she handed the little girl over. The midwives came rushing into Anne's room, she wasn't due to give birth until a few weeks but the babies had other plans. Elizabeth held onto Mary tightly, tears coming down her face. She could hear the panic in Katherine's voice and it scared her.
"Elizabeth, do not worry. Your mother is going to have your little baby sister or brother today." Mary stroked her hair as she spoke, the door closing behind her quite loudly.
Katherine held Anne's hand as the contractions grew stronger, dabbing her forehead with a wet rag every few minutes. Lady Rachel and Lady Cecily were quietly soothing Anne as they instructed her when to push.
"Your majesty, you have given birth to a beautiful princess." Lady Rachel showed Anne her daughter briefly before she cried out again in pain. The second child was coming, Anne had no time to feel joy or disappointment in having another girl. Anne squeezed Katherine's hand tightly. Seconds after the second child was born, Anne passed out cold.
"Anne." Katherine called out in a panic.
"Do not worry, your majesty, the delivery only wore out the Queen. There are no signs to be concerned, and the children are strong and healthy." Katherine smiled as she looked at the twins now lying close together in the small crib beside Anne's bed. Katherine insisted on cleaning Anne up herself, but left the task of changing the bedding to the others. When Anne awoke a few hours later, Katherine was sitting next to the fire singing sweet lullaby to the children.
"Katherine." She said weakly.
"Anne, please do not attempt to get up. You need your rest. Lady Rachel, please go get my daughter and Elizabeth, they will want to meet their new baby sister and brother." A son, she had a son. The King's son, she hadn't broken the promise to Henry. But now she wondered did she really care about ever seeing Henry again, she did not know.
"Mama, they are so tiny."
"You were once this small, same as Mary." Katherine answered.
"Have you named them?" Mary asked.
"Princess Katherine Isabella, after your mother for neither of them would have been here without her." Katherine looked shocked at Anne's choice, but Mary couldn't help but smirk knowing how Henry would react.
"And your son?" Katherine asked.
"Well I refuse to name him Henry." Anne was adamant.
"Maybe George after your brother?" Mary suggested.
"No, as much as I love my brother, I will not have my family feeling more empowered by the name of my son." Anne knew when she did go back to Henry her family would no longer control her. Anne looked down at her son, he hair dark like hers unlike both of her daughters. Katherine had taken after Henry like Elizabeth before her.
"Prince Charles Arthur, after the man who risked his life to save us all and the man who should have lived to be King." Katherine was shocked at Anne's bold statement but often had she wondered how life would have been different if Arthur had lived.
"Mama, when will papa be here to see the babies." Elizabeth asked excitedly. The three women had not thought of that, what would they do now.
"Brittany Manor." Henry read the letter over again, Anne was safe and their child had been born a few months ago, healthy and strong but the letter had not divulged the gender.
"Your majesty?" Charles asked confused.
"Brittany Manor, it was a place given to Katherine when we were first wed. I completely forgot about it, those monsters who took Anne had her there all along." Henry was furious, clearly they were connected to those who still sympathized with Katherine and Mary. But why had they now told him where Anne was, what had changed. Charles was unsure what Katherine and Anne were up to now, but was relieved to know that soon Anne would be back in court hopefully with the much desired son of Henry's dreams.
It took over two weeks of hard riding but Henry was now standing before the gates of Brittany Manor,
"Father." Mary looked at him, her eyes cold. Elizabeth on the other hand was excited to see him.
"Papa." She ran to him, as he hugged her tightly.
"My sweet angel, how I have missed you. Where's Anne?" Henry asked impatiently.
"I will take her to you, father." Mary took Elizabeth and handed her to Charles. In Henry's desperation he didn't notice a lack of coldness in Mary's voice when talking of Anne. Henry opened the door to Anne's room to the surprise of a lifetime.
"Katherine." Katherine looked over at Henry, no anger present on her face. She held Princess Katherine in her arms, while Anne had been rocking Charles to sleep.
"Henry, Katherine is the one who rescued me from those horrible men." Anne looked up, she knew that Henry was still reeling at the knowledge that Katherine lived. "Do not be angry with her, she is under my protection as my right as the Queen of England." Anne explained how Katherine's "death" was a product of the conspiracy against Anne, and when the Seymours were arrested she had escaped. She only found Anne, Mary and Elizabeth shortly before the birth of the twins. She went on to explain how this ordeal brought an understanding between herself and Mary. "Henry, I was so afraid our of losing our children after they were born, I begged Katherine to delay sending word to you. Henry, please say something."
"Anne, I missed you." Henry looked over at the children, still unsure what to make of Katherine's survival.
"Meet your daughter, Princess Katherine Isabella and your son, Prince Charles Arthur."
"I have a son." Henry whispered as he held his son in his arms.