Whitewash 2

If the word ‘evil’ has any meaning at all, the Spanish Empire was evil. Starting with Columbus in 1492, it butchered its way through the Americas, across North Africa and over much of Europe, paying its brutal armies with gold plundered from Mexico and Peru, and from the genocidal enslaving of countless Africans. Its plan to control the whole world, though, brandishing the Bible as it went, was defeated by one man – a man whitewashed from our history books. His name was Aly.
 
In 1553, the devout Mary Tudor came to the throne in England, and horrified the English by announcing she would marry Philip Habsburg, King of Spain. Despite the protests, the two monarchs were speedily married, and Philip lost no time in trying to draw England into his wars of domination. He already controlled all of Spain, much of Italy, Holland and Belgium, and much of Germany and Austria, and he needed the English to help him put his puppets on the French throne too. That done, he would be pretty much master of all Europe. The future of the world was at stake.
 
But Mary had a sister, Elizabeth… and Mary feared her. So long as she was in England, one of Mary’s many enemies might kill her, and put Elizabeth on the throne in her place. And so, after imprisoning her for years, at Christmas 1556 she invited Elizabeth to spend the festivities with her, at court. Was it for a pleasant reconciliation? Bonding between two powerful women? Love between two sisters? That was what Elizabeth hoped.
 
Barely had she arrived, though, that Mary announced that Elizabeth was to be married off to Philip’s main man in Holland. She would be sent overseas to ensure his clothes were pressed and his meals cooked to his satisfaction, and of course, to make more Habsburg babies to loot the world in the years to come. If she didn’t go willingly, Mary said, she would be taken to the church under armed guard and married forcibly. Elizabeth stormed out and went home to Hatfield.
 
But all was not lost. Elizabeth had a lover, a man of impressive ancestry, one indeed who even had a claim on the French throne. When Mary came to power, he had been forced to flee the country, but now he was back, and together they concocted a plan to foil Mary’s poisonous ambitions. So it was that on Christmas Eve, 1556, the two of them made love, and Elizabeth became pregnant with Aly’s child.

​When Elizabeth leaked the news to her sister in May, Mary was beside herself with fury. Not only could she not force Elizabeth into a grand public marriage with her bulging around the midriff, far worse, her sister would soon have the very thing she had failed to achieve. Elizabeth would have an heir. She would, she decided, kill the child when it was born, and then cart Elizabeth off to Holland before she could do it again. Preparations were thus made to seize the child as soon as it was born – in December, 1557 (her spies had told her). But of course, nine months from Christmas takes us only to September, and so it was that on the 25th of that month, Robert Tudor was born – and in November spirited away to safety across the English Channel. He was safe, and would be raised to be king.