Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! Owing to my deadlines for my books, I will probably be blogging very sporadically, if at all, until I have met them. I did, however, want to leave you with a little tidbit, plus an exciting discovery.
In 1536, Henry VIII and his queen, Jane Seymour, spent Christmas at Greenwich, but could not travel there by barge as they usually did, so the court instead rode through the city of London to its destination. “The cause of the kings rydinge through London was because the Tames was so frosynne that there might no boots [boats] goe there on for yse [ice].”
Yet despite the cold, Jane, who had long been in the custom of writing an annual Christmas newsletter, continued to produce it once she was queen. I have transcribed the newsletter, long buried in the National Archives of the United Kingdom, just for my blog readers:
My dearest friends,
Well, what a year! Who would have guessed last December at Wolf Hall that I would be writing this year’s newsletter as a married woman? (I hope it’s not too catty to remember that a certain person said that I would never marry well. I think I married well enough, don’t you?)
Marriage was a big adjustment for both of us (well, maybe not so much for Harry), but I’m happy to report that both of us are settling in now. Oh, we have our moments (Harry is a bit touchy about some subjects, I’ve learned, especially about things up North and about a certain person), but don’t all married people?
Ned and Tom are doing well also. Ned and his wife Nan really like Ned’s new title (just between us, I think Nan likes it even more than Ned does). Now that I’m married, I like to tell Tom that he should settle down one of these days and get a wife of his own. He says he’s still looking!
One thing I do wish I could report is that I was expecting, but I haven’t seen any signs of that yet. Tom says, “Just keep on trying, sis, and have fun!” He’s such a scamp, that Tom, and I do admit that trying is pretty fun. In the meantime, I have my redecorating to keep me busy. Some people say that a certain person had good taste in her décor, but I don’t see that at all—if you want everything to look French, why not just go to France?
As for my stepdaughters, Nan warned me that things could be a little rough in a blended family, but really, I think things are going marvelously. Mary and I get on just like a house afire, and although little Elizabeth had a bit of an attitude at first, you can hardly blame the poor child, can you? Tom is very kind to her, and says that she is going to be a very pretty girl when she gets older. Of course, anything is bound to be an improvement over a certain person—but I really shouldn’t have such thoughts over Christmas, should I? Anyway, I’m sure Harry will find the girls good husbands sooner or later. I know Mary is a little impatient—but as I told her just the other day, I had to wait a bit, and look how well things worked out in the end!
My best wishes for you this Christmastide,
Like Jane, I hope that the holidays are wonderful for all of you, and that 2013 will be a time of happiness for you.