Author Topic: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?  (Read 86884 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« on: July 21, 2007, 10:30:36 AM »
I am reading the novel "Elizabeth the Beloved" where the plot includes Elizabeth of York being in love with her uncle Richard... I know that there was at some point speculation of Richard marrying Elizabeth after his wife Anne died, but not sure how real it was... Is this notion of the romance between the niece and uncle purely the author's fantasy or was there really something to it? I don't know enough about those two to be able to say one way or another. Any thoughts?

Offline Yseult

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2007, 10:57:55 AM »
Im not an expert about Richard III, but, as far as I know, the life of this king is fullfilled with rumours. It was said that, after the death of his only legitimate son and heir, he planned to divorce Anne Neville and marry his niece Elizabeth of York. When Anne was dead, the rumours stated that Richard was trying to obtain the neccesary disspensation from the catholic church to marry Elizabeth. Supposedly, Elizabeth Woodville, sister-in-law of Richard and mother of Anne, was in the plot to make her elder daughter the new queen.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2007, 12:07:57 PM »
Im not an expert about Richard III, but, as far as I know, the life of this king is fullfilled with rumours. It was said that, after the death of his only legitimate son and heir, he planned to divorce Anne Neville and marry his niece Elizabeth of York. When Anne was dead, the rumours stated that Richard was trying to obtain the neccesary disspensation from the catholic church to marry Elizabeth. Supposedly, Elizabeth Woodville, sister-in-law of Richard and mother of Anne, was in the plot to make her elder daughter the new queen.

Yes, all these rumors were around, but in this novel, Elizabeth actually had feelings for her uncle since she was a child and he reciprocated. Richard III is portrayed very sympathetically in this book. For example, he is clearly not the one responsible for the murders of Elizabeth's brothers in the Tower, even though it is of course blamed on him (Henry Tudor is the actual culprit).

I guess my question is, what was the real relationship between the uncle and the niece, if there even was one, was it one of mutual sympathy and possibly even some sort of romantic feelings between them, or is all this hogwash in order to make a good book? In other words, is there any historical evidence at all that this may have been possible, or purely speculation/fantasy?

Offline Terence

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2007, 11:45:12 PM »
In recent years it has been discovered in records of the Portugese court that Richard was seeking a bride in the royal family there, and a husband for Elizabeth.  The Portugese royals were descended from a daughter of John of Gaunt.  Richard was killed at Bosworth before anything came of it.  I think Richard denied the rumor  of his interest in marrying Elizabeth during his lifetime, and the discovery of the Portugese negotiations seems to confirm it was just another piece of slander by his enemies.

They say history is written by the victors, and the Tudors sure did a swell job of it!  ;)

T

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2007, 09:12:20 AM »
I agree with Terence. In Sharon Penman's 'the Sunne in Splendour' she depicts Elizabeth as having feelings for her uncle, but as far as I know it's all romantic invention - I don't think anything is known about their actual relationship, if any.
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2007, 09:52:25 AM »
Helen, I love that book, its Maureen Peters isn't it. She wrote some good historical novels- "Anne the Rose of Hever" and A really lovely one about Mary-Rose, hope you can get your hands on them.
I think there possibly was some kind of romance (as far as Elizabeth was concerned anyway).
There are 3 contemporary sources that report that Richard was considering a match;
The Clerkenwell Declaration
In Spring of 1485, Richard publically and vehemently denied allegations of poisoning (of Queen Anne), of remarriage and his selection of Princess Elizabeth as wife, allegations that were in general circulation.
The marriage is also discussed in the Crowland Chronicle.
Probably most fascinating of all is a letter reportedly written in Elizabeth's own hand. If the letter is genuine, (and it is no longer extant), then Elizabeth consented to the marriage enthusiastically. In February 1485, Elizabeth of York wrote to the Duke of Norfolk expressing the hope that Queen Anne's illness would soon prove fatal and she would then marry her uncle King Richard. She fulsomely describes Richard as "her only joy and maker in this world" and that she was "his in heart, and in thoughts, in (body) and in all". (source= Buck). So, evidently she fancied the man as well as the crown he could bring her.
Politically, the marriage would have been advantageous. Also, Elizabeth was nubile,healthy, attractive-resembling her Aunt, the Queen in height, build and colouring.She could be expected to provide heirs speedily. The number of impediments to the marriage is also impressive, not least that marriage between Uncle and Niece constituted a blood relationship that was normally regarded as incestuous and Elizabeth was also closely related to Anne and Richard through other lines as well.
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Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2007, 11:52:25 AM »
Hi,

I'm a little confused here......
Didn't Richard III usurp the throne from his nephew(s) because he declared them illegitimate?  And, didn't he also declare that his brother, Edward IV, was illegitimate also?
Then, why would he want to marry his illegitimate niece?

And furthermore, why would Elizabeth want to marry her brothers' jailer and usurper?  Was she so shallow?  And, what about the mother, Elizabeth Woodville;  would she want her daughter to marry her enemy?

What say you all to this?

Larry

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2007, 12:57:50 PM »
I agree Larry. To marry Elizabeth, surely the "bastardy" issue would have to be reversed. Therefore Edward (V) would be rightful King and not Richard. I wonder that IF there was such a letter as detailed by Buck, wether Elizabeth's mother had a hand in the writing of it. Also, Richard PUBLICALLY denied all claims of this future marriage.
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Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2007, 04:49:34 PM »
Hi Kimberly,

Thanks for that very enlightening answer.  Yes, what to do about the 'bastardization' question - -

To have some of them legitimized and others not??
And, if Edward V and Richard York are now "on the right side of the blanket" then let's bring him back as King.  Ooops, sorry but I just killed them!!!

A bit of a sticky wicket all round, what!!!

Larry

Offline Mari

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2007, 04:39:25 AM »
I cannot see the Catholic Church condoning incest..although I haven't made a strong study of Papal Dispensations. This was her Father's Brother. I am not aware of Marriages except between Cousins...were there ever any like this In European History. I am aware of the Egyptian Royal Marriages I cannot even imagine what kind of genetic problems that caused. ::)

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2007, 05:56:38 AM »
Mari. its all about "prohibited degrees". Consanguinity (related by blood) and Affinity (relationships created by marriage), were expressed as degrees. Marriages/unions between partners within 4 degrees of kinship, wether consanguinal or affinal were banned because they were "incestuous". (It was originally extended to the 7th degree).
Putting it in context; a couple could not marry if they shared a Great,Great, Great,Great Grandparent. For the elite, ie Royals/aristocrats who frquently intermarried with their kin,a Papal Bull dispensed prohibitions. So you see, we are not talking sister marrying brother etc.
Another interesting note is the Age of Consent, supposedly that of puberty, was 12 for women and 14 for men. The Age of Majority was 14 for women and 21 for men.
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Offline Yseult

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2007, 12:55:16 PM »
I cannot see the Catholic Church condoning incest..although I haven't made a strong study of Papal Dispensations. This was her Father's Brother. I am not aware of Marriages except between Cousins...were there ever any like this In European History. I am aware of the Egyptian Royal Marriages I cannot even imagine what kind of genetic problems that caused. ::)

Youre wrong.
The Catholic Church gave a lot of dispensations to european monarchs to marry their nieces. A few examples:

-Philip IV, king of Spain, did obtain the consent of the church for his marriage with Marianna of Austria. Marianna was a daughter of his own sister, Maria Ana of Spain, and she had been married to emperor Ferdinand III. Marianna, the niece and second wife of Philip IV, had been bethroted to Baltasar Carlos, a son of her husband. She was to be the daughter-in-law of uncle Philip...and she became the wife of the same uncle Philip. With the consent of the church ;)

-Margarita Teresa of Austria, infanta of Spain, married, with the consent of the church, emperor Leopold II. He was a brother of Marianna of Austria, the mother of Margarita. So, Marianna, married to her uncle Felipe, had a daughter and married the daughter to her own brother Leopold.


Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2007, 02:02:08 PM »
Helen, I love that book, its Maureen Peters isn't it. She wrote some good historical novels- "Anne the Rose of Hever" and A really lovely one about Mary-Rose, hope you can get your hands on them.

I finished the book and liked it very much too... I like the way Peters writes. I just ordered "Anne the Rose of Hever" used from Amazon - they had it for 99 cents!, what was the title of the Mary Rose one?


There are 3 contemporary sources that report that Richard was considering a match;
The Clerkenwell Declaration
In Spring of 1485, Richard publically and vehemently denied allegations of poisoning (of Queen Anne), of remarriage and his selection of Princess Elizabeth as wife, allegations that were in general circulation.
The marriage is also discussed in the Crowland Chronicle.
Probably most fascinating of all is a letter reportedly written in Elizabeth's own hand. If the letter is genuine, (and it is no longer extant), then Elizabeth consented to the marriage enthusiastically. In February 1485, Elizabeth of York wrote to the Duke of Norfolk expressing the hope that Queen Anne's illness would soon prove fatal and she would then marry her uncle King Richard. She fulsomely describes Richard as "her only joy and maker in this world" and that she was "his in heart, and in thoughts, in (body) and in all". (source= Buck). So, evidently she fancied the man as well as the crown he could bring her.

Thanks for this info, this is exactly the type of information I was looking for.

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2007, 02:40:30 PM »
Helen, off the top of my head, these are the ones I remember from Maureen Peters;
Kathryn the Wanton Queen (Kate Howard).
Anne the Rose of Hever (Anne Boleyn).
Princess of Desire (Mary-Rose Tudor).
Mary the Infamous Queen (Mary Tudor)
The Woodville Wench.
All good reads. ;)  (But somewhat naff titles ;D).
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2007, 03:03:35 PM »
Thanks! I think I like Maureen Peters as much as Jean Plaidy  :). They are very similar in style, but Peters' books are hard to find in the library!