Author Topic: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?  (Read 95890 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2007, 11:17:40 AM »
Yeah, sorry, I wrote "romance" but I didn't really mean it in the biblical sense  ;).

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2007, 11:23:08 AM »
Well, in dealing with a historical rumor, I guess the book wasn't so far off, although it developed it more into fact, which isn't as accurate, it seems so from what I have read here, anyway, as I have never read this book.

dolgoruky18

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2007, 03:53:16 AM »
Regarding the Elizabeth of York letterallegedly seen by Sir George Buck:

Buck saw this letter when he viewed the contents of the Earl of Arundel's cabinet in the 17th century. He saw it once and only briefly, writing the details down from memory later on. Buck was highly regarded as an antiquarian in his own lifetime and has not been proved unsound in other matters. The letter has not been seen since, but that doesn't mean it no longer exists. That being said, it is possible that Buck misread it, assuming it to be from Elizabeth of York. I have sometimes wondered if it was actually written by her mother, Elizabeth Woodville, then being referred to as "Dame Elizabeth Grey".

Could she even have contemplated a marriage with Ricard III himself ? This was not such an impossibility even though he was her brother-in-law. Earlier in the century, Pope Martin V had been repeatedly told by his legal advisers that he could dispense within the Levitical degrees and permitted a number of highly questionable unions. Years later, Henry VIII was to marry his deceased brother's widow and live with her quite happily for twenty years until the lack of a living male heir made him look again at Leviticus and question the Pope's ability to dispense with this and other impediments.

What advantage such a marriage would have been to Richard III is, of course, open to question. One would have thought that Elizabeth's age was against her in the child-bearing stakes. However, this was not considered a difficulty when, early in the reign of Henry VII, she was considered as a possible bride for James III of Scotland. In addition, it should not be forgotten that her youngest child, Bridget, was only an infant when Edward IV died.

If Henry VII found out that she had put forward such a suggestion for her own future  -  when he saw this letter, for example  -  it might explain why he acted so strongly against her when he stripped her of all her properties and sent her to the Nunnery of Bermondsey. The reasons given at the time have always been suspect.


Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2007, 02:54:55 PM »
Hmmm... Something to think about. But if the letter no longer exists, I guess there is no way to know...

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2007, 05:37:19 PM »
I just read another historical fiction (To the Tower Born : A Novel of the Lost Princes by Robin Maxwell http://www.amazon.com/Tower-Born-Novel-Lost-Princes/dp/B000FIHZD2/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-4180705-0509520?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193092554&sr=1-1) where Elizabeth of York was in love with Richard III...

Offline Mikestone

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2008, 03:20:15 PM »
One point that hasn't been mentioned yet. Toward the end of 1484, Elizabeth Woodville reportedly wrote to her son Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, who was then in exile with Henry Tudor, urging him to return to England and seek Richard's pardon, of which she was evidently confident He attempted to do so, but was overtaken by Henry's agents and forcibly brought back.

While this doesn't prove anything definite about marriage plans, it shows that EW confidently anticipated some kind of reconciliation between Richard and the Woodville family. And while Queen Anne Neville was still alive at this time, rumours of possible divorce and remarriage had been in the air ever since Prince Edward died. So the Queen Dowager might have been preparing the ground for this.

The notion of Richard marrying EW herself is a fascinating one, but to my mind unlikely as I just don't see what would be in it for Richard. The Woodvilles weren't an especially  popular lot, and it would alienate a lot of his current supporters. In fact, it would have nearly all the drawbacks of a marriage to Elizabeth of York, without the compensating benefits.

Contrary to what some have said, I think the advantages of the latter match would be considerable. Given the life expectancy of the time (the most recent king to live past 50 had been Edward III over a century before) even if Richard had a son by a second wife, it was longish odds against his living to see the boy come of age. So on his death, all the problems of 1483 were liable to recur, this time at the expense of his own children. But if Elizabeth of York were the young king's mother (and Regent?), she would attract the loyalty both of Richard's supporters and of those who regarded Edward IV's family as the rightful heirs. Between them, they could probably make short work of Henry Tudor.

I don't see the Portuguese marriage project as disproof of the other one. Iirc that came later in the year, after any idea of marrying EoY had been repudiated. One point about it. Infante Dom Manuel, EoY's proposed husband, would later succeed to the throne as Manuel I, so had it gone ahead, Elizabeth of York would still have become a Queen, though not of England.

Offline Norbert

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2008, 10:19:34 AM »
PLEASE don't bring out that old chestnut of HVII murdering the princes. The tower was held by the king and the children who had been forcibly removed there from Westminster Abbey disappeared within months.  Why would a man who usurped the throne of his nephews spare them? Study Henry Tudor and you find a humane man who fined his overmighty subjects rather than kill them. He was a great king who filled an empty treasury and brought peace to a country that was divided by civil war.

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2008, 10:29:08 AM »
There are other threads if you wish to discuss this subject Norbert. but going back to a possible romance between Richard and Elizabeth of York;
In the British Museum, there is Richard's personal copy of "Tristan and Iseulte" which "bears an intriguing motto and signature of Elizabeth". The motto is-"sans removyr" (without changing).There is also a copy of a book by Boethius, which also carries notations by her in the margins and is also inscribed with combinations of Richard's motto-Loyalte me Lye, and Elizabeth's name...both in her handwriting.
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2008, 10:30:48 AM »
In the British Museum, there is Richard's personal copy of "Tristan and Iseulte" which "bears an intriguing motto and signature of Elizabeth". The motto is-"sans removyr" (without changing).There is also a copy of a book by Boethius, which also carries notations by her in the margins and is also inscribed with combinations of Richard's motto-Loyalte me Lye, and Elizabeth's name...both in her handwriting.

Hmm... That's very interesting...

Offline ilyala

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2009, 07:08:04 PM »
you know the funny thing is that what this looks like is a theory that a riccardian would sustain in order to prove that richard was a loveable person. obviously a person who believes richard is a villain would not admit his own niece would love him - a person anti-richard would say that if there was ever talks of a marriage between richard and elizabeth, it was definitely forced and unwanted by elizabeth.

but then this theory still harms richard - because if you sustain a theory of him and elizabeth having a long-lasting connection (rather than some random idea that came up once richard realized he didn't have any heirs anymore) then you totally discard another long-lasting legend: that of the romantic and everlasting love between richard and anne neville (you know, that story, how his brother the duke of clarence hid her away because he had married her sister and didn't want to share their inheritance with his brother, blah blah, richard found her in some very poor circumstances and literally saved her and married her because he truly loved her and not for any other reason). you can't accept both theories at once.

if you ask me it's just a story that was concocted by someone with a rather sick mind - kinda like philippa gregory who decided that when henry 8th decided to charge anne boleyn with incest he must have been right and kinda like the directors of the most horrible movie ever, the other boleyn girl, who decided to show us that there are women who are capable of sleeping with their brothers and that anne was one of those women. there's people out there who hear random stories and come up with random explanations for them - there was a rumour of richard 3rd marrying his niece? hm, this could make a good soap opera episode :D
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2009, 12:08:33 PM »
Has anyone else here read the British medieval historian Michael Hicks's latest effort, a biography of Richard III's queen entitled Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III? Hicks is one of the leading scholarly experts on Richard III and perhaps the major debunker of Ricardian revisionism. He argues that the letter from Elizabeth of York that Buck saw was genuine, in no small part because it ties in with the evidence supplied by the Crowland chronicler, who reported (at the time) that the rumors of Richard III's marriage to his niece Elizabeth were so rampant in early 1485 that King Richard actually had to make a public denial of them. According to Hicks, "Crowland...reveals, at first hand, that in spite of Richard's repeated denials, he himself believed that Richard did indeed intend to marry Elizabeth of York, and that he, Crowland, personally disbelieved that part of the king's denial" (196). Furthermore, Crowland testifies that Richard's most intimate councilors knew of his plan and also disapproved of it.

Another interesting point, which Hicks makes and which needs to be reiterated:

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III, in marrying Anne Neville, was committing incest in the first degree because his brother the Duke of Clarence had already married Anne's sister, Isabel. Normally, under such circumstances, a member of a royal family would apply for a papal dispensation to do away with any familial impediments to such a politically advantageous marriage. Richard did indeed apply for a papal dispensation, but surprisingly, not one that covered this degree of relationship. Hicks asks, why was this? A brother(in-law) marriage to a sister(in-law) was regarded with a great deal of disapproval, even disgust, in fifteenth-century Western Europe. It was sinful and forbidden by God. Did Richard not seek a papal dispensation for this degree of relationship because he was already planning to divorce Anne at some point in the future, when she was no longer politically significant? Was he reluctant to wait for such a dispensation to come through, fearing that his political advantage in marrying her at the time would be lost? At any rate, the very fact that Richard and Anne never applied for, much less received, a papal dispensation for their close familial relationship meant that their marriage was never valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Richard could have legally divorced Anne at any time.

Which means that Richard's denunciation of his brother Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, and his labeling of their children as "bastards," rings more than hollow, it rings all together false. It was Richard who had actually contracted an illegal marriage and produced illegitimate offspring (Prince Edward of Middleham). Now if that's not the pot calling the kettle black... Richard III really is the poster prince of moral hypocrisy. 
« Last Edit: January 15, 2009, 12:22:09 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline ilyala

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2009, 03:43:17 AM »
lol very true.

however, even if it weren't i still am not too impressed with richard's attitude towards his nephews. as far as i can see he imposed his opinion (that they were illegitimate) on the parliament - the might became the right as it usually was in those days. even if we choose to believe that he did that to fight the woodvilles (because he didn't want a woodville to the throne, rather because he wanted himself on the throne, self defense rather than pure greed) it still isn't right.

i am not at all convinced the two children were illegitimate - how funny that such rumours only appeared with richard.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2009, 05:11:26 PM »
lol very true.

however, even if it weren't i still am not too impressed with richard's attitude towards his nephews. as far as i can see he imposed his opinion (that they were illegitimate) on the parliament - the might became the right as it usually was in those days. even if we choose to believe that he did that to fight the woodvilles (because he didn't want a woodville to the throne, rather because he wanted himself on the throne, self defense rather than pure greed) it still isn't right.

i am not at all convinced the two children were illegitimate - how funny that such rumours only appeared with richard.

Oh, Ilyala, don't mistake me. I'm not saying the children of Edward IV were illegitimate. Quite the opposite. I think Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was probably valid in every legal and religious sense of the term in the 15th century. The more I read about Richard III, the more I become convinced that his was a typically criminal or even amoral psychology - one that continually projected his own bad deeds on to the people around him. If he had made an invalid marriage - well then, in his mind that meant that his brother Edward had made an equally bad or even worse marriage, a bigamous one. After all, by making this charge Richard was able to satisfy his greatest political ambition, that of subjugating the Woodville faction and seizing the crown for himself. And he could even claim to be highly "moral" in doing so!

Hicks makes another interesting point, that quite possibly Anne Neville's strong political and personal ties to certain powerful lords in northern England (the legacy of her father, Warwick the Kingmaker) enabled Richard's usurpation of the throne in 1483. Furthermore, he speculates that Queen Anne's death in early 1485 might have been a decisive factor in turning many of these same noblemen against Richard - especially since there were rumors even at the time that Richard had poisoned Queen Anne in order to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York.
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Offline ilyala

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2009, 03:24:52 AM »
well, i know that there are many riccardians on this forum. most of them are civilized and i respect their opinions because they are expressed in a civilized manner, however, on other forums i have met riccardians that were dead set on the following ideas:

1. richard was the greatest man ever. anything else is a blasphemy.
2. his marriage to anne of neville was a complete lovematch - they'd known each other since they were children and they fought hard to be together. it was a beautiful and pure thing.
3. edward iv was a scandalous philanderer and since he married elizabeth woodville in a secret, the bigamy charge is 100% accurate. anything else is a blasphemy.
4. the princes were not killed by richard. the princes were actually hidden by richard who treated them very well. however, edward 5th was a frail boy and died. but the duke of york survived and was definitely perkin warbeck who should have become king of england when he had the chance - that would have been right, even if his father's marriage was illegal and the poor boy was nothing but a bastard.

i spent months arguing on this. while the first is an exaggeration, the last three are things that COULD have happened, and i was willing to admit that as long as they admitted that there was a slight possibility that it did not. what did happen when i presented that version of events was that they all jumped on me calling me names and telling me that i am influenced by the evil tudor propaganda and that this is actually the only logical course of action out of all the possibilities and that you gotta be a total idiot not to recognize that this is really what happened.

i gave in on one point and i did mention that i am not convinced that richard killed those poor boys because there truly is no evidence. i am actually more set on the duke of buckingham (me and arianwen had this conversation on this forum about three years ago) who seems to be a more likely suspect. at some point they said that i cannot accept just part of the theory - it's all or nothing. at which point i just left the forum because there was obviously no reason with this people.

that said, i do not associate such people with riccardians on this forum who are logical and reasonable people. i have a rather low opinion on richard 3rd, however i do admit that it's his tough luck that he was defeated at bosworth and that - had he not been defeated - we might read a different account on his personality in the history books. henry 7th is my favorite english king but that's because he was very efficient - i do know and am aware of the fact that his efficiency included ruthlessness and that he wasn't afraid to step on others to get where he wanted.

i'm just saying that - if we cut all the ideas about richard that have not been proven, and just stick with the facts that we do know for sure happened, it still is a negative picture:

fact 1 (surely happened): he dethroned his own nephew
fact 2 (surely happened): he sent his nephew to the tower
fact 3 (surely happened): he executed without trial some members of the woodville faction so that they could not oppose him
fact 4 (surely happened): brought an army to london and at the same time presented the frightened parliament with the bill saying that the two boys or illegitimate. whether they were or not, what he did pretty much shows that he didn't care - all he cared about was that the parliament said that they were, whether the parliament believed it or not. had he let the decision run its course i would have been more convinced of its accuracy.

while you could say that the woodville faction was evil and wanted to take over england and that edward 5th was half woodville and all, i think richard's actions (the ones that cannot be contested) show that he was at least as ruthless as henry 7th, if not more.

i suppose it's what you had to be in those days - on the other hand people coming now and claiming he was a saint have no ground to stand on.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2009, 09:51:02 AM »
Ilyala, I've had my own run-ins with Ricardians (including the Arianwen you mention, of ill fame) and one thing I have noticed is that many of them are steadfastly determined to ignore sources that were written during or immediately after Richard III's short reign, 1483-85. Most notably they cast aspersions on the written account of a particular foreign diplomat who was in London when Richard seized the throne and placed his nephews in the Tower. This diplomat, as every amateur or professional expert on Richard III knows, was the Italian Dominic Mancini. Mancini's account of Richard III's seizure of power and the subsequent mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower is the single most damning collection of evidence against Richard, because it was written immediately after these events by a foreigner who had no personal or professional interest whatsoever in the success or failure of Richard's reign. Moreover, Mancini, by virtue of his position in the retinue of a foreign envoy, and his command of the Latin language (the universal language of diplomacy at the time), no doubt had access to very privileged sources of information within England during the time he spent there.

Ilyala lists several basic facts which are damning to Richard. I would like to add to them yet another (on top of the one in my earlier post, the charge of incest between brother[in-law] and sister[in-law] levelled at Richard III and Anne Neville by the historian Michael Hicks). This particular incident, or series of incidents, throws a great deal of doubt on the romantic notion that the Duke of Gloucester married Anne Neville for love. The fact of the matter is that after their marriages to the Neville sisters, both Richard and his brother Clarence engaged in a vicious struggle between themselves to seize the immense estates that Anne and Isabel had inherited from their father, Warwick the Kingmaker. The ins and outs of the property settlement Edward IV eventually decided on are too intricate for me to explain here (or even to remember properly), suffice it to say, that both Richard and Clarence emerged from it immensely wealthy. Indeed, this is when Richard acquired most of the northern estates that would make him such a powerful force to reckon with after the death of Edward IV in 1483.

Another damning piece of evidence against the character of Richard (and that of his brother Clarence) is that many of the lands from the Warwick/Neville legacy should never have been bestowed on either duke, since they rightfully belonged to the mother of Anne and Isabel, the widow of the Kingmaker. These lands had always belonged legally to her, not to Warwick, and therefore Edward IV had no right to divide them amongst his brothers. When the widow Warwick demanded her lands back, Richard (apparently with the consent of his new wife, Anne) had his mother-in-law confined to a nunnery and kept as a prisoner there. What a nice guy, eh?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 09:56:54 AM by Elisabeth »
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