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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Will You Hear Me?


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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.

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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.

January 3, 2010 – Court on Progress


Author’s Note: Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to go horseback riding for the first time in about 14 years. But as we ambled along, I couldn’t help but feel…well, regal in a way. My mind drifted off to royal progresses through the country. I found myself dreaming of horses decked in elegant trappings, of gorgeous riding habits, gloves, and hats, of  people coming out to view a beloved queen or princess as she rode by, strew flowers before her horse’s hooves or hand up little nosegays to her in the saddle. I found myself sitting a little straighter in the saddle, a small smile on my lips. Here, I have endeavored to write it all down, cast myself in royalty, and paint that gorgeous picture that floated in my mind.

~ ~ ~ ~

The morning dawned clear and blue and bright as the courtyard rang with the activity.  Carts were being loaded, horses tacked, and litters prepared. The royal court of England was on Progress!

Mistress Elizabeth Blackwell, maid-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, was helped onto her horse by a man-at-arms who then held the horse’s bridle as she settled herself upon the saddle, adjusting the skirts of her tulip yellow riding habit along the horse’s back and flanks. Her mount was a handsome chestnut gelding with a silvery-white blaze down his nose and was lovely in his green and white trappings, the colors of the Tudor dynasty. Bess arranged herself a bit more comfortably in her saddle and reached up to make sure that her hat was pinned securely over the coils of her rich, soil-brown hair and her gauzy gossamer veil drawn down and fastened.

“Make way for his Majesty the King!” came the cry and King Henry VIII bounded out into the courtyard, the picture of youth, health, and vitality.

“A wonderful day to begin a progress!” he bellowed joyously, clapping his hands with a laugh. He was resplendent in a crimson velvet doublet, sleeves slashed with cloth of gold, crimson breeches, a summer mantle of crimson and thread of gold and the finest boots and gloves. He strode towards his great horse, swinging himself up into the saddle with ease, laughing jovially with his lifelong friend Charles Brandon as the rest of the cavalcade prepared.

Queen Catherine smiled elegantly from atop her palfrey, dressed in lovely deep Tudor green damask and velvet, her mount decked in the beautiful red and white trappings of the King’s rose. “A better day could not have been picked, my dearest husband,” she said sweetly as he reined his steed alongside hers.

“Nor a more beautiful Queen, my dear Catherine,” Henry agreed, raising her gloved hand to his lips and kissing it fervently. “Come now, let us away to our adoring subjects!”

And with that, the Royal Court commenced its summer Progress.