I've had this story in my head for a while now. This is an Anne & Charles story, but they won't be getting together for a while seeing as they both hate each other right now. This is set in Season 2 Episode 9 - The Act Of Treason.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Tudors. If I did Anne & Charles would have had more screen time together.
When her father had brought her back to England, Anne thought that he had finally decided to find her a suitable husband. Part of her had hoped that this wasn't the case. She wanted to be able to enjoy the freedom she had come to love whilst her father focused on Mary and King Francis' relationship for a little longer. She had never been as reckless as Mary had during her time in the French court, but she had enjoyed flirting with the courtiers and taking part in the masquerades and feasts. She knew that when it was her turn to either find a husband or be her father's pawn in his next political movement, she would be under his constant watch, so she had intended to have fun when his attention was focused elsewhere.
After Mary had been the King's mistress and had been married off once he had tired of her, Anne had never expected that her father would be willing to push another daughter into the royal bed. However much she tried to persuade him that becoming the King's mistress was a bad idea and would only result in ruining her reputation once he had tired of her, Thomas Boleyn would not listen to her. He said that it was her family duty to do this for them, to earn her father and brother titles and land and to earn royal favour for them.
Alas, she did what her father wanted of her and set herself in the King's way. It was almost amusing to see how quickly he fell for her. She was not a naïve girl, she knew that the King would eventually tire of her and marry her off. What kind of man would be willing to marry the King's cast off? Anne didn't want to find out. And so, she denied the King what he wanted, always hinting at what he could have but never giving it to him. Her feelings for him began to change when they started spending time together, he stopped treating her like a piece of meat and more like a person. She began to respect him, she learnt that they shared the same interests in music, books, art, she fell into a deep, passionate love without thinking about the consequences. She didn't think about her father's warnings, she didn't think about Mary's heartache when she was discarded along the many other women the King had. All she knew was that she wanted him.
Things started well at first. Henry adored her and she adored him. Nobody saw any harm in the King taking a liking to the Boleyn girl. When he started making his intentions to make her Queen clear to the court, she started making enemies. The courtiers supported the poor Queen who was getting tossed aside in favour for a younger woman who would give him the son he wanted and needed. They started blaming her, even going so far as to suggest that she had bewitched Henry. How people could be naïve to even think that she could command the King what to do was something she never understood. But none of this mattered. They had one another to get through the cold stares and scornful comments. No matter how much they argued when they became impatient for the annulment to come through, they always came back together again. Henry took matters into his own hands and announced himself to be Head of the Church in England and finally got his divorce. When they finally gave into temptation and made love, she became pregnant with what they hoped to be a son. She was crowned Queen of England, even the silence in the streets didn't bother her. How could it when she had finally gotten what she wanted after seven years?
Everything was perfect. He loved her. She loved him.
And then Elizabeth came.
No matter how much Anne loved her daughter now, she couldn't help being disappointed when she found out the sex of the baby at the time. He blamed her, she could see it the moment his eyes met hers when he came into the room. As if she had the power to decide the sex of a child! Seven years of waiting, all of the trouble Henry went to make her his wife and Queen, it had been for nothing. She would be a laughing stock to her enemies, and a disappointment to her supporters.
When Henry left, she had wanted to cry, to say something other than "I'm sorry." This wasn't how events were supposed to go. She was supposed to give the King and England the Prince they needed. Henry was supposed to fall deeper in love with her for finally giving the one thing he desired most.
All of these thoughts disappeared as soon as she looked down at the little bundle in her arms. She knew that there was nothing to be sorry for. The child was the most precious girl in all of England, and she wouldn't have changed her for the world, even to make her a boy.
She started to resent Henry a little. Why couldn't he be happy with their daughter? She would give him his sons eventually just as she promised. After her failure to produce a son, Henry started to look towards other women. When she heard that he had taken Lady Eleanor Luke as his mistress, it broke her heart. After seven years of being faithful he ended it because she didn't give him a son. She was losing his love as each day went by, and she had no idea how to get it back.
When Anne became pregnant again, Henry was overjoyed at the thought of finally getting his son. He didn't stop seeing his mistresses, so Anne chose one for him herself, somebody who she could trust who wouldn't turn him against her. Lady Shelton had been a good choice, but it didn't make it easier to know that Henry was with somebody else when little over a year ago he was completely devoted to her. She spent may nights crying herself to sleep imagining them together.
And then the unthinkable happened. She miscarried the baby.
Henry stopped caring. He couldn't bare to look at her and he didn't want to be in her presence for longer than ten minutes. He sought out more mistresses. He may have been discreet about it but Anne always knew. Her father became impatient with her, angrily telling her to win back the King's love and to produce a son. How was she supposed to bare him a son if Henry wouldn't lie with her? As each day slipped by, she could feel his displeasure with her becoming stronger. He didn't love her like he used to, she didn't know if he loved her at all anymore. Her position as Queen became uncertain. The French King openly snubbed her, courtiers stopped vying for attention now that she was not in favour and her enemies began plotting her downfall.
He started blaming her for things she had no control over. He blamed her for Sir Thomas More's execution when it was he who signed the death warrant. He blamed her for the Lady Mary's disobedience when he was the one who made her a bastard in the first place and demanded that she serve Elizabeth at Hatfield. She had slowly learnt that nobody could tell Henry what to do, least of all her. Surely he realised that it was not her fault, the Lady Mary would always have hated the woman who became her father's true wife whether it was her or another woman.
She needed a son. It was the only thing that could save her and Elizabeth. She was sure that God would never let her have a child as long as Katherine and her daughter were alive. When Katherine died and she found out she was with child for a third time, Anne was sure that she would succeed this time. She thought that it was a sign from God, with her death surely her son would follow. Now that Katherine was dead, nobody could question her title as Queen.
Henry was pleased, though he didn't love her like he used to and had taken a fancy to the wretched Seymour slut, he wanted a son. He didn't dote on her like he did during her previous pregnancies, but she ignored this fact and tried to focus on giving Henry his son.
And then she walked in on Henry and Mistress Seymour sharing a kiss.
It changed everything.
She had heard the whispers in the court, had even guessed why the pale wrench was put into her service by the King's orders. She knew that he had taken a fancy to the girl, yet it hurt to see it. Having to see her husband looking at another woman the way he used to look at her.
It almost killed her, but it did kill her child.
Everything was lost when she woke up with the searing pain in her stomach and saw the bloody bed sheets. Henry blamed her, and a small part of her blamed herself as well. If she had remained calm then the child may have survived, but what woman would not have been angry and hurt? Mostly she blamed him for flaunting a woman in front of her especially when she was in a delicate condition, and she hated him for it. He had nobody to blame but himself. It was different with the other women, it was about lust. He loved the Seymour slut, and that made it hurt all the more.
She knew what this meant for her and her daughter. He would want to get rid of her and replace her with the slut. She could see the hate in his eyes when he looked at her, and though part of her hated him for what he had done and what he was about to do, another part loved him. Every false smile, every time he turned away from her, it hurt her.
Everyday she awoke wondering if this was going to be the day he finally broke her, when he declared their marriage null and void and making sweet Elizabeth a bastard in the process. What happened though was not what she expected.
When Nan Saville told her that she had been questioned over allegations of Anne committing adultery, she didn't want to believe it. She couldn't imagine Henry ever thinking that she had been with any other man apart from him. He knew how much she loved him.
He surely couldn't believe such lies, could he?
If he declared their marriage null and void then he would have to admit that his marriage to Katherine was true and lawful. Henry was a proud man, he would never want to admit that he was wrong. Yet, if she had committed treason and had to be sentenced to death, then Henry would conveniently be able to marry Jane Seymour without anybody questioning the validity of their marriage. With Anne dead then she would never be able to argue against an annulment.
That was what finally made her hate him. Not the fact that he loved another. Not the fact that he wanted to marry his slut. Not the fact that he wanted rid of her. Not even the fact that he was making their daughter a bastard.
No, what made her hate him was the fact that he wanted to believe these ridiculous allegations about her. He wanted to believe her enemies lies about her.
He wanted her dead.
She had only ever wanted to be able to be married and to have children – the greatest solace in a woman's life.
Being married had almost made Anne lose her head.
The halls of Whitehall palace were empty at this time of night. The only sound being made was the clicking of the Queen's shoes on the stone floor as she walked determinedly to her husbands living quarters. It was an unusual sight to behold, to see the Queen without her ladies present was rare, but to see her striding through the halls at an hour well past midnight with her dark curls falling down her back and elegant features twisted in anger was an unusual occurrence.
Had the guard outside the King's door been a braver man he would never have let her in, but seeing the expression on her face and the barely concealed rage quivering in her voice when she uttered the word, "Move," the guard stepped aside without a further thought about the consequences for letting in the Queen, who was known not to be in favour, into her husbands rooms.
He was sitting in a chair staring into the fire nursing a goblet of wine in his hand when she entered. He barely acknowledged her presence save for his brow furrowing and clenching his jaw. Minutes passed in tense silence as Anne glared at her husband. His face was barely recognisable to her now. This was not the man who she fell in love with ten years ago. The man across from her now was a man who had been consumed by too much power, power she had encouraged him to embrace when it suited her. No, the man who would sacrifice his country to spend an hour in her arms disappeared a long time ago, and part of it was her fault.
If she had not told him to read 'The Obedience of the Christian Man' making him see just how much more power could be his, then none of this would ever have happened. She may never have been Queen of England, but she would still have her Henry which meant more to her than being Queen ever could.
"Why are you here?" Henry asked with impatience leaking into his voice. He didn't bother to look at her and it angered Anne all the more. For three years she had tried to act like a dignified Queen, as was expected of her at the time. But now her time as Queen was coming to an end one way or another. She had nothing to lose, no amount of pleading would ever save her, so Anne embraced her anger.
"Am I not allowed to pay my husband a visit anymore?" Anne asked with thinly veiled sarcasm.
Henry sighed in annoyance. "It is after midnight, you should not be here."
"No, you are right, I shouldn't be here. But I have just heard something very distressing, my love, and I had to come here at once to talk to you." Her words caught his attention and his head snapped round to look at her. She stood tall with her chin tilted in defiance. She looked ready for a fight and once upon a time she had never looked more beautiful to him than when she was in a passion, even when he was the one she was arguing with. Now it irritated Henry more than anything in this world.
"I do not have time to listen to-"
"When I was first told that you were having your lap dogs investigate allegations of adultery against me, I thought that you could never possibly do that, not to me." Her words chilled him to the bone but before he could open his mouth she continued. "I know that you do not love me anymore, but not for one moment did I think that you hated me enough to do this," she whispered. "After everything that we were, after what we used to mean to one another, I never thought that you would desire my death."
"I will not speak of this with you," was Henry's only response. "Go back to your rooms-"
"No! I want to know why you wish to see me a head shorter. I know that you wanted to annul our marriage because I have only given you a daughter, you see my miscarriages as a sign from God that our marriage was never true. I would have gone away quietly, for Elizabeth's sake, and let you marry your wench. You know that I am an intelligent woman, I would not have had a choice about it seeing as I do not have any allies like Katherine did, although look where that had gotten her. So why Henry? Why do you wish to see me dead?"
He lifted his hand and said, "That is enough." The memory of him saying the exact same thing when Anne had questioned him about his mistresses made her eyes narrow in anger.
"You cannot expect me to hold my tongue when you wish to see my head on a chopping block!" she exclaimed, her voice raising in anger. "Is it not enough that you want to make our daughter a bastard that you wish to take her mother away from her as well?"
Henry slammed his goblet onto the table in front of him and stood towering over Anne's petite frame. "Do not use our daughter to make yourself appear innocent madam! This is your own doing! You lied about being a virgin when we met! You slept with other men in hope of conceiving a son, that is the reason why Elizabeth will be growing up without a mother!"
Anne snorted. "Lies! What is your proof? I have only ever loved you, even my enemies cannot deny that. I have never been with any other man but you! You want to kill me so I cannot argue against an annulment! With Katherine and I dead nobody will ever be able to doubt the validity of your marriage to your pale girl. Or do you wish to punish me for not giving you a son? Katherine had many miscarriages, why am I to be punished for having two?"
"You promised me a son," sneered Henry. Anne rolled her eyes impatiently. Henry's obsession with having a male heir had tormented Anne for two years. Under the pressure that Henry, her father and the country to produce a son it was not surprising that she could not bear a child to term. She had been desperate to give him a son, even thinking that God would never give her a boy while Katherine and Mary were alive.
"You have broken promises as well," Anne cried, thinking about the many nights she had spent awake wondering what whore he was with this time. "You promised that you would always love me, that I would only ever be the one in your heart. You promised to always be truthful and loyal-"
"I have every right to take a mistress-"
"Do you not understand what it did to me to see you with another? When I argued with you it was not because of my pride, it hurts to see you love another. It broke my heart Henry! How could I ever give you a son if you chose to spend your night in another's bed?"
"God has spoken, surely you realise that madam?" Henry said coldly, disregarding her comments on how he hurt her. "God will never bless us with a son just as he never gave Katherine one! I must look for one elsewhere."
"No woman can guarantee you a son Henry," scoffed Anne. "Not even your precious Jane Seymour can choose the sex of a child! You blame me for giving you a wonderful daughter, a daughter smarter than any boy in England twice her age. If Elizabeth had been a boy you would never have considered getting rid of me, no matter how you felt."
"How do I know that she is my daughter? Cromwell said that you could have had over one hundred men!"
"I should have known Cromwell would have something to say, I bet the Duke of Suffolk helped as well!" she stated bitterly. From the moment she had become Queen, Brandon had never supported her. He may have allied himself with her family to bring down Wolsey, but after that he made it known to everyone at court he was a supporter to Katherine, not Anne. Cromwell on the other hand had once been a close ally to her and the Boleyn family. Cromwell was a Reformer like herself and had helped to secure her position as Queen. Now however he saw Anne as a threat to his much desired Imperial Alliance and his work in dissolving the monasteries. It was not a surprise to know that Cromwell would go as far as making false allegations against her just to be rid of her. "Those men are my enemies, they want to see me fall! Do you think I am foolish, Your Majesty? I am far too intelligent to think that I could even have one lover, let alone one hundred."
"There is no more to say on the matter-"
"You believe them then? You believe that I had lovers to try to bear a son?"
Henry clenched his jaw tightly giving it the appearance of chiselled ice. "I said enough!"
"This isn't about the truth is it? It's about your pride! To annul our marriage you would have to tell the world that you were wrong about me, that your marriage to Katherine was true and lawful." Anne let out a disbelieving laugh. "You want me dead to save your pride!"
"That is not true-"
"Or is it just the thought of it," Anne whispered moving her face closer to his. She revelled in delight at the fury in his eyes, it had been a long time since he had looked at her with anything but indifference and their anger towards one another made her feel alive for the first time in a long time. She longed to goad him into a passion, to make him furious. His anger showed that he still cared, even if it was only a little. "The thought of another man touching me, the thought of another man being with what used to be yours?"
Her words seemed to do the trick. Henry had her pinned against the wall with one hand around her throat before she realised what had happened. A memory of when he held her like this once ten years ago, only then it was in lust, not anger, passed through her mind but she pushed it aside. She had never seen him this angry, not even when she miscarried the second child. In a normal time, Anne would have been terrified, now his anger only seemed to amuse her.
"Be careful what you say, sweetheart. I do not want to see you in anymore trouble than you already are. I am willing to be lenient with you, if you tell me the truth. Give me what I desire and I will spare your life, you will be sent to a nunnery for the rest of your days. We wouldn't want you to lose your neck would we? It's such a pretty neck after all," his husky voice whispered. He trailed his fingers down Anne's neck gently. "I have always loved your neck." The words were whispered against her ear, his soft breath hissing almost seductively in his anger caused a shiver to run up her spine. It reminded her of a time when he was still her Henry. How she missed him…
How easy it would make things to utter a few words saying that she was guilty, it would save her life as well as the innocent men who would be accused of having carnal knowledge of her.
But she would be lying.
Her pride would not allow her to do so. What kind of life would she have in a nunnery? Elizabeth would be taught that she was a daughter of traitor and a whore by the wretched Seymour family and her enemies. Her sweet daughter was innocent in all of this. She did not deserve this. Anne could admit there had been times when she had acted inappropriately with regards to her station, such as her reactions to Henry's infidelities when she acted vocally, but she had only acted because of her love for Henry. It hurt to see him lusting after other women, how could he expect her to shut her eyes like Katherine had when she loved him so much more? If she was to be put to death, she would go to the scaffold making it be known to the people that she was innocent. If Elizabeth could remember her when she was an adult, then Anne wanted her to think fondly of her and to know the truth. "I will not admit something that I have not done."
Henry curled his mouth in disgust. "Why deny it any longer?" he shouted, closing the distance between their bodies. "You have nothing to hide anymore! The world will see you as the whore that you are as soon as a trial takes place," he spat.
"You want to believe that I have had lovers. You are eager to listen to allegations made by men who you know are my enemies because you wish to be rid of me as quickly and as easily as possible," Anne spat, her voice rising in indignation. "You have no evidence! You know that as soon as this goes to trial not one of those men would judge me fairly. Those who were loyal to me would never dare to cross you when they know what verdict you want. And what of those who are accused to have been my lovers? You are condemning innocent people Henry, because you want to punish me. When this goes to trail everybody will see these ludicrous lies for what they are! No court has the right to try a Queen. They will never stand to see their Queen killed."
"I am the King! No peasant or courtier would ever go against me whether they think the trail is unjust or not. What makes you think that the people will protest in your favour? They barely tolerate you even when threatened with death!"
Anne smiled in delight. "If the Queen of England cannot hope to receive a fair trial, then what hope does anyone else have?" Her words had effected him just as she had hoped. Henry's grip on her throat slackened as she saw the colour drain from his face. "You see our marriage as invalid, so how can I have committed adultery, my love?" Anne lifted her hand and placed it against his cheek. The anger in her voice had been replaced by sadness. "Even if I had been with hundreds of men, you would have been just one amongst many." Her thumb brushed the panes of his familiar face as she smiled sadly at him.
"It could have been so simple, Henry. If only you had decided to annul our marriage." She pulled her hand away from his face and shook her head sadly. "I would have gone quietly, but now you leave me no choice. I will go to my death declaring my innocence, ceremony be damned. Not one person in this country will dare to doubt my innocence once I am dead." Anne permitted herself a smug smile. "Do you know what the best part is?" She let out a pearl of laughter. "If I die, then you cannot annul our marriage without causing a public outrage. Elizabeth will be your legitimate daughter. With my death, Elizabeth can become Queen!"
Henry tightened his grip around her slender throat and roared in fury, "Your daughter will never be Queen! My son will be the future King of England!"
Anne smiled viciously. "You have your sons with your Seymour girl, if she gives you any, but they will never live up to our daughter. The children she bears you will not be able to govern kitchen, let alone a kingdom. She is the brightest child, my Elizabeth, child of Anne the Whore! My blood will have been well spent if it makes her Queen. So you go ahead my dear husband, you have me put to death and we will see what happens."
Anne thought that Henry might actually strike her for her words if it had not been for the hurried footsteps outside the door. His grip did not slacken as the Duke of Suffolk barged into the room with the words, "Your Majesty I could hear-" dying on his tongue once he took in the scene before him. The royal couple did not spare the Duke a glance keeping their eyes on each other. Anne thought that it must look a bizarre scene to have entered upon, the King of England almost strangling his wife and Queen who was known to be out of favour. The thought almost made Anne laugh if it had not been for the tense atmosphere, so she permitted herself to widen her vicious smile as Henry let go of her neck. She leaned up to whisper in his ear, "Remember my words, my love," before brushing past him and walking gracefully out of the room not sparing Charles Brandon a glance.
The term of endearment was not lost on Henry, although the words sounded more of a threat and a mockery of the times she had called him her love these past years. He stood staring at the place where she had been standing contemplating her words. They brought a shiver up his spine at just the thought of Elizabeth becoming Queen. Surely that would never happen. After all, it had taken the death penalty for the people to accept Anne as his Queen and Elizabeth as his legitimate heir ahead of Mary, why would they suddenly support a woman they had never truly accepted as their Queen and a child they viewed as a bastard? Henry knew the answer. Anne would have their sympathy, and she would make sure everyone knew that she was innocent before she left the world. What person would love a King who had sent his wife to the scaffold when they believed she was innocent?
But what if she was innocent? What if she was being truthful? It angered him to think of her with another man, the thought that she had a lover who she thought was better than him was unbearable. Henry had never liked it when people took things he considered his, and Anne would always be his, even in her death.
Her words haunted him swirling around in his mind. The look in her eyes said it all, she was angry and hurt, not fearful. Her words were confident, not pleading for her life, as if she knew how events would turn out after her death. Henry could not take that chance, even if she was guilty. He would not let Elizabeth be Queen.
"Your Majesty?" Brandon asked tentatively. He had been reluctant to break the silence afraid that his friend would turn his anger on him.
"Leave me, Charles." His tone deemed it wise not to argue. Brandon bowed and left without a word thinking about the words he had overheard.
Henry returned to his chair and stared at the flickering flames of the fire. No, while he did not love her anymore, Henry could not contemplate a world without Anne Boleyn gracing it with her presence.