29 January 2011

The Lady Mary: End of the Sunny Days

The relative happiness that Princess Mary had known as a child came to an dramatic end, and her new unwanted title was: Lady Mary.  Mary couldn't have disliked her new title more, and often she simply refused to refer to herself in any other style, but Princess.  Mary would also steadfastly refuse to recognize Anne Boleyn as queen, and this would cause a horrible rift between herself and the king, and the beginning of a long estrangement.  Never having had a strong constitution, this time in Mary's life would mark the beginning of a slow, but steady decline in every aspect of her well-being.  Every facet of Mary's wellness began to suffer:  physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Catastrophic developments had taken place in Henry's life, and these would have a direct detrimental effect on Mary. Henry had fallen out of love with Mary's mother Catherine, and passionately in love with Anne Boleyn.  This was a new reality that Mary would never understand, and would never accept. Mary's life as she had known it had been destroyed, and as far as she was concerned the blame fell squarely on Anne Boleyn's slender shoulders.

Just who was this strange woman who had eclipsed her mother so totally?  Contemporary reports varied widely, with some calling Anne a bewitching beauty, and others describing her as plain, and with some odd physical defects.  Most courtiers would agree that while the new woman who had captivated Henry was not beautiful, like Bessie Blount, she was very attractive. Anne was a tall, notably elegant raven haired woman, with expressive black eyes.  Courtiers would say that Anne "knew how to use her eyes."  Anne was also on the cutting edge of fashion, even setting lasting fashion trends herself, and styled herself like the perfect natural-born Frenchwoman.  Slender and small busted, so different from Catherine, who had been once curvaceous, now grown stout, Henry seemed very pleased.  Henry's court was moving in a different direction and Anne was simply captivating to some of the male courtiers.  Though Queen Catherine still held firmly in her possession their respect, Henry and his male courtiers had long since begun to view his wife as boring, stout, old.  Francis I had even meaner things to say to describe Catherine.  Henry was in his prime, was considerably younger than Catherine, and was tired of his aging, barren wife. Henry determined he would get rid of his old wife, the sooner the better.  Even if it cracked his country in half, and it would, he would rid himself of his "brother's wife whom he had never been rightfully married to," and marry the virginal Anne Boleyn, who had promised to give him a whole household of rudely healthy sons!

In the meantime, Mary was in the odd place of technically,  not existing. As ridiculous as this sounds, if his marriage to Catherine was to be annulled, where did that leave Mary, the true issue of that marriage? Mary was now referred to as a "bastard," and was told in no uncertain terms that she would call herself Lady Mary.
If all this was not bad enough, Mary couldn't have known just how bad circumstances were going to get.

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