Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Long live the king!

An excerpt from Faithful Traitor

April 1509

“Long live the king! Long live King Henry!”

Margaret wasn’t sure how to feel about the death of Henry Tudor, who had committed the legalized murder of her brother and defeated her uncle in battle. She certainly wouldn’t be shedding any tears for the man who had turned her future upside-down when he walked away from Bosworth as the victor. She had tried to find the good in him for Elizabeth’s sake, but now they were both gone. Their son Henry, who looked so much like his grandfather, King Edward, stood in his father’s place.

Henry was tall, handsome, and charismatic - everything that his father had failed to be. He made people laugh, and they felt special to be spoken to by the king himself. His red-gold hair gleamed in the sun like a Plantagenet crown. But he was not truly a Plantagenet, Margaret reminded herself. Whatever resemblance he had in appearance and personality with Elizabeth’s father, Henry was a Tudor.

As he made his way toward Margaret, she forced herself to think about Richard. He was the one gift that the late king had given her that she could be thankful for. She still missed him and caught glimpses of him in the way Geoffrey laughed and the curl of Reginald’s hair. Before her thoughts ran away with her, she dropped into a deep curtsey.

Henry VIII
“Cousin!” Henry boomed. “Rise, dear Margaret and give me a kiss!”

Margaret smiled in spite of herself and grazed her lips against young Henry’s cheek. “You look very well, your grace.”

He did. All of the women of marrying age in the vicinity looked jealously at Margaret for gaining his attention. The fact that she was his close relation and twice his age made little difference.

“I pray that your reign will be long and prosperous,” she added, curtseying again to indicate that he was free to leave her for more interesting members of his audience.

“Thank you, Lady Pole. You can be sure that I will be sharing my bounty with you and your family.”

Margaret opened her mouth to inquire his meaning, but he had already moved on, closely followed by a herd of sycophants hoping to profitably attach themselves to him.

It was true that she had struggled in the years since Richard’s death, though she had refused to marry again in order to ease the burden on herself. Her reluctance had only partially been due to loyalty to the one she had loved. She had also been hesitant to inquire who Henry Tudor would choose to pair her with a second time. It was safer to be alone and focus on her children. Would this Henry choose to raise her up to a status more suitable to her ancestry?

Her answer came within weeks. Margaret was asked to come to court and wait upon her closest friend, Princess Catherine, who was soon to become Henry’s queen.