Will You Remember Me? (Tudor Women Series)


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Will you remember me?

When my life is cut short too soon? When I am gone before my time?

Will you cherish my memory?

Will you see that merry girl who served and smiled and laughed and danced?

Who cared and pitied and strove?

Will you remember me?

Know that my life has not gone unfulfilled.

I have given what I promised.

I have restored unity, family, love, brought what was broken together again.

I have given you what has been denied you all your kingly life: a son.

A bonny boy to carry your name.

Will you remember me?

I have given my life in the pursuit of your happiness.

I sought the care and good of our people, to spread light wherever I could.

You will remember what I have done.

They will call me “Good Queen Jane”. You will revere me as “wife”.

But will you remember me?

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Author’s Note: This is the fifth 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). The third, “Will You Hear Me?”, was inspired by that lion of a woman, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who refused to be put away quietly, to recant her position as Henry VII’s “true wife”, or to give away her title as Queen and disinherit their daughter. 

So I apparently lied inadvertently when I said that “All Shall Love Me and Rejoice” (Elizabeth I in triumphant declaration of her personage and position) was the final piece in my Tudor Ladies Series. Last night, a quiet voice began speaking to my memory and to my writing. That of Jane Seymour, the only woman, and queen, to do what Henry VIII most greatly desired: give him a son. The poor woman died in the attempt, leaving behind her son to an ambitious father who could not bear to be alone, conniving advisors who would turn the child into a push-me-pull-you in his later years, and a kingdom fraught with tumult. It was not a world made for such as Jane but it was perhaps the world that needed her most of all. I felt such care and pity for her when she laid her storied hand on my shoulder and whispered, “Will you remember me?” that I could not leave her out of this august yet pitiable company of women.

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