To die for
To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd
Margaret "Meg" Wyatt has been Anne Boleyn's closest friend since they grew up together on neighboring manors in Kent. So when twenty-five-year-old Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes Meg along for the ride.
Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling... at first. Meg is made mistress of Anne's wardrobe, and she enjoys the spoils of this privileged orbit and uses her influence for good. She is young and beautiful and in favor; everyone at court assumes that being close to her is being close to Anne.
But favor is fickle and envy is often laced with venom. As Anne falls, so does Meg, and it becomes nearly impossible for her to discern ally from enemy. Suddenly life's unwelcome surprises rub against the court's sheen to reveal the tarnished brass of false affections and the bona fide gold of those that are true. Both Anne and Meg may lose everything. When your best friend is married to fearsome Henry VIII, you may soon find yourself not only friendless but headless as well.
A rich alchemy of fact and fiction, To Die For chronicles the glittering court life, the sweeping romance, and the heartbreaking fall from grace of a forsaken queen and Meg, her closest companion, who was forgotten by the ages but who is destined to live in our hearts forever.
Lady Margaret Lee (née Wyatt) was a sister of poet Thomas Wyatt, and favourite of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII of England.
Margaret is best remembered for having been a companion of Anne Boleyn, whose family estates lay near the Wyatts' and who later employed Margaret as one of her ladies-in-waiting. A portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger shows a woman presumed to be Margaret at the age of thirty-four, and it is assumed that it was painted around 1540. It is therefore probable that Margaret was very close to Anne in age, being born close to 1506 (whilst Anne is assumed to have been born around 1507.)
Few question that there was some form of friendship between Lady Margaret and Queen Anne. There is also a strong tradition which states that Margaret's sister, Mary, was also part of the Queen's social circle. Certainly Margaret's brother, Thomas Wyatt, fell passionately in love with Anne in the 1520s. Another female favorite of the Queen's was Lady Bridget Wingfield, who died in childbed in 1531.
Margaret was one of Anne's chief ladies-in-waiting, and accompanied her to Calais, France in 1532, where it is presumed Anne and Henry VIII made secret plans to marry in the immediate future. It is known that Anne had a lady-in-waiting who "she loves as a sister," and it has been suggested that this lady was Margaret.She was certainly part of the Queen's circle of favorites. As Mistress of the Queen's Wardrobe, she would presumably have played a leading part in the decadent social life at court in the mid-1530s, which was fuelled by the extravagance of Henry and Anne.
Lady Margaret was sent to attend her royal mistress in the Tower of London in May 1536 when the Queen was arrested on charges of adultery, treason, and incest. Margaret also attended Anne on the scaffold on May 19, and even received the last gift of a prayer book from her. After Anne was beheaded, Margaret acted as chief mourner at her small funeral. Anne had written a short farewell to Margaret inside the prayer book:
"Remember me when you do pray,
that hope doth lead from day to day."
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