Gosh, I missed this. I've got my sister and mother into Reign and they are Frary and Kennash shippers now, hehe. They dislike Lola, hate Condé and think that Francis and Bash don't give their wives much credit, and it's quite true. We're moving a year later in July, and we'll be at the joint wedding of Anne & Oskar and Rose & James Darnley. James, Anne and Oskar are 15 and Rose is 14.
At this point, Darnley has gone underground so to speak and visits to Scotland have been made and treaties have pacified the Protestants in Scotland for now. But once Darnley gets wind of his son's marriage...
For a bit, I had writer's block with this but recently, after rewatching Reign for the billionth time, I got some decent ideas!
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Feli [chapter 80]: We're back and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
It was a grand affair, the joint wedding of Princesses Anne and Rose to King Oskar and Lord James Stuart, the Viscount of Lennox. Mary and Catherine spared no expense much to Francis's slight displeasure but he soon realised that this would be the only wedding day of his eldest daughters, his beloved Anne and Rose.
Wedding gifts were arriving left, right and centre and even he was overwhelmed to see that they had been tripled the amount he and Mary got and his wife and he had never stopped receiving blessing and gifts for their fruitful marriage.
"Robin, John, with me," Anne said, passing them by and taking them away from the other young boys they were with. She sent the other boys a flirty wink but her heart belonged to the Swedish King.
"What is it, sister?" John asked as she rounded the corner and still hadn't said more.
Anne held a finger to quieten him and she continued to head to her destination, leading them outside and to the gardens before finally breathing a heavy sigh of relief, fanning herself.
"If I hear one more congratulations, I'll stab someone!" She cried out, frustrated. "And it's not like I am not already married." She sighed. "God, this corset is tight and it is only to greet the guests."
"Everyone wants this to be perfect for you, cousin," Robin chided her, picking up a flower and placing it in her ear. "The weather's wonderful, the decorations are grand and expensive to your tastes... you deserve it, Anne."
"Or shall we say," John started as the boys bowed. "Queen Marie?"
Anne blushed, laughing as she brought them up and hugged them tight together. "I love you both." She squeezed John even more. "I can't wait for us to start our life in Sweden, John."
John smiled behind her back. "Neither can I," he mumbled before they pulled away and Anne was called over by her lady-in-waiting Celise. "You have to go, sister. Good luck."
Anne's eyes stung with tears. "Oh, God... Alright, I will see you both at the wedding."
"Your Highness," Robin said, bowing low with John as she hurried inside. He turned to his cousin. "Did she seem out of sorts to you?"
John shook his head. "Wedding day nerves. You had them."
"For a false marriage," Robin reminded him as they headed to the stables. "I hope Anne will be fine. At least she has you in Sweden."
John nodded, a smile gracing his lips. "She will."
"Isn't that the most hideous thing we've ever seen?" Kenna asked as Greer and Lola giggled at the butter sculpture of Anne and Rose as babes. "Dear God... I bet it was Catherine's idea."
"Reminds me of John's christening," Lola told them.
Greer snorted, collecting a drink from the passing tray. "If I remember, that was a grotesque affair. No expenses spared for the first son of King Francis!"
They spot Mary coming over and they curtsey with Mary pulling them aside quickly as she looked around at the decorations. "My daughters are to be wed today and... God, I'm nervous."
"Relax, Mary," Kenna told her. "They will be fine."
"It's not them, it's me," Mary mumbled. "I thought I had a year with Anne, two years with Rose before they became women."
Greer smiles widely. "I remember when Gemma got married... I was so overwhelmed with emotions. Trust me, this is as much for you as it is for them. They will be as strong as their mother."
Mary beamed. "It's bigger than my own wedding. I guess it is for two princesses and queen apparents."
"And what great queens they will be," Lola assured her. "Oh, the music's lovely! Better than at any of ours. You truly have outdone yourselves!"
Mary nodded, looking around. "Needs must. This wedding must be the talk of the world. That France is strong and we're expanding and we will never be defeated in our alliances." She spotted a group of men wandering into the hall and she grinned. "The acrobats! Oh, how Rose loved them for her birthday. I decided to hire them again."
"I'm jealous now," Kenna said, raising her brows. "Both of my weddings were nothing compared to yours and well, this one." Then she smiles fondly. "At least Bash treated me for our fifteenth wedding anniversary at Chenonceau. We spent the whole time there, in bed."
Mary laughed and then sighed. "We still haven't celebrated ours," she mused. "Too busy with Darnley a-and the wedding... I think Francis is planning something for when the girls go on their honeymoon tours."
"Ooh, should I try and find out anything?" Kenna asked. "Men talk and Bash has quite the loose lips if I hit the right spots."
Mary blushed furiously but grinned. "Yes, please do. But for now, it's all about Anne and Rose. Now, let us see the brides on their happy day!"
Rose turned from her vanity, beaming at James as he walked into her bedchambers, straight into her arms. "My dearest Jay. What is it?"
James sniffled against her chest. "I'll miss you..."
Rose started to laugh, leaning back to cup his cheeks. "James, I am not leaving until..." Mother's dead. "James, I'm not leaving anytime soon, my dear little brother."
James's eyes lightened up as he grinned. "Really?!"
Rose sighed softly. "Anne has to go to Sweden to her new husband's home. She's now their queen and it will be legalised very soon."
"Will you be there when I get married, Rosie?" James asked as she perched him on her thigh.
Rose nodded, a soft kiss pressing on his forehead. "Of course, I will. You'll have the most stunning of brides."
"Will she be kind?"
"Yes, she will."
"Loving and caring?"
Rose laughed. "As one should be, James."
James sighed in relief, nuzzling his nose against hers. "I love you, Rosie."
"I love you, Jay," she whispered back before letting him hurry out of her room before her father narrowly missed him with a chuckle as he came in. "Father."
Rose beamed. "Papa!" She stood, hugging him tightly. "Why are you here?"
Francis handed her a gift box. "Remind you of home. Even if you're still remaining here for the foreseeable future."
Rose smiled in confusion, opening up a gift with a gasp. "A locket!"
"Do you like it?" Francis asked softly, slightly worried that she wouldn't. But this was his Rose, who loved anything her father gave her, who was there for him when he didn't want to burden his wife, her mother.
Rose's eyes sparkled with happy tears. "I love it," she whispered, opening it up to see that it was empty. "Oh."
"Rose, you and your siblings are your mother's and I's greatest gifts... One day, you'll be a mother and when that day comes, I want you to put their portrait in that so they will be close to your heart forever."
Rose blushed deeply, staring down at the golden, fine locket in happiness. "Thank you, Papa. It's the best gift you've given me and you've given me so much!" She latched herself onto him, hugging him tightly.
"I know you and James may not love each other right now but I hope that one day, you'll grow to find happiness in each other," Francis whispered into her ear. "It's all I want for all of my children."
Rose smiled. "Thank you, Father."
"You're welcome," Francis said before pulling away and kissing her forehead. "Your ladies will be waiting. See you soon."
"See you," Rose breathed out before watching him leave.
"I, Marie Anne Madeleine, take this man to be my lawfully wedded husband from this day until my last," Anne said, holding Oskar's hands tightly with a wide smile on her lips.
He grinned back. "I, Oskar Henrik of Sweden, take this woman to be my lawfully wedded wife from this day until my last," Oskar replied, squeezing her hands as she blushed happily.
The priest turned to the other couple and nodded at Rose to say her vows.
Shakily, she held James Stuart's hands and cleared her throat. "I, Mary Rose Antoinette, take this man to be my lawfully wedded husband from this day until my last."
James swallowed hard and met Mary and Francis's eyes who gave him a firm nod. "I, James Stuart of Lennox, take this woman to be my lawfully wedded wife from this day until my last."
"With the power vested in me... I pronounce both couples, men and wives."
Anne kissed Oskar softly but briefly, knowing her father would lose it for seeing his precious daughter lock-lipped with a boy and she gave her new husband a bright smile.
Rose, on the other hand, pressed a soft kiss on the corner of James's lips, making sure to make it seem as she kissed his lips. He gave her a small smile and let go of her hand as they all turned and basked in the applause and praise sent their way.
During the reception, Anne and Oskar took to many dances as Rose remained near her parents.
"Am I right in guessing you've declined for our wedding nights to be witnessed?" Rose asked her parents.
"Yes, we figured you would require privacy although you must wait a year at least," her mother said.
Francis nodded once. "Anne, on the other hand, must fulfil her duty as soon as possible so... we couldn't quite gain her a pass."
"Not like she'll be complaining," Rose stated, running her nails against her palms nervously. She could see James from across the room, bonding with his new friends and cousins, John and Robin and he seemed at ease.
"Try, Rose," Francis told her. "He is a wonderful young man."
Rose bowed her head. "I know."
Mary lifted her daughter's chin and smiled widely. "Why don't you entice him so he'll come over and request a dance with you? I am sure he is bored of the other noblewomen, he'd fare better with his wife." The best way to do this was to support the marriage, encourage them both and they could find happiness and content instead of resentment. After all, they would have children eventually and rule Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales together.
Rose nodded and looked back over at James who was nervously shifting on his feet. She gave him a warm smile and he raised his brows in surprise, whispering something to the boys before they shooed him off and he started to make his way over.
He bowed low in front of the three royals. "Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness..."
"Lord Lennox," Rose replied softly.
"I was hoping," he began, rising back up. "If you'd join me for our first dance."
Rose turned to her parents and they gave her an encouraging nod which made her smile and nod at her new husband. "I'd love to dance."
As they danced, Rose felt herself loosen up and she and James shared a few jokes much to her sister's happiness. Anne wanted Rose to be happy and right now, Rose allowed herself to be, even sharing a soft kiss under the floating petals around them with James.
"We may not love each other, in fact, I believe we are both new to love," James whispered to her. "But I will serve you until the day I die."
Rose smiled and it faltered when she saw Elliot by the entrance, a tray of food in his hands. It reminded her that she must marry out of duty and not for love and despite her and James's short time of getting to know each other, they seemed wonderfully matched.
Francis's eyes searched what his daughter was looking at and he sighed when he saw the kitchen boy. "Do you think Rose would take on a lover?"
Mary frowned and then her eyes landed on who he was looking at. "I see," she mumbled as they watched Rose shake out of her reverie and be spun by a laughing James. "Sadly, we must do we what we have to for the greater good of our countries."
Rose started to feel faint and she knew it had something to do with the yearning for Elliot, her first love. She excused herself, her curtseying and James bowing before she left and smiled at her aunt and uncle who raised their drinks her way. She decided to speak to them for a little while, deciding she couldn't go to her parents with this - it would be too embarrassing and her beloved Auntie Kenna was ever so useful and knowledgable when it came to the woes of men.
"Did he step on your foot?" Bash asked her, narrowing his eyes at James who headed back to John and Robin.
Rose laughed. "Nothing of the sort!" She cried out, hugging them both tightly. "I just need to peak to Aunt Kenna if that is alright with you, Uncle Bash?"
Bash scoffed lightly, kissed her forehead as well as exchanged well-wishes before bowing and leaving their sides.
Kenna frowned a little, linking her arm with Rose's in concern. "Are you alright, dear?"
"I am," Rose assured her. "I just... I never thought I'd amount to marrying someone out of duty. I never expected to be a queen one day, I thought I could marry..."
"That Elliot?" Kenna asked tenderly. "Your Aunt Claude was the same. She had as many wedding proposals as I had... Ahem, anyway, you will be a queen in your own right, no one would judge you should you take on a lover."
"I know but I don't want to be that sort of queen," Rose told her. "I want to be loyal to one man - my husband. Even if he is not loyal to me."
Kenna smiled softly, brushing Rose's hair back behind her ear. "My sweet niece, ever the kind-hearted and innocent." She looked over at the boy. "Perhaps you could invite him to Scotland, make him your confidant, a brother of sorts, someone you can trust. A bond like that needs to be kept alight. Do not make it romantical, you'll both hurt each other and your partners."
"I understand," Rose breathed out. "Thank you."
"You are very welcome," Kenna said with a bright smile. "Now, head to your mother and father. I've got to find your little cousins..."
Back with Mary and Francis, they both became red-cheeked when a noblewoman presented them with specific gifts for the princess and new queen.
"For their utmost enjoyment," she had said, winking.
"Right," Mary said, sharing a glance with her husband. They will not give these to their daughters but they would... perhaps... They blushed even more at their private thoughts and Francis smirked.
"Thank you," he told the nobleman who flounced off. "I wonder how many times I've taken the Lord's name in vain today..."
Mary laughed, downing her drink and offering her hand to her husband. "Dance with me?"
Francis's eyes sparkled. "Always," he whispered before they hurried to the dancefloor like schoolchildren.
When they had danced two dances, Bash headed to them, his voice lowering so only they could hear.
"Elizabeth Tudor died peacefully in her sleep in Richmond Palace," he said.
"Not unnatural causes?" Mary asked softly.
Bash shook his head. "Her illness caught up with her. What are your arrangements?"
Mary and Francis shared a wary glance. England needed a regent and they didn't know who to trust. With Elizabeth dead, Darnley could very well come back out from the shadows and set his sights on England.
"An announcement," Francis began. "And eulogy and Mary, Rose and I will personally attend her funeral in England. After, we will decide an interim regent before confirming our choice. You will stay here and aid James as regent."
They watched as James ran alongside his twin brothers and cousins, laughter following them.
"We won't remain there for long," Mary promised. "Look after them."
"You know I always will," Bash said with a bow before he left their sides.
"Who do we choose?" Mary asked softly.
Francis shook his head slightly. "I don't know..."