**Warning – Threat of Sexual Violence**
Whilst attending the Queen this evening I witnessed an exchange that will chill me till the day my maker calls me home.
The Queen being three months gone with child is keeping much to her chambers here at The Palace of Holyrood House. She is often found in the company of we her ladies, and her favourite secretary David Rizzo.
On this night though there was to be no quiet retirement to bed, as our Lord the King presented himself in his wife, the Queen’s bedroom in a disordered state of dress and quite the worse for strong drink.
Slurring his words, staggering and laughing at a joke which clearly he alone was party, he rudely dismissed us. Dutifully we bobbed our curtseys and retreated from the room, leaving only David, the Queen and the King behind. The Queen shot me an anxious look that said don’t go, and so I made eyes that I would be just behind the screen door should she require anything further. There I stood till I could stand it no more.
The King turned his attention to David and in a menacing tone ordered him ‘You too! Get out Rizzo you have no business between a man and his wife in their bedroom. Get out before I kick your arse all the way down the stairs. Be gone damn Italian leech.’
David’s colour ran from his face in an instant and he sulked from the room like a whipped dog. ‘Yes, of course, as you command my Lord’ he whimpered as he took his leave.
‘Now sweetheart, how do you fair this chilly December evening? He says as he leans close to his wife’s ear and then goes on to kiss her neck.
The Queen flinches from his touch and no doubt the smell of alcohol. She replies trying to hide her revulsion ‘I am well my Lord, although the babe does leave me fatigued and still a little sick.
Brushing aside the mention of the child she is carrying he drains the glass of wine he has arrived with, wipes his mouth with his sleeve and continues ‘perhaps you are in need of the comfort that only a husband can deliver. Maybe that is what ills and flags your humours?
Catching his meaning well, her face colours and she attempts a fake giggle ‘would that we were able to, but as you know we must not lie together until our child is born’
He raises her up by her hands, slightly losing his balance as he takes her weight. ‘Come now sweetheart, you cannot expect a man such as myself to do without your charms? His face is now pressed to the Queen’s neck as he kisses her again and again. Becoming breathless he persists in his seduction and tries again to woo her with words. ‘You are such a handsome woman Mary, you know I desire you and it is your duty to obey me’.
‘My Lord I obey you in all things, but we must resist our carnal nature at this time. Please, stop’ she begs him.
‘Come on, don’t be a tease, you know you will succumb eventually, do not play with me, do you duty.’ He threatens angrily as he loosens the laces from her nightgown and places his hand on her naked breast.
His last action brings on a tussle, accompanied by an impassioned and tearful plea from the Queen. ‘Please Henry, please I cannot. Think of our child, our son, the heir to the Kingdom’.
‘Kingdom be damned’ he growls as he shifts his other hand up and under her clothing. Shouting now he insists “If you will not give yourself freely I will take what is mine by law. Do not defy me in this as you do in everything else’
The King’s hand has clearly reached an intimate area of the Queen’s body and she can stand no more. She springs back from him and with an audible crack she slaps him straight across the face drawing blood from his mouth.
‘You unholy bitch, you will pay for that’ he fumes as her runs after her to the corner where she is desperately trying to rearrange her clothing.
With a shaky but defiant tone she speaks ‘leave me alone Henry you are drunk! You were not invited here tonight and you should not speak to me thus. I am your Queen and the mother of your unborn child. Do not sully that with your wicked and wretched ways.’
‘Wicked and wretched you say I am. Drunk I might be, but I know what is going on here. It’s that Rizzo! That pathetic, effeminate creature you are entertaining here all day, and I dare say most of the night. Are you turning me away because he is getting what you are obliged to give me? The way you carry on I have cause to believe this child to be his bastard and not mine at all.
He has her by the throat and is spitting in her face as he screams. “Yes that is it, isn’t it? You and him closeted together up here and no doubt your women covering your tracks. You will not lie with me, but my bet is that you cannot reveal your nakedness fast enough for him and any child conceived can be passed off as mine. You common, stewed whore! Do not look to me to cloak your sin. Imagine what the world would say? The Queen of Scotland bearing her servant’s bastard. Publically labelled a Jezebel. Ha, you would never recover.
‘The child is yours, you foul mouthed swine and I am not a whore, but by God if anyone could recognise one it would be you. Do you think I don’t know about your drinking and your whoring. I even hear that your carousing does not stop at women, although I hope for your soul’s sake that is a lie.’
Shocked by her retort he lets go of her throat, but the malevolence in his sneering tone is the most frightening thing I have ever heard.
‘You will lie with me and despite what you’ve said to the contrary I will be King over you. You maybe Queen now, but in this room I am the husband and master. If I wish you to crawl on the floor like a beast then you will do it. I will bide my time Mary and soon enough your stupid nobles will grant me the Crown Matrimonial. Mark my words carefully if you abuse me in this way when I am King your life will be a living hell. Think on it, my love and soon you will see that your objections are futile.
As I listen and watch this drama unfold I am conflicted. Do I call the Royal Archers of the Queen’s Bodyguard to intervene, as surely they must be able to hear the fracas or do I let this escalate into God’s know what?
Eventually my loyalty to the Queen leads me to the first option and when the Archers escort the King from his wife’s chambers he snarls at me. ‘Mistress I know you have sent the guard to intervene between a man and his wife. You stupid girl! Do not think to escape my wrath when I am in charge. Although…’he says whilst stroking my face and eyeing me up and down. ‘Perhaps I could be glad to keep you on in some capacity.’
Shuddering from his last comment I run into the room where the Queen is now a quivering, sobbing mess on the bed.
“Oh God save me. How could I have married such a man? I must find a way to be free of him’