As for Lady Mary, she had been tending the children and changing their napkins, but Lady Bryan tells me she has become ill.
“Lady Mary will do her duties, as she should do. I am the queen and I outrank her!” I say, and in that moment, I feel the child kicking hard.
“But, Your Majesty…” Lady Bryan begins to protest. I know Lady Bryan cared for the Lady Mary when she was younger and likely still holds some affection for her. And it is known Mary’s health, unlike my own two robust children, is poor. She suffers from menstrual cramps, pains in her belly and the like. So I will see for myself how ill the king’s bastard truly is.
“Bring the Lady Mary to me!” I order. That way I can put her in her place!
But, I soon see that Lady Mary is not feigning illness. She is brought to me, and she is wrapped in a cloak, not a blanket. She has lost an alarming amount of weight. She does not even have the courage to insult me when brought into my presence. In the past, she has called me ‘Concubine’ ‘French whore’ and ‘witch.’ But today she does none of it. She indeed appears very ill, too ill to even hold up her head.
“Begone. Go rest.” I say. But then I begin to worry. Many know of my hatred of the Lady Mary. If she is to die, would they say I poisoned her? I would be relieved to have her out of the way, to be certain, but the risk of a poisoning is too high. I then begin to hear words spoken that the Lady Mary has the Sweat. It is not known if she will live or die. In trepidation, the court holds its breath. She has no royal standing, but she is still the king’s daughter. It is said she cries out in her sleep, seeing visions of a broken England, should she die. This is treason, we know. Henry orders her arrest and to be taken to the Tower as a traitor.
But as with Wolsey, the arrest does not come in time. On October 7th, anno domini, 1535, Mary Tudor, once Henry’s beloved pearl of the world and the daughter of his discarded wife, Katharine of Aragon, appears before God.
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