Back in November, I celebrated my birthday with a trip to one of my favorite places: Barnes & Noble. I hadn’t been there since 2012, so it had been a long time coming and even though I had a list of books that weren’t necessarily for pleasure, I still managed to find two books that I found interesting, one was The Kings and Queens of England by Ian Crofton and the other was Elizabeth Of York by Alison Weir.
If you remember, 2016 was the year where I watched a lot of documentaries and discovered the On-Demand button apparently! I watched The Tudors in the month of February and made a review and that June I watched The White Queen which is the story of Edward IV and his commoner wife Elizabeth Woodville and the lives of George, Duke Of Clarence, King Richard III, (brothers of Edward) Margaret Beaufort, Margaret Of Anjou, Henry V, Thomas Neville, “The Kingmaker” (cousin to Edward, George, and Richard) and his wife and daughters Isabella (later wife to George) and Anne (later wife and queen consort to King Richard III). I also reviewed the show on here after finishing the series.
I bought this book before I ever found out that they were continuing the TV series of Philippa Gregory’s books, what both shows were based off of, not Alison’s effort. I will say once I found out there was to be a show telling the reign of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, it did fuel my inspiration to finally read it. I started on it either before or on February 28, sometimes I read a lot in one sitting, but I am not sure when I actually started on it. On Goodreads, it states that the book is over 500+ pages long but the real last part of her story ends on 457! The rest of it explains references mentioned inside and Alison also gives you a list of some of her ladies-in-waiting, maid-of-honours, and gentlewomen.
If you were to read some of the reviews of this book on Goodreads, they might discourage you from ever purchasing it. Elizabeth of York wasn’t the type of queen who ruled the country through her husband, she wasn’t that type of person so most people think she was weak and maintained this goody-too-shoes attitude to her husband and the rest of the court, but I don’t think this is a bad thing! She was taught from a very young age what was expected of her as Queen of England and mother to her children. Despite the fact that she was a well-liked queen, some thought deserved to rule the kingdom than anybody else, but at the time no female had done that until her granddaughters Mary I, Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.
So here are some sections you will learn inside the book!
Elizabeth Of York is the oldest daughter of King Edward IV and his Queen, Elizabeth Woodville. Her mother was originally a widow of soldier who fought with the House of Lancaster, her husband Sir Thomas Grey died on the battlefield. She already had two young boys, Thomas and Richard Grey. When the young King Edward met with them it was only to ask for her husband’s land back after they were confiscated when Sir Thomas died. They met under an oak tree and Edward was obviously very taken with her that he fought against his “Kingmaker” Thomas Neville and family’s wishes to not marry into royal blood.
Elizabeth was born in 1466, at that time they, of course, didn’t have ways to know whether or not the baby was going to be a male and heir to the throne. So when she was born, instead of her father being furious with her and his wife, he accepted her and hoped for heirs in the future. King Edward and Queen Elizabeth ended up having 10 children in all, but two of them died. There were three places that she and the royal family and court lived during her early childhood: Sheen, Greenwich and Westminster Castle. Her father had betrothed Elizabeth about five times, the first being to the Dauphin of France after he and his brothers were to go to war to fight back their lands against King Louis XI.
After the death of her father in 1483, her uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester was named guardian of her younger brother Edward V and he was taken by force to The Tower; later he would be joined by their younger brother Richard where the rumors would fly for many decades about what really happened to them as “The Princess In The Tower”. Also at this time, Richard got Parliament to accept that Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth’s mother was invalid and that the children were bastards thus the Duke of Gloucester became King Richard III.
I’ve chosen to leave quite a bit out of this review for a reason–it would ruin the entire thing if I told you more! The book itself is a little intimidating because of the amount of pages it has, but there’s always a thrill of learning about a person’s life, especially if they’ve been dead for centuries! I am generally a fan of biographies, so I knew I’d enjoy it!
I will say I did have some favorite chapters! Chapter 5: “Her Only Joy and Maker” which talks about what would be expected of not only Elizabeth of York when she’s married but her sisters, what their roles of both wife and mother if their husband was of royal blood, Chapter 9: “Offspring Of The Race Of Kings” you will see the birth of King Henry VII and Elizabeth’s first child Prince Arthur! Chapter 11: “Bright Elizabeth” tells you about her coronation as Queen of England in great detail and Chapter 15: “The Spanish Infanta” is about when the Princess Katherine of Aragon finally married Prince Arthur of Wales and some unfortunate events happen afterwards!
I gave the book on Goodreads four stars I think! It would have been five stars, if I hadn’t ruined a bit for myself between watching The White Queen last year and scooping out little pieces of information on the internet… That’s how I knew what year she had died and how many kids she and her husband had together! Also, if you are wondering whether or not to read the book, do not look through the reviews! Keep yourself away from the spoilers and let yourself be open to the story of the forgotten Plantagenet-Tudor queen!
Have you read Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World yet? Are you watching The White Princess on STARZ?