Part Seventeen: Lambert Simnel & the Battle of Stoke Field

Lambert Simnel

Aaand, we’re back at it. To note, this will be my last historical post before the New Year due to travel, but we’ll reconvene the second week of January. (In the meantime, of course, if you follow the modern stuff , there will the traditional end-of-year wrap-ups next week.) Anyway. The Princes in the Tower. Henry VII. Rebellions. Before we start, if you missed the last post on evidence for the Princes’ potential survival, you can catch up here. I recommend making sure that you’ve read it since I’ve written the below on the assumption you’re clear on those events.

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Part Sixteen: Francis Lovell, Colchester & Gipping Hall

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Ok! Part Sixteen! If you missed the most recent post in our Richard III series, then you can catch up here. Today we’re going to discuss evidence that the “Princes in the Tower” may well have survived. I feel fairly confident that the evidence for why they didn’t has been well-covered, and frankly the most glaring piece of it is that they disappeared during Richard III’s reign, so…let’s just go ahead and wade into the murkier territory.

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Part Fifteen: Richard III & the Elizabeths

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Better late than never? Let’s hope so. In the late summer and early autumn, there were 14 blog posts dedicated to Richard III, and then…time got away from me. Apologies. But, we’re back at it, and today we’re going to pick up with the fifteenth, covering what Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York can tell us about Richard III’s reign and the fate of the “Princes in the Tower” – Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

As a catch up, the first 11 posts in the series covered Richard’s life from birth until 1483, and then there were two timeline posts that laid out the events of 1483-1485 without commentary. We’re now zooming in on specific people and events, with today’s post starting to really dig into the question of the “Princes.” So, if you want to catch up, here’s a link to the first post in the series, and if you’re good to go, then here’s a link to the timeline of 1484-1485, to which I’ll be referring throughout.

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Part Thirteen: William Hastings & Eleanor Butler

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Happy Saturday! For those following along in this series, today we’re going to delve into Richard’s claim to the throne, specifically focusing on William, Lord Hastings’s execution in June 1483 and the legitimacy of Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. If you missed Part Twelve, you can catch up here, and it might be useful to have read this timeline of 1483 as I’ll be referencing events from it.

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Margaret Beaufort & Her Four Husbands

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Margaret Beaufort is arguably the great winner of the Wars of the Roses. Certainly she is one of the few to have lived through the war in its entirety and, as such, became the matriarch of the House of the Tudor. Mother to Henry VII, she is an ancestor to every English/British monarch since Henry VIII (as well as Scotland’s James V and Mary Stuart). But though she existed in the same world as Marguerite of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville and Anne Neville, she is rarely seen as exciting as them – she never wore a crown and by the time she held substantial power, she was a woman in 50s. Instead, she is usually depicted as the mother-in-law from hell, a meddler and a jarring mix of pious and power-hungry.

To some, she is even a contender as the true killer of the Princes of the Tower.

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The Last Plantagenet: Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

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The life of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury is likely familiar to those who enjoy studying the Tudors, but for those who haven’t heard of her, it is a story that perfectly exemplifies several realities of life outside the very center of the Royal Family. Margaret was born a niece of a king and ended up the daughter of a traitor, the wife of an unknown entity and the mother of a papist in the middle of the reformation. She managed to survive until the third act of Henry VIII’s reign, but by then she stood for something else entirely as one of the last Plantagenets to have made it that far in Tudor England.

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In Elizabeth of York’s Shadow: Cecily of York, Lady Welles

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Cecily of York has always perplexed me. A daughter of one queen and sister to another, she was not only at the epicenter of “Wars of the Roses” drama, but unlike her younger sisters, Anne, Katherine and Bridget, she was old enough to know what was happening. She also came very close to playing a more high-profile role thanks to her betrothal to the future James IV of Scotland, and had her first marriage abruptly annulled when power changed hands in 1485. So, who exactly was this woman?

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Katherine of York, Countess of Devon & the Courtenays

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Remarkably given their dynastic importance, the chaos with which they were surrounded and their potential for mischief, the daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville were a quiet lot. Much like the eldest, Elizabeth of York, there are only flashes of agency against an overarching pattern of obedience for the younger daughters.

While we know that Elizabeth became the queen consort of Henry VII and the third sister, Anne of York, married Thomas Howard, future 3rd Duke of Norfolk, today we’re going to focus on the second-to-youngest daughter, Katherine, whose life followed a very interesting Medieval pattern.

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The Ick Factor: Richard III & Elizabeth of York

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Speaking of the Tudor Myth, a fun little twist to exanining Richard III is seeing two wildly divergent schools of thought on him. While there are presumably some objective histories of his life and reign, most fall into two camps: those that revile him and those that apologize for him.

This is particularly evident in the question as to whether or not Richard III made plans to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York, in 1485. What exactly the nature of their relationship was has been eroded by time, but there is far too much smoke around the issue for there not to have been at least a reasonably-sized fire. In this case, the theory is borne out by the fact that there was contemporary speculation on the subject, as well as the fact that Richard took the pains to publicly deny it.

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