The Queens undercover angels
It was my first day training in court to become a 'lady of the bedchamber to the queen'. I was one of Queen Elizabeth's lady's of the bedchamber, which were not the same as ladies in waiting. A l ady of the bed chamber or chamberlady was one of five personal attendants of Queen Elizabeth. She was our complete focus. In return we were her rock…the rock of England.
Ladies-in-waiting were hirelings that were waiting to help the queen or the lady's of the bedchamber which had already proven their devotion to queen and country. Lady's of the bedchamber had helped the queen significantly far beyond the normal call of duty and were her closest friends as well. There were only five of us being so honored as to be allowed to be around her in court as well as her bedchamber (and then there was her unlimited supply of money and men to which we had her carte blanc permission to play with).
One of the other lady's of the bedchamber was my good friend from childhood who was made a Maid of Honor and then later a chamberlady for life since she sat and let birds shit on her for about 12 years which anyone will agree had to be far beyond the call of duty. These were not the only two categories of females in Queen Elizabeth's court though. There were about 5 categories all told but I can't recall what they all were. There was Chamberlady, Lady in waiting, Maid of honor and about two other classification not to mention the small category called 'Queen'.
It was standard practice and a standard requirement that to become a lady of the bedchamber I had to train as a lady-in-waiting for a few weeks. It was an act of obeisance to instill a sense of subservience to the queen by mimicking one of those fancy servants.
It didn't work with me. Oh I already had the greatest of respect for Queen Elizabeth which is quite different. Subservience lowers yourself until you are lower than the other person. If you have 'the greatest of respect' for a person that leaves you where you are but places the person much higher than yourself. Respect causes the other person to rise even further to gain even greater respect from you. Subservience demeans both persons. If you continue with that practice then you will both end up scraping the ground.
Strangely the ladies in waiting fell into two categories.
There were the women in waiting with legs and there were those without any legs of note and I liked the first group more so I talked more often with them.
The second group was the kind you expected to find in the Royal Courts of Europe. They were aristocratic and the kind I used to teach to ride horses at the Downs when I was a child. They seem to not actually have legs but instead their butts were attached to wheels. Whenever they moved it appeared as though they were floating and it made me sick to watch! Why did it make me sick? I felt as if this was what was inside me.
The wheel women moved about once an hour it seemed or about one twentieth as often as the ladies with legs did. The ladies with legs also didn't wear corsets and that was surprising. However the worse part was that they didn't need them! That made me very uncomfortable because I always had the smallest waist of anyone but theirs was 3 inches less than mine. Most of the women with legs had antelope legs. They literally bounced across the room. It made me sicker watching them bouncing across the floor than it did watching the other women rolling across it.
When I first arrived I was talking with two of the ladies with legs and right in the middle of the conversation one stopped and pointed to a man that had walked in about five minutes earlier (I was keeping an eye out for men) and said to the other lady, 'What about that one?' The other one simply said 'Lets go check him out.' And off they went. Pretty soon they were climbing all over him, hanging on to him like they were his lovers for years. They had their hands all over him, I mean almost every part of his body. Then after four minutes they lost interest in him and came back over to resume our conversation as it nothing had happened. That seemed to be pretty cold. These women must even be more 'casual' than the ladies in the French court.
Then another man came in and his close fitting clothing told me he had come from Navarr near Portugal. He had nothing I was interested in as a woman. Then in two seconds the two ladies interrupted the conversation again and went right to him, those two fools. There is/was a saying that we used: 'they'd make him crack his own codpiece' and they came close in the next three minutes. They were completely on him, over him and around him. Then they engaged him a long conversation about who he was. I just said to myself these women want him together and together they will make gumbo out of him in five hours. Then they came back again acting as if nothing had happened and then repeated it all over again when another man came in. That went on with most of the men that came into the room and every foreign one. Even the Portuguese Ambassador or representative got a peck on the cheek. I got tired of being upstaged.
Like most people, I am highly resentful of being exposed to acts of moral turpitude when I am not involved in the turpitude.
I said to myself when those ladies went off to fawn over another man again, I am never going to catch a man's interest around this court, I might as well go get something to eat because I keep thinking of a chopped meat stew or gumbo. Besides my intuition was telling me it was time for me to leave.
I left for three hours to get food and relax far away from the gazelles and roller women. I felt miserable but it turned out I wasn't the only one to feel miserable that afternoon. That Portugese man felt miserable for about three seconds that afternoon as his assassination attempt was failing.
It turns out those two ladies made gumbo of him after all. I kept seeing sliced meat and could not figure it out at the time. While those two girls were all over him they searched his body. They missed his sword because he had none. Another man who was a government official of perhaps Portugal and personally vouched for at the highest levels had the sword hidden. He handed it to the assassin only seconds before he attempted to kill the queen. One of the women with 'legs' in the back of the room was a lookout and she screamed 'MOUSE' when she saw him charge at the queen. He ran from half way down the hall.
Queen Elizabeth who it was said (falsely) to be deathly afraid of mice, quickly ducked out of the room. All the women with legs converged right behind her and blocked the man.
The two women I said would make gumbo out of him were standing in his way so he pushed between them cutting one badly. As he pushed past them they each slid two small swords into his body. Each lady shoved one in his abdomen and another in his lower back as he passed them and then directed the blades up into his heart and lungs, all before he had moved two feet forward. They moved the blades rapidly back and forth inside his chest making everything 'chopped meat gumbo'. That is exactly what I had seen in my vision except I could not figure out that it was a warning meant for Queen Elizabeth. It was a vision of the inside his chest and I did not know what I was seeing or how to interpret it. I was just aghast at the thought of our being without the queen. Her death would have made me sick for years, such was the effect of good queen Bessie on everyone in England.
Before he felt the pain the man was unconscious and before the girls lowered his body to the floor he was dead. The whole thing took seconds and looked like nothing happened except a man was running and then passed out and some ladies caught his fall and lowered him carefully to the floor.
Six other women dragged the dead assassin out the door in less than six seconds, while everybody was still looking for the mouse that never was. Then the queen called it quits for the day and everyone left but her squad and the man who had smuggled in the sword.
They kept him in the room for over two
hours. They even all moved away from the queen and to one side of the hall.
The ladies had small crossbows and wheellock pistols under the hoops of their dress on slings and now these
were out and 28 of them were pointed at the man.
They intended to use them on him as soon as he made a single step towards our queen.
The queen just sat there baiting and daring him.
This is when they had sent guards to find me and I returned to the court. By the time I got back it was pretty tense and it just got worse. The fire in the ladies eyes scared me until they told me what had happened. Oh, I was brought back by guards to allay their suspicions about me.
I was put in the middle of this strange scene to see if I knew this guy or if he knew me. If that man had noticed me it would have shown that I was perhaps involved. It had been my first day so I was suspect though I could not have been involved because it was me that had the final decision about coming that day. I was asked to come that day by the queen because she was told by her spies about the assassination attempt beforehand and she wanted to break me in right (but the others did not know this fact).
The problem was solved since the man didn't look at anyone but the queen. More importantly the ladies with legs liked me for being at ease about coming back and showing my innocence. The queen wanted specifically to see how I would react in such a situation. According to the queen I passed with flying colors.
These women were the unsung heroes of Elizabeth's reign and they actually saved her life over twenty times.* (They were really needed because the Pope had decreed and even openly sponsored assassination attempts against the Queen. The assassins came out of the woodwork to do the popes dirty work.)
The queen mocked the man and made fun of everyone he was acting in behalf of. 'So try to kill me if that is what you want to do. Someone give him a knife. Do you think the pope is going to intervene as that soul of yours drops into hell? Come on what are you waiting for. That is the same chance you were intending to give me.'
The man was against the back wall and he wasn't about to move even one last step. 'It was a Spanish organized attempt' the man was saying and he talked as fast as he could to fill in the details.
That man was already dead, he just didn't know when his breathing was going to be stopped for him. The queen was quickly getting impatient and tired of it all. Finally she started to yell at him to just rush her and try to kill her. I knew something was going to happen pretty soon.
It was turning into a major drama that I had not written. Since it wasn't mine and it wasn't my cup of tea, I left.
These ladies had at least one more assignment that I want to tell you about that was very important. They destroyed the Spanish Armada, or at least the confidence that their sailors had in their cannons which were the best in the world. It was a trick that Drake taught the women in court.
The ladies worked in groups of five and there were four groups the Queen sent to Spain undercover. They went to the Spanish Armories in 1587, a year before the invasion and went to where the cannons were stored. They were amazed because all the cannons were left in open fields without any guards. Children and their dogs chased rabbits among them.
The ladies had arrived prepared to use anything to get any guards out of the way but they didn't have to. There were no guards. They had brought rum spiked with Castor oil and opium to make guards sick, they brought knives to kill them with and they were willing to offer their own bodies for sex to gain entrance to where the cannons were stored. They even had several female dogs in heat in case there were dogs guarding the cannons. However the only guards were the wild rabbits and they didn't seem to want any of those items. However, the female dogs that our women brought wanted the rabbits and they chased them so it looked like the ladies were out taking a walk with their dogs if anyone came by.
A brass or iron cannon has basically the same physical properties as a bell and it can be considered as a bell with a very thick case. If you tap a cannon it will ring like a bell for a few seconds. When a bell get cracked the ringing sound last for only a fragment of it's normal time. If the cannon gets cracked then the time of the ringing is cut in half or even more.
Drake showed them how to take a small hand cannon weighing about 20 pounds and put it on a stick like a ramrod. (Drake had used several things when they were in Panama and elsewhere perfecting this technique.) Then all five of the women would ram that little cannon down a big cannon until it hit the backside and cracked it. If they did this about 20 times it would be undetectable but it would put hundreds of very small cracks in the barrel. Those cracks would grow over time and it would guarantee a sudden and catastrophic failure when the whole back of that cannon would blow up killing up to half the men in the ship. Maybe 50 men would be killed as a result. It's called 'spiking' a cannon and Drake developed it especially for Spanish cannons.
Then Drake showed them how if you hit the trunnions (the round things on the side which is to mount the cannon) with a large sledge or other heavy object you can do the same damage and you don't have to hit it as hard. The marks can't be seen there since the mounts get beat up anyway.
It didn't work as good as the other method because it would just a blow out one side of the cannon and not cause the whole cannon to explode.
The problem was that the ladies who walk like gazelles did not have big arms and having to slam a 20 pound cannon inside a big one was a lot of work and it took a lot out of them. They could only do a few cannons and then they had to take a break. In the end they could only do about 15% of the Spanish cannons in that yard. The biggest problem was that the ringing of the cannons was useless in telling them when they had cracked the cannon. Drake always did it when the cannon were mounted so they rang like bells but these were on the ground and that ground stopped the ringing right away. They did not know if they had done it right but from the results it appears as though they did.
This is a Spanish Armada cannon which the University of Scotland salvaged from one of the wrecked Spanish Armada ships. The photo speaks for itself.
There have been lots of suspicious cannon explosions when a cannon was specially being demonstrated for dignitaries and they blew up killing said dignitaries. So I think this kind of spiking was done often.
One example was when a demonstration of a cannon exploded killing King James II in 1488. Another cannon demonstration resulted in an explosion on the USS Princeton in 1844 that killed lots of VIP's including the U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of the Navy.
These cannon failures were not half as dramatic or one tenth as deadly as when the entire back end of a cannon blew up. When that happened there were bodies all over the place and the entire ships crew would suddenly want to go home. Not only them but the neighboring ships would want to go home too. Those chunks of metal weighed up to four pounds and they would fly 400 meters and one of those chunks flew from one ship to another Spanish ship at Gravelines and injured the second in command of that ship.
All those cannons will eventually blow up if they had been used. With just small cracks it might take up to 20 shots before it exploded but it would explode. If they reduced the powder charge and used only one forth as much gunpowder the Spanish thought that the cannons would not blow up. That would be the case if the walls of the cannons were just too thin and the problem was metal fatigue. That is where the metal gets stretched until it 'breaks'.
Cracks in metal are totally different, cracks keep growing every time the cannon is shot until the cannon blows up.
It's exactly like the crack on my car windshield that started out last year only an inch long and then grew to six inches longs and then I finally replaced it.
At one forth charge it may take 20 rounds instead of four but that cannon will still blow up. The Spanish did not know this or did not want to hear it so they just ordered their captains to use one forth charge and the results were often still disastrous.
To get any distance from the cannons the Spanish had to fire smaller cannon balls wrapped in cloth or in carved out wood (to make what would later be called a sabot round). They also brought in a lots of field cannons as substitutes. And this is exactly what expedition's to the wreck sites have found. However they don't know the 'why' of why the Spanish used so many field cannons.
The Spanish had test fired some of the spiked ships cannons and they blew up. It is known that the Spanish sent men to buy cannons all over Europe but it is not known why when they had the best foundries (except for maybe in the south of France). Their foundries were huge and if they were not the largest then they were the second to the largest in Europe. They invented the cannon and they even invented the name 'cannon'. They developed the cannon from a huge siege weapon to a useful artillery piece that could not only support ground troops in the field but sinks ships. Except they had not calculated on these ladies from England.
If you were not in with the leaders in England here is what appears to have happened but didn't. Spain with half the riches in world spared no expense in making well designed ships that took years to build but nobody thought of making any cannons until about a month before the Armada was due to set sail (after being delayed over a year by Drakes costal attacks the year before in 1587). Then suddenly right before they were ready to leave and take over England they realized they did not have enough cannons. This would be the same as if our navy produced the latest and fastest nuclear powered submarines with extensive fire training for all the sailors but forgot to produce any weapons for them so they had to put on them old torpedoes from WWII. The Spanish were too experienced for it to have happened this way.
Either that was the case, which is highly unlike the Spanish or else there was something wrong with the cannons they had. Indeed there was something wrong with those cannons and the thing that was 'wrong' with those cannons was that they were 'gotten to' by the ladies of Queen's Elizabeth's court after they took lessons from England's master of Spanish/Catholic destruction, the dragon himself, Sir Francis Drake.
The Spanish found out about two months before they were to set sail that many of the cannons were malfunctioning and blowing up.
Lets go back to that cannon with the side blown out. It appears as though it was cracked where the mount is located and that means someone used 'The Drake method number two'. This one cannon could have cost the lives of half the gun crew on that ship when it exploded.
The Spanish just didn't trust their own foundries that much after the cannons started blowing up. My idea on this is that they thought the cannons were being cooled so fast after their manufacture that it was causing cracks in the metal. That will cause any metal to crack, even that 'Terminator II metal'..
..when he got the super cool liquid Nitrogen on him.
The Spanish later figured out something was wrong with many of the cannons and they estimated that half the cannons were cracked but they never figured out it was the English women of Queen Elizabeth's court that had cracked them.
Today these cracks could be seen easily with an x-ray machine but back then there was no way to know how many or which ones were cracked. The cannons blew up with great regularity.
The Spanish did not learn to protect their cannons even after this. Their foundries and stores left cannons in open fields without guards where they could be sabotaged until the 1800's. Englishmen did this to the Spanish cannons over and over again through the years. Until possibly Napoleon over did it and the Spanish found out about the whole thing.
*Even the regular Queens Guards didn't know the real purpose of many of these women but I was trusted from the first with this information. I found out that in the Queen's court I was literally standing in the middle of about 35 of them (much later I found out that there were over 100 undercover women guarding her at all times). Even a few of the women on wheels were protectors and could grow 'legs' in a second. Even some of the old ladies in waiting were protectors and they had done the same service for her father King Henry VIII and continued to serve Elizabeth in the same way.
Wily King Henry VIII was the one who had started it, not Elizabeth!
I also served her in that capacity and at times as a games mistress/bodyguard/secretary.
I remembered that I had seen these women several times but the first time was right before I got married. They came to the downs in a group and were asking me questions about horses when as a child I taught children to ride. The usual question is along the lines of how many miles must I ride to lose a stones weight, 14 pounds? (About 10 miles a day for a month was the standard answer to this question.)
These ladies in waiting had asked me, 'how do you make a horse go fast while you are facing backwards?'
I thought it was another 'how do you have sex on a horse' question. People often came to us to ask about having sex on horse back and we told them they would fall off and hurt themselves. Then they would ask us a second time but we would say the same thing. Then they would go to another member of my family and ask them. Being a small child did not matter since we were considered as though we were small adults and got asked too. Hence my standard reply was 'you will fall off'.
I was about to get married and I didn't know much about sex but for some strange reason my uncles started sending me everyone who asked that question. I don't know why.
The queens ladies were kinky. They did not want to have sex on the back of a horse like everybody else did. They wanted to do it differently. They had this wild idea. They got these new (side) saddles with no backs and smaller pommels and while they were riding (side saddle) they wanted to flip their left legs over the back of the horse and then they would be facing backwards. Something like that can't be done with a normal size pommel. Then I realized maybe I was wrong about them wanting to have sex.
My next guess was that they wanted to perform tricks for visiting aristocrats. They had trained themselves to spin around in their saddles but the horses would stop every time they did it. They demanded to know how to keep the horses running flat out as fast as they could when they were facing backwards.
I didn't like that demand very much so I told them simply 'You have to train them.' Then I waited a few seconds intending to stare them down but I was torn apart in my head when they stared right back at me! So I added. 'Treat them very nice when you want them to do something out of the ordinary.' They just continued to stare and that surprised me to no end.
Then I thought about it and said 'oh my gosh. If they flip their leg over their saddles to face backwards then they can take very careful aim with their bows and arrows and kill any body who is chasing them. that person will have not one chance in ten of surviving it! Those ten women could kill 30 men in about 30 seconds.
This was about the queens safety and thwarting a kidnapping attempt or worse, not about sex or an acrobatic show. What kind of ladies in waiting were these?
I thought for two seconds and then I changed back to being a nice person for the Queen and her safety. They had not thought the horses would stop and there was a deadline for getting it all to work right. I figured it out in two minutes. They needed one person to guide all the horses. So we made one lady the lead and she did not turn around. She took all the reins from three of the other ladies and then she just guided the three horses. The rest of the horses followed suit while all ten ladies moved around on the backs of the horses until they all got used to the gymnastics.
In two days time the horses were trained to follow Queen Elizabeth's favorite horse and the rider didn't need to take the reins anymore. Whenever the ten ladies flipped their legs over the saddles and were sitting backwards the horses would speed automatically and they all followed the lead who was to be Queen Elizabeth as it turned out. The horses all expected her to go as fast as possible too. So it worked out perfectly and the assassination attempt (which spies had reported earlier) was not only foiled but every man was killed and none of the ladies were hurt. The queen decreed that It never happened so don't bother looking for it in any history books. It was a situation where the public knowledge of these attempts on Elizabeth's life would have aroused her people to react by declaring war and she did not want that unless it was an absolute necessity. So when these attacks occurred, they didn't occur.
At least four times during the Queens reign she was ambushed and chased while on horse back and her entourage swung into action every time, saving her life.
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