Fate: fāt [noun] the development of events beyond a person’s control,
regarded as determined by a supernatural power.


Growing up I’ve always wondered why things happen the way they do. And growing up I’ve always been met with the same answer: everything happens for a reason, this is all in God’s will, bla bla bla the whole package. I’m sure you know what I’m taking about. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. All my life I have been ingrained with this notion and believed it. But something happened to me recently, that had me thinking about all of this again. And trust me, believing in something and experiencing it firsthand are totally different things. I’m not going to go into details about what the experience was, but let’s just say that I was devastated by the outcome. And as usual I asked myself: why? I got the answer the very next day but again, I’m not going to go into details. Let’s just say the events have strengthen my belief on fate all over again.

I have always been a fan of history. And a few days ago I’ve read something that resonates deep within me. Let me tell you a story:

I’m not really sure how to begin, but I think I should start with the war. On 1455–1487, there was a series of wars called the Wars of the Roses that plagued England. The wars were fought for control of the throne of England between two royal houses: the House of York (White Rose) and the House of Lancaster (Red Rose). I’m not going to dive into details, but let’s just say that Edward of York claimed the throne from a Lancastarian King and became King Edward IV. His predecessor, King Henry VI,  and his son, Edward of Westminster, died a few years later, making Henry of Tudor, who was like, a distant relative in exile, the new Lancastarian heir. So anyway King Edward IV and Margaret Beaufort (Henry Tudor’s mother) planned to reunite the two feuding houses by marrying his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, to Henry. Seems like a good plan, right? So in 1475, Henry was put on board a ship at St Maolo to return him back to England. But at the last minute, he escaped.

Later that same year, the princess was betrothed to Prince Charles, the heir to France. Growing up, her parents called her la dauphine: the future Queen of France. However, the engagement didn’t last very long. So in 1482 (7 years later) again there was discussion drawn up to betroth the White Princess to Henry because the King of France had broken the engagement between the dauphin and the princess. Again, Henry refused.

A year later King Edward IV died and his eldest son (Elizabeth’s brother), a 12 year old boy, ascended the throne. But it wasn’t long before his uncle, Richard, usurped him and became King Richard III. There were rumors that he later planned to marry Elizabeth himself, stating that his own wife was sickly and could not bear him children (incest is gross, I know). I should add that during this time, Elizabeth’s two little brothers, Edward and Richard, had disappeared from the Tower of London (google The Princes in the Tower) – presumably murdered – making Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, the rightful heir to the throne to most of England (because in those times, when all of the sons in the family have died, the eldest daughter become the heir).

At the same time, Henry of Tudor was sailing for England with an army to claim the throne from Richard. Margaret of Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville (Elizabeth’s mother, they have the same name so it’s very confusing, I know) agreed to marry their children  to reunite the houses. AGAIN. To make his claim stronger and gain more allies, Henry eventually agreed. In December 1483, he swore an oath publicly to marry Elizabeth in a cathedral in Rennes, France. Henry’s army prevailed and he became King Henry VII and their marriage ended the war. King Henry VII created the Tudor Rose, a combination of the white rose of York and red rose of Lancaster, thus uniting the houses.

They had 7 children, but only 3 survived into adulthood, and later in life they became parents to a king and 2 queens. They didn’t marry because they loved each other. Their union was mainly to save a kingdom from collapsing due to war, but in the end they fell in love anyway. So much that when Queen Elizabeth died in 1503 during chidbirth, his husband mourned her so deeply that he became extremely ill and would often spend time in solitary, only letting his mother near him. 6 years later he eventually died of heartbreak.

I guess my point is, sometimes you try so hard to achieve something, but in the end you fail anyway. You could have a detailed plan in your mind for so long about how your life is going to be but when it comes down to it, nothing goes as planned. And it feels like your life is spiraling out of control. You feel  confused and powerless and heartbroken. And I’m talking about the kind of heartbreak that leaves you crying to God at 4 in the morning on your praying mat when the rest of the world is asleep. But that’s ok. It’s the oldest cliche in the world, but it is true. Everything does happen for a reason. There are things in life that are not in your control, you can try so hard to avoid or achieve something but at the end of the day, if it’s not written for you, then the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean your choices doesn’t count and you have to surrender it all to fate or destiny. Someone once asked Victoria Beckham whether she believes in choices or destiny. She answered, “I believe your choices will lead you to your destiny”. And I think that that is both beautiful and true. So the main thing that I’ve learnt from all this is that I should never stop working hard to get what I want, but if things do not go my way, I wouldn’t be too hard on myself. Chances are, better things are on the way.





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