I stand like marble: sculpted, chiseled, and shaped from birth.
A stately form, grace running through me like veins of gold.
I am a Queen, born and bred,
Maintained by my own strength of will and force of destiny.
However, I speak not from authority, but from love, from devotion, and from hope.
Will you hear me?
I debase myself to ask, to plead, to beg.
I throw myself upon my knees, appealing to vain mercy.
Will you hear my words? Hear my heart, my weeping soul?
I will willingly do all of these but one.
I will not deny.
I will not deny myself. I will not deny my place.
I will not deny my royalty. I will not deny my crown.
I will not deny my daughter her place and pride.
I will cry from palace to hovel, from rooftop to grave.
I will shake the foundations of my royal legacy, from the Tower to the Alhambra,
To the roots of Heaven itself.
I will not deny who I am, whom I shall ever be!
Will you hear me?
Yes. You will hear me, and you will not forget.
Author’s Note: This is the third piece in a series inspired by the ladies of the Tudor dynasty. The first, “A Smile for a Kiss”, was inspired by Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, who would become Queen Mary. The second, “Actions for a Lifetime (Love Me as a Verb)”, was inspired by the genteel Anne of Cleves, short time wife of King Harry (and many say the luckiest one).
This newest piece is inspired by that lion of a woman, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, firstly wife to Arthur Tudor and then wife to Henry Tudor, who would become Henry VIII and create her Queen of England. All throughout Henry’s quest to divorce her after sixteen years of marriage, to put her away in disgrace and denial, Catherine refused to cooperate. She refused to be put away quietly, to recant her position as his “true wife”, or to give away her title as Queen and disinherit their daughter. She made sure her voice was heard, appealing to Henry himself in open court, and then sweeping from the proceedings with all the dignity and authority that she had spent her entire life holding in her right hand. Eventually, Henry went to great lengths to get what he wanted, but never once did Catherine capitulate and deny who she was.