My beloved Sir Tristán,
Keeping my promise, I am finally able to write you, on Christmas day, just one day after my arrival in the town of London, whilst my heart is beating fast and the fire is burning in the chimney.
I heartily recommend me unto you, that since my departure from Granada, no moment has passed, in which my gloomy mind hasn't desired to return to you, my darling.
It makes my heart die, thinking what fortune I have, that I cannot be always in your company.
I might feel bliss, just because I am finding myself in the splendid country of England and observing all these ladies and lords, wearing all of them wonderful costumes and jewels, but I can't get rid of the lovely memory, when we met for the last time. This shall be to advertise you, of the great elengeness that I find here.
I wish the time may be short, but I shall think it will be long until we see each other again.
And now that I find myself so far from you, my Lord, I wish more than ever in my life, that we meet again in that little corner of the Alhambra Palace, next to our tree which evaporates the magical perfume of sweet oranges and to rejoice your marvelous and wonderful presence.
I only hope that you really comprehend my choice, having to obey the laws which enact me my father, the Duke of Rivas.
I send you this letter, demonstrating my honest affection I feel for you and although I am standing so far away from you, I assure you, with my heart in my hands, that there will be nothing, that can change it and wishing that perhaps you will reconsider your opinion, to come to the court from which now is my lord and sovereign, his majesty, Henry VII.
I also was surprised, arriving at Richmond Palace, on Christmas Eve, despite the long sea journey I endured, they did not permit us to eat any meat, cheese or eggs, explaining us that advent is a time of fasting and that the celebration will begin on Christmas day. Therefore they could only offer me and the ladies some fruits and pastries.
Even so, and to encourage you to come and visit me here in England, I also have to express my candid amazement, that I could find out having tattled a few words with her majesty Elizabeth of York, who really is an example of beauty and kindness.
The tenderness with which her majesty treats her children, especially prince Henry, a really rebellious and playful little boy, has been overwhelming.
He sat on her majesty's lap, while they were looking at each other with great affection and love.
I haven’t had the honor yet to meet his grace, Henry VII, but nevertheless I have seen his majesty not so far away from me, and I have to allude, without any doubt, that he has created a prosperity and happiness that can be felt by all of us that we are here, at his court, at Richmond Palace.
I have also observed how his majesty's eyes shine, when he looks at his wife and Queen Elizabeth, and when she sits next to their son Arthur, Prince of Wales, and future husband of Princess Catherine. I also should add that I suppose that the Prince of Wales will turn into a cheerful and respectful person. I imagine that someday he will reign this country, along with Princess Catherine, continuing with the peace and prosperity that has created his father and sovereign, Henry VII.
And God willing, that our well beloved Princess Catherine may give him a multitude of good and healthy children.
After I had been hungry yesterday and after three masses were said in the morning, finally today began the celebration of Christmas.
His majesty Henry VII came to the royal chapel dressed in coronation robes with the bright colors of purple and scarlet, wearing his crown honestly.
While everyone held lighted candles, the genealogy of Christ was sung. I should mention that it was really lovely, a chapel covered with lights.
From this Christmas day all work will cease, except looking after animals. To my displeasure even for the women it is not permitted to spin. Instead flowers are placed around the spinning wheels.
Before accompanying her majesty Elizabeth of York to the great hall, to initiate the celebration, the maids of honor could not suppress their giggles, listening how the musicians were playing a brightly song with the lute and the flutes and I have to admit that I also was really thrilled.
Entering in the great hall, I couldn't cease to feel completely amazed. The entire hall spread different kinds of perfumes, smelling like firewood, cinnamon, several types of fir, possibly by the branches of holly, ivy, mistletoe that served all as decoration.
I also have observed the dazzling large windows, which are covered with a great rose with red and white petals. I have seen the same rose in many parts of the palace, apparently it has a special meaning, but I have not yet figured out what it is.
The servants began to serve all the food for the large tables, which were covered with branches of yew, hazel, cinnamon sticks and apples.
But before we started having the great dinner, surprisingly some actors appeared and performed a play, telling the story of Christ. All the ladies and lords were pleased of it, including myself and permit me to add that without a doubt, you would also have liked it.
Finally the amazing dinner was served and once again the great hall was rife with uncountable different perfumes. I am not able to mention to you all the dishes I have tasted, because of the huge amount and the indescribability.
I understood it was based on the fasting, which everyone had to undergo since early December and today they finally achieved their redress.
On the amazing tables were served several meats like venison, partridge, swan, goose and boar, situated in the center. The boar was carried into the banqueting hall on a gold dish, decorated with herbs and accompanied by trumpets and the voices of minstrels.
The swan also served as decoration. Firstly they skinned the swan, afterwards they roasted the meat and finally they put it back inside the cured skin with the feathers on. It really looked fabulous.
Something really pleasant was the sweet cake, called "minced pie" which had been filled with apples, pumpkin, raisins, currants, prunes, spices, vegetable ghee, mutton and some saffron to color it.
Adding furthermore that it had been shaped like a crib, which really moves me, reminding me of my beloved Spain. Oh, it would have made me really happy, if you had been there and had tasted it.
There was also another extraordinary dish, which was a turkey stuffed with a goose, the goose was stuffed with a chicken, which was stuffed with a partridge and the partridge was stuffed with a pigeon. All of this was put in a pastry case and was served surrounded by jointed hare, small game birds and wild fowl.
A pastry quite ostentatious.
It was simply an endless dinner, sometimes we stopped to dance, to drink, to converse, but then we went back to eat. The lutes, flutes and violins didn't cease playing and the great hall disperses bliss and peace.
If you had only been there, and had seen all what I have seen, and had tasted all what I have tasted. It was a beautiful celebration but this had been only the beginning, as we will continue celebrating Christmas during the next 11 days, which are still to come.
But however, I would like to spend those days with you, my sweetheart, and my parents and brothers and sisters.
Now it is time to sleep and I almost cannot keep my tired eyes open.
I send you this letter, to cause you yet oftener to remember me, beseeching you to apprise me of your welfare.
At present, that I will fall asleep, I am observing the snowflakes falling down on my window, I am still hearing the Christmas carols and I am only able to hope to see you soon again, which will be to me a greater comfort than all the precious jewels in the world.
This is from the hand of your loyal servant and friend,
Leonor de Salazar