The sun shone through the open wooden shutters, letting the light flood into the Lady’s bedroom waking her naturally, had it been any other day this might have been pleasant.
She was most tired for she was up the majority of the night, though she cannot blame restlessness for she was awake rereading each of the letters written in the Duke's hand before burning them and then scattering the ash out of the window. It was with much regret she had done this, some of the letter were the most beautiful things she had ever read, but they were written by his hand and therefore they must go. Be removed from her life, forever.
Though today was not any other day, the Lady lay in bed watched her ladies rush in and out of her chambers around her. News had come during the night that the King himself was coming along with her Father returning home and that they would arrive in time for lunch.
The time was now eight in the morning, the Lady had but four hours to prepare herself to meet with her Uncle the King once again. It was long awaited that she would see him again, although she did not see the King regularly she had always felt close to him, and particularly his eldest daughter Lady Magdalene who, although was a bastard from a previous relationship the King was in, was still recognised as a peer. Which angered Henriette's cousin Charlotte even more. Magdalene was but two years the Lady’s senior. Henriette was informed that the Lady would not be traveling to visit her cousins as she was busy making wedding preparations of her own to the Duke of Savoy.
Henriette could not help experience a twinge of jealously, her cousin still had her husband to be as her own. She did not have to lose him to a common maid. She sat up in her bed, one of her ladies rushed over to help her sit up straight, the Lady knocked her hand away and declared that she did not need any help to sit. Henriette did however order for the covers to be removed from her legs, two maids took either side of the covers and pulled them back revealing the Lady’s legs covered in her fine night ware.
She swung her legs round and perched on the end of her bed, from the position she could see out the window and over the royal gardens, they were marvellous, she saw the men working hard cutting and pruning the flowers so they would flower once again in spring.
The door to her chambers opened and Marie came inside, she brought news that the royal convoy had arrived, she saw her Mistress sat on her bed facing away from the doors; she was still in her bed clothes. She frowned and hurried to face her Lady.
“Marie,” Henriette said emotionlessly.
“My Lady, I bring good news, his Highness the Duke and his Royal Majesty the King of France have just arrived, they are settling in the drawing room. His Majesty has requested you lunch with him at noon.” She said gently.
“What is the point?” Henriette asked suddenly. “Why must I take lunch with the King, nothing will be achieved by it, just I will feel much more sadness than I already am suffering from.”
“My Lady,” Marie said, she came and knelt in from of the Lady still sat upon her bed. She held out her hands and took that of the Lady’s. She held on tightly. “My Lady you must not let this damped your mood, in life disasters will strike, blood will be shed, we will be betrayed and lied to and promises we have made will be broken but that is part of life.”
“Why would God do this to me, why would Richard leave me as he has done?” she asked. In the pocket of her night dress Henriette felt the paper dig into her skin, the paper on which the last note of love she had exchanged with Richard was written onto. Though in rage she had burnt the rest she could not burn this final one. It read.
“My most dear and beloved Henriette,
How I miss you so, each day I wake up and I long to have you beside me, your beautiful face the first thing I see in the day and the last thing I see as I rest my eyes for the night. Alas my duties are here in London though I cannot wait until we are wed, then we will be together and share an eternity at one another’s sides.
When I bring you to London with me I shall be most happy to introduce you to my sister and her friends, they will help you settle and will teach you the strange English mannerisms we have here, life will be quite different to your old one in France.
I pray you are well and are keeping yourself well rested and calm, for once we are wed we must start trying for a family. I can already hear the patter of tiny feet running up and down the corridors of the palace can you not?
Though this letter has been short do not think I have forgotten of you. I merely have so much to say to say not enough would be better to say all of how I feel as to write the entirety of how I feel down would take me a rather long time.
Until we are united again, my love, my soul, my Lady Henriette.
From your most loyal and noble Duke Richard of Gloucester.”
Most noble and loyal, Henriette thought to herself, the lies pained her even more, this letter could have been sent whilst he was with her, that woman he chose over the Lady.
“I do not know Lady,” Marie said gently. “Though I do know something, your life will not stop because Richard is already wed.”
Deep down Henriette knew it was the truth; her life would not stop because Richard did not love her, and her life could not stop just because he did not want to marry her.
She had other duties, though her loyalties were here in France, and that is where she intended to stay.