کتاب های خیلی ساده

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CHAPTER FOUR

Jane Seymour

People say that Princess Elizabeth is very clever,’ said Margaret. ‘Is that true, my lady?’

‘Yes, it is. She’s only thirteen years old, but she can read and write in four languages already.’

Margaret’s face was sad. ‘I only know one language,’ she said. ‘And I can’t read or write it.’

‘But you have a mother and father who are alive,’ I said quickly. ‘You don’t have enemies who watch you all the time, or who want to send you far away to marry a stranger - perhaps an old man who drinks too much, and keeps a mistress!’

‘Will that happen to Princess Elizabeth?’ Margaret asked, her eyes round.

‘Perhaps. Who knows? A princess doesn’t always have an easy life, you know.’ I laughed. ‘But Elizabeth is clever. I think she’ll get what she wants in life. Now, let’s go outside, while the sun is shining. We’ll take the next letter with us.’

We walked down through the garden to the river. There we sat on a seat and watched the boats.

‘So Jane Seymour was the third wife,’ said Margaret. ‘When did the King marry her?’

‘Just ten days after Anne’s death.’

‘That was very quick!’

‘Yes, Henry always knew what he wanted. And he usually wanted things immediately.’

‘And was Jane the same as Anne Boleyn?’

‘No, Jane was very different. She was quiet and careful. Before she married the King, she was never alone with him. Her brother Edward was always with her when the King came to visit. And Henry was pleased to see that. He didn’t want another wild and dangerous wife like Anne.’

‘How do you know so much about the King and his other wives?’ asked Margaret.

‘I have lived for many years in palaces, Margaret,’ I said, smiling. ‘And palaces are full of people, coming and going, talking in comers, telling secrets. If you listen, it’s not difficult to learn things.’

‘So was Jane a nicer person than Anne?’

‘I think she was. She was very kind to Henry’s daughters, Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth. She was like a mother to both of them. Jane was clever too, and she quickly learnt to listen to Henry. She didn’t try to tell him what to do. And with her brown hair and white face, she also looked very different to Anne Boleyn.’

‘And what about the King at this time? Was he still handsome?’

‘Oh no, he was beginning to get fat and his face was just like a big potato! Not like the picture in Whitehall Palace.’

‘But was he happy?’ asked Margaret.

‘Yes, I think he really loved Jane. And of course, she also gave him a baby boy, who is now our King Edward.’

‘A son at last for the King! But what happened to Jane? Did he get tired of her too, or was she the one who died?’ ‘Yes, she died soon after Edward was born.’

‘How sad! She gave the King a son and then she died.’ ‘Let’s read the letter now.’ I opened it and a piece of brown hair fell out. I showed it to Margaret.

‘What soft hair,’ she said, touching it. ‘Is it Jane’s?’

‘Yes, I think so.’ I began to read…

Hampton Court Palace 22nd October 1537

Dear Henry

The doctors and my women tell me that I shall feel better tomorrow, but I can see in their faces that it is not true.

I cannot sleep or eat, and a fire burns in my body day and night. I know that I shall soon be dead.

But I have given you a son, Henry, and I can die happy, knowing that Edward will be King after you. I will never see the day when he becomes King, but I pray that God will give him a long and happy life.

Please look after dear Edward and tell him all about me. Here is a piece of my hair - a small present from a dying mother to her baby son.

I am too ill to write more and must say goodbye. Your loving wife and queen Jane.

I put the letter away, and looked at Margaret. ‘She had a very difficult time when the baby was born, you see. It took three days and two nights before the baby arrived. Poor Jane was very tired and ill. She died twelve days later, very soon after this letter.’

‘How terrible,’ said Margaret. She touched the piece of Jane’s hair again. ‘And was the King sad?’

‘Oh yes. He was very unhappy. He shut himself away in the palace for weeks. All England was sad, and every church in the country said prayers for poor Queen Jane. She was buried at Windsor, and Henry is now buried next to her.’

Just then Uncle William came up behind us.

‘Ah, Uncle,’ I said. ‘Let’s go in and have some lunch.’

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