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Fact: Henry Tudor raped Elizabeth of York….!

Well, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t post anything more about The White Princess, but the articles below proved too much for me. I will isolate a small paragraph from one of them, about Emma Frost, the writer of the series:-

“In writing this scene, Frost had to make a choice between accurately depicting horrifying historical facts, and adhering to more modern concepts of consent. She chose the latter.”

The horrifying historical facts in question entail Henry VII having raped Elizabeth before they were married. More than that, in the programme he apparently repeats this exercise until she’s pregnant, just so he can be sure she’s fertile! Yes, you read that correctly. It is, apparently, an unchallenged truth that he did this. How do they know? Did he appear to them at a séance and confess?

That Philippa Gregory wrote these scenes in her book I do not challenge. It’s fiction, and as a novelist myself I know the “rules”. But for this article to then describe these rapes as historical fact is taking it too far. Henry VII is being maligned as he himself maligned Richard III. Hm. Wait a tick, is that so bad? Perhaps the rotter deserves all he gets!

But no, not even I can be comfortable with this. It is possible that Henry and Elizabeth got between the sheets before their marriage. After all she gave birth to their first son only eight months after the ceremony. However, it is also possible that Prince Arthur was premature. Either version can be applied. But getting between the sheets does not mean rape was involved. Perhaps they couldn’t stand the sight of each other but had to at least try to find some common ground. Perhaps they had too many cups of wine, and…oh, dear, they bonked! Shock! Horror! But feelings must have been running high at the time, after all that had gone before, and perhaps neither of them wished to be attracted to the other. Loathing and sexual attraction can go together far more than we like to think.

So, regarding the articles to which the following links will take you, the rape/s cannot be taken as historical fact! and


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10 thoughts on “Fact: Henry Tudor raped Elizabeth of York….!

  1. hoodedman1 on said:

    Definitely a step too far.Whilst I don’t necessarily believe the ‘Tudor story’ that they were so much ‘in lurve’ (affection and respect may have happened later of course) or that ‘Henry died of grief’ after EOY died (he certainly didn’t, as he lived some years after her and was, as normally expected, looking for a new wife. And he died of lung problems, probably TB), the ideas in the TWP are unpleasant and quite outrageous.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. halfwit36 on said:

    Ms. Gregory and Ms. Frost have apparently no idea of how long it takes to plan and carry out a formal wedding, even for ordinary folk, never mind royals. If they waited until pregnancy was confirmed & then started the arrangements, Arthur would have been a 6 or 7 month baby.
    I think it is sometimes interesting to turn ‘accepted facts’ on their head. Maybe she seduced him. Elizabeth had two broken engagements behind her, and was very publicly rejected by Richard. If it looked like she was going to be dumped again, (for one of the Herbert girls, perhaps, or even one of her younger sisters) Elizabeth’s pride might have impelled her to take drastic steps. Or maybe it was a matter of ‘It’s got to be done, let’s get it over with.’ Or perhaps Arthur was just premature.
    OTOH, don’t be so cynical. People do die of broken hearts. Take the man who wrote the song “Annie Laurie.” She did reject him, and he did ‘lie doon and dee.” Only took him 50 years.

    Liked by 3 people

    • There is no reason to think Arthur was premature, or that they had sex before marriage. Arthur was born 35 weeks after their wedding. That is within the normal range of full pregnancy length. The average length of pregnancy is 38 weeks, but babies don’t always arrive at the due date – and the length of full pregnancy can vary as much as 37 days, or over 5 weeks.

      The most likely possibility, I’d say, is that they simply got married and conceived him shortly after their wedding, maybe even on their wedding night, maybe not long after.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. viscountessw on said:

    Elizabeth seduced Henry? I hadn’t thought of that. And to think, while he was on the job, she wouldn’t even know if he was looking at her!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. McArthur, Richard P. on said:

    I always get displeased, sometimes even angry, when vile conduct is attributed to someone when there is no historical evidence that the person has done anything of the sort.
    Also, I resent the attribution of the late 20th century/early 21st century sexual morals-or lack of same-to other times; without evidence of its acceptance then.
    Henry VII had to marry Elizabeth of York. Otherwise, his claim is strictly Lancastrian, of limited acceptance in England.
    Elizabeth had to marry Henry. Otherwise, she’s strictly a claimant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree in part, but Henry’s claim was weak even as a Lancastrian as there were plenty of others who had a better claim through the Lancastrian line. His claim was through conquest. And not sure what youmean by Elizabeth was ‘stictly a claimant’.


  5. Esther on said:

    I don’t understand why some of the people mentioned in the linked articles would think it important that Elizabeth and Henry didn’t know each other. She had been raised as a royal princess; royal princesses were raised to make political marriages to total strangers. This doesn’t mean that rape was involved or that love couldn’t grow.


  6. halfwit36 on said:

    This is kind of wandering off the subject, but EoY and Henry had met, no doubt, as soon as she came back from Sheriff Hutton. Assuming this was in September or early October, they were acquainted about as long as my husband and I were before we married, almost back in the days of Good Queen Bess!
    And while she accepted the fact that she might be married off for dynastic purposes (e.g. her previous betrothals), that doesn’t mean she didn’t dream of a marriage of her own choosing. John Ashdown-Hill gives a useful table of the number of marriages ‘for choice’ – doesn’t necessarily mean ‘for love,’ but overlaps with it. – in her family. And look at her surviving children.
    But basically I agree with the previous posters. She hadn’t much choice, and Henry’s only other practical choice was her sister Cecily.


  7. Pingback: Hostile Historians and Uppity Authors: Never the Twain Shall Meet? | murreyandblue

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