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Blanche Parry- Wikipedia image.

Painting possibly by Marcus Gheerearts



Elizabeth I


I had her from her aunt, The Lady Troy.

She was to prove her weight in gold to me –

not troy weight- I jest- but avoirdupois.

That’s what she had: a certain gravitas,

so that I trusted her with all my jewels.

Whether a rainbow surrounded my throne,

or no, she sacrificed her life to mine,

seeeing in me a pearl of rarest price.


She that rocked my cradle, cradled my throne,

as confidante; mistress of our muskcat.

Two maidens: both preserving the jewels

of our virginity; joking in Welsh

at the frivolity of flatterers.


She deserved better than backwoods Bacton.

She did her bit for them with that Bible.

I’ve seen the funerary monument,

with me decked out as Gloriana and

she twice my stature, kneeling prayerfully.

Well, I paid for her to have Westminster

and sent them one of my cast off dresses.

They’ll make a stunning altarcloth from it.


As the eyes of a handmaiden look to…

She never lost her focus, even once,

unless it was to supplicate St Foy.

There she was, clutching that little salve pot,

looking for an ocular anointing,

so she could detect once more loose settings

and not have to feel under beds and chairs

for a stray gem which rolled from my casket.

I’d found a virtuous woman, whose price

was proverbially above rubies.


Eighty two years: of sound Welsh Marches’ stock…

The Tudors liked to trace their line from such.

You can’t replace staff like her any more.

She was my staff – further, she was my friend

and now that she is gone, who will rock me?

I feel I’ve lost a mother once again.

She’ll be His when He makes up his jewels.

She was the brightest and best in my crown.