~ Prologue ~
It was the celebration of the year, a day that would seal the future of England. All hope was invested in two young people; the future king and his bride-to be. Though they were both young, he a boy of 15 and she a girl of merely 12 years old, their futures would from this day forward forever be linked to each other. Their betrothal was going to turn into a marriage when the girl was 18 years old.
'Lady Elizabeth, come to me.' said the doting mother-in-law to the future queen. Elizabeth Wyatt did as she was asked and left the side of her betrothed to go to Queen Mary.
'What is it Lady mother?' she asked, using the new title she was obliged to use for her mother-in-law. Queen Mary had developed sympathy for Elizabeth's family history, this was because Elizabeth's mother had died whilst giving birth to her and so Elizabeth never had a mother. Mary was desperate to take on that mother role with Elizabeth now that she was betrothed to her eldest son. Why you ask? Well, Mary never had any daughters of her own and this was something she sometimes dearly missed.
Yes she had two healthy boys, the heir to the crown Henry and 13 year old Richard, but a girl to make her own was a privilige she had always wanted.
'Why don't you show us a dance? I am quite sure that the whole court would love it if you would dance with Prince Henry.' Mary asked. Elizabeth was not sure. Henry never seemed very fond of her. He was quite distant and sometimes rude. Maybe that was because she was 3 years his junior, but it certainly wasn't a way to behave toward your future bride. Even his brother was kinder to her.
'Of course, Lady Mother.' Elizabeth said and walked back to where Prince Henry and his father; King Thomas where. For a few moments she stood silently by his side, trying to figure out how she would propose the dance to him.
'Henry...' she started, 'your mother would like us to perform a dance together.' Henry turned his attention to his betrothed and looked blanky at her for a few seconds, but before he had answered, his father started to meddle in the conversation.
'What a great idea of the Queen!' he bellowed throug the hall, so that every courtier would turn their attention to him. A soft sigh left the mouth of Prince Henry before he put out his hand so that he could lead Elizabeth into the dance. 'And I have an idea to make the dance even better! Why don't the Queen's Ladies join the dance?' The king's eyes started to wander to the new group of Ladies standing beside the Queen, but his eyes rested on the newest addition of the group: Cecily Deighton. Young, just 20 years old and very beautiful with brown hair and dark eyes. This hadn't escaped the King's attention. She had dark brown hair and eyes that you could drown in, this made it impossible not to be noticed by the men of the court.
'The ladies cannot dance without a partner, that would be inproper, husband.' Queen Mary protested.
'Well then we find them a dance partner.' the king said and started to link each lady with one of the Lords that were attending the party. In the end, only Cecily was left without a partner and she was quite puzzled in what she should do, but then she saw the King coming towards her. She sank into a deep curtesy and did not rise until the king had said that she could.
'Lady Cecily, would you do me the honour of being my dance partner?' the King whispered softly, so that their conversation would be private, yet the humiliation towards the Queen would be evident. With a slight nod of the head and a controlled smile she accepted the proposal, the King then took her hand and led her into the dance.
There stood the Queen, deprived of her Ladies and silently furious about the fact that her husband would humiliate her like this. The King had throughout their marriage never been faithfull to her, but in the past he had always been discreet about his intentions. Why he would change his approach with Lady Cecily was a mystery to her.
Coming to stand beside the Queen, was Prince Richard. He was very bright for his age, the ways of the court, or better said; his father, the King, were very clear to him. 'Who is that girl that Father is dancing with?' he asked softly, so that they wouldn't draw attention to themselves.
'That is Lady Cecily, my darling, and I think that she will be your fathers next conquest.' she said brutally honest to her 13 year old son, whilst she watched the dance commence.
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