The Queen of England the Tudors chose to overlook….

Yes, of course the Tudors dismissed the fact that Eleanor Talbot (Butler) was Edward IV’s first wife. Well, only wife, as it happens, because she was still alive when he “married” Elizabeth Woodville, whom he never did wed legally. In law, she was little more than a glorified mistress, and as a consequence, all the children she bore to Edward were illegitimate. So the usurper Henry VII pretended Eleanor had barely existed, let alone had married Edward IV.

It mattered to him because he wanted to marry Edward’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York. Ostensibly to unite the warring Houses of York and Lancaster; in reality to give himself some credibility. It was all very well to claim the throne through conquest, but knew his hold on the throne was very shaky. Elizabeth of York was rather necessary to him, and the sooner she could produce an heir, the better for Henry!

But he couldn’t marry a bastard. So he overturned Richard III’s legitimate right to the throne, declared Elizabeth trueborn, married her and gave us the delightful Henry VIII. Thank you very much. But, of course, by making her trueborn, he also did the same to her two brothers, whose claim to the throne immediately became far superior to his own. Oh, dear. Poor Henry. What a dilemma. The result was that he was hounded throughout his reign by the fear that one or other of these Plantagenet “princes” would come to take the crown from him. My heart breaks for him,. Natch.

If you go to this article you can read an explanation of what happened. It doesn’t do Richard III any favours, of course, but then that’s par for the course! Always the slight nudge into the rough or the bunker. Never the hole in one he so rightly merited. Here’s a sample:

“…. Eleanor never claimed a crown for herself but as the Wars of the Roses raged to their bloody end at Bosworth Field, she became a central figure in the path to the throne. She was actually already dead by the time her name was passed through parliament in the fight for the right to rule but the fact that she had ever lived at all was a vital part of the hold that Richard III had on the title of King of England following the death of his brother, Edward IV, in 1483…..”

Fight for the right to rule? Um, read the Woodvilles trying to seize power and get rid of Richard of Gloucester, Edward IV’s only surviving brother. A vital part of the hold Richard III had….? If Eleanor and Edward IV were married, which clearly they were because the Three Estates believed in it sufficiiently to beg him to become king, Richard was the rightful heir to the throne. It wasn’t a case of his having a “hold” on being King of England, he WAS the King of England. Rightfully. Lawfully. By blood. Even by invitation, because everyone wanted Richard to wear the crown, except the Woodvilles and some of Edward’s old buddies, who feared a loss of influence. If the traditionalists can’t swallow this fact, then they’re even more blinkered than I thought.

Oh, and BTW, the above illustration seems to be solely of Henry VIII and his offspring. There is no sign of Old Miseryguts VII, not even a portrait on the wall. What an oversight. After all, he was the Tudor who made sure Eleanor’s marriage to Edward IV was ignored. Henry VIII and his children owed their thrones to his sleight of hand and devious brain. And the treacherous support of the Stanleys at Bosworth.


  1. It all leaves a very nasty aftertaste, as does the willingness of most people since to believe all the propaganda against Richard.
    I never liked Old Miseryguts, which is the best name ever for him. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Vicountessw,

    For pity’s sake be charitable! ole Miseryguts is unfairly compared with either Richard duke of Gloucester or as king – and I am serious (no sarc!)

    “Tuddor” as Richard referred to him has a lengthy but hardly enviable list of non-accomplishments!

    Henry didn’t plan, plot, strategize his invasion (mommy and Morton did)
    Henry didn’t finance or pay on credit for his ivasion (mommy and the French did)
    Henry didn’t recruit or handle the military component of his invasion (no solider he, the French and Bretons did that, along with other foreign mercenaries)
    Henry didn’t know how to lead troops or fight (ie. Oxofrd, again, the Yorkist nemesis)
    Henry didn’t even choose his own killer wedge vs Richard III (mommy did – invent, spread, plant rumours that the princes were dead and arrange to have their sister marry her spineless son)
    Henry didn’t have the hereditary chops to claim the throne (and mommy barely did)

    BUT Henry did learn quite a bit on the job, he would interrogate prisoners himself
    (always fun, eh?), he wasn’t squeamish at all ordering wholesale execution of Warbeck’s follwers by public drowning in 1495, torture? sure. Hang prisoners from chains in the river Thmes at St Katherine’s Wharf near the Tower? sure. Arrange to have half the country informing on the other half at any given time (and ensuring that even Thomas More celebrates your death, sure).

    And best of all, create the narrative yourself that Richard killed his nephews, instruct your envoys and spies that that is what they are to tell everyone they see and engage with … and he started that narrative in the early 1490’s, while paying spies enormous sums, looking for the princes. And quel surprise, it caught on! who knew?!

    He was a misery alright! As always you have great posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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