A plot!

While I have the historical and fictional characters in mind for this story, I didn’t really know how to kick it off or what they were going to do. I’ve finally found some direction and hope to start posting more here.

Also, I thought this was convincing evidence that Anne Boleyn was really born in 1507, not 1501, so I’m going with that for my story. Having Anne be just four years older than Henry IX is intriguing, no?


Fictional Characters

The story of Henry IX involves some real life people whose destinies change dramatically with Henry in the world but it also involves some fictional characters of my own creation.

Elizabeth Tudor: Elizabeth is the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. But wait, you say, Elizabeth’s not fictional! Well, in my story, Elizabeth is born five years later (1538) because if Henry IX lived, Henry VIII would never have divorced Catherine of Aragon. In my story, Henry and Anne wouldn’t have wed until some time after Henry Percy’s death in 1537.

Henry & George Percy: Anne’s sons from her first marriage to Henry Percy, the future Earl of Northumberland. They would have been born sometime between 1525 and 1530.

Anne, Henry & Edward Dudley: Elizabeth’s children with Robert Dudley. She’s was allowed to married an Englishman by her half-brother, in part to establish an English alternative to the throne.

Ellen Stewart: A bastard daughter of the Scottish king James IV that Henry meets while at the French court after Renee of France’s death. They fall in love, but tragically Ellen dies after giving birth to their daughter Audrey.

Edward Tudor: Henry’s son with his first wife, Renee of France. Edward would have been born in 1532, and so he was already 15 when Henry VIII died and his father became King. Edward’s existence as the obvious heir gives both Henrys a certain measure of freedom to their lives without being obsessed with having a son. He marries Mary of Scotland in 1559, has a son, James, in 1566, and dies in 1567.

Anne Tudor: Named after her grandmother, Anne of Brittany, Anne is Henry’s daughter with Renee of France. Anne is the apple of her father’s eye, but tragically dies at 17.

Audrey Tudor: Audrey is Henry’s daughter with Ellen Stewart. She’s born in 1538 and grows up close to her aunt Elizabeth. Although she’s the king’s bastard daughter, Audrey is also close to her father, if always a bit rebellious. She eventually marries the admiral Charles Howard.

Isabel Tudor: Isabel is Henry’s only child with his second wife, Christina of Denmark. Isabel eventually marries Duke William V of Bavaria. This is nod to history as Christina’s real life daughter, Renata of Lorraine, married Duke William.

James Tudor: To me, this is really James I, but instead of being fathered by Henry Stuart, he’s fathered by Edward Tudor. His life follows the same timeline and when he becomes king history neatly resets to reality.

Henry IX’s family

Henry VII
Margaret Tudor
(Elizabeth of York)
James V
(James IV of Scotland)
Mary of Scotland
(Marie de Guise)
Margaret Douglas
(Archibald Douglas)
Henry Stuart
(Matthew Stewart)
Charles Stuart
(Matthew Stewart)
Henry VIII
(Elizabeth of York)
Henry IX
(Catherine of Aragon)
Edward Tudor
(Renee of France)
Anne Tudor
(Renee of France)
Audrey Tudor
(Ellen Stewart)
Isabel Tudor
(Christina of Denmark)
Mary Tudor
(Catherine of Aragon)
Charles III, Duke of Lorraine
(Francis, Duke of Lorraine)
Catherine of Lorraine
(Francis, Duke of Lorraine)
Elizabeth Tudor
(Anne Boleyn)
Anne Dudley
(Robert Dudley)
Henry Dudley
(Robert Dudley)
Edward Dudley
(Robert Dudley)
Mary Tudor
(Elizabeth of York)
Henry Brandon
(Charles Brandon)
Frances Brandon
(Charles Brandon)
Jane Grey
(Henry Grey)
Catherine Grey
(Henry Grey)
Mary Grey
(Henry Grey)
Eleanor Brandon
(Charles Brandon)
Margaret Clifford
(Henry Clifford)

Henry’s Timeline

1511 – Henry, Duke of Cornwall born

1529 – Henry marries Renee of France

1532 – Edward Tudor born

1533 – Anne Tudor born

1535 – Renee of France dies

1538 – Audrey Tudor born

1540 – Henry marries Christina of Denmark

1544 – Isabel Tudor born

1547 – Henry IX ascends to the throne

1550 – Anne Tudor dies

1559 – Audrey Tudor marries Charles Howard

1559 – Edward Tudor marries Mary, Queen of Scots

1566 – James Tudor born

1567 – Edward Tudor dies

1568 – Isabella Tudor marries Duke William V of Bavaria

1572 – Henry IX dies

Mary, Duchess of Suffolk

My aunt Mary is the one person I can think of who defied my Father and got away with it. Oh, to be sure, she and Brandon had to pay fines, but soon they were welcome back at Court with open arms.

Like all of the Tudor women, she was fierce & fearless. I see it in my cousins Frances, Eleanor & Margaret, in my sisters and especially in my daughters. The Tudor roses can be a thorny bunch.

Mary took Renee under her wing shortly after our marriage. She had briefly been Renee’s step-mother, but she also well understood how Renee felt as a Princess in a strange land. Of course, Mary was in love with Charles and married to an old man while Renee was just a few months older than me. I’d like to think I compared favorably to man in his fifties, but it was Brandon, so who knows?

Renee of France

I always thought Renee seemed older than her years. She was worldy and sophisticated. I remember feeling so intimidated by her at first. What in the world was I supposed to do with this Princess?

We had been bethrothed for years and brought up to love each other, but the reality of each other was different. I loved the idea of Renee, Princess of France,  for years, but I don’t think I was prepared to love the person – I was too young and full of my own importance then.

Eventually, I think we came to love each other. I certainly admired her and her openness to life and new beliefs.

Catherine of Aragon

I’ve often wondered what my Mother wanted. She was a dutiful daughter and then a dutiful wife. She did everything that her parents, her husband, her children and God expected of her but I don’t know if she was ever happy.

I remember the spark in her eye when she spoke of Flodden Field. Maybe she was meant to be a mighty woman warrior or a ruler in her own right like her mother. I don’t think she wanted power. Perhaps she wanted to own her own destiny. I know she loved my father, but a part of her must have envied Margaret & Mary for daring to live as people instead of pawns.

I think about my Mother when I ponder the future for my daughters and my sister. Can one be both a good King and a father? Isn’t a Princess entitled to love and happiness?

Charles Brandon

When my father died, he left me alone as the ruler of all of England and Ireland. I was ready for the challenge. When Brandon died, he left me alone with my father. I was terrified.

For years my uncle kept the peace between us. I learned from Charles how to manage my father.  But Charles wasn’t just a counselor or an ally. He loved our family and all of the Tudors loved him, not just my aunt Mary. My father must have done something right to gain such a friend and inspire such loyalty.

I look at my own friends and counselors and there’s not one that measures up to Charles. That’s not an insult to them, but rather a compliment to Charles.

Henry VIII

My father was a giant. When I was boy, I thought that word encompassed both the physical and the otherworldly. Now when I think of my father I realize that he was both a giant, and a small man.

The giant shaped reality to his vision. He was a great Prince and England was a great nation. The man couldn’t abide by anything or anyone that got in the way.

Maybe it was the musician in him. A great musician creates something magnificent out of nothing more than a hum and a flash of noise. You don’t tell a musician there are notes he can’t use.

I learned that lesson early. I learned to hide my thoughts behind bland pleasantries. My father didn’t love me. He didn’t know me. I blame both his arrogance and my cowardice.