My name is Matilda Marchmont. Two days ago I would have said that I had the most boring life in the world, but ALL THAT HAS CHANGED. The day after my thirteenth birthday, I left my family and sleepy country home to travel for three freezing cold days on horseback to London to join the glamour and madness of Henry VIII’s court.
I’m going to have to lock my journal away and keep the key on a chain round my neck. Don’t tell anyone... I’ve been warned that this place is teeming with dangerous enemies and spies.
I’ve just been shown into the bedchamber I’ll be sharing with four other Maids-of-Honour. I don’t even know where I’m supposed to pee... ugh - I’ve just found the chamber pot... and its full. Grotesque!
I wonder what the other girls will be like. It’s past three in the morning and they’re still dancing and partying upstairs. I can hear the dance music pounding thrillingly through the ceiling. The room is strewn with incredible underwear and clothes.
So, I just met the four girls I have to share with. They’re called Merry, Milly, Miggy and Melly - I think - all stupid nick names beginning with 'M', anyway. They’re all so nasty and spiteful. I’ve decided to just call them The Merrys. The leader of the pack is called Melly Buxton...she’s fifteen and she is a snake. They laughed at my nightdress, my shift, my hair... my ugly shoes. Well of course all their clothes are much nicer than mine! I’ve only just arrived from the country, with no money, and I don’t know anything about fashion. But here at court it’s all about who you know and what you’re wearing and how famous you are, or how rich and powerful your family is.
I can’t wait to meet my cousin, Katherine Howard. Apparently, she’s beautiful and stylish and funny and popular. I hope she’s going to show me what to do and how to act and what to wear and how to dance and how to behave in front of the queen, and what I have to do and how to eat... It’s all terrifying, basically.
So... this morning I MET KATHERINE! Too tired to tell you about it now, it was such an incredible day. I have to sleep... goodnight, secret friends... sweet dreams. More tomorrow.
Love, Matilda xxx