Book Review: “Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen: The Story of Elizabeth of York” by Samantha Wilcoxson

Hello!

I was on my Instagram stories the other day, and as I was passing through others, I saw a very small bit of Samantha Wilcoxson’s; sharing that the first book of her Plantagenet Embers series, The Story of Elizabeth of York was free for that day. In my mind, I thought it would be just like my other ‘freebies’ and store it for a later date once it was fully downloaded, but I didn’t wait to start it. I think I may have lasted about 12 hours total, which wasn’t a surprise at all. I have a strong weakness for historical fiction, especially if they discuss the Tudor dynasty.

In the midst of reading this book, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died, and this story about another Queen Elizabeth (she was a Queen Consort, not Regent!) really helped me heal through the news of her death. I found these two women to have a similar story, they were not expected to ascend to their positions, as Elizabeth II’s father was the brother of the disgrace Edward VIII, so his younger brother Prince Albert, The Duke of York became King George VI in 1936, where his wife Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons would later become referred as “Elizabeth, The Queen Mother” as their first daughter Princess Elizabeth would eventually be title Queen Elizabeth II. She obviously didn’t want to overshadow her daughter’s own name when she inherited the throne in 1952.

For anyone out there who would like to explore the story of Elizabeth of York’s story as a nonfiction, I definitely recommend Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir, but if you should probably read something about her mother, The Dowager Queen of Edward IV and I suggest Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower by David Baldwin.


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She was the mother of Henry VIII and wife of Henry VII, but who was Elizabeth of York? Raised as the precious oldest child of Edward IV, Elizabeth had every reason to expect a bright future until Edward died, and her life fell apart.

When Elizabeth’s uncle became Richard III, she was forced to choose sides. Should she trust her father’s brother and most loyal supporter or honor the betrothal that her mother has made for her to her family’s enemy, Henry Tudor?

The choice was made for her on the field at Bosworth, and Elizabeth the Plantagenet princess became the first Tudor queen.

Did Elizabeth find happiness with Henry? Did she ever discover the truth about her missing brothers, who became better known as the Princes in the Tower?

Lose yourself in Elizabeth’s world in Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen.

taken from Goodreads.

I find Elizabeth of York so fascinating! On one foot, she was born of Plantagenet blood, on the side with the “White Rose” full of Yorkists, with her father Edward VI at the head of the family and kingdom, with his common wife Elizabeth Woodville. She was their first child, and even though her parents wished for her to be a boy, she was still loved and could be a way to tighter alliances in the future of Edward’s reign, and she was brothel to a few people, the one Samantha discusses in the book was Louis, the Dauphin of France.

Elizabeth still wasn’t sure that she was ready for what she must face, but she had been given little choice.

Bess, as she was referred in the book, is a very important person in the aftermath of the Wars of The Roses, After the disappearances of her younger brothers and heirs to the throne, she has the unlucky advantage of becoming the wife to the Red Rose, the Lancastrian Henry Tudor. However, we see her in the presence of her uncle Richard’s eye at the start of the story and honestly, this arrangement could have worked, at this time she was considered a bastard, plus it wasn’t uncommon for royals to marry into their own family lines, I mean, just look into the lives of the Hapsburgs!

Another part of this though, Bess and her sister Cecily try to establish contact with their brothers who they assume are still alive and well somewhere in the country, away from court life in the thick of Richard’s reign. When Henry Tudor is proclaimed king, he and Elizabeth are married, and she gives birth to Prince Arthur, and they deal with the pretenders of the crown. Despite the fact there isn’t much about the real “Bess” opinions about politics as she wanted to be a submissive wife–the total opposite of her mother by the way!–I wonder what she really thought about these attempts of stripping her husband and son’s titles away. As a reader, it’s heartbreaking to try to decipher between her loyalty of her family, and if these men were in fact her brothers. I’m still reeling over the last paragraph of the book because it annoyed and stunned me at the same time.

The rose was white in the center and blood-red at the edges of the petals. A white York rose dipped in Lancastrian blood.

Back in 2020, I had read the second book of this series, Faithful Traitor, it was about Lady Margaret Pole, daughter of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence (who was Edward IV and Richard III’s brother and Lady Isabel Neville oldest child, and this one gives you more of an insight into the events that happen after Bess has passed away.

I am currently reading the third and final book Queen of Martyrs which is about Queen Mary I’s rise to the throne. Once I’m finished with it though, I will not be reading the novellas that go along with the other books in the series–I’ve tried to get through Once a Queen: The Story of Elizabeth Woodville and Prince of York: The Story of Reginald Pole, twice so I’ve put them in my DNF shelf (did not finish) on Goodreads. However, I do have one other book by another author on my list that discusses this time frame but on the point of view of the Lancastrian side, as it follows Lady Margaret Beaufort and her son, the first Tudor king, Henry VII. I’m aiming to get a review out towards the end of October, but we’ll see what really happens there.

Have you read “Once a Queen: The Story of Elizabeth of York” or any of the other books I’ve listed above? If you have, please share your thoughts in the comments section.

snowflake

Mary Vs. Jane: The Real Usurper

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Hi 🙂

I’m really enjoying these different history posts I’ve been doing lately. I’m not trying to do one every month but it kind of just happens. The last one about King Richard III and King Henry VII was completely accidental, I actually wanted to do this first but I needed to think about how the other post would do with my audience and so I decided to wait a bit.

Queen Mary I is the oldest daughter of King Henry VIII and Spanish princess Katherine of Aragon. After Katherine declined to annual her marriage to Henry so he could marry his mistress and one of her ladies-in-waiting Anne Boleyn. She was set away from court and was forced to stay away from their daughter. They were technically still married to as he secretly wed Anne and after Katherine passed Princess Mary was then considered a bastard and lost her way to inherit the throne.

Henry had a total of six siblings, but only two of his sisters survived to adulthood. The youngest, Princess Mary was married to Louis XI of France but they didn’t last very long when he died shortly after. When she came back to England, she secretly married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk who was one of her brother’s best friends. Since they also married in secret, they had to pay a hefty fine to the King for not asking him for permission to marry. Mary and Charles had a total of four children. The only male heirs who were both named Henry died young, but daughters Lady Eleanor and Lady Frances survived to adulthood.

Lady Frances Brandon married Henry Grey, the Marquess of Dorset (who was the great-great-grandson of Elizabeth Woodville and her first first husband Thomas Grey) they had a total of three daughters themselves: Lady Jane, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary. The girls were King Henry VIII’s great-nieces and they were born into a Protestant family. Now I don’t know that much about Lady Jane Grey, only that she was put into succession in King Edward VI’s will and she was married to Lord Robert Dudley. This is all I really know of this part of her personal life.

Lady Jane Grey was the granddaughter of the sister of the former King of England and born into a Protestant family, so she had the means to keep the religion afloat until Queen Mary sent her troops into England and she arrested Jane and her husband and father for their crimes for going against the Act of Succession that clearly states that once Edward died, she would rule after him. Edward had tried to bypass this law and basically threw her into the woods. Jane is known as the “nine day queen” because she only had nine days on the throne of England. To historians, she’s the usurper because she went around the law, but I don’t see it that way.

When Henry finally had his son and kept marrying these other women to make sure he had another “male” heir in case Edward did not survive, which he didn’t and Edward died at the same age as Henry’s older brother Prince Arthur. The kingdom roughly should have went to the Lady Mary, since as Henry got older he did put both Mary and Elizabeth back in line of succession. However, something has always made me wonder, when King Henry renounced the Catholic faith, why did he put Mary back in line to the throne when he knew she still practiced the religion? Did he grow to regret his decision to create the Church of England or did he only do it, so she wouldn’t leave for Spain or France and start a war with her half brother and her homeland?

England was practicing both religions, let’s be honest about here. Lady Jane could have kept the faith but when Queen Mary came and had her killed for trying to go around the law, she brought Catholicism back. In her reign, Mary set ablaze to the Protestant martyrs and with that, she gained the nickname “Bloody Mary” because she killed over hundreds of people for not accepting the true faith. After failing to give an heir with her Spanish husband King Phillip, England went back to being a Protestant kingdom with Queen Elizabeth I as she was the daughter of the reason why King Henry VIII had renounced the religion in the first place.

So I do get the fact that Jane was put on the throne after Edward went around the Act but I doubt she wanted that role or knew what would happen to her after those nine days, but I wouldn’t call her a usurper. Mary was a devout Catholic and was going to change the religion back after her father spent so much time and effort into it. I often think even if Mary wasn’t put back in line anyways, she obviously had the resources to create an army anyways, she would have fought for that crown.

So what do you think, who is the real usurper? Lady Jane Grey or Queen Mary I? 

snowflake

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Richard vs. Henry: Who Deserved The Crown?

bigbang

Hello 🙂

I have somehow managed to get involved in two different parties that involve two very powerful men in the British Royal Family. On Facebook, you have the Richard III Society and there’s also The Henry Tudor Society. If you’re not familiar with medieval kings, you may not know why these two sides have always been controversial. I feel like I should have published this on August 22nd since that was the date of the Battle Of Bosworth Field and this would make more sense because you could find tons of information about them, but I already had a blog post and it takes me too long to rearrange them, so I kept it for today.

Richard was never supposed to be king, but after the death of his brother King Edward IV he was given rights to protect his oldest nephew, the new King Edward V. However, when Richard locked him in a cellar with his younger brother Richard, Duke Of York at the Tower of London the two disappeared and people assumed Richard had them killed.

There was always a theory in the Tudor times that King Richard III was a hunchback. They even painted a portrait of him and basically used it as propaganda to the people of England. To many people those were rumors put in place by their historians to make him look more villainous. And then after 500 years of wondering about it, they finally found his grave site in modern day London, where they found a corpse of a man with a bent up spine just like Richard was rumored to have had as well! In 2012, DNA came up with positive results that it was indeed the lost hunchback king, Richard III.

When I heard about this I was amazed! I have read so many articles and watched two separate programs about him that I’ve sort of became a sympathizer to Richard. However, the question remains, if the Tudor were right about the fact he was disabled, what if he truly had his nephews killed?

Now we have to discuss King Henry VII, the son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort. A woman who was betrothed to Edmund at the age of 12 and had Henry just under a year later. According to reports, it was a very traumatic experience for her but she loved her son very much!  She was the great-great-great-great granddaughter of King Edward III and great-great-great granddaughter of John of Guant, through his mistress but later became his wife Katherine Swynford. If you watch Game Of Thrones the term “bastard” should appear in your head right now.

Margaret was a loyal subject to the House of Lancaster, but when she married her fourth husband Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl Of Derby later on in life she changed sides to help support her common enemy King Edward IV and the House Of York. The reason why she didn’t like them was because after the fall of Henry VI and his wife Margaret of Anjou, her son was exiled and taken away from her to live in Wales with his uncle Jasper Tudor. So switching sides was not on her agenda by any means!

Despite this, she became one of Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s ladies-in-waiting and was even present in the births of their younger children. After the death of the king, Elizabeth and her children took up sanctuary since she did not support Richard and she began to write to Margaret Beaufort and made arrangements to marry off her oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, who herself was considered a bastard after Richard found any means necessary to strip the rest of the clan of their titles so they could not claim the throne without it being treason, even if that making the world believe that a dead woman was contracted to marry Edward before he met Elizabeth.

However, later the older daughters (Elizabeth, Cecily, and Anne) were allowed to come to court and become their aunt Queen Anne’s ladies-in-waiting and somehow a rumor appeared to a romantic fling between the Lady Elizabeth and King Richard III. I think, this was also propaganda against Henry Tudor as they knew she was promised to him if he fought Richard. After Richard was killed at Bosworth Field, Henry finally married Elizabeth of York and she went on to bore him seven children.

Prince Arthur who was heir apparent; before his death at the age of 15, married the Spanish princess Katherine of Aragon. Princess Margaret, who went on to marry King James IV of Scotland and is the grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots and great-grandmother of King James VI and I. Prince Henry, who went on to become King Henry VIII and married Katherine of Aragon after the death of his brother and she bore him two children Princess Mary (who became Mary I) and Prince Henry, Duke of Cornwall who died just 52 days after his birth. He renounced the Catholic faith and married Anne Boleyn. She bore him another daughter Princess Elizabeth, who later became Queen Elizabeth I. After beheading Anne, he married her lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour and she bore him a son, King Edward VI but since she died shortly after, he went on to marry three more women: Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Katherine Parr.

His sister Princess Mary, became a Queen consort of Louis XII of France but it was only a brief marriage and she then returned to England and secretly married Charles Brandon, Duke Of Suffolk who was the king’s best friend and trusted adviser. She bore him two daughters Lady Eleanor and Lady Frances, who married Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, they had three daughters: Mary, Catherine and Jane, who was the de facto Queen of England after the death of her cousin King Edward VI. The other children of Henry and Elizabeth did not live to adulthood, but nevertheless they were Princess Elizabeth, Prince Edmund and Princess Katherine.

We know the stories of The Wars Of The Roses and what happened at the Battle of Bosworth Field, but everything in between is pretty bleak. It’s hard to choose a side to support, because I will admit I know more about the Tudor times, but after finding out the King Richard III was disabled and that he had scoliosis like myself, is kind of cool! There are many royals in history who suffered from disabilities that had lost their chances in the succession to the throne because of it. I have to fight not being mad about that, because it was a custom back then and unfortunately, that way of thinking is still ongoing in the different royal families of Europe.

What do you think of both the last Plantagenet and first Tudor king’s stories? Who do you think deserved the crown?
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