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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 463



castle and town will shortly follow the same trade : for, as this day which is the eighth day of September, we begin, three batteries, and have three mynys going besides, one which hath done his execution in shaking and tearing off one of their greatest bulwarks: No more to you at this time, sweetheart, both for lack of time and great occupation of business, saveing, we pray you to giro in our name our hearty blessing to all our children, and recommendations to our cousin Margrettc (probably, the Lady Margaret Douglas), and the rest of the ladies and gentlewomen, and to our council also. Written with the hand of your loveing husband, " HENKT R. " Before Boulogne, Sept. 8th, 1544." When Katherine received this letter she was residing with her royal stepchildren at Oking, and as the plague was then raging in London and other places, she caused a proclamation to be issued, strictly forbidding every one who had been in any houses, or with any person infected, or supposed to be infected with the contagion, from going to court, and at the same time she charged those at court on no account to commune with persons, nor enter houses supposed to be so infected. The thoughtful Queen had a double reason for taking this especial care of the infant hopes of England, for had evil befallen Prince Edward in the King's absence, in all probability nothing short of iier disgrace and decapitation would have satisfied the vengeful wrath of her unreasonable husband. In the French campaign Katherine's cousin, George Throgmorton, had the misfortune to be taken prisoner ; his captor demanded one thousand pounds for his ransom, a sum which, after he had suffered a year's imprisonment, Henry caused to be paid for his redemption. It has been conjectured that Holbein's beautiful picture—now in the royal collection at Hampton Court—of Henry the Eighth, Prince Edward, and the Princesses Elizabeth and Mary, with the posthumous portrait of Jane Seymour in a family group, was painted in the early part of the year 1445. The likenesses are considered to be excellent, the costumes, although gorgeous, accurate. The hair of the three ladies in this painting being all of an auburn tint, might be deemed remarkable, were it not known that the colour was not necessarily natural, but produced by a powder then in fashion, a fact which accounts for the hair of the gentler sex being of the golden hue in all Holbein's portraits of this period. Whether Katherine Parr objected to the dead Queen taking her place in the royal tableau, is not known. The proposal to thus supersede her, was, on tbe part of Henry, unreasonable and cruel ; and if she did not resent the insult, she certainly must have possessed more than an ordinary share of prudence and generosity.


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