The story behind the story…………..
Going back to my historical roots this month, as I await the arrival of the third and final instalment of the Hilary Mantel series, recounting the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.
I am excited to see how she will portray his downfall and impending doom.
So this month’s story is how I imagine Thomas’s growing sense of peril, the stage at which he starts to realise that his life, ‘to all intents and purposes’ is over and that the only thing left for him to do is to throw himself on the King’s mercy so he can protect his family and household.
Am also intrigued by his relationship, with Anne Boleyn’s, ‘Uncle Norfolk’ as he is ‘affectionately’ named by Cromwell and his household in the Hilary Mantel’s series. A relationship that seems to be based on mutual fear, some respect, loathing and necessity in equal measure.
So without further ado I give you ….
A letter to Norfolk ………..
It is dark and quiet in the nook where Thomas Cromwell sits and contemplates his ‘bleak’ future. It has been some weeks since the kings humiliating, ‘annulment’ from Anne of Cleves, the ‘Flanders Mare’ as he so dismissively referred to her.
At least now, things are settled, Anne very sensibly accepted the position of ‘King’s Sister’ and the ‘friendship’ between her and the King has been cemented with ‘fond’ exchanges of gifts and letters.
But even with all this Thomas is still very much aware of the Kings wrath and anger and senses that his time is coming. It is perhaps too late to save his own person, but he must of course do what he can for his family.
The king may still show mercy and a kindly face to his loyal subject.
So it is with all this in mind that Thomas Cromwell, one of the most powerful men in the land picks up his quill and slowly and thoughtfully begins to write:
My Lord, Norfolk
These are desperate times.
I see I have miscalculated, I have too many enemies and know too many secrets, for me to survive the King’s wrath.
We have oft over the years not seen ‘eye to eye’, but I think in these ‘times’ we might be able to do a little business. I turn to you now, as a long standing associate and man of influence, as I believe we understand each other and our King.
My request is simple, to do what you can for my family, they are completely without blame and the King’s righteous wrath when it falls, must fall on me alone.
I only ask that my household is left to live a peaceful and comfortable life, quietly and away from court if necessary.
Whilst I, will throw myself on the mercy of our dear King. I remain now and ever more his most faithful and ever dutiful servant. Undeserving of his grace and mercy.
As he signs his name, Cromwell sighs and carefully seals the document, he will ensure it is sent tonight. He must act now with all haste, have everything ready and in place. There are other letters to be dispatched, but this one must go first.
Things may yet turn out for the best, he knows that Norfolk would happily see him hang, that much is abundantly clear but perhaps he will look more favourably on his family and household.
Only time will tell.
Until next time