Imagine if the Royal family were a bit more like the ones in Tudor times? Where brother fought brother for the crown, and wives were more concerned with manipulating their men to gain power, rather than dresses, charity and polo games.
So, in Shakespeare sound, and heart (little truth but much blood), though neither power nor metre, shall I a story for thee spin.
Catherine, daughter of a merchant of Middletown,
Did pilgrimage to the land of Scots
Wherein for past sins to fast and pray.
Soon she did bespy with her fair eye
The son of the English King
And in a village named for Andrew,
The saint of that name,
Did meet him outside the church gate
One frosty spring day.
She did smile and bow and sigh
Such pretty sighs that soon did catch Prince Williams’ eye
And following close behind,
They did bethrothe on St Swithin’s Day,
When birds did cheep carefree and gay
And the sun beat down hot
On the cattle eating golden hay.
But Beatrice and Eugenie felt anger
burning in their fiery breasts
At such a union as this,
Between royal household
and common trader’s child.
It brought shame to the family name.
One full-moon night did the sisters swear,
with drops of blood from finger-pricks,
To avenge the purity of their
Newly sullied line; now mixed as it was
With unclean toil and sweat and brine.
They had the crown of England in their sights.
Beatrice had wed Edward,
The Earl of Warwick’s son
Two summers hence,
A handsome man with chiselled jaw
And right arm strong,
But whose trusting mind
was weak and easily lead.
And now Beatrice, round and hard
Like September’s apple,
though not as sweet, did carry his heir.
On a night when thunder roared
And lightning carved an ancient oak in two,
She gave birth to twins:
Boys with hair as red as fire
And eyes like crystal pools of blue.
As they sucked at her milky breast,
Did she plot against her cousin prince.
The sisters consulted the stars
And devised a plan to demote
the King’s heir to merely a man
And for Edward to rise
As, at least in their eyes,
The rightful ruler of the land:
The fruit of Royal loins
Wherein regal blood flowed,
Untainted by common woman.
So Beatrice did in her Edward’s ear
Whisper, with tales of bitterness.
She accused her cousin Will
Of plans to murder Edward
As he slept in his bed,
For reasons unknown except
a fair face and strong sword arm.
So like a fool in a carnival
Did Edward fall for his wife’s lies.
She goaded him and whined each night
Of her terror, of her fright.
Complaining of the injustice of William’s plot
And over time, helped by false tears,
Did drive gentle Edward to despair.
He pulled at his soft brown hair
And swore to poison the Prince’s drink
When next they met
For a hunt in the King’s forest.
He did not wish to kill a man
Whom he had called friend,
But his wife and sister-in-law
Had driven him with women’s wiles
To wish Prince William’s bitter end.
Eugenie purchased a witches’ poison
And gave it to Edward
The night before he set out on the hunt,
Whispering “You know what you must do
To save your life,
and that of your sons.”
Foolish son of the Earl of Warwick
Was so easily by maiden tricked.
When at the hunting lodge did
With Price’s men one dusk recline,
When all were full of meat
And drunk on French wine,
Edward slipped a drop or two
Of the foul witches’ brew
Into unsuspecting William’s goblet.
The King’s son drank, and soon
Fell to the floor in a swoon,
From which he never awoke.
Overcome with sorrow and sensing the most
Terrible truth of two women’s lies,
And of justice on the morrow,
Did Edward flee on horseback
As swift as the wind,
and was in green and pleasant England
Never seen again.
Fret not, my friends,
That this may be prophesy or truth.
Instead ’tis merely make-believe
And with that I shall take my leave.