Christmas Morning in the Tudor Court by Richard Hartman

It was ten o’clock on Christmas Eve and everyone has settled in for the night as he placed his head back in the chair and slowly dozed off as the last log on the fire slowly melted away to ash. His slumber did not last long as it was not long thereafter he felt a tug on his sleeve, as he opened his eyes he saw Anne and she was excitedly saying “Wake up your Grace, it is time”! A feast was being prepared and everyone was gathering for the royal celebration. His head was a bit cloudy and it felt a bit stiff as he must have been on that chair for some time! “Where have you been my dear, it seems an eternity has passed since I have seen you last” as he looked at her noticing the necklace with the all too familiar B hanging from neck. Perhaps I had too many goblets of hippocras he had thought to himself. She smiled back at him with her usual charm.

After attending the traditional early Mass they made their way into the grand hall. He was thinking how much he would like some meat and cheese as that was not allowed on Christmas Eve. The doors swung open and the announcement of his arrival brought everyone to their knees. As he passed by the lords and ladies of the court he gestured with his hand for everyone to rise, took his seat and called to the Lord of Misrule to begin the festivities. He was happy to oblige as his rule would only last 12 days and he was very eager to please! The court was a buzz with laughter and joyous celebration, nobody had even noticed that Anne had entered shortly behind and taken her seat next to him.

The tables in the court were all decorated in royal splendor. The food was endless and featured among other items stuffed peacocks, wild boar & mince pies. He was so hungry he felt he could eat an entire boar. The Yule Log was a glow as it has been drug in earlier wrapped in its traditional ribbons. The Lord of Misrule offered the crust of bread to him from the Wassail bowl which he accepted and raised a toast to all. He looked at Anne sitting next to him smiling and looking all so beautiful, he bent down a gave her a kiss and noticed she was a bit cold and offered a jacket, but she refused stating she was just fine and smiled back at him.

The lord and ladies were dancing and drinking, many spent numerous strolls under the kissing bough which had been tied in a hoop and hung off a beam. It was time to stretch those legs as he rose and walked to a window overlooking the roads and village. People were all about celebrating as the work had stopped. He looked over to Anne to ask her to come see his happy subjects in all their revelry, but she was no longer seated at the table. He scanned the room trying to locate her when there a tug on his sleeve. What is it with this sleeve tugging today he thought as her turned to see Anne smiling back at him. He pointed out all of the people in the village below and told her “I have more love for you than all the hearts of this country can hold”. She smiled again and said “and that makes me most happy”.

They returned to the table and as he sat back in his chair. He was thinking to himself that nobody had come to address the Queen as of yet when the doors to the great hall opened. In walked a beautiful young lady all of 10 years old. “Elizabeth!” he shouted. Come take your place and join us in the festivities. She made her way to the table and sat next to her Mother. He appeared to be the proudest man on earth when a courtier raised a glass and toasted “Long live the King, may 1543 bring many a pleasure to all in this realm”. He felt a little cloudy once again and gave inquisitive stare at his goblet when there was yet another tug at his sleeve.

He turned his head to see his wife (my queen he thought) and his daughter on the stool next to his rocking chair. He gave a glance over to the mantle on the fireplace where he spied the perpetual Christmas calendar. December 25, 2012 was displayed as his daughter had just changed it and she was very excited. A tear filled his eye as his wife asked him what was wrong. “I am sad that I slept the night away on this chair and lost all that time to be by your side”. She chuckled stating “it was only a few hours, not much time my dear”. He replied “Ah, yes, time is the most important gift one can receive for of all losses, time is the most irrecoverable, for it could never be redeemed”. She hugged him and handed him a cup of coffee which he held up to his nose and sniffed. His wife gave him a puzzled look as he looked back at her and said “just checking”. She shook her head and said “come on, lets open presents” which he replied “Merry Christmas, I have already received mine.”