Eleanor again

John Ashdown-Hill’s Eleanor, the Secret Queen was first published in 2009, detailing Lady Eleanor Talbot’s family and early life, the circumstances in which she married Edward IV, her similarities to his mistress Elizabeth Woodville (they were dark haired, older and widows of Lancastrian-inclined men), canon law and how it affected Edward’s relationships and children together with the Clarence attainder, Stillington’s translation to Bath and Wells in 1461, his imprisonment and Titulus Regius 1484. Then it described the attempted cover-up of Titulus Regius (before a copy emerged through Buck), Catesby’s execution, More’s attempt to write another lady into the story, Chapuys’ knowledge of the case and the emergence of remains that may be Lady Eleanor in Norwich, judged by her age, status and the dental evidence. It proved the marriage almost completely to the satisfaction of most open minds.Eleanor

Seven years later, it has been reissued in paperback with even more evidence. We can now know, with confidence, exactly where and when Edward married Lady Eleanor. Our attention is additionally drawn to the circumstances of her death and the arrest of two of her sister’s servants a few weeks later, such that there are reports of their executions, whilst the discovery of Richard III’s skeleton leads to further deductions about the dental evidence in Norwich. The case for the 1461 marriage is now proven, even if her corpse cannot yet be conclusively identified.

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. I think it is a bit exaggerated to say the precontract has been proved however I have always believed the idea that it was thought up over a period of a few days to be ridiculous. Can you imagine something like Richard speaking to stillington. “Right, bob….can you remember where you were in 1461? Who can we choose as she has to be dead and unable to deny it. Do you know anyone who fits that bill? Ah yes, Eleanor that’s right…….” The idea that this story would be completely made up over a period of days and yet nothing tripped them up is frankly silly….. ” Oh blast, she was in Clacton that weekend!!!!!”. The contortions that the traditionalists have produced trying to explain the unexplainable suppression of titulus regius by henry tudor is certainly entertaining. One being that because no-one believed it any way there was no need to draw attention to it as it was not worthy, it was beneath contempt. This is totally silly and where were all the lords announcing their retractions and stating they had been terrified into accepting the lie. Nowhere to be heard

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The sheer logistics of inventing a story like this over a few days while simultaniously running the country and dealing with all manner of business makes the mind boggle. There was no internet, no Burke’s Peerage, not even records of birth – or marriage! You couldn’t ring up someone at the other end of the country to check facts. Indeed nothing at all could be conveyed faster than the pace of a man on a swift horse.

    Mind you, we are in a world where (to some people) it seems perfectly reasonable that a stone staircase in the Tower could be taken apart and a hole dug down ten feet, all in a few hours and without anyone noticing!

    I do wonder whether some people have done (or arranged) a complex task in their lives!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I believe there are many links to people involved in this mystery that we will never know about? We only have the bare bones of the facts to chew over, who knows how much meat has rotted away over the centuries.


  4. while I was in Norwich recently I visited the castle museum and discovered the skeleton that may be eleanor (eventually and after asking a curator!!!!!). I must say it was rather emotional because there is a chance it is her. I know only 8% but my actual opinion is that it IS her as the more modern reconstruction shows a striking likeness to the sculpture of her father on his tomb effigy.
    It is unusual to have a nose of that structure and it is a highly heritable feature and I noticed it straight away… she seems to have his arched eyebrows


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