Chapter 15: Siblings
Chapter 15: Siblings
“You know, it’s quite odd.” Elizabeth said, looking straight ahead as she and her brother, the newly made Prince of Wales walked through St James Park, with guards walking in front of them and behind them.
“What is?” Henry asked, his voice deep.
“That we’ve both become good friends with our cousin, Frederick.” Elizabeth replied. What she felt for Frederick was perhaps a bit more than being good friends, but still, it was true. The last person she and Henry had been close to had been one of the Erskine siblings, back in Scotland.
“Truly?” Henry asked. “We’ve always had similar friends.”
“Yes, but not to this level. Not to where we’re both going to be writing to him after he departs.” Elizabeth pointed out. Though she suspected the content of her brother’s letters would be vastly different to what she herself wrote.
Henry chuckled. “I suppose you are right.”
“Why is that?” Elizabeth asked.
Henry sighed, and stopped, Elizabeth stopped as well, and looked at her brother. He was looking at her intently. “What do you make of Frederick?” He asked then.
Elizabeth was slightly caught off guard by the question, but answered honestly. “He is good, charming, not handsome, but rugged, and he is kind. That is the most important thing.”
“Why?” Henry asked.
“Why what?” Elizabeth replied.
“Why is the fact that he’s kind the most important thing?” Henry asked.
Elizabeth laughed. “Because kindness is a virtue. Something that you rarely find in people.”
Henry whistled. “I’ll need to let Gordon know then.”
“George Gordon?” Elizabeth asked, what did Anne Drummond’s love have to do with this?
“Yes.” Henry said. “He’s trying to be mean and harsh to Anne because he’s gotten it into his head that that is how you woo a lady.”
Elizabeth groaned, so that explained why Anne had been so upset recently. “Why does he think that?” She asked.
Henry laughed again. “Damned if I know.” Her brother then changed the topic. “But yes, so you like Frederick because of these qualities then?”
“I do yes.” Elizabeth said. “Why do you like him?”
“For a vastly different reason to you, I imagine.” Henry joked, smiling. “He’s good fun to be around, he knows when to be serious, and he also has a wealth of knowledge about the continent.”
“So, you’re using him?” Elizabeth asked, unsure if she agreed with that. Using someone was not nice.
“In a manner of speaking yes.” Henry said simply. “As he is using me.”
“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked, she couldn’t imagine Frederick using anyone.
“He is getting close to me, so that he has an ally in England that he can turn to when his time comes to rule Brunswick. He wants to ensure that we have good relations, and he also wants me to put in a good word with father, if he decides to court you.” Henry said simply.
“He’s already started.” Elizabeth replied. At her brother’s raised eyebrow, she added. “Courting me.”
Henry smiled. “Ah, I see. And how do you feel about that?”
Elizabeth blushed, speaking about it would make it real, and she wasn’t sure if that was something she should do just yet. “I…I like it.”
“You are a very appealing lady, it seems.” Henry quipped.
“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked.
“Well, I heard a rumour that the Elector Palatine wants his son to marry you as well. Indeed, I heard that the King has encouraged the man’s son to write to you.” Henry said.
Elizabeth felt her blush deepen. “I did not know that.” At least not yet anyway, she’d suspected something might occur.
“And what do you make of it now that you do?” Henry asked, grinning.
Elizabeth did something very unladylike; she stuck her tongue out at her brother and then said. “I think it’s something that comes and goes. But it does go to show that England is in demand.” Which was a good thing after all. Marriages were needed to expand the stature of the Kingdom.
“Indeed, it does.” Henry said simply.
A momentary silence fell over them then as they started walking again. Elizabeth glanced to her left and then to her right, and noted the guards who were shadowing them. All of this was because the King of France had been assassinated. Father was paranoid that someone might try to do the same to one of them, and so, they had guards shadowing them always. Even when they went to the toilet.
She broke the silence as they came to an old oak tree, one which had supposedly been planted during the reign of Edward I. As she stared at it, she asked. “And what about you? You are to marry a Polish Princess; how do you feel?”
The King had broken the news during a session of court two days’ ago, and there had been a lot of chatter about that. The Spanish party led by the Earl of Northampton had been terribly disappointed-they hadn’t shown it but Elizabeth could tell-and the opposition party, led by the Earl of Huntingdon-who’d taken leadership over from the Earl of Salisbury-seemed delighted. That was odd given that the Polish Princess was still Catholic.
Henry sighed, which prompted her to look at him. “I don’t know.” He said simply. “On the one hand I think it is a good marriage, and brings us a useful ally in the Baltic against Sweden. On the other hand, the girl is still a Catholic, though Salisbury seems convinced that she will attend Anglican ceremonies.”
The way her brother spoke then made Elizabeth raise her eyebrows at him and asked. “You do not agree?”
“I do not know. I think it is odd that we hear so much about how devout the Catholics are, and how they will never recognise anything other than Rome, and yet a Polish Princess, who’s mother is of the Habsburg line, is somehow supposedly willing to abandon that. It makes me wonder where she actually stands and what sort of person she is.” Henry replied.
Elizabeth considered that, she supposed she could see where her brother was coming from. He was a devout Protestant, like her, and he had never wavered in his faith, never. So, to think that his future spouse could be someone who might well waver, was perhaps not reassuring. She didn’t know what to say to reassure him, so instead she simply said. “I suppose you will need to wait until she is actually here.”
Henry nodded. “Indeed, I think so.” Her brother took a breath and then said. “That is something I’ve been meaning to speak to you about.”
Elizabeth felt her eyes widen in surprise. “Oh?”
Henry nodded. “What should I do to prepare for when she comes?”
Elizabeth was slightly surprised by this question. Her brother had always seemed as if she knew what to do, and how to do it, but then she supposed, his contact with women, apart from her and their mother was limited. Therefore, she took a breath and then said. “Find out what she likes, write to her before you get married, figure out who she is and what she likes, and what she wants, and act accordingly.” She then remembered something she’d read about in a book and added. “And make sure you tell her or show her a bit about you as well.”
Henry nodded. “I will remember that, thank you.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Of course.” She hoped it worked for her brother, there was nobody more deserving of happiness than him.