Princess Cecily of York, a very daring lady….

 

From Wikipedia

Some of you will know that in the 1970s I wrote a trilogy about Cicely/Cecily, daughter of Edward IV. I called her Cicely back then, and have stuck with it, but now she is generally known as Cecily. She had been the third daughter, but on the death of her sister Mary, because second only to Elizabeth of York, who became Henry VII’s queen. At the time of this early trilogy it wasn’t known that Cicely had made a first marriage to Ralph Scrope of Upsall.

Then, in the 21st century, came the discovery of the remains of Cicely’s uncle, Richard III. My interest was sparked anew, and I rewrote my books about Cicely, this time incorporating her marriage to Ralph. In my fictional story, the “marriage” was untrue, and came about because Richard III erroneously believed she wished to marry Ralph, Young love, and all that.

The facts about the Cicely-Ralph marriage may never be known, but the admirable Marie Barnfield has now written an article about the ending of the marriage. You’ll find it at the Society’s Research blog, and a very interesting read it is.

Alas, it seems unlikely we’ll ever get to the bottom of the matter, but it’s now certain that John, Viscount Welles, was not her first husband. Nor was he the last, because on his death she married a Lincolnshire gentleman named Thomas Kymbe, a match about which Henry VII (who was both her brother-in-law and her nephew-in-law, Welles having been Henry’s half-uncle) was downright livid. Absolutely beside himself, it seems, and it was his mother Margaret Beaufort (John Welles’s half-sister) who managed to smooth things out for the unlikely newlyweds. She was very friendly with the wayward Cicely.

Cicely was a very interesting lady. She was only in her late thirties when she died; if she’d survived to old age, who knows who else might have been added to her marriage CV! She was certainly prepared to defy the grim Henry Tudor in order to have Kymbe, who was clearly the man she wanted. Third time lucky!

2 comments

  1. I wonder how likely it is that Richard himself – never mind his advisers – would have missed the consanguinity between Ralph Scrope and Richard’s niece? After all, the Scrope brothers must have been well aware of their royal descent through the Greystokes and Joan Beaufort, and Richard well aware that he and Anne were related in that way to their northern neighbours the Scropes and Greystokes. So would we be talking about a clandestine marriage here?
    If I were writing a novel now, with this information, I think I’d be wondering whether Cecily, being only secretly wed, didn’t get brought south with the rest of her sisters after Bosworth and placed in Margaret Beaufort’s household? That would certainly help explain their later friendship, and also how she came to put in for an annulment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I certainly think there was something odd about it. And as you say, Richard would have spotted the problem because of his own situation. It’s all very curious.

    Like

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