The Six Wives by Eliza Nastou

Posted By on November 25, 2011

Anne Boleyn Files visitors are a talented lot! We have writers, poets, artists, spoof writers… and I always enjoy reading people’s work and publishing it where appropriate.

Today I’d like to share with you some creative writing by Eliza Nastou from Greece. I think Eliza has done a wonderful job at giving each of Henry VIII’s six wives a voice.

Thank you, Eliza!

Katherine the Proud

My God, why? Why do You let me, Υour faithful and loving daughter, suffer like that? I know that maybe this is my cross to bear in the earthly world, my difficult path which leads to salvation. I know that Your ways are mysterious, but some days like today it is hard to find any purpose to my torment. They came to ask for my jewels to adorn this shameful woman Anne Boleyn, the scandal of Christendom, as she should be called. She has taken everything from me, my husband’s affection, the opportunity to be close to my only daughter and now she wants what little is left from my sunny and bright days, the Queen’s jewels. She has taken everything but my pride and dignity. What did they expect of me, his Majesty and she? To yield so easily to their desires? Henry might be my King, yet he is not my God and cannot make me betray my conscience… I am my mother’s daughter and I shall never deny my destiny, even if I have to endure cruel tortures. I always knew that my destiny was to be the Queen of England and I came here years ago to fulfill it, I was anointed Queen before God, and I will die one, because denying it would mean deny my own existence.

If only I had had a son… A living, strong son, who would be a mirror of his father… Just one healthy son would be enough to change my life and bring joy to my dark days and to the whole realm. Only God and the Virgin know how much I have prayed for this miracle to happen, prayers that went in vain, as this precious gift never came to me. But I can’t lose my faith, I will never permit myself to lose it. I may have no sons, but I am not childless. I have Mary, the fruit of my sacred matrimony, the Princess with the Tudor and Spanish blood who is the light of my eyes. Mary will be Queen, this must be God’s plan and I would rather die than do anything that would prevent it, directly or indirectly. I will remain firm and steady to my beliefs. I am Queen and I will be till the last day of my life. And God forgive them who claim otherwise, because they are deeply sinned.

Anne the Strong and Innocent

There is no point in trying to understand how I got here, from glory to imprisonment and condemnation to death within less than a month… I have almost driven myself crazy all these days in the Tower thinking about what went wrong, what I could have said or done, what I should not have said or even thought in order to avoid this great injustice. In my life I have sinned, yes, more in thought than in actions, but were these sins so great to be paid only by death? No. Today I am going to die an innocent woman. And a Queen. Crimson and ermine will make it all clear to everybody and tell the words I cannot utter: Queen Anne Boleyn is innocent of all the charges she was accused and condemned of and her conscience is as clear as the water.

This beautiful day of May, after watching the sunrise for one last time, I start to remember every detail of my life’s journey. The choices I made, the joys, the sorrows and the so many obstacles that I defeated in my way of conquering the heart of a King and the whole world as well. Do I regret it? My choices lead to my dear brother’s death and to other innocent men’s, too. Soon I will also die because of them. If I hadn’t married Henry, none of this would have ever happened. Maybe I would now be happily married, with many children, sons and daughters to love and cherish. Then again, maybe I could already be dead from childbirth, who knows? But, whatever my fate could have been, I cannot regret my decisions. I loved passionately and I was loved in the same way by a man whose promises seem now completely empty and hollow. I gained all I ever wanted; Love, status, glory, wealth and the most exquisite gift of them all: my sweet, little Elizabeth, the love of my life. If I hadn’t married Henry, I would never have had Elizabeth and my life would not be the same.

Oh, my sweet girl, what will happen now of her? I am powerless, I cannot do anything to help her now that her own father declared her a bastard. How I wish we could have more time together, so that I could watch her grow up and be there to protect her.

The only thing I can do is pray to God to keep her safe, pray that He illuminates the people who will take care of her and the King as well to remember always that she is his flesh and blood.

In a few minutes I am leaving this world, but I am sure that I am going to Heaven to be reunited with my brother George and the other innocents. From up there I will watch over my baby girl to help her become the woman I know she can be, to protect her and love her even if I will not be able to hold her in my arms again.

Jane the Mother

The pain is excruciating.. It seems like it has already lasted for ages, although I am told only 2 days have passed since the labour started. My ladies try to give me courage, but I can’t take it any more. I know this pain is blessed, for by it and by the grace of God I am going to bring a new human being in the world, but my strength is quickly fading. It’s like I am torn in half… Why is the labour so difficult for me? Other women have their children in a matter of hours, this must mean that something is going wrong with me.

I have to hang on, I have to find the strength to deliver this child safely, for he is the prince the King and everybody in England has longed for during years. But, is this how it is going to be? What if my baby is a girl? I can’t even think about it, this could well be my end. After all, I have seen how quickly His Majesty’s love can turn into hate and lead to destruction. And I have known very well from the start what is my principal- or even only- role as Queen; To bear sons. Bear sons or die trying.

I keep pushing and pushing like they tell me to and I hear my ladies crying and praying to the Virgin and various saints. They are desperate and this must mean that my end is near. After 2 days of pure suffering I am going to meet my maker, trying to fulfill my promise: give Henry a son. Was it all worth it?

One last push and suddenly a weight is being lifted off my belly. I hear a baby crying and the ladies gasping in joy and relief. I cannot believe it, everything is over. I want to know what my baby is, but I am too weak to speak or ask anything. “Your Majesty, it‘s a boy!! You have borne a prince!!” Tears of sheer happiness come to my eyes and I hear everybody is clapping and laughing. I have made it and now I can finally see my little prince. They put him in my arms and I can see how perfect and healthy he looks. My precious baby, my prince of Wales finally is here, I can touch him, his little hands and toes, he is real.

Now I can finally take a breath and lay back, for I did as I promised. The King will love me forever as the mother of his only son. Before going to sleep, exhausted from the ordeal, beautiful glimpses of the future come to my mind. My son playing in the gardens along with his many brothers and myself, my son being crowned King and I by his side a proud Queen mother. Yes, now everything is perfect and the better days are still ahead.

Anne the Bride

All eyes are on me, while I am walking down the aisle. The pressure is overwhelming, even for me a born princess. I walk as elegantly as I can in my rich wedding gown. I don’t know if I am beautiful, my confidence has experienced multiple wounds since I set foot on this island. English court is nothing like ours back home and people seem strange to me, especially my husband-to-be, his Majesty the English King.

He now enters the church’s hall and stands besides me, so that the ceremony can finally start. He barely looks at me and I can’t help but feel unwanted. I certainly hadn’t imagined my wedding day like this, getting married to an older man with a reputation for cruelty towards his wives who supposedly liked my portrait but doesn’t seem to like me in the flesh.

The wedding is quickly over and I am Queen. I don’t feel merry, though, just numb and worried about the future. My new husband smiles a lot, but I can see that his eyes are cold and empty- he is definitely not happy. What can I do to change that? He must be satisfied of me, or else my fate could turn grim from one moment to the other.

The celebrations are a blur and before knowing I am ready for my wedding night. My ladies have helped me prepare myself for the most important night of my life, the night I will cease being a maiden and I’ll become a woman. I feel helpless as the King slowly approaches me. I lie in my bed silent and trying hard to stay still, because I don‘t want to cause any displeasure. For the first time after our first encounter he looks at me hard and long. He doesn’t say a word and lies down next to me. I feel like prey before a mighty falcon and I don’t know what to expect, how can I guess his next move? His hands touch my breasts under my nightgown, they grab and feel and I can hear him fight for his breath for some seconds, like he is trying hard for something. He suddenly stops and talks to me at last, his voice showing his frustration: “Are you not a maiden?” I don’t speak English well and besides I am too scared to open my mouth. He repeats the question, angrier and getting no response, he exits my quarters hastily, leaving me there trembling and confused. I am quite sure this is not all that happens between husbands and wives, so this must mean that I didn’t please him as I wished. I spend my “happiest night” crying on my pillow and fearing for what’s yet to come.

Catherine the Girl in Love

These last days have been the most exciting and happy ones in my life – at least for a long long time! I had the most lovely time with Thomas Culpeper, the man I have been in love with since I first came at court. His kisses taste like honey and his eyes look at me with so much desire that many times I felt ready to give myself completely to him; Only fear of being caught made me stop him from utterly possessing me. My heart is beating faster when I am in his arms, I love the secrecy, the mystery, the fact that we are breaking all the rules to live our passion. Thank God my Lady Rochford promised me once again this morning that she will make sure that our encounters with Thomas will remain secret. Nobody can know and nobody will, I have her word. I am so lucky that she is eager to serve and help her Queen in all circumstances.

Today His Majesty gave my a new jewel, a wonderful sapphire cross and of course he expected my love in exchange. I gave to him my body, like so many times before, but my heart and mind were elsewhere. Henry is completely besotted with me, he treats me like the Queen I am and sometimes when he makes me beautiful presents and talks to me so sweetly I feel guilty for not loving him back. Then again, how can I truly love a man three decades older than me, who gets fatter and sicker every day? Henry may be my King, but Thomas is my prince charming, my knight in shining armour, the man of my dreams.

Now I can have everything my heart desires, expensive jewels, elegant gowns and money to spend given to me by the King; love, excitement and passion with Thomas. Now, after a lifetime of restrictions I am finally free to enjoy what I deserve. Because I’m convinced that that’s the life I deserve: to have fun, dance, laugh, love and live happily ever after as a true Queen.

The day passes quickly and here comes the night once again… I wish deep from my heart that my husband doesn’t come to my chambers tonight. Not this night, as I have other plans. To meet with the love of my life and revive our passion, which started just days ago. Maybe this will be the last time, maybe I will end this folly right now, if I want to avoid my cousin Anne Boleyn’s fate. Or maybe not?

Katherine the Reasonable

I have to take this decision really soon, even tonight, but I find it so difficult. I am torn in half – on the one side there is love and on the other duty. For once I thought I had the chance to be happy at last, with a man I truly love. Thomas Seymour. I say his name and I shiver like a young maiden, so great is my love for him. I really believed that with the end of my second loveless marriage, true happiness would finally come for me. How wrong I was… How could I imagine that no other that the King himself would ask me to marry him? Any other man I could refuse, his Majesty, my Sovereign Lord I cannot. Those who dared to defy him paid their insolence with their lives and I do not want to become part of this long, sad list.

I don’t want to become Queen either… It’s a position many have envied, but I don’t, as I find it dangerous and even lethal. All I long for is a happy marriage of love and not convenience and why not, children. I am still young and I can have them, but if I marry the King I doubt that I will ever have this joy in my life.

I asked Thomas what I should do. Should I say there is a precontract between us two? “You cannot say no to his Majesty”, he said decisively. “When he dies, we could…” I stopped him terrified, as he was committing treason. Yes, the King is sick, but anything is possible, maybe I will be the one to die first as almost all of his previous wives. So, my love told me to obey, my mind dictates me to obey, only my heart is wild and rebel and desires to shout to everybody my most secret wishes.

I will not do that though. I said I had to take a decision, but the truth is that the decision has long been taken. Since the King laid eyes on me I had no choice but to surrender. It seems to be God’s will for me to become Queen of England and live a life of uncertainty and sorrow. I have decided and there is no point in thinking about it any more. I am going to say yes to Henry and bury my feelings deep down in my heart, hide them from everybody including myself, because these feelings can easily become my death sentence.

By Eliza Nastou

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Comments on
"The Six Wives by Eliza Nastou"

18 Responses to “The Six Wives by Eliza Nastou”

  1. Ingrid says:

    I love it! Congrats Eliza!
    I could imagine all of them thinking this ;D

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    Eliza Reply:

    Thank you so much, Ingrid! :-)

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  2. Eliza says:

    I would like to give a big thank you to Claire for hosting my stories!! It’s an honour for me to see them published on my favourite website!!

    [Reply]

  3. brytni says:

    Wow! I love,love love! These monologues. Annes is particularly chilling. I wonder as a mother of two myself, if her eyes and guidance from heaven “made” elizabeth I the woman she was.

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  4. Wally Pynn says:

    Congratulations, Eliza, on your tremendously intuitive and thought-provoking monologues. Over the years, I have read many articles and books about Henry’s wives and I found that your perceptions of each, aptly zoomed in, on many of my own conjured feelings and opinnions of them. Of all his wives, it is Anne of Cleves who has tugged away at my heartstings, the most. I suppose one’s levels of empathy and compassion are a direct measure of one’s understanding and appreciation of circumstances of ‘life and times’. I also have a great admiration fo Katherine Parr and Katherine Aragon, who in my view, lived lives of immense integrity .. (at least at court). I surely enjoyed your work, Eliza! Don’t stop!

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  5. Sophie-Marie says:

    It’s so beautiful!!! Anne brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations, Eliza, you’re a wonderful writer!

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  6. Nezy says:

    Congratulations! I really love it!!
    It´s so so beatiful =D

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  7. Patrice says:

    Wow that was amazing

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  8. Eliza says:

    Thank you all so much for your positive comments!! I’m glad you enjoyed the monologues!! :-) :-)

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  9. Mika says:

    Eliza, I am impressed with your job! it was an excellent work! congratulations!! Keep going!

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  10. Trish says:

    Eliza, I very much enjoyed reading this! It brought a tear to my eye. Very impressed. As much as I adore Anne Boleyn, I found some compassion for Jane through your writing. I can imagine her happy thoughts after delivering Edward after such a hard labor, and how quickly they must have faded. Thank you! :)

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  11. Ashley says:

    Eliza I truly enjoyed these stories especially about Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon. You did an amazing job!!!! Hopefully we can read more!!!! :)

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  12. Anne Barnhill says:

    Well done, Eliza! So enjoyable!

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  13. Baroness Von Reis says:

    Eliza,What a great read it brought me to tears, reading Annes story blamming herself and to no she was helpless ,as far as her beloved Elizabeth.I also loved story of Katherine the Reasonable ,she really was very smart. Kudos to you loved the stories,hope we can read your work again. Regards Baroness Von Reis

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  14. Jan says:

    Eliza what an amazing job you did bringing voices to the Wives of King Henry the 8th. I cried after reading Queen Anne Boleyn’s. It brings more of a personal touch to us the readers that these were real people with real feelings. And I agreeQueen Katherine was one intelligent smart lady. All of Henry’s Queens lives are sad.I know they had joy as well but but in the end sad. But all was not lost because God did have his hands on Queen Elizabeth, for he did answer Queen Anne Boleyn’s prayers! Eliza this is superb reading. I just can’t get enough of this site. :-)

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  15. AnneBoleyn says:

    Wow! I love these!

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  16. PHS says:

    Wonderful job, keep up the good work! You really captured each wife perfectly.

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  17. BanditQueen says:

    Recently finished Elizabeth Norton life of Anne of Cleves and a few surprises were found. I had never gone along with her being a Protestant, but Norton believed that she was a devout Catholic and that was interesting. Anne also seems to have believed that she remained the true wife of King Henry VIII until her death, hoped that she would be married to him again one day and was deeply hurt when he married Katherine Parr. She found that her situation was reduced by the orders of the Council of King Edward VI and at one point while asking the crown to consider sending her more money, she petitioned them as Henry’s widow for her dower lands. As the widow of the late King she would have status and wealth in her own right , as His Majesty’s Sister, as a divorced lady, she was dependent on the goodness of his successors. Interesting.

    [Reply]

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