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A ROSE LIKE NO OTHER...
on 23 August 2010
The War of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York came to an end with the crowning of Edward IV as King of England. He went on to marry Elizabeth Woodville, a beautiful widow but a commoner. Their marriage was never popular with either the common people or the nobility, as the greed of the Woodville clan knew no bounds. Still, Edward IV and his Queen would go on to have a beautiful and large family of four daughters and two sons. Elizabeth of York was the eldest, and this is her story.
Elizabeth led a life of privilege until the untimely death of her father. While her brother, Edward, was the heir apparent, he was still a young boy at the time of his father's death. He was to have been crowned King and a regency instituted, but at the eleventh hour, his uncle, Richard, brother of the late King, was declared the Protector of England. After placing Edward in the Tower, he persuaded Elizabeth Woodville, who had sought sanctuary with her children, to entrust Richard, her younger son and his namesake, to him. She did so, and never again did she see either of her sons again. Shortly thereafter, Richard was crowned King of England, having declared his brother's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid and, consequently, their children bastards.
Eventually Elizabeth of York, her mother, and her sisters left sanctuary and went to live in the royal household of King Richard III. Political intrigues were to plague the reign of Richard III. Always at the heart of the discord was the mystery of what had happened to the young Princes in the Tower. Eventually, Henry Tudor, a descendant of the union of the Owen Tudor and Katherine, widow of Henry V, decided to challenge the kingship of Richard III. Henry was also a Lancastrian rival, as his mother, Margaret Beaufort, was a descendant of the union of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.
After Elizabeth of York secretly pledged to marry him, Henry Tudor landed in England and made a claim for the throne of England. On Bosworth Field Henry Tudor and King Richard III met in battle, and the usurper was victorious, emerging by right of conquest as the new King of England, Henry VII. A cold and calculating man, he married Elizabeth of York to reinforce his claim upon the throne of England, as Elizabeth was considered by many to be the rightful Queen, given the mysterious disappearance of her two brothers. This union of the houses of Lancaster and York was to solidify all of England. The red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York would henceforth be melded together as the Tudor rose.
Elizabeth's life with Henry would be a dispassionate union that would prove fruitful. They would have two boys, Arthur and Henry, as well as two girls, Margaret and Mary. Elizabeth, however, would forever wonder what had happened to her brothers. The fact that the mystery of the Princes in the Tower was never resolved would continue to plague the reign of King Henry VII, as pretenders would arise, claiming to be one of the lost Princes. Rebellions were mounted in the name of these pretenders, and with each one, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, Elizabeth's hopes would rise that her brothers were still alive, only to see them dashed. While the union between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York would not be a joyful one, as his cold and parsimonious ways were to distance him from her, England would, indeed, prosper under their reign.
The author, a novelist noted for her beautifully written historical fiction, weaves a wonderful tapestry of fact and fiction. The story of Elizabeth of York, oldest daughter of King Edward IV of England, is a fascinating fifteenth century tale of political intrigues, power, and love that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. Historical personages and period detail come to life under the expert hand of this accomplished author. Those readers who love the genre of historical fiction will most certainly enjoy this book, as will those who love a well-told tale.