They say my sister is a merciful queen. They say she was reluctant to execute my cousin Lady Jane Grey, the usurper who was lead onto the throne by my dear Robin’s own father. They say she excuses rebels because she has been so laden with sorrows that she cannot bring herself to force it upon others. They say she loves me as a sister, they say she was sympathetic towards me ever since she saw me, so much did she love little children.
Yes, she had to be harshly convinced to execute the Lady Jane. Yes, she does love little children.
But she doesn’t love me.
How do I know this?
If she loved me, I wouldn’t be here. She would not have explicitly broken her promise. She would have let me come to court, to see her in person, and beg for her forgiveness. For I am innocent, innocent as the birds that fly past my window every day to remind me that outside this dreadful place, life still goes on. To remind me that England is still Mary’s kingdom, still my home.
They’ll tell me she only sent me here because of Wyatt’s rebellion. They’ll tell me she was only afraid because I, if only in name alone, am temporarily a threat to her reign.
I’ll always be a threat to her reign. I’ll always be the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of a woman who, to some but not others, was never a queen. I’ll always be the younger sister to the monarch, always the Protestant bastard no one needs. I’ll always be only the idea of a princess.
I’ll never change. I’ll never be queen.
So each day, I walk outside, try to enjoy God’s fresh air and the sweet scent of flowers blooming. I carve verses on the walls (I heard once that they do that in prison, and even though I am twenty years old, it still seems quite romantic), I write poems, I try in vain to write to my sister. Sometimes I pray I’ll be out soon, and usually I mark each day that passes onto the wall next to my compositions.
Often I feel useless. Even Mary has come into her own, but in my twenty years I’ve been little more than the daughter of the most hated woman since the Empress Matilda hundreds of years ago. God has not been merciful to me as of yet, and my chances look gloomy.
But there is always hope. There is always, always hope. Especially since I am in the Tower of London, looking down upon the place where my mother met her end, hope is all I have left.