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Thread: The Queen.

  1. #1
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    The Queen.

    THE QUEEN.

    Chapter 1: Introduction:

    The figure was perched, slightly sideways on the window alcove cushion overlooking the courtyard below. On her lap, an open book and the words she had just read; “Such duty as the subject owes the prince / Even such a woman oweth to her husband.”

    It was 1561 and the troubled reader was the unmarried forty eight year old Queen of England.

    Outside the palace there existed a lower populace that were said to beat the world for disrespect, coarseness, and sheer savagery of nature. Londoners ate well and drank enormously, beer and ale and eighty kinds of wine. There were more alehouses and taverns to the acre than anywhere else in Europe, patronized by women as well as men, respectable women as well as otherwise.

    It was an England where the authorities took misdemeanours seriously but unsuccessfully, hanged three hundred people a year, and brought up a few prostitutes each morning for a public naked beating at Bridewell.

    At one of the Oxford seats of learning, that of Oriel College, an eighteen year old Walter Raleigh was enrolled where undergraduates ranged from nine or ten years of age to about twenty-five. Like most; he drank, roistered, fought and wenched, a precursor to later years when he advanced his career by a clean competence in the use of force. There were Puritans there too like Dr Humphreys, President of Magdalen, whose loose gown, Elizabeth had said when he bent to kiss her hand, became him better than his narrow notions.

    The potentate of this English realm had emerged from no mean innocuous childhood apprenticeship of survival. She was tall, “of such state in her carriage as every motion of her seemed to bear majesty”; “compact in body”; “well-favoured but high-nosed”; “with great dignity of countenance, softened with sweetness”; “the whole compass of her countenance somewhat long”; her eyes “lively and sweet but short-sighted”; her face pale, her hair originally a reddish-gold; “her hands, which she took care not to hide, of special beauty”; a fair performer on the virginals and lute; a stylish dancer of pavanes and galliards, a lover of English dances and a-maying; a fluent speaker of Latin, French, and Italian, a reader of Greek; her voice the strident voice of an educated public woman, uncontradictable in its habit of power; a swearer; splendid in repartee; magnificent in public speech and ceremony; divine, or devilish, in power to touch a heart; hierarchical, intolerant of a subject rebelling even against an evil or non-English prince; masculine in words, feminine in action; devoted utterly to what she conceived to be the welfare of England; liking to surround herself with men of calibre but keeping them to heel, trusting only her own judgement; to her officers mean, to her favourites generous with other people’s money; a miser, a jewel addict; utterly without principle or honour as understood by men; her love affairs the scandal of Catholic Europe; “; unwilling to submit to a husband, but unable either as woman or politician to resist thinking of a husband; adoring games in which she was Queen of Beauty and Learning, for whom all men sighed and quick to eye a handsome man or a man of spunk.

  2. #2
    Registered User sweety's Avatar
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    I can't wait to see where you're taking us with this story.

    S

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Nor can I !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    M

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Chapter 2: The Christening.

    To understand better the fabric of this tale, it might be appropriate if we went back in time to 1533, when the Lord-Mayor and the Corporation of London, were summoned by royal command to attend a christening. They took boats for Greenwich, where they found many lords, knights, and gentlemen assembled. The whole way from the palace was strewn with green rushes, and the walls of the Friars' church in which the ceremony was to be performed were hung with tapestries.

    A silver font with a crimson canopy was placed in the middle of the church and the child was brought into the hall. There came, bearing a gilt basin, Henry Earl of Essex, and the salt was borne by Henry Marquis of Dorset, the unfortunate father of Lady Jane Grey. William Courtney, Marquis of Exeter followed with a taper of virgin wax, whilst the chrism was borne by Lady Mary Howard, the daughter of the duke of Norfolk.

    The royal infant, wrapped in a mantle of purple velvet, having a long train furred with ermine, was carried by one of her godmothers, the Dowager-Duchess of Norfolk to the font. The child was pale, wide eyed and there were already indications of her being a red head.

    After the ceremony of baptism had been performed by the Bishop of London, a solemn benediction was pronounced upon the future Queen by Archbishop Cranmer. After it was completed, the procession returned as it came, only now there was an addition of four persons of high rank, who followed the child with the presents intended for her by the godfathers and godmothers. Consisting of cups and bowls, some of silver gilt, and some of solid gold; costly they may have been, though not prized much yet by the unconscious infant for whom they were intended.

    She went and came, in the midst of this gay and joyous procession, little imagining into what a restless and unsatisfying life all this pageantry and splendour were ushering her.

  5. #5
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Chapter 3: Auspicious Parentage.

    The daughter of King Henry VIII and his Queen Anne Boleyn, had been born, under circumstances as peculiar as her after-life proved eventful. Delays and difficulties equally grievous to the impetuous temper of the man and the despotic habits of the prince, had for years obstructed Henry in the execution of his favourite project of repudiating, on the plea of their too near alliance, a wife who had ceased to find favour in his sight, and substituting on her throne the youthful beauty who had captivated his imagination. At length his passion and his impatience had arrived at a pitch capable of bearing down every obstacle. With that contempt of decorum which he displayed so remarkably in some former, and many later transactions of his life, he caused his private marriage with Anne Boleyn to precede the sentence of divorce which he had resolved that his clergy should pronounce against Catherine of Arragon; and no sooner had this judicial ceremony taken place, than the new Queen was openly exhibited as such in the face of the court and the nation.

    Only once before, since the Norman conquest, had a King of England stooped from his dignity to elevate a private gentlewoman and a subject, to a partnership of his bed and his throne. Thus Henry caused his queen to be crowned at Westminster with great solemnity.

    In the sex of the child born to them a few months afterwards, the hopes of the royal pair sustained a severe disappointment: but of this sentiment nothing was suffered to appear in the treatment of the infant, whom her father was anxious to mark out as his only legitimate offspring and undoubted heir to the crown.

    She was destined to bear the auspicious name of Elizabeth and how little could have been guessed regarding the conspicuousness of the stage upon which she was destined to act.

    She was in reality, part of the flotsam & jetsam of a father larger than life. Private, unspoken disquisitions there may have been, but Henry had already attained, whether through force of personality or educated instincts, an ability to act the part of a king before he had played it.

    Having taken six wives; of his only three children who survived infancy; Edward VI withered away at the age of fifteen, and Mary died childless at forty-two. By his two mistresses he had only one son, who died at the age of eleven, and he had not a single grandchild, legitimate or otherwise.

    The lives of Henry’s Consorts have been related as if each of the six was an isolated phenomenon that had by chance attracted the desire of a lascivious despot, and in her turn had been deposed when his eye had fallen, equally fortuitously, upon another woman who pleased his errant fancy better.

    Portrayed as the far-seeing statesman resolved to free his country from the yoke of Rome, with his eyes firmly fixed upon the goal of England’s religious freedom, his weakness in fact lay in his vanity, of being a plaything of his passions, and these were made use of by rival parties to forward religious and political ends. No influence that could be exercised over the King was neglected by those who sought to lead him, and least of all that which appealed to the uxorious side of his nature.

  6. #6
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    So far so good

    I dig all the historical-ness of the scene setting - what you been reading there?

    Eagerly awaiting the next instalment

    MM

  7. #7
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    There is so much good material out there on the Tudors that its an added enjoyable bonus to research, before writing. Am trying to lay the historical foundations first, with an intent to break into a more story telling mode later. Not sure how it will work out!
    Regards
    M.

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    Chapter 4: The Mothers Fall.

    The execution was to take place in a little green area within the Tower of London. The platform was erected here, and the block placed upon it, the whole being covered with a black cloth, as usual on such occasions. On the morning of the fatal day, Anne Boleyn sent for the Constable of the Tower to come in and receive her dying protestations that she was innocent of the crimes alleged against her. She told him that she understood that she was not to die until 12 o'clock, and that she was sorry for it, for she wished to have it over. The constable told her the pain would be very slight and momentary. "Yes," she rejoined, "I am told that a very skillfull executioner is provided, and my neck is very slender."

    The appointed hour was in fact at nine o’clock on the spring morning of the 19th May and she was led forth to the courtyard, where a group of gentlemen, stood on or close to the low staging reached by four steps from the ground. Anne was dressed in grey damask trimmed with fur, over a crimson petticoat, and cut low at the neck, so as to offer no impediment to the executioner’s steel; and for the same reason the brown hair was dressed high in a net under the pearl-bordered coif. Kept back by guards to some little distance from the platform stood a large crowd of spectators, who had flocked in at the heels of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs; though foreigners had been rigidly excluded.

    When Anne had ascended the steps she received permission to say a few words; and followed the tradition of not complaining against the King’s justice which had condemned her. She had not come thither to preach, she said, but to die, though she was not guilty of the particular crimes for which she had been condemned. When, however, she began to speak of Jane Seymour being the cause of her fall, those on the scaffold stopped her, and she said no more.

    A headsman of St. Omer had been brought over from Calais, in order that the broadsword instead of the axe might be used; and this man, who was undistinguishable by his garb from the other bystanders, now came forward, and, kneeling, asked the doomed woman’s pardon, which granted, Anne herself knelt in a distraught way, as if to pray, but really gazed around her in mute appeal from one pitiless face to another. The headsman, taking compassion upon her, assured her that he would not strike until she gave the signal.

    “You will have to take this coif off,” said the poor woman, and one of the ladies who attended her did so, and partially bound her eyes with a handkerchief; but Anne still imagined that her head dress was in the way, and kept her hand upon her hair, straining her eyes and ears towards the steps where from the headsman’s words she expected the sword to be handed to him. Whilst she was thus kneeling erect in suspense, the sword which was hidden in the straw behind her was deftly seized by the French executioner, who, swinging the heavy blade around, in an instant cut through the erect, slender neck; and the head of Anne Boleyn jerked from the shoulders and rolled upon the cloth that covered the platform.

    Still, the lips and the eyes were observed to move and quiver for a few seconds after the separation of the head from the body. It was a relief, however, to the spectators when this strange and unnatural prolongation of the mysterious functions of life came to an end.

    No coffin had been provided. They found, however, an old wooden chest, made to contain arrows, lying in one of the apartments of the Tower, which they used instead. They first laid the decapitated trunk within it, and then adjusted the dissevered head to its place, as if vainly attempting to repair the irretrievable injury they had done. They hurried the body, thus enshrined, to its burial in a chapel, which was also within the Tower, doing all with dispatch; and the next day the King was publicly married to his new favourite, Jane Seymour.

    “The hind that would be mated by the lion,
    Must die for love.”

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