Today I have the wonderful opportunity to welcome Hunter S. Jones, author of Phoenix Rising, to The Maiden's Court with an awesome contribution to the Two Sides to Every Story series. The perspective here is of the rivalry between Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour and it is presented in such a creative manner. I hope you will enjoy it!
The Descent of Anne Boleyn and the Ascent of Jane Seymour
We walk down the steps from the queen’s apartments. Sir Kingston walks with me and the ladies walk behind us. The morning sun kisses my face. The daffodils are in bloom and the birds sing like any other radiant spring morning. Surely even Nature would know if the hour of death was approaching for an anointed Queen Regnant of England. It must be a sign of hope for me. I will be rescued at the last moment. This is all part of the public humiliation Henry wishes. He wants all to witness as I bow to his greatness, then he will pardon me for sins against the Crown and banish me to a nunnery, much like Cranmer promised.
If not, then I face the morning with courage. If I am to be punished, it is for my own sins. The last few years swiftly pass before my mind’s eye. What had caused the change? Certainly the miscarriage of a son had been a part of Henry’s outrage. But what made him turn against me in such haste? Again, the unseen troubadour’s voice pleads for the love of his lady; his song is as sweet as the one sung by the birds around me, yet as mournful as the questioning of my own heart.
Surely today was not brought on by the fight I had with that silly Jane. Why had I ever allowed her to bother me? She is nothing more than an empty-minded maid. She has no style and knows nothing more than to follow instructions. She must be the instrument of my enemies. She could otherwise never capture the heart of a king. If I would’ve allowed Henry his flirtation, she would be gone and I would remain in good standing.
The air crackles around me and I breathe in slowly, filling myself with a new energy and a prayer. I must balance and maintain a sense of equilibrium. Courage and strength are to uphold me; that is my silent prayer.
They laughed the way lovers laugh. Henry surely hasn’t pledged himself to her, although he has always been much like a crow, in that anything dangled before him that glimmers will capture his eye. My heart breaks at the thought. If he had fallen for a woman of wealth, taste, or great nobility, I could forgive. But Jane?
Bringing myself from the daydream, I see the crowd that awaits us as we move closer to the edge of the White Tower. One way or another, either death or escape await me. I am ready to face whatever God wishes for me. All I pray for is an answer that will serve the greater good of the king, and an end to my pain.
“So sorry for waking you, my great and beautiful lady,” she whispers. I hear the trembling of fear in her voice.
“Oh, there is no need to worry yourself, my dear girl. This is the best of days to wake early. Thank you for waking me. I couldn’t be more delighted. Today is the day for which we have longed! You do me a very great favor. I am to be fitted for my wedding dress on this very morning.”
“Thank you, Lady Jane. May I bring you anything from the kitchens?” she asks.
“Not at this time, but would you move the covering from the window? I wish to invite the beauty of this day into our home and into our hearts. This is the day all of England has waited for. Today, a traitor dies and the king will be free to see his will done for the greater good of us all,” I say.
As the window opens, I hear the spring nearby bubble and churn as the water flows freely over the rocks. The sweet spring fragrances and sounds fill the garden and dance into my room, as all of nature joins together much like a sacred chorus to celebrate this most remarkable of days.
That hateful Anne will be given her punishment as a traitor to her king and country at some time this morning. Henry has promised me. How had a king most good and kind ever loved a woman as hateful as Anne Boleyn? She has style and charm, yes. However, her spirit is harsh. There is little of her that is as a lady should be. She is generous to charities, but her wicked ways outweigh any good she might ever do. The sun rises and I feel my new life begin.
“Is there anything else you wish, milady? May I send your ladies to prepare you for the fitting?”
“Oh, yes, please. That would be a lovely gesture,” I reply. No need for me to waste a smile on someone so lowly. She should be honored to serve me.
Whilst I await the ladies, I wonder how someone like Anne ever captured the king’s heart. She is so selfish. She is too wayward. I know we are cousins, yet we are nothing alike. Why did she ever learn to read and write? Those things are of no use to a woman. We are to do as the men of our families wish.
Even in France, she was so different. I learned the art of flirtation just as she did, yet she took matters to the extreme. That has been her problem her entire life; she simply does not know any limitations to her brazen ambitions. She is so relentless in her pursuits. Now fate has led me to today. It is the wish of God and the king. I am to become the wife of the King of England.
How could any woman think to maintain the affections of a man if all she did was meddle and rant about his business? This is an especially tiresome trait when his business is the future of England.
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The last hour of Anne Boleyn's life...
Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny's stage.
A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.
Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment... the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.
So, are you Team Anne or Team Jane?!
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