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A Marriage Has Been Arranged
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Challenger Sarah Louise
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A Marriage Has Been Arranged
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A Tudor Rose
Sarah Louise
Dec 7, 2015
1
0
78
17 Mins Read
3,593 Words
No Plagiarism!iGdL2pSkXgjTr0d1EtGpposted on PENANA

August 1485copyright protection78PENANA2s4wvnfN0h

The King was dead.82Please respect copyright.PENANA30zCU4zgAE
My father had always told me that war could be a dangerous sport, but that my uncle would always return home, because Dickon was the best fighter there was. When he was just eighteen he led my father’s army in the beginnings of an illustrious military career.82Please respect copyright.PENANAC4UgQcGZGp
My father had always humoured me when I asked about battles. My mother frowned and said it was not my place to learn the art of warfare. My place was to sit pretty with some embroidery and one day I’d be married off to a foreign prince and be a queen like her. My father rolled his eyes behind her back, and when I was small he would pull me up onto his lap and tell me about how, before he won his crown, three suns shone in the sky on the eve of battle.82Please respect copyright.PENANA1iJkwmQUBA
But I was no longer small enough to crawl into my father’s lap. And besides, he was dead. Just like Uncle Dickon.82Please respect copyright.PENANAdEBNhvRRMs
I always thought kings impervious to harm, but after living through first the death of my father and now the death of my uncle, it seems that they are far from it. Indeed, it seems that Death simply bides his time with them, waiting until the most inopportune moment before striking his blow.82Please respect copyright.PENANAwowqFmDlmj
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October 1485copyright protection78PENANAdEIFFWGkpn

“Elizabeth… Elizabeth come here to me. I have news.”82Please respect copyright.PENANA9g8K4pgWg2
My mother was a strong woman. Only twice in my life have I seen her cry, and whilst I didn’t expect my uncle’s death to grieve her - she and Dickon hardly got on. Indeed, my mother never got on with any of my father’s family - I certainly did not expect her to sit by her fireplace with such an air of smugness.82Please respect copyright.PENANAoNrUe7hRsE
“Yes mother?” I asked. She held a letter in her lap, and as my eyes landed on it, she tucked it away.82Please respect copyright.PENANAbd2NILVAkZ
“The new king has been crowned. His mother writes to me.”82Please respect copyright.PENANA3tfbekAvgR
I was slightly confused. My mother, who by rights should be at the royal court herself, who once wore the crown and held the sceptre, was all too happy about another king being given the reigns of the kingdom. Surely, I thought, a woman who had lost her throne should resent a new king receiving everything that she had lost. Perhaps if my mother had been nicer to my father’s family and friends everything would have been different. Perhaps my brother would sit on the throne of England instead of lying in a shallow grave somewhere unknown.82Please respect copyright.PENANAxEFZzT6RKz
“He intends to repeal the act that made you illegitimate. You shall be a princess again, Elizabeth!”82Please respect copyright.PENANAvVMyIvjE5E
Ah, so that’s why she was pleased that somebody else would soon be wearing her crown. She was  to be the wife of a king again. A dead king, but a queen dowager was far better than the king’s whore she had been since the marriage was declared null and void after my father’s death. I said I have only seen my mother cry twice in my life. The second time was when she received the news that my father was already married when he said his vows to her; that all of her children were not princes and princesses but royal bastards. The first time I saw her cry was at the bedside of my dying father. It seems that my father was the cause of all of her tears, the ones I saw and any I did not.82Please respect copyright.PENANAD88TkndVSt
“I am glad to hear it.” I said. In truth I was not. Of course I would be happy to be treated as a princess again, but to be used once more as a bartering chip? All of my life my father had told me that I was his special girl because I would secure alliances for him in far away lands, depending on who my husband would be. He said that I had a duty, a duty that would separate me from my family and take me to a foreign land. I turned to leave, but she stopped me.82Please respect copyright.PENANANp8spHlvz5
“Elizabeth?”82Please respect copyright.PENANA441RDKnWos
I turned to face her. Her expression was unreadable.82Please respect copyright.PENANAB2BJVW69RY
“Henry Tudor still intends to take you as his bride.” She said. “And his queen.” She added. Somewhere in her I sensed a twinge of envy. I was to sit on the throne she had inhabited only three years ago. I was to wear the crown that had adorned her head and I was to rule over the court that she had commanded so well. Just like she always said Dickon had usurped the throne from my brother Edward, I would be usurping her, supplanting her. Replacing her.copyright protection78PENANAJsQNYlae8b

January 1486copyright protection78PENANAvousRytJvO

I had met my husband-to-be only a few times in the past three months. His visits were always formal, and usually accompanied by his mother. He was cordial enough, but I doubted that I would ever love him like my mother loved my father, or that he should ever love me the way father loved mother. He was a king by right of conquest. His blood claim to the throne was weak at best, and I had no qualms that his marriage to me would serve only as an end to the civil war that had raged in the country for half a century. I was a York princess; England would gladly receive me as their queen. Better the daughter of their beloved King Edward IV than a foreign princess with no understanding of English ways or custom.82Please respect copyright.PENANACEoL6Ntsj2
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The day of my wedding came around quickly, and as my sisters helped me dress for the occasion, I found that I felt nothing. Not fear of anxiety or excitement or happiness; nothing. I felt nothing but the sense of duty my father had told me about. I would marry the man who had killed my uncle in battle if only to settle the country. I felt nothing for Henry Tudor, and I knew that he felt just as little for me.copyright protection78PENANAzItio8e5sE

February 1486copyright protection78PENANAsb6jY5E9jN

I was home. Restored to my royal status, elevated above the one I held previously. I was no longer a mere princess, I was the queen.82Please respect copyright.PENANA5iKH2GD8Pv
Or rather, I would be queen, once my husband got around to organising my coronation. I was still merely the wife of a king, and I would be lying if I said it did not irk me. Henry cared so little and avoided the subject whenever I raised it. He shrugged his shoulders and said that he had other business to attend to and my coronation would come at a more suitable time.82Please respect copyright.PENANA7s9vdgjHIC
“He will wait until you bear him a son.” My mother said when I spoke to her of the matter. She grimaced. “He is hardly more than a low-born soldier. He and his mother have the nerve to imply that my daughter is not good enough for a Tudor.” She muttered quietly. I sighed.82Please respect copyright.PENANAJh0RQgCaTj
“Mother, you cannot say such things.” I said. I did not mention that her status before she married my father was even lower than Henry’s. “He is the King.”82Please respect copyright.PENANATZCEHEklMa
“And you are a Plantagenet, Elizabeth! You have more of a claim to that throne that he, and he has the nerve to delay your crowning!”82Please respect copyright.PENANAQTDZpRgIyZ
I rolled my eyes. Despite my own unease at my lack of ceremony, I could hardly share in my mother’s bitterness. After all, after visiting her I would need to see my husband, and he always seemed to know when I had been with mother, listening to the venomous words she had to say in regards to him. It seemed to bother her little that her words were treason.copyright protection78PENANAkPbOi2nLMS

“How is your mother?” He asked later that evening.82Please respect copyright.PENANAligm97CLiw
It was late and most of the court had retired to bed. Henry often asked me to join him in his chambers for a game of cards. We sat close to the fire playing the game by candlelight.82Please respect copyright.PENANA5bwHQdmay8
“She is well, your grace.” I said, not raising my eyes from my cards.82Please respect copyright.PENANAlp2YosPFbo
“Henry.” He said softly. This was enough for me to tear my gaze away from the cards and to his face. “Call me Henry, since I am your husband.”82Please respect copyright.PENANAEwGUSQ2vCk
I said nothing, only looked down at my lap.82Please respect copyright.PENANA2HwypmMLxl
“Yes, Henry.”82Please respect copyright.PENANAUTKXR9pHOB
He sighed heavily and placed his cards down. The game was clearly over, I could see the hand he had and since he was usually competitive, I knew he would never let me glance his cards whilst the game continued.82Please respect copyright.PENANA5s7Mn0Cqvf
“Elizabeth, you are my wife. Won’t you try but a little to endear yourself to me?”82Please respect copyright.PENANAKxXh6mES8b
I glanced at him curiously.82Please respect copyright.PENANAd24Y0W7qEV
“I am trying to be a dutiful wife to you. I try to do whatever it takes to please you.”82Please respect copyright.PENANA1Jo9wL99bF
“I do not want that.” He said. He was clearly frustrated, and yet I could not begin to understand why. My mother had always told me that when I was married I must be a good wife. Demure and submissive, obedient to my husband. I would sleep with him whenever he wished, I would join him whenever he told me to. I would read what he told me to and I would listen to whatever music he commissioned.82Please respect copyright.PENANAoWdlejIScQ
“I do not wish you to be a woman cowering before her husband. I do not wish for you to merely be a broodmare, there to give me heirs to my throne. I want you to help me rule this country.”82Please respect copyright.PENANA3qT8oT5vjJ
My eyes widened, and he leant across the table and placed his hand on my forearm.82Please respect copyright.PENANArltPuZBE8N
“You have more experience of this country than I. I have spent the majority of my life in France, but you were born here. You have lived here all of your life and have experience of the court, something that I have little of. I shall need your advice, Elizabeth.” He said gently. He spoke in earnest, that much was clear. I was surprised. Never had I been told that a wife would be there to help her husband. Never had it occurred to me that my husband would need me for something other than childbearing.82Please respect copyright.PENANAkwKxRYRAQ3
“Could you do that, Elizabeth? Could you at least try to see me as more than the man that took the throne from your uncle? As more than the man that married you for your Plantagenet blood?”82Please respect copyright.PENANAqUtj3Sd8ox
“Isn’t that the only reason you did marry me?” I asked with an eyebrow raised. He could hardly suggest that he married me for love.82Please respect copyright.PENANARPSkFnjh2s
“I…Yes. But I would not like it to remain that way. I would like us to at the very least be friends, Elizabeth. At the very, very least.”82Please respect copyright.PENANA4mYPUQNLqE
“And at the most?”82Please respect copyright.PENANAPQyjaBbnKz
“I would like to try to love you Elizabeth, and it would mean a great deal to me if you could try to love me to.” He replied. The candlelight was making shadows on his face, and he was smiling a little, almost as if his statement sounded as ridiculous to him as it did to me. I involuntarily gave a small laugh. And then the laugh grew, and before I knew it I could not stop.82Please respect copyright.PENANAUBpNW4agld
“Whoever would have thought…” I said between bouts of laughter. “That Henry Tudor would wish for our marriage to be more than political alliance and empty vows!” I said. He smiled too, at that. And then my laughter stopped and I said soberly:82Please respect copyright.PENANAIqzHgtx3fY
“Yes Henry, I think I could try that. I think I would like that.”82Please respect copyright.PENANAI4OhnZTznD
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September 1486copyright protection78PENANAxyPDROJvX2

My husband had truly astounded me. I had delivered him the news that I was with child in late April, when I was sure that it was true, and he had become so overjoyed that I hardly recognised him. The man I had married in January was quiet and very serious, he had never any time for merrymaking and his visits to my bed were to make heirs, never for pleasure. He was careful with his money, even though the royal coffers were full. He was altogether a rather uninspiring and unremarkable man.82Please respect copyright.PENANAtap3RFxpJM
And then I told him that he would have an heir. He changed almost instantly. Great festivities were ordered and he told me at once to sit down and rest my feet. He personally brought over a footstool and lifted my feet up onto it.82Please respect copyright.PENANAnsRbJfbCOy
“You must rest!” he had said, gently placing his hand on my stomach. “You must look after our boy!”82Please respect copyright.PENANAgXQvvVH8c9
And now I was nearing my time, I had only a few weeks left and soon I was to go into confinement. Henry was increasingly worried. Whenever I flinched in pain at the kicks the baby gave my abdomen, he would hurry over and place one hand on the small of my back and the other on my growing belly. He would ask if everything was alright in hushed tones and only when I smiled and assured him that it was normal would he take a breath and return to his business.82Please respect copyright.PENANA7FjxIbcgAW
I had seen my mother endure the pregnancies of all of my siblings and I had been with her when she had given birth to several of them. I knew what to expect, and I knew that she would be there with me when the time came.copyright protection78PENANAiiRu79wuVj

The labour was difficult and though I knew it would be painful and exhausting, I was still struck by how much pain I could endure without dying. Several times I thought the pain would be the cause of my death, but the pressure of my mother’s hand on mine reassured me that she had done this no less than eleven times.82Please respect copyright.PENANA2XoT988lKX
“It is a boy, your highness!” The midwife said when the child had been delivered. I sighed in relief. A boy. An heir.82Please respect copyright.PENANAT1UJwpFdxR
My mother took the child and delivered him into my arms. He had red hair, my red hair. Plantagenet red hair.82Please respect copyright.PENANAnFxHcgSpwt
The door of my chamber was opened and my husband entered. I was surprised to see him. I had never seen my father visit my mother so soon after she had given birth. Henry dropped to his knees at my bedside, looking at his son.82Please respect copyright.PENANAlyqKsASBVD
“We shall call him Arthur.” He said. “If that pleases you, Elizabeth?” He added. I nodded and he smiled. He stroked the boy’s red hair and smiled up at me.82Please respect copyright.PENANAyPEsybSepq
“I would have a moment alone with my wife.” He said to the rest of the room. The midwives gave a small bow and left quickly. My mother was hesitant to leave, but with a nod from me, and a disdainful expression on her face, she too left.82Please respect copyright.PENANA6M5DthUlGq
“I thank you Elizabeth. You have given me the greatest gift one can give. You have secured our dynasty.”82Please respect copyright.PENANAP2ZgNsQF4M
I smiled weakly, my eyes closing in exhaustion.82Please respect copyright.PENANAjCBY5a9Yoy
“You should get back to running the country, Henry. I shan’t be much company to you, I fear I shall fall asleep at any moment.” I said in little more than a whisper.82Please respect copyright.PENANAovkt9OL3ar
“I shall stay by your side, my love. The country can wait. After all, the country is safe now; I have a son.”82Please respect copyright.PENANAuZutfhW5X0
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December 1486copyright protection78PENANAnKCdot17ZY

My son was a happy, healthy baby. My husband was even happier. Where before he had been anxious about the future, now he was calm. He sat secure on his throne, knowing that there was another behind him should anything befall himself. Christmas was nearing, and whilst I had been used to lavish festivities when my father was King, I knew my husband would allow us no such privilege. He still guarded his money and was careful with expenses. I never complained though, for I knew he spent his childhood in something not far from poverty. I supposed I had taken advantage of the riches I had at my doorstep, and I vowed that our son should neither live his life in perfect luxury nor painful poverty. I hoped he would inherit his father’s determination, for I had never in my life met a man as focussed as my husband.82Please respect copyright.PENANAX6wiAF6lJg
It was madness to me that only two Christmases before I had paraded at my uncle’s court, wearing a dress given to me by my aunt Anne. I was wearing her crown now. Sitting in her chair. Dickon's name was like poison to my husband. Only once had I mentioned my uncle, and even then all I said was how he had given me a book as a birthday gift one year. My husband’s countenance had turned to ice and I had vowed never again to mention Dickon.copyright protection78PENANAaih2MociS7

Henry visited me on Christmas morning, before we were to go down to the chapel and hear mass.82Please respect copyright.PENANANdgiHvzEBw
“I have a gift for you.” He said. A pageboy held out a box to me, and I smiled as I lifted the lid. Inside was a beautiful mass of jewels. Rings and earrings, and a few necklaces too, my husband had spared no expense. It meant much to me that even with his fear of emptying the coffers, he had allowed himself to be extravagant at Christmas. He had even brought gifts for my two greyhounds; two beautiful leather collars from Italy.82Please respect copyright.PENANAEsOiV32ysK
“Thank you, Henry.” I said, my eyes sparkling. I was beginning to fear that Christmas could never again be how it was when I was a child, but I saw how wrong I was.82Please respect copyright.PENANAAqQ7IqNPMw
Henry had found some musicians from France and some dancers from Germany and had paid them to perform for us after dinner. He had spared no expense on decoration and the great hall was just as grand as I remembered from my childhood.82Please respect copyright.PENANA6AKmSsRs6s
And then there was fireworks. Henry had spared no expense on these either, and as the entire court stood outside watching them light up the sky, I felt Henry’s arm around my shoulders and the weight of Arthur in my arms and I could have sworn that I would never have felt happier in my life.copyright protection78PENANACfCheaBdTO

November 148782Please respect copyright.PENANAZKVN3RQ5qj
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Henry had finally set a date for my coronation. At the end of the month I would be officially made his queen. My mother no longer had any reason to dislike my husband; he no longer made me unhappy and he was finally making me his official queen.82Please respect copyright.PENANAsoucKnECPK
Henry began visiting my bed regularly, and I was even surprised to hear that he never took a mistress. Not even when I was pregnant, he remained faithful to me. I laughed in disbelief when I heard; not even my father, who had adored my mother, had been able to remain faithful to her, and I had always simply assumed that it was perfectly alright for a king’s eye to wander whilst his wife was with child. But my husband, my Henry, did not seem to have anything pulling him towards other women, and I was thankful.82Please respect copyright.PENANA4Ov0BzRsEh
I remembered when he had asked me to try to love him, and realised that it no longer felt like I was trying. It was something that came naturally. He smiled when he saw me, and his smile was genuine. Not like in the first weeks of our marriage when his eyes would betray the falseness of the smile on his lips. Now his eyes followed me when I moved, lingered on me when I danced. I felt like a young girl again.82Please respect copyright.PENANALuivaqXhlf
He allowed me my freedom, allowed me to commission my own artists and musicians. He actively encouraged me to set up colleges at the universities and even presented me with beautifully bound books as gifts. When he needed advice, he came to me for it. He asked about England, how the North reacted with the South, how to best keep the Scottish border in line. He treated me as his equal, not merely his wife.copyright protection78PENANAhhzTuXmv5l

The crown was placed upon my head, it’s weight more than I anticipated. The holy oil was placed on my chest as the archbishop anointed me. I sat on a grandly ornate throne and looked down at the people gathered before me. I was officially above them, officially Queen of England.82Please respect copyright.PENANAbNDF0o3E0S
When I saw Henry later that night, he simply took me in his arms.82Please respect copyright.PENANAp5GU5iuXL8
“Welcome back, my queen.” He whispered into my ear. I smiled against his shoulder.82Please respect copyright.PENANAexDw2NX05i
Who ever would have thought that a Yorkist princess could marry a Lancastrian rebel and live to find such happiness?82Please respect copyright.PENANAfh6TX6i0Li
As our son, one-year old Arthur, toddled into his father’s chambers, his nursemaid running after him and spouting apologies, I laughed heartily and remembered a time when I thought I should never find happiness again. Oh, how woefully wrong I was.copyright protection78PENANAufDLhp9uI2

A/N - 'Dickon' was a medieval nickname for 'Richard' used by people closest to someone with that particular name. It could also be shortened to 'Dick'. Dickon in this refers to Richard III. Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor married mainly to unite the houses of York and Lancaster but they came to genuinely love one another. After Elizabeth's death, Henry VII shut himself away in solitude and it is said he would allow no one near him other than his mother. He became ill himself and every year had the bells tolled for her on the anniversary of her death. It is said that when he died, it was in part because of a broken heart.copyright protection78PENANABkieCwoeJi

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