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Topic: Romance between Elizabeth of York and Richard III?  (Read 69048 times)
Reply #105
« on: February 09, 2009, 01:44:17 PM »
Eric_Lowe Offline
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I don't think Henry VII had contempt for his wife (he got accepted because he married her). However he was not a passionate man. He was wits first and heart second. The long years of training to achieve his goal to the throne has left its mark on him. However Henry VII is not a cruel man, but just very culculated and not too much fun to be with. Henry VIII repected his wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr) but dispised those (Anne Boylen and Catherine Howard) he professed to love. It is easy to live with him than to love him (or by him). The only woman Henry VIII loved without reservation was his sister Mary Tudor (The Dowager Queen of France and Duchess of Suffork).
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Reply #106
« on: February 09, 2009, 06:00:12 PM »
Elisabeth Offline
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I don't think Henry VII had contempt for his wife (he got accepted because he married her). However he was not a passionate man. He was wits first and heart second. The long years of training to achieve his goal to the throne has left its mark on him. However Henry VII is not a cruel man, but just very culculated and not too much fun to be with. Henry VIII repected his wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr) but dispised those (Anne Boylen and Catherine Howard) he professed to love. It is easy to live with him than to love him (or by him). The only woman Henry VIII loved without reservation was his sister Mary Tudor (The Dowager Queen of France and Duchess of Suffork).

We couldn't disagree more, Eric. I think this notion that romantic or sexual love is somehow the equivalent of real love and respect is naive, to say the least. Henry VIII treated all his wives with a great degree of disrespect. Remember, he had numerous affairs while he was married to both Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, he also refused Jane Seymour and his subsequent wives any sort of coronation. He subjected Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Katherine Howard to the worst sort of indignities, and the latter two to the ultimate punishment, beheading. (It really doesn't get more humiliating and sadistic than that.) Furthermore, he came close to sending his last wife Katherine Parr to the Tower for insubordination. No, I don't think he was a very kind man where the women in his life were concerned.

In fact, I believe it's more than possible that he viewed all his wives as ultimately expendable. Before he married them, they might have been objects of desire, but afterwards, they were brood mares only, and his sexual attentions turned elsewhere. Contrary to what you say, he was a very sexually and romantically passionate man. (Otherwise, as I believe more than one of his biographers has pointed out, he would not have broken with Rome in order to marry a commoner like Anne Boleyn. He was besotted with her, in lust with her. If that had not been the case, he would have married a French or German princess instead. Such a marriage would not have taken six years to bring about and moreover, would probably not have led to the English Reformation.) But his passions were easily spent (as they usually are with passionate people) and once spent, they speedily turned to other objects of lust (whether sexual, romantic, or political).

He was a greedy, horrible man, in every sense of the word. Talented, yes, intelligent and gifted, but still greedy and horrible and not someone you'd want to leave alone with your wife or daughters.
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Reply #107
« on: February 10, 2009, 05:35:08 AM »
ilyala Offline
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I think Henry 8 had an image of his mother very similar to what we have: a very quiet, meek woman, beautiful, understanding but generally insignificant. There for moral support but in no way her husband's equal. I also think that's what he sought for all his life. As a result, his most appreciated wives were Catherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour, who were exactly that. Yes, he treated Catherine badly but in his own messed up way he loved her. And I honestly believe that had she given him a male heir, Anne Boleyn wouldn't have stood a chance.

I don't think infidelity was considered by Henry as a lack of respect. Even nowadays when men cheat, one of the most used arguments is "It didn't mean anything", "It's just sex". Henry respected Catherine but she was getting old and she was probably not very adventurous sexually, so he craved for more in that respect. So he slept with women who were giving him that. As he was the king, no-one thought anything unusual of it. He didn't have time to cheat Jane Seymour (or at least I don't think he ever did) but he probably would have had she lived. It was just the way things were.

Does that come from his parents' relationship? I don't know. Henry 7th is not known for his many mistresses, and I dare say that he probably didn't have any. Not necessarily because of his huge love for Elizabeth but because I don't think he was that much of a sexual being as his son. He probably fulfilled all his sexual needs with his wife and did not crave fire and passion like his son. However, it is true that one of Henry 7th's goals was proving that the throne was his and not his wife's - which means that keeping her in a small insignificant role was crucial. I'd say that's what Henry 8th learned from his father - respect your wife, but in the end you're the boss, not her. He took it much further than his father, though. And I must say that Elizabeth of York was much different from Anne Boleyn, for example, much more willing to be "put in her place" so, that also changes things.

If you want, I'd say Elizabeth of York was a willing victim. And Catherine of Aragon - up until the point she got driven away - was also quite willing to be the quiet submissive wife. And Jane Seymour would have been that too. However, when Henry married Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard he wasn't exactly thinking with his brain. They didn't fit what he truly wanted in a wife. And so they went Smiley
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Reply #108
« on: February 10, 2009, 08:45:46 AM »
Eric_Lowe Offline
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I agree timing is everything. Henry VII is more of a planner than one of love and romance (like his father-in-law, Edward IV). It was he who arranged the marriages of Athur to Catherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor to James IV of Scotland. Elizabeth of York's mission was the give birth to more heirs to secure the throne (which she did until the end of her life). As for mother figure, he already have a strong figure in Margaret Beaufort. It was she who held greater power than his queen. The tshabby reatment of Elizabeth Woodville can be traced back to Margaret Beaufort, who became the most important female figure at court.
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Reply #109
« on: October 16, 2011, 07:39:49 PM »
FaithWhiteRose Offline
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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. 

What makes the relationship of two brothers marrying two sisters incestuous? They are not related by blood. I have no information about it being incestuous during the Middle Ages or not, except for what you have provided me. If you could elucidate on that point, I'd be grateful.

Also, the entire basis of Titulus Regius, the statute that absolved Edward IV's marriage and bastardized his heirs, was the allegation of Edward's previous marriage to a woman by the name of Eleanor Talbot. Marrying a woman whilst already being married to another in a culture that does not entertain polygamy provides far stronger grounds than any absence of a papal dispensation. And I am still in doubt over the brother-in-law, sister-in-law notion of incest. In that time period people freely married their cousins and vice versa, connections that are now designated as being incest simply because people say so.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2011, 07:50:06 PM by FaithWhiteRose » Logged
Reply #110
« on: October 17, 2011, 01:35:05 AM »
Kimberly Offline
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What makes the relationship of two brothers marrying two sisters incestuous? They are not related by blood. I have no information about it being incestuous during the Middle Ages or not, except for what you have provided me. If you could elucidate on that point, I'd be grateful.

There was a massive list of people that were forbidden to marry because they were related within the prohibited degrees. Indeed, marriage was forbidden between relations whom we would scarcely acknowledge today.( AFAIK even godparents marrying god-children)
Kinship was either where blood relatives shared a common ancestor or as the result of a marriage turning in laws into relatives.( hence 2 brothers marrying 2 sisters being incestuous)
It is all about degrees of kinship.e.g. A man couldnot marry the third cousin of a woman with whom he had sexual intercourse with...this was "incestuous".
( Michael Hicks.2006) explains it in depth in his book" Anne Neville England's forgotten Queen"
Cheers. Kim
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Reply #111
« on: October 17, 2011, 01:37:52 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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The prohibited degrees were much broader in the Middle Ages than today, and covered a whole lot of relationships which would not be problematical today. For example, the Black Prince and Joan of Kent needed a dispensation on several grounds, one of which was that he was godfather to one of her children. However, dispensations could be obtained for many of these relationships, and for the rich and powerful getting a dispensation was not difficult. It was also possible to get a dispensation for a marriage which would be completely illegal today - uncle-niece marriage is the obvious example (Philip II's fourth wife, Anne of Austria, was his niece).

Ann
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Reply #112
« on: October 17, 2011, 03:57:24 PM »
FaithWhiteRose Offline
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Thank you Kim and Ann for your detailed comments. I assume that these were the specific set of rules established by the Church (correct me if I am wrong!), but how were they regarded in practice? Would English society in the medieval period not accommodated a marriage of Anne and Richard's nature? Was it, by social and cultural terms, incestuous? Or was it more of a law that did not extend beyond the bounds of Church and state?
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Reply #113
« on: October 18, 2011, 01:29:48 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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I think the fact that Richard III felt it necessary to make a public denial of any intention to marry Elizabeth demonstrates that according to the mores of the time a marriage between uncle and niece was Going Too Far.

Interestingly, my mother's parents were first cousins, and although their marriage was entirely lawful under both English civil law and the rules of the Church of England, they felt it necessary to conceal the closeness of their relationship, even from their own children. By contrast, my father's parents, who were first cousins once removed (my grandfather was first cousin to my grandmother's mother), saw no need for secrecy.

Ann
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Reply #114
« on: October 18, 2011, 04:31:07 PM »
Vecchiolarry Offline
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Hi,

My maternal grandparents:
My grandfather's brother married my grandmother's sister....
And, everyone turned out OK - at least we think so!!

Larry
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Reply #115
« on: October 18, 2011, 04:39:20 PM »
FaithWhiteRose Offline
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I think the fact that Richard III felt it necessary to make a public denial of any intention to marry Elizabeth demonstrates that according to the mores of the time a marriage between uncle and niece was Going Too Far.


That is not strictly true--Richard also felt the need to deny the marriage to the lords of the North, who were wary of him being held sway by the Wydvilles' power.

Also, by Church standards, my family would have committed incest several times over. My own parents are first cousins once removed; my father's brother married my mother's sister; and in my extended family there are many marriages between first cousins and the offspring that has resulted from it.

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.

I find this so utterly fascinating. Is there anywhere else I can get information about it? Smiley
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Reply #116
« on: October 19, 2011, 02:06:26 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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'Also, by Church standards, my family would have committed incest several times over. My own parents are first cousins once removed; my father's brother married my mother's sister; and in my extended family there are many marriages between first cousins and the offspring that has resulted from it.'

All these marriages would have needed dispensations in the 15th century. Marriages between cousins of various degrees and those related by marriage were routine among the upper classes (because they were all related to one another anyway), but I think uncle-niece marriages were pretty unusual. The earliest I can think of was Philip II and Anne of Austria, which is a hundred years after Richard.

Incidentally, my maternal grandparents' marriage (between first cousins) produced four distinctly brainy offspring. My paternal grandparents' marriage (first cousins once removed) produced two normally intelligent offspring (no obvious difference from the three children of my grandmother's first marriage, in fact). My brother and myself are no slouches either.

Ann
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Reply #117
« on: October 19, 2011, 02:30:55 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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What advantage would Richard gain from marrying Elizabeth of York anyway?

For him to marry her, she would have to be treated as legitimate, which would raise the question of the legitimacy of her brothers. Given the closeness of the relationship, a dispensation might well be difficult to get, and, unlike the Habsburgs, English kings did not have particularly close relationships with the papacy. Obviously marrying Elizabeth would prevent her from marrying Tudor, but that problem could be dealt with quite easily by marrying her off to one of Richard's own followers.

Marrying a Portuguese lady makes better sense.

Ann
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Reply #118
« on: October 19, 2011, 01:43:58 PM »
FaithWhiteRose Offline
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He definitely had plans to marry Joanna of Portugal. Any foreign princess would have made sense, really, because she secured for him a heady political alliance.

EoY would have brought him the advantage of uniting Richard and the Woodvilles. Tudor could also not lay any claim to her that way, and neither could any other man who held designs on the throne. There was, after all, only one Yorkist heiress in all England (excluding her sisters, of course), and it was Elizabeth of York. Margaret of Warwick was certainly another, but the daughter of a former king holds more obvious power than the daughter of a prince or duke.

As for the law that declared her a bastard? Even if it were the law, do you think she was treated as a bastard by her contemporaries, that is, on a regular basis? She had been a princess her whole life. A law does not necessarily change the mindset of the people who saw her, received her, interacted with her. Titulus Regius was conceived for the purpose of putting aside Edward IV's sons and giving Richard way to the throne. The princes in the tower were likely dead, and if not that, dead in name and by practical terms anyway. His marriage with Elizabeth of York would have united the House of York and given him the heirs he so desperately needed after the death of his son, Edward, Prince of Wales.

The people seeing him wed the sister of Edward V and Richard, Duke of York could have also steered them away from the notion that Richard III was responsible for the young princes' deaths. Elizabeth of York would have been attracted to the option because, naturally, she would have been queen. She would have the opportunity to exit the sanctuary she had spent the recent years of her life in and be honored at court. It was her natural home, having been born and bred a princess.

A foreign alliance would have been likelier still, but Richard also had the challenge of uniting England. His own house of York was tragically, fatally divided, and to salvage that he may have considered marrying his greatest enemy's niece, the daughter of a Woodville. Of all the internal headaches he had, it would have been one less if he had only to deal with his traditional enemy, Lancaster, and not the fervently ambitious Woodville clan.
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Reply #119
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:16:08 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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I take your points, but I think their being uncle and niece was a major obstacle and the reason for the public denial. Had there ever been any dispensations for uncle-niece marriages at all previously?

Ann
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