Chapter One - In which many children are born
The Tiny Tudors Challenge
We all know that things could have been very different for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn if Elizabeth had had a twin brother. What about if she was one of a higher order of multiple births? Write a story where, on the 7th of September 1533, Anne gives birth to quadruplets*.
- All four babies must survive. Ideally, I’d like two boys and two girls but, if you prefer, Elizabeth can be the only girl.
- The reaction of at least two of the following to news of the four new arrivals: Katherine of Aragon, Papa Boleyn, Chapuys, Mary Tudor, Cromwell, Brandon and the Pope.
- Confusion in the nursery, especially since they need to remember which baby is the Prince of Wales and which one is the Duke of York (plus the Duke of Somerset, if there are three boys) so they don’t wind up with the wrong one as heir to the throne and so the babies are carried in the right order of precedence for their christening and stuff.
- Henry becoming obsessed with the celebrations for the birth, since lots of babies call for lots of celebrating, especially when there are at least a couple of boys in the mix.
* If you really want to, you can opt for a higher order of multiple births but I picked quadruplets because there are records of sets surviving before the advent of modern medical technology, and there have also been some pretty heavy sets of them (“ouch” moment for the mother who gave birth to the set of quads weighing in at more than 26 pounds collectively!) so it’d be feasible... just about... for Anne to bear a surviving set in the sixteenth century.
I'd love to see what you made of it as well, Cate, if you were so inclined...
So, this happened instead of work:
“By midsummer, the midwife was certain, Queen Anne was carrying more than one babe. She informed the Royal Couple to expect twins, though private records indicate she believed more may be possible. Due to the increased risk of multiple babes, Queen Anne would take to her chamber by late July.”
Queen Anne: Mother of Europe by Jersha Fisher
“It hath been but five hours, and I have been assured that it may take twice again as long without Anne being in any great danger. I know not how the king will weather the time, for he is already in great disquiet and it has fallen upon Suffolk to distract. It [squiggle]
The first babe has come. One of Anne’s ladies came with word that the first is safely delivered and is a fine healthy babe, though small. What’s more, a boy! A boy, England’s heir! Anne has done it! A Prince after so short a time and with another babe on the way. Forsooth, how can any gainsay her now?
The king is beside himself, has sent for bells to be wrung and word that the first babe shall be Prince Henry. Last I had understood the babe was to be Edward, but perhaps the other shall be Prince Edward.”
Journal of George Boleyn, entry for 17th of August, 1533
“The English Court erupted into celebrations, for those who sided with Queen Anne or now wished to side with her, and deliberations, for those who opposed her, at the news of Prince Henry Tudor. Though it was late at night  impromptu parties sprung up throughout London as news spread.
Due to the chaotic nature of the night of August 17th many were unaware of the births of the following children. Or, if they heard of a birth, they would not hear of all the details. Misinformation flew as unofficial announcements were made and rumors spread. The birth of Prince Edward Tudor was announced thirteen times by various officials.
Most understood that Queen Anne had delivered twins, but there were those who swore of as many as seven children being born. It would not be until late on August 18th that things would be cleared up with the official announcement.”
The Tudor Rose Garden by Gerald Wells
 In fact the remaining children would actually be born early in the morning of the 18th of August
“By the Queen
Right trusty and well-beloved, we great you well. And whereas it hath please the goodness of Almighty God of His infinite mercy and grace to send unto us at this time good speed in the deliverance and bringing forth a bounty of princes, three princes, and a princess to the great joy and inward comfort of my Lord, us, and of all his good and loving subjects of this his realm, for which inestimable benevolence so shown unto us we have no little cause to give high thanks, laud and praise unto out said Maker, like as we do most lowly, humbly, and with all the inward desire of our heart. And inasmuch as we undoubtedly trust that his our good speed is to your great pleasure, comfort and consolation, we therefore by this our letters advertise you thereof, desiring and heartily praying you to give with us unto Almighty God high thanks, glory, laud and praise and to pray for the good health, prosperity, and continual preservation of the said Princes and Princess accordingly. Given under our signet at my lords’ Manor of Greenwich. The 17th day of September, in the 25th year of my said lord’s Reign.”
Birth Announcement of Prince Henry, Princess Elizabeth, Prince Edward, and Prince Edmund