Portrait of Babylon as Queen Anne
“My lady, thou knowst what this will entail, yes?”
The woman pulled up her long black hair as the women around her fixed her hair into braids upon her head, “I do. Now set everything as thou knowst before ‘tis too late, Henry!”
“Right m’lady!” Henry said and ran off.
The woman to her right, working on pinning a braid asked, “I must say Your Grace, do you think’t really work?”
She smiled and looked at the young maid from the mirror, “Of course, the woman rarely left her chambers, let alone the castle. All those who knew her by face and not by word shall be paid off or removed from their posts. No one will know the difference.”
The maid looked at her, “B-But Your Grace, thou look'st so young!”
“They know not the difference,” she assured, “Now where be Elizabeth? She hath had enough time to procure my belongings.”
She called again, and rose when the four women around her stepped away, done with her hair, “Elizabeth where art thou, ye cur!” Running into the room came a young girl, no older than 12 years of age, holding a golden chest and presented it with a bow, “I have it here, m’lady.”
“Your Grace!” one of the hair dressing maids corrected in horror. She raised her hand to dismiss, “‘Tis alright. Ye may go. I thank thee.”
All five of the maid filed out with a curtsey. Once they left she opened the golden chest, her gentle pale fingers lifted a glittering gold crown. She lifted it to her head and glanced in the mirror. Never in her life did she expect to sit here, to be doing this.
A sharp knock woke her from her thoughts.
“Enter,” she announced. At the doorway was a young girl, escorted by a guard.
“Leave us,” she said waving the guard away and calling the young girl to her. The young girl was hesitant but stepped closer.
“Ah, my dear Anne; how thou petition this of me I am most honored.”
“Thou hath been like a sister to me; ‘tis only fair that thou do this in my stead.”
“Only until thou art of age, Anne. Thou know'st the agreement.” The young girl nodded, “I understand.”
“And upon’t thou have also agreed to never speak thy name as thy own and thou must speaketh mine as thine.”
The young girl stepped forward and pulled her into a hug, “Then let this be the last time I say thy name as thy own, sister Babylon.”
“And as yours, Anne.”
She stood before the large doors of the court, stiff, her pale face paint against her already ivory skin. She closed her eyes taking a deep breath. From the other side she heard the trumpets and the doors opened.
Time seemed to slow as she watched everyone turn to look the minute the squeak open. From the thin crack of its opening, she could see their expectant faces. The doors swung fully open now. Her feet itched to move forward; onlookers itched the catch a glimpse and take their bow.
Her head raised high as the guard announced, “Bow ye down for the the entrance of our liege. Queen Anne of Great Britain!”