King's Reception Room

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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:29 pm

"I do have a wife to be Catherine of Medici and i was hoping Katherine my dear that you would stay and perhaps join her household buy it is your choice
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:18 am

In the rooms of the Vatican

It has been decided.
I am to marry Henry of France.
My uncle, Pope Clement, has agreed to marry me off and no one asked my opinion.

And what could I say?
Orphaned before I was year old and sent to live with my grandmother. Then, sent to live with my beloved aunt, Clarice de' Medici.
I was happy there. Surrounded by cousins who were more like siblings : Laughter and love.
Then my uncle decided that I could be of better use in Rome and dangled like a hunk of meat in front of wolves.

I suppose that I should think myself lucky : Henry is said to be smart, fair, witty, athletic,  and very handsome.
My uncle says that I shall find happiness with him.

But will he find happiness with me?
I am no beauty like his sister.
I am short.
My eyes , like so many in my family, slightly protrude although I have been told they are a lovely shade of hazel.
My most attractive feature is my hair : a soft coppery color and thick and wavy.

Oh, but my mind is still better than any physical attribute I may have. The Pope has seen to that.
I can speak 5 languages and can follow any conversation including subjects that many consider too "harsh" for a woman.

I have been ordered to write to my betrothed.
Yet, what can I say?

Sorry this is being forced upon you but I hope that you don't repudiate  me?

I sigh and pick up the quill and parchment......

Dearest Majesty,
I hope this letter finds you in good health and merrier spirits.
I feel happy... nay.. honored that I shall be your bride.
I suppose that I should ask you insipid questions about the latest fashions the ladies favor in your court but I am afraid that I have no time for such foolishness.
I do wish to your know likes and dislikes as I want to bring you happiness in the marriage.
I look forward to the day that I shall see your face and hear your voice.

Forever Faithfully,
Catherine  
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:11 am

I was in my chambers when i received a letter.
I began to read Catherine of Medici letter.
Once i had finished i picked up my quill.
"My dear lady Catherine
I am most honoured to have received this letter from you and are found your words very sweet and your writing so nice.
I would like you to know that the custom of my court is that all ladies look stunning but none as much as the queen which will be you"
To please me any gold items or finest silks and fabrics amongst​ many other things would please me even just being yourself.
I have wanted to see you for a long time and i have arranged for you to come this fine weekend if that is not a trouble to you.
Yours faithfully
King Henry II

I finished my letter then i drew the picture of the clothing of both upper and lower class people at my court with words saying.
"Clothing at my court"
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Claude of France on Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:26 am

Vatican

Henry has written back to me!
I quickly open the letter and read the contents.

Thank God, he appears to have a brain behind his handsome face.
Even though I would marry where my uncle demands, I am happy to know that my husband shall not be an empty headed King like so many.
I must send him a gift.
And it must be magnificent....


Days later

The blacksmith presents the gifts I had commissioned for my betrothed.
"As you can see, my lady," He says. "The shield is made of the finest and strongest oak and covered in animal hide. I reinforced it with metal. But the wood should absorb most of a strike."
He then held up the sword.
" The sword has been forged in the hottest fires and is made from the finest of Toledo steel. I, myself, have sharpened it to point where it can slice a single hair in two. "
I noticed that the hilt was made of a dark wood and the head of a lion carved into it.

I nod to my attendant to take the items.
"I thank you for your skill, kind sir. " I toss him a velvet pouch, filled with gold coins. More than three times the asking price .

Back in my rooms, my servant is placing the sword and the shield in a large box made of mahogany  from Africa and inlaid with rubies.
I reach for the gift that I want to send the most.

A warm woolen cloak of the deepest red.
And there on the collar of the cloak, my own hands embroider the figure of a golden lion.
I  hug the cloak, not caring if my perfume of white roses scent the cloak.
I close my eyes and for just a moment, I allow myself to believe that I am like one of the fair maidens in the stories my Nonna used to tell me.
And that a handsome knight on a charger will come and rescue me from this beautiful prison that is known as The Vatican.

"My lady?"

I shake myself from the daydream and hand the cloak to the servant.
"See that it is sent with all haste to His Majesty."
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:28 am

I was in my chambers reading some documents when my servant is announced.
I nod to the guard to let him in and i see him appear with a very large mahogany chest.
"From lady Catherine Medici your majesty" he says to me and places chest on floor.
I open the chest and see in it the finest shield and a lovely well forged sword that i place on myself and immediately take a liking to them.
In the chest there was also a nice cloak that smelt divine like that of a white rose and a rub it close to me and then try it on.
I look to my servant:
"What do you think?" I say and he nods in approval.
Hours later i begin picking up my quill and writing a letter to Catherine.
"Dear lady Catherine.
This very day i received the finest of gifts from yourself which i truly admired and the cloak also had a wonderful scent to it.
In gratitude of these fine gifts i would like to offer you an invitation to my court and personally thank you for the gifts should you choose to accept it.
I cannot wait to see you.
Yours truly
King Henry of France."
I finish writing letter and hand it to the servant.
"For lady Catherine's eyes only
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Claude of France on Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:09 am

How good to be home!

Even though her words were harsh, I stayed for Madeline's wedding.
Oh,Henry, I thought, our little girl is now a queen and the most beautiful bride.
Lord. please let her find happiness in her marriage....
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:14 am

Vatican

I sit on one of the plush chairs in the Pope's private room, trying my best to look calm and collected.

"My child," His Holiness began. " As you know, I have taken the utmost care in your upbringing and in settling the affair of your marriage."
I nod at my uncle.

"We have received confirmation that King Henry of France is quite set to marry you. Of course, I shall make sure that your dowry shall be fitting as your station. Indeed, the lands  that your father held are most desirable. However , we do have concerns."

"Concerns, Your Holiness?" I ask.

"I have made sure that you have had the best education available for a lady of your station. Your tutors inform me that you excel in your lessons. In fact, your surpass your male counterparts. But I am also informed that you spend much time with young Michel. "

"Michel?"

"Yes. He is being sent to the University of Avignon so that he can continue his studies to become a physician. It will appear unseemly for a future queen to spend too much in the company with a young man."

" Uncle," I protest. " Michel is my only friend here! He's the only one who sees me as Catherine and not some royal chattel to be bought and sold!"

My uncles's eyes look coldly at me. "Need I remind you that your parents are dead and that I am you guardian. Need I remind you that with a stroke of a quill, I can have you sent to a convent, your lands given to whomever I choose?

Damn my temper!
I try to look meek and mild to appease him.
"I'm sorry, Uncle. I know that you are the sole reason why I am here today and not on the streets."

My words seem to please him.
" I will allow you to say goodbye to Michel. He is waiting for you in the courtyard . And remember, Catherina , you WILL do be proud or bear my anger."
He dismisses me by holding out his hand for me to kiss.

Gritting my teeth, I walk to him and then kneel to kiss his ring.

I then turn and walk from the room.
Once I am sure that no one can see me, I lift up my skirts and run to the courtyard where Michel is waiting.

When I see him , I look into his wide, grey eyes and I know that that he has been told .

"Michel!, " I grasp his hands. " Please believe me! This is not my doing. My uncle...."

He places a finger upon my lips.
"Hush, Cat, " He soothes. " It doesn't matter. We both knew this day would come. You will be Queen and I shall become a man of medicine. But distance and time can never stop us from being friends.  You need merely send for me and I shall be there."
Michel smiles but I can see the tears in his eyes.

He is my only friend here in this golden prison.
The only person who knows me .
Never has there been any thought of passion or romantic love between : Only a shared love of knowledge and friendship.

Michel places his finger under my chin and lifts it up slightly.

"You may be Queen of France but ,to me, you will always be Cat. The lady Catherine de Medici."

I smile thru my tears.
"And you may become the greatest royal physician in a great court but, to me, you will always be Michel Nostradamus "
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:06 pm

My messenger arrived at the Vatican with my letter for Catherine of Medici.
He sees her talking to a young man and he approaches her.
"Excuse me my lady i am the Messenger from France and have my king's reply to your letter here which he says is for your eyes only my lady
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Tue May 01, 2018 7:18 am

I quickly wipe my eyes and smile brightly at the messenger.
"Oh, my betrothed has written me! ", I say happily and release Michel's hand.
The messenger hands me the message and looks at Michel.
" I must thank for bringing such happiness to the Lady Catherine," Michel says warmly and offers his hand to the messenger. " I am Michel Nostradamus, a childhood friend of the lady as well as a student in the same classes. We have just received word that His Holiness has arranged for me to attend the University of Avignon to continue my studies. It eases my worries that Catherine will be well taken care of by King Henry."

The messenger takes Michel's hand and I see that Michel's face grows pale, his eyes widening and I know that he has had another of his "visions".

"Michel?", I ask softly.
Michel forces himself to smile but I can see that he is shaken.
The messenger smiles, unaware. " I am called Gabriel , sir. I shall be glad to tell His Majesty that his betrothed has friends that care for her well being and wish her happiness."

Michel looks at Gabriel. "Gabriel, will you be traveling back to France soon? "
Gabriel nods. "Yes, but I can't wait until my lady replies. "
Michel turns to me. "Cat, it would be best to send Gabriel to the kitchens for refreshments while you write a reply."
I nod to Gabriel. " Please, make yourself comfortable for tonight and I will reply to His Grace right away so that you can leave in the morning."
Gabriel bows to us and walks away.

When I am sure that he cannot hear, I ask, " Michel, what is it? I know you ....saw something."
Michel shook his head. " I am afraid that he must leave as soon as possible in the morning. His father has been injured and will not live past ten days. He is asking for Gabriel. Cat, this must be our goodbye and you must answer Henry. Know that I am shall always be your friend and keep you in my prayers."
A brief kiss upon my forehead and my friend walks way.


I rush back to my rooms and send my servants away so I can read my note.

My eyes scan over the letter.

An invitation to his court!
He wishes to see me!

I grab parchment and quill.

My Dearest Majesty,
I am so pleased that you found my gifts worthy. Your servant, Gabriel, was sure to make sure that I received your missive quickly.
I have been told that you enjoy jousting . Although I am not a lady fair, I am sending my favor. It is a scarf that mother gave to my father many years ago and so it is very dear to me. I hope that your next joust , you see fit to bear my favor.
I would be delighted to visit what is called the most elegant court in the world but that permission must come from His Holiness.
Perhaps if you or your lady mother to write to him, he might agree.
Until then, I hold you in my prayers and in my dreams.
Faithfully,
Catherine


I ring for a servant and hand the scarf to him. The scarf is made of the softest silk from the East, the color of a moonlit sky and embroidered with silver stars. My father once carried it with him in a joust and won. I also hand the letter to the servant.
"King Henry's man,Gabriel, is in the kitchens. Make sure that he is given a comfortable room and every convenience is afforded him as well as my fastest horse in my stables."
The servant bows and leaves.

I cross myself and pray silently " Please, God, let me leave this place soon."
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Claude of France on Tue May 01, 2018 7:43 am

I sit at my writing desk, answering correspondence when a servant brings me a letter from Rosette.

My Queen, Claude of France,
I pray this letter finds you in good health.
I have made sure that Queen Madeline is in good hands with the people here in Scotland.
A servant named Morag was the spy that Anne Boleyn employed to undermine you. After a few bottles of our best wine, she bragged that she told Anne of the color of your dress and slept with the steward to make certain she was seated above you.
For this, Morag will wear a scar upon her cheek until death closes her eyes. Fool that she is thinks that she received it as an accident.
I have bribed the steward to place the clock gift in Anne's room with a note that it is a gift from you. Although the way she gambles at cards, she may have to pawn it.

Your gentle Majesty, I have done all I can to ensure that your daughter is safe.
I grow weary of this cold,damp country where the people are common.
I long for France's sunshine and the laughter of children.
Enough of this land !
I shall take a ship in a fortnight to some to France.

Your Faithful Servant,
Rosette


I put the letter down.
Rosette will be home soon > I must make sure to reward her for loyalty.

One child married and I must ready myself for another wedding.
I pick up another letter and read.
Catherine de Medici.....

The Lady Catherine is a refined lady of grace. She speaks many languages....
She excels in all her lessons......Although not beautiful, she has beautiful hair and kind eyes....
The Pope controls her with an iron fist......
She is tutored by best learned men in Rome...


I sigh.
Poor child. I remember when she was born only to have both parents die before she was a month old.
And Clement was not a warm man.
Even if he is Pope.
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Tue May 01, 2018 1:16 pm

I decide to visit my mother in her rooms and show her Catherine's letter.
"I admire her mother and she is invited to court. I will be busy over the coming days and was wondering mother if you could possibly write in my name to his holiness the Pope telling him about my invitation to his daughter
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Tue May 01, 2018 1:30 pm

A few days later i write a reply to Catherine.
"My dearly beloved Catherine.
I wish to inform you that i hope his holiness accepts my invitation to you and i hope that my mother will write to him as i am to be busy for a few days.
"There is another jousting event here at Versailles within i week which i will be part of and i shall bear your precious scarf. I do hope to see you there.
King Henry of France
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Claude of France on Wed May 02, 2018 6:33 am

I listen to Henry and consider his request.
" It makes sense to have her here," I say. " If she is to be Queen, then she needs to see the people of France and become accustomed to us. I shall write to his Holiness the Pope at once. But you will need to send another servant in place of Gabriel. "

Henry looks at me in question.

I sigh.
" His father was injured and passed away as soon as Gabriel returned from Rome. They say his father held on long enough to see his son. I know how found you are of the boy and I think it would be kind of you to offer a more lucrative position at Court."
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Wed May 02, 2018 6:16 pm

"Thank you mother i do hope he agrees to the request i have.
"I shall send Francois to go in place of Gabriel
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Thu May 03, 2018 6:53 am

Pope Clement sat his ornate desk, reading the latest reports from his spies at the court of Henry Tudor and The Great Whore.
A soft knock at the door gave him pause and he ordered , " Enter!".
One of the servants, a young man, entered the room.
"Your Holiness, you have received a letter from her Majesty ,Queen Claude of France."
The Pope took the letter and dismissed the servant. He broke the wax seal and read the contents.


To Our Most Holy Father, Pope Clement,
We are most pleased that His Grace has agreed to the marriage of my son, King Henry of France, to His beloved niece, Lady Catherine Medici.
It is our wish for Lady Catherine to become familiar with the country and the people that she will one day rule and extend an invitation to visit our court.
Please, rest assured that I, personally, will make sure that she is afforded every comfort and respect a lady of her station deserves.
She is, after all,to become my daughter.
Should you agree, please know that you may send as large retinue as you wish for her chaperones.
Should you agree, I shall send my personal ship, The Golden Lion, to bring her here.
As always, I shall bow to your decision in this matter.
Your Daughter In Christ,
Queen Claude of France


Later......................

I am to go to France!
The Queen has sent a letter to my uncle to invite me and he said yes.
Of course, he has given me a list of things I may and may not do as well as to make sure Henry sides with the Church in the King Henry Tudor's Great Matter.
I, of course, agree that a wife cannot be set aside just because a whore has caught his eye but I really don't care about the Tudors.
It is said that Henry cannot get a live son from any woman he names Queen.
All I know is that I am leaving this place even if it is for a short while.
I know that my uncle will send his spies to watch me but just the thought of being away from here gives my heart wings!

I write a letter to Henry to let him know that I am coming and that I look forward to seeing him ,face to face.

My Most Beloved Majesty, King Henry of France,
His Holiness has agreed to allow me to visit your beautiful court.
My heart has been warmed by the thought of meeting so great a King .
Until we meet, know that you are constant in my thoughts and in my prayers.
Faithfully,
Catherine De Medici
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Thu May 03, 2018 1:33 pm

I receive Catherine's letter a few days later.
I pick up my quill and write to her.
"My dearest lady Catherine.
I am honoured that his Holiness has agreed to this visit and i am excited for your arrival and all has been prepared for you.
I can assure you when i hear word of your approach i shall come on my beautiful white stallion myself to greet you at the port.
I do hope that the customs and dress of my court where to your liking however you will be the finest of ladies being married to the king.
I hope that you choose to accept to board my mother's finest ship to ensure your safe journey to my court and i shall be waiting at the shore for you with a horse for you too.
I hope you make it soon
King Henry of France
I finished my letter and then handed to Francois.
"Take this to the lady Catherine Medici and only she is to see it"
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Thu May 03, 2018 1:34 pm

I go and see my mother later.
"I thank you mother for your letter you sent as his holiness has agreed to it. I shall meet her at the port
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Fri May 04, 2018 5:46 am

I must say, I love the sea !
Standing upon the deck and smelling the salt air revived me better than anything.
We are now in port and I make sure to be ready.
A message has been sent to the palace of our arrival.

I must choose my dress carefully as I want to make a good impression.
If only I were beautiful......

Isabella, my maid, has help me dress in a silk gown of dark gold with black accents.
My hair, my one true claim to beauty, has been brushed and then rubbed with a silken sash so that it shines.

I take a deep breath and leave my room, prepared to meet my future husband
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Fri May 04, 2018 1:14 pm

I receive word of Catherine of Medici arrival at the French port and i have my white stallion prepared and i set out with the royal standard at the front of my cavalry and a couple of hours later we start to arrive at the port where Catherine was.
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Thu May 10, 2018 6:33 am

My servant burst into my chambers .
"Millady! They have spotted the King's royal standard!"

I stand and smooth my dress. I look into the polished reflection glass and make sure that my hair lays across my shoulders shining waves.
I leave the room and make my way to the deck of the ship.
I see the royal standard and I try to control my hammering heart.

All of my life, I have never been considered beautiful , insulted because of my yearning to learn , and forever reminded that I am all alone in this world.

"Please, God," I think to myself. " Let Henry not find me repulsive. Let me not ruin this one chance of happiness."
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Thu May 10, 2018 1:27 pm

I waited at the shore as my ship returned to port and i was ready to greet my future bride and i had come in the most stunning royal clothes and with my white stallion waiting for Catherine
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Sat May 12, 2018 7:02 am

The ship moored at the dock.
It was there that I first saw him.
The sun shone upon him, making his hair appear like the purest gold.
Even from where I stood on the dock, I could see that he was most handsome of men.

I clasped my hands in front of me.
The breeze from the sea ruffled my hair and my silken gown of darkest green did little to protect me from shivering in anticipation.

Henry dismounted his steed as they lowered the gangplank and then with the sure stride of a true King, he made his way up the plank..
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Sat May 12, 2018 7:17 am

I walked up the gangplank to greet her.
"Welcome to my kingdom of France lady Catherine.
"Please take my hand and i will help you down"
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Catherine of Medici on Sat May 12, 2018 11:47 pm

I cannot breathe let alone move.
His hair is of the darkest gold, his eyes the color of the greenest forest with thick lashes.
"Perhaps our children will also have them," I think to myself.

He stands there, with his hand outstretched to me.
I notice that he has large hands that have calluses and are tanned by the sun which means that he is not a lazy or womanly King : He is a man.

Gathering all my courage and place my small hand in his large one and I look at him in the eyes.
" Wherever you shall lead, I will follow. Your Most Gracious Majesty," I say.

After years of being held prisoner in Italy , after years of being used as a pawn for the Pope, and after years of never having anyone, except my aunt and Michel show be any affection, this handsome and virile man holds my hand in his and smiles at me.

Perhaps God has not forgotten me after all....
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Re: King's Reception Room

Post by Henry II of France on Sun May 13, 2018 7:32 am

I smile at her as i help her down.
"You are very pretty my lady Catherine and i so hope you like the French court.
I have chosen this wonderful horse for you to ride on our way back to Versailles my lady."
I take her hand and help her onto the horse.
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