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Elizabeth of York – her privy purse expenses

Henry_VII_in_Mourning-1.jpgHenry Vll and his children in mourning for Elizabeth of York.  An idealised presentation of Henry.    His children ,  Margaret and Mary  sitting in front of the fire while a young Henry weeps into his mother’s empty bed.  From the Vaux Passional, a 15th century manuscript.

And so on this day Elizabeth gave birth to her son Arthur.  Arthur’s life was destined to be short and he died on 2 April 1502.  And so the fickle wheel of fortune turned once more with Arthur’s parents feeling the same pain, despair and shock that are recorded as having engulfed Richard lll and his Queen, Anne Neville on the death of their small son Edward.  Perhaps Henry’s pain was cushioned somewhat by the knowledge that he had a spare heir, Henry Jnr.

Elizabeth is often quoted as having said, an in attempt to comfort Henry that they were young enough to have another child. (1)   Whether she said this or not – how would such a personal conversation be known to others?  –  as sure as eggs are eggs, Elizabeth did indeed become pregnant soon after , a pregnancy that we all know resulted in her death.  So thus in another strange coincidence Henry also lost his wife a few short months after the death of their son as did Richard.

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Elizabeth’s  bronze effigy on her tomb, Westminster Abbey, Torrigiano

It is said by some that Henry’s and Elizabeth’s marriage was a happy one, they both growing to love one another over the years.  Alternatively you will read that she was considered by some to have been kept subservient and that Henry was not uxorious.  You will have to form your own opinions over that  one dear reader.   Either way she has my sympathy with regard to her mother-in-law,  the formidable Margaret Beaufort,  to whom Henry remained close.   Indeed a certain yeoman of the crown John Hewyk ‘grumbled that he would have spoken more to the Queen  had it not been for that strong whore, the King’s mother ‘.(2)  with a Spanish observer  writing that ‘she is kept in subjection by the mother of the king. (3).   However there are some examples that demonstrate that Elizabeth was not entirely a  push over  nor totally ‘eclipsed’ by her mother-in-law    Rosemary Horrox gives us one such example where a Welsh tenant appealed to Elizabeth over an injustice involving the king’s uncle,  Jasper Tudor,  which led to Elizabeth ‘responding with a firm letter to the said Jasper. (4)    Bravo Elizabeth!

1466-1503 by unknown artist c.1502 the royal colle tion.jpg

Portrait by an unknown artist c 1503

Although much  has been written about her death and funeral ,  and I won’t go into that here,  interesting as it is,  nothing much is known about her personal feelings towards her husband,  the demise of the House of York,  the treatment of her mother, Elizabeth Wydeville,  and her ‘retirement’ in to Bermondsey Abbey,  the fates of her brothers or the identity of Perkin Warbeck.   However her Privy Purse Account have survived and perhaps some thing of her nature and true feelings may be gleaned from them.

Sir Nicholas Harris Nicholas, writing in 1830, was  editor of  The Privy Purse Expenses which also include   a memoir.  Sir Nicholas seems to have been a little in love with Elizabeth,  whose motto was ‘Humble and Reverent’ attributing to her ‘most if not all of the virtues which adorn the female character’.   He notes that her expenses consist chiefly of rewards to persons who brought her presents with often the reward being of greater value.  ‘Nothing was too contemptible to be received, nor was any person deemed too humble..Among the articles presented to Elizabeth were fish, fruit, fowls, puddings, tripe, a crane, woodcocks, a popinjay, quails and other birds, pork, rabbit, Llanthony cheeses, pease cods, cakes, a wild boar, malmsey wine, flowers, chiefly roses, bucks, sweetmeats, rose water, a cushion, and a pair of clarycords’.  All the bearers of these gifts would never go away empty handed.

There were disbursements for servants wages, for preparing her apartments when she removed from one place to another,  which she did frequently, for conveying her clothes and necessary furniture, for messengers, for the repairs of her barge and the pay of the bargemen, for her chairs and litters, the purchase of household articles, for silks, damasks, satins, cloth of gold, velvet, linen, gowns, kirtles,  petticoats for her own use or for the ladies she maintained;  for jewellery, trappings for horses, furs, gold chains and for the charges of her stables and greyhounds;  for the support of her sister Lady Katherine Courtney and her children, including the burial of some of them;  for the clothing and board of her Fool, gambling debts and so much more.  Sir Nicholas notes that ‘her Majesties revenue was not adequate to cover all these demands and she was ‘not infrequently obliged to borrow money’.  A look at Henry’s Privy Purse accounts shows that he, perhaps  being a good egg or because it was the least he could do under the circumstances,  frequently bailed his wife out although it was expected  these loans were to be repaid.

The accounts which cover the last year of Elizabeth’s life are too detailed to go into her but I list here a few :

MAY 1502 Item to Frary Clerc of St Johns for the buryeng of the men that were hanged at Wapping mylne  8 shillings

There are several examples of money being given to servants of her father, King Edward, who had perhaps fallen on hard times such as ;

JUNE 1502 Item ..and to a pore man in aulmouse somtyme being a servant of King Edwards IV   2s. 4d.  as well as cloth to a woman who had been nurse to her brothers –

Help was also given to people who had served other members of  her family :

DECEMBER 1502 item 3 yards of cloth delivered by commandment of the Queen to a woman what was ‘norice’ to the Princes brothers to the Queen grace

DECEMBER 1502 Item to a man of ‘Poynfreyt saying himself to lodge in his house Therl Ryvers in tyme of his death in almous  12 shillings’

For herself, other than her gambling debts , Elizabeth seemed to keep an eye on the purse strings with numerous mentions of her gowns being repaired.

DECEMBER 1502 item to the Quenes grace upon the Feest of St Stephen for hure disport at cardes this Cristmas 100 s.

She appeared to wear a lot of black during the period these accounts cover when  presumably the court were in mourning for Arthur –  an example being

NOVEMBER 1502 Item ..to Henry Bryan for 17 yards of black velvet for a gown for the Queen at 10 shillings 6d the yard.    13 yards of black  satin  delivered to Johnson for a riding gown and a yard  of black velvet for an edge and cuffs for the same gown.  Item black bokeram for lining  of the same gown, sarcenet for ‘fentes’ for the same gown and an elle of canvas for lining of the same gown –   although on a lighter note in

JUNE 1502 Item ..to William Antyne coper smyth for spangelles settes square sterrys dropes and pointes after silver and gold for garnisshing of jakettes against the disguysing lvj viiij d.

AUGUST 1502 ..to my Lady Verney for money by hur delivered by commaundement of the Queen to Fyll the Kinges paynter in reward   3s. 4d.  Item to John Reynold payntour for making of divers beestes and othere pleasires for the Quene at Windsore 10 s.

A short, interesting appraisal of Elizabeth including her expenses were included by Ann Wrote in her biography of Perkin Warbeck.  ‘The queen seems to have been a gentle passive creature.  Her world was one of frugally mended gowns, whicker baskets and works of charity.  She had little money of her own her allowance being one eighth of the king’s and she often gave it away. On Maundy Thursday she distributed new shoes to poor women but her own shoes cost no more than 12d each and had cheap latten buckles…Ayala writing in 1498 thought her’ beloved because she is powerless’ and believed as many did that her formidable mother in law kept her in subjection. Although Margaret  Beaufort showed her kindness she was undoubtedly a stronger character.  A citizen of Nottingham once tried to speak to Elizabeth when she visited that city, their pleasant conversation was stopped by that ‘strong whore’, Henry’s mother,  and Elizabeth acquiesced’ .(5)

Later it is poignant to read about the costs of trying, vainly,  to save her life when she was stricken  after giving birth to her last child, Katherine.

Itm To James Nattres for his costes going into Kent for Doctour Hallysworth phesicon to comme to the Quene by the Kinges commaundement.  Furst for his bote hyre from the Towre to Gravys ende and again iiij s, iiij d.   Itm to twoo watermen abiding at Gravys ende unto suche tyme the said James came again for theire expenses viij d.    Itm for horse hyre and to guydes by night and day ij s.iij d.and for his awe expenses xvj d.’

Elizabeth’s midwife Alice Massy was not forgotten; her wages being 12 shillings.

And thus Elizabeth,  with exemplary timing,  died on the anniversary  of her birthday, 11 February.  Its said that Henry took her death badly and it would seem that his behaviour and attitudes took a turn for the worse after he had been widowed but that is another story.   Perhaps theirs was not a passionate love,  duty having bound them together,  but I do get the impression from their Privy Purse accounts that they did rub along together quite nicely.

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  1. Collectanea v.373-4 Leland
  2. Records of the borough of Nottingham 1882-1956 W H Stevenson and others.
  3. CPS Spain 1485-1509, 164
  4. Elizabeth of York, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Rosemary Horrox
  5.  Perkin Warbeck: a Story of Deception Ann Wrote pp 458.9

 

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Why put Richard III (or anyone else) in white armour….?

Illustration from the tournament book of King René of Anjoufrom King René’s Tournament Book

The only thing I am concerned with here is what is actually meant by the term “white armour”. And I do not refer to the star trooper that is supposed to be Richard III. Plus, I am definitely not an armour buff, but just trying to fathom some of the finer points.

White armour was made of polished steel. There are numerous references to it, mostly with praise and admiration, as it was (supposedly) more precious and admirable than field armour, which was not polished.

Anne Wroe mentions it as follows (concerning Perkin Warbeck):-

Other things, too, were going on in Cork at the time. The confession mentions a Yorkist refugee, John Taylor, as one of the kidnappers loitering on the dockside. But Taylor was not there by chance. He was in charge of a small fleet, equipped and paid for by the King of France, which had been sent apparently to fetch a Yorkist prince, or an imitation of one. Taylor hoped thereby to foment a rebellion in favour of the Earl of Warwick, but the prince who had arrived was already, it seems, proclaiming himself as the Duke of York. Some debate may have followed about which name the young man was to take, if he was not truly the prince. But in the hold of one of Taylor’s ships lay a suit of precious white armour already made for him. In short, he was expected.

http://www.richard111.com/perkin_warbeck__imposter_or_pri.htm

I have found other references too, including that Tudor, on arriving in Wales, would undoubtedly strike awe into everyone in his dazzling white armour. There are many more in a similar vein, but I will not overload you with them. Suffice it that if you wore white armour, the implication was that you were the bee’s knees.

Now I have been looking through a large book entitled Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia by Noel Fallows. On pages 80-81 it states:-

. . . As clarified by Amadis de Gaula, in medieval Castile white armour denoted a certain level of skill since it was typically worn by novice knights . . .

and

. . . “I told him I would take the horse, because it was very good, and the cuirass and the helmet; but that the other arms were to be white as is fitting for a novice knight.” . . .

and

. . . fought by two of the least skilled knights, who are pointedly described as wearing white armour. White, polished armour would still have been expensive and of high quality . . .

Aha, do I hear you cry? What is she waffling about? This book only refers to jousting, not to battle circumstances. And in Castile, not England and Wales. I agree, but these knights went all over Europe attending tournaments. Just think of the film A Knight’s Tale, starring Heath Ledger. And this is where my problem arises. What did white armour signify in the real world, i.e. not the glamour of the tournament? Did it suddenly become very desirable indeed to appear in highly polished steel? Or did it still indicate the novice? So, in a tournament, an experienced knight would never challenge, or accept a challenge from, a less skilled knight in white. But on the battlefield . . . ?

Perkin Warbeck would clearly have been a novice . . . and maybe the same could be said of Henry. He was no warrior, and I have never read of him appearing in a tournament on the continent, or anywhere else. I know, I know, he was under house arrest and therefore couldn’t, but the end result is the same, he had no experience. Then again, I cannot imagine he would draw attention to his lack of skill and experience by strutting around in white. He was too canny for that.

So, am I right to think that white armour indicated one thing in jousting, but quite another in real combat? And one thing in Castile, but quite another in England? I am sure someone out in WordPressland is going to tell me.

 

Perkin Warbeck: A Story of Deception – The Fascinating Enigma as presented in Ann Wroe’s biography

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I wanted to write a piece about the man who we know as Perkin Warbeck or Piers Osbeck or Richard Plantagenet or King Richard IV or whoever he may have been if he was none of these other men after reading Ann Wroe’s excellent biography on this most appealing of enigmas.

Firstly I need to pay tribute to Wroe’s wonderful book which I found impossible to put down. Her writing is exceptionally beautiful and multi-layered, particularly in the first few chapters where the poetic and philosophical meet the straight historical narrative.

She begins with a very detailed description of the copy of the portrait which survives of the man who called himself Richard, Duke of York, son of King Edward IV. You could be forgiven for falling in love with him right there, not because of his strikingly gorgeous looks, his elegant poise or suggested sophistication but because of his vulnerability…

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An overheard Conversation

‘Edward,’ said the Duchess of York, in her sad-but-angry voice, ‘it is high time we had words. This ridiculous marriage you say you have made is simply the last straw. What sort of king marries in secret? And to someone, I may add, of no particular distinction of birth! You should be ashamed of yourself, letting us all down like this.’

King Edward IV sighed. He could always tell when his mother was really angry, because she stopped calling him ‘Ned’. And her curtseys became ironic. She was an awkward sort of person at the best of times, and wasn’t called ‘Proud Cis’ for nothing! And she was the only person in the whole kingdom who still dared to talk to him as though he was an errant schoolboy with his hose down for a birching. ‘Elizabeth is a widow,’ he said, attempting a winning smile, ‘and I am a bachelor, and we both have children. So you see, dear Mother, we have excellent hope of heirs. And besides, I love her.’

‘LOVE!’ Cecily almost screamed. ‘What the flipping flip does flipping love have to do with marriage among people like us?’ She didn’t actually use the word ‘flipping’ at all, but a somewhat stronger alternative. Edward was shocked. It wasn’t every day that his mother came out with rude words like that. Indeed it was a distinct novelty. He hadn’t realised that she even knew such language.

‘Mother!’ he said soothingly. ‘I beg you not so loud. The servants will hear.’

‘I don’t give a flipping sugar if every servant from here to Peterborough hears! In fact I hope they do, and that they repeat it to all their friends, with a few additions to make it more interesting. You stupid, stupid, little man! Call yourself King of England? You’re not fit to be the squire of Chipping Sodbury. I have scraped more kingly material off my shoes after a particularly prolonged visit to the kennels. Secret marriages, indeed! I wouldn’t mind, but it isn’t even the first time. Oh, yes, do you think I don’t know about Eleanor Talbot? I had her mother, Lady Shrewsbury, banging on about it to me for five solid hours. I thought it was a lie, and sent her on her way. But it wasn’t a lie, was it?’

The King looked as sheepish as a king possibly can without actually being a sheep. ‘Well,’ he admitted, ‘not exactly.’

Not exactly,’ she repeated impatiently. ‘I should have thought that even a mentally-challenged baboon would have realised that a Christian man cannot be married to two women at the same time. So this Elizabeth isn’t really your wife at all! And what does that make your future children?’

‘No one will ever find out, Mother. Eleanor Talbot is a very reasonable sort of woman, and has kept her mouth shut on the subject.’

No one will ever find out?’ Cecily shook her head, so sharply that the elaborate veiling descending from it shook like a sail split asunder by the wind. ‘The trouble with you, my boy, is you think that everyone in the world, except you, is stupid. This time you have gone too far. I wish I could say you were not my son, but unfortunately I remember the several hours of agonising pain all too well. I am tempted to tell everyone that you were fathered by the Archer Blackburn – or Blaeburn as we called him in the affected French accent we used during our time in Rouen. I liked the Archer Blackburn, and he was tall like you, and if he really was your father it would explain your total lack of nobility.’
Edward let out an awkward laugh. ‘Mother, no one would ever believe that you, of all women, would lie with a common archer.’

‘Would they not indeed?’ Cecily snorted. ‘You’d be surprised! Did you know that your birth came at a funny time? You were either very late or very early, and there was all manner of gossip in Rouen, especially when we only gave you a cheap baptism.

‘But I am York’s son?’

‘Probably.’

Probably?’ It was King Edward’s turn to become exasperated. ‘What sort of answer is that?’

‘A better one than you deserve. Can you imagine what people will say about you in the future? What they will write in their chronicles. Because I can, and it isn’t a pretty picture; a man who had it all when he came to the throne, and threw it all away because he couldn’t keep it inside his codpiece. Not that that in itself would particularly matter – if you had made a decent marriage first!

‘To somewhat like Bona of Savoy, I suppose? How on earth can a King of England marry someone called “Bona”? What a ridiculous name to put on a tomb! Or perhaps Isabella of Castile?’

‘Either would at least have been a respectable choice. At least compared to a Lancastrian widow, whose name no one seems to know how to spell.’

‘Mother, you have forgotten. I’m already married to Eleanor Talbot. If it does come out, the Woodvilles won’t be able to do much very about it. But a princess of France or Spain! Can you imagine the scandal? It would be casus belli.’

Cecily snorted. ‘I think that’s possibly the worst case of “making the best of a bad job” I’ve heard of in my entire life. I wash my hands of you – you bastard!

Just outside, a little man smiled to himself as he made a careful note with a stylus on a wax tablet. He worked for the Duke of Clarence. So far he had had very little to report, but this was going to mean a bonus. He studied his writing to be sure he had got the wording right. ‘On two separate occasions,’ it said, ‘the Duchess of York declared in my hearing that King Edward was a bastard. She said the gossip in Rouen was that he was the son of an archer called Blayburn.’

Proof of Edward IV’s ‘lost’ granddaughter?….

In everything I’ve ever read about Cicely/Cecily, daughter of Edward lV, and her last marriage, to Thomas Kymbe/Keymes/Kyme/Kymbe, various spellings, there is a question mark over their supposed children. No proof, no further history and so on. Yet today, on reading Perkin, A Story of Deception by Ann Wroe, in the Epilogue about Perkin’s wife, Lady Katherine Gordon, I came upon something that surely must prove the existence of at least one such child, a daughter, Margaret.
Katherine Gordon took several husbands after Perkin /Richard Duke of York, the last being Christopher Ashton of Fyfield, Berks. In her will, she left to her ‘cousin’, Margaret Keymes, ‘such of my apparel as shall be meet for her by the discretion of my husband and my said executor’. I quote Wroe: “Margaret was the daughter of Cicely, Edward IV’s second surviving daughter, who had taken Thomas Keymes or Kyme as her second husband. This marriage ‘to an obscure man of no reputation’, as Vergil called him, had made Cicely at outcast among the royals. Evidently, at some point, Katherine had befriended her and her daughter. The term ‘cousin’ though, suggested either a blood tie or that general cousinage of royals that Richard Plantagenet (Perkin) had claimed, in 1493, with half the crowned heads of Europe. Katherine’s claim to be cousin to Margaret [Keymes] could have only come through her first husband (Perkin), assuming that he had been the prince he said he was. It was perhaps a tiny signal that she still believed in him.”
If this really is in Katherine Ashton/Gordon’s will, surely it verifies that at least Cicely and Thomas had this one daughter, if no more children? Unless, of course, Wroe is wrong, and there was another Margaret Keymes, totally unrelated to Cicely.
Wiki says: “Two children, Richard and Margaret (or Margery) are mentioned in the enhanced copy, dated 1602, of the heraldic Visitation of Hampshire (1576) made by Smythe, Rouge Dragon pursuivant at the College of Arms, indicating that they lived, married, and had offspring. The children of the princess and her last husband were granted no royal titles or styles, nor did they enjoy any royal favours, lands, or positions at court, nor, indeed, any public recognition whatsoever. Over the centuries any memory of them has been obscured, and thus the veracity of their historical existence is now difficult to substantiate.”
Wiki, I know, but if Margaret Keymes was Cicely’s daughter and is in Katherine Ashton/Gordon’s will, then she is surely verified?
The picture below is a tweaked version of a likeness in the Royal Window, Northwest Transept, Canterbury Cathedral.
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Those mobile bones

The bones, purporting to be of the former Edward V and the elder of his brothers, have an interesting history of their own.

1) More relates that they were buried at night by one priest, without anyone knowing – which narrative is regarded as a Fifth Gospel by Cairo residents, if regarded as a farce by everyone else.

2) Wroe (p.140, as cited in “The Mystery of the Vanishing Chapel” here in July) quotes Henry VII (“Tudor”) as offering (in 1495) to show Maximilian I and Margaret of Burgundy (aunt by marriage to them both) the chapel where Richard of Shrewsbury was buried.

3) More went on to claim that the same priest dug up the “ex-Princes” and moved them on but he doesn’t know where – a point the Cairo folk ignore as inconvenient. {by the time of More’s execution}

4 Carson (p. 201) draws our attention to one John Webb, who found some bones in 1647.

5 She also (pp. 200-) talks of the better known 1674 find in the same place, which Charles II used for propaganda, were the same. Were they reburied immediately on the first occasion, after all the Civil War was in progress with the Parliamentarians having the upper hand and caring not for another ex-King and brother thereof?

So, for those not suffering from cognitive dissonance, is it likely that they were buried, moved to a chapel by 1495, moved back to the rough area of their first burial, dug up in 1647, immediately reburied in the same place and rediscovered “by accident” in 1674? Or is it far more logical that the whole More story amounts to “ten pounds of hogwash in a five pound bag” (to quote Sam Shepherd’s defence counsel) a story that people have desperately tried to bolster with a random but convenient set of remains for four centuries?

Frankly, it just doesn’t add up and it never has.

The book Kendall could write today (2) – The “Princes”

The reaction to the first part of “Kendall 2014” has been interesting. “According to Williams, Brampton was sent to Portugal as early as 22 March 1485, only six days after Anne’s death. ‘Brampton brought a double proposal to Portugal – for Richard to marry Joanna and for Elizabeth of York to marry…John, Duke of Beja…In return Richard offered, if necessary, to send an English army to help the King against dissident members of the aristocracy…'” – ie Brompton was despatched eight days EARLIER than we had previously known him to have been in Portugal, although the sea journey would surely be shorter. Apparently, some people think that the Portuguese archives mean something other than they actually say.

Now on to an even more important issue – that of her brothers, the “Princes”. Writing towards a 1955 publication, Tanner and Wright’s report from 1934 would still be fresh in the reader’s mind and Kendall’s first appendix assumed the full accuracy of their conclusions, including their approximate ages at death – “the Princes were murdered at the instigation of one of three men” (p.466), an assumption also followed by Tey in her remarkable amalgam of C15 history and C20 fiction.

In the nearly sixty years since his publication, science in particular has marched on and the Tanner-Wright conclusions, having been reviewed by later practitioners, can no longer be said to follow their basic report. Hanham, Williamson and Fields, in the seventies and eighties, were the first to dispute the assumption that the boys had necessarily been killed by anyone at all, a disputation that necessitated a challenge to the scientific conclusions. Leslau’s theory that both lived on in close proximity to (of all people) More dates from this period. It was followed by Wroe’s 2003 “Perkin” and Baldwin’s 2007 “The Lost Prince”, both being full-length expositions of hypotheses that one “Prince” or other may have lived until executed in 1499 (Wroe) or did live peacefully into the 1530s (Baldwin). Ashdown-Hill has referred to the subject obliquely in the excellent “Eleanor” and traced a lock of hair from Mary “Tudor” (Brandon), their niece, although it was of no avail in mtDNA terms. He has also written about Richard’s brief Low Countries exile, which should serve as a significant clue.

It is the recent arrival of Carson’s “The Maligned King” that has moved the situation on further. Chapter 9 (pp. 167-199) reviews the various survival options, the Gipping possibility and “Perkin”‘s “chain of custody” until he reappears with the Brampton household, the sheer improbability of: the killings and single-handed burial ten feet deep with nobody else on a busy site noticing, the removal and reburial by the same priest before the bones mysteriously returned to the first site, the unmolested life of the “culprits” (Tyrrell and Dighton) until 1502 and the latter’s “confession” eight or more years after his execution. Chapter 10 (pp. 200-233) deals with the science, in the era of DNA analysis, which identified Richard himself. The more recent experts are referred to from page 215. They disagree with each other a little but it is noticeable that they contradict Tanner and Wright. We cannot be certain of the remains’ gender or congenitality, whilst the elder corpse suffered from a jaw disease of terminal effect that witnesses must have noticed, except that nobody did. Furthermore, evidence is adduced (p.214) that the depth of the burial suggests the eleventh century. It is now apparent that we cannot assume either of Edward IV’s remaining sons to have been killed during 1483-7 by anyone.
Of course, it is a trait of the Cairo-dwellers to adhere firmly to any convenient statement, even when they know that it has been comprehensively disproven. This may be the issue where cognitive dissonance gives way to a degree of dishonesty on their part. It is important to note that, by 1478, Richard of Gloucester had only three (legitimate or then thought so) fraternal nephews. Of two, subsequently proved illegitimate, the fate is unknown. Of the third, excluded by attainder, we know that Richard treated him well, only for Edward of Warwick to be imprisoned almost immediately after Bosworth and eventually executed on a pretext. Richard’s conduct in this case should attest to his character and likely treatment of the first two.

“Perkin” again ….

In writing this, I have to own up that my copy of the book is signed by Ann Wroe in person. Our discussion confirmed that she retains an open mind on the youth’s identity, uncommon as that may be in writers on the period, but there are three possibilities:

1) He was the middle son of Edward IV, formerly the Duke of York in suo jure and Norfolk in jure uxoris.
2) He was a conscious impostor.
3) He was a fantasist – a random youth who believed himself to be the ex-Prince.

Now we all have to be careful about jumping to conclusions here. All suggestions of a “confession” or letters to “relatives” that can surely only be viewed through the prism of “Tudor” propaganda, especially as such could be composed without contradiction after his execution. Look at Tyrrell’s “confession”, which post-dates not merely his own death but that of Henry VII – thanks to Susan Leas (“As the King gave out”).

So what of the youth’s legal status in each case?
1) Henry’s repeal of Richard’s Titulus Regius would have made the ex-Prince legitimate, notwithstanding his father’s bigamy. His long campaign was surely to be King in his own right, implying that the former Edward V was either dead or uninterested and Richard of Shrewsbury would be the rightful King, to whom Henry should surrender.
2) The youth, whether literally a boatman’s son from Tournai, was almost certainly a foreign citizen and therefore owed Henry no fealty. There was some debate about this at William Joyce’s trial in that he claimed to be a British subject, so it mattered not that he wasn’t. However, the personage that the youth impersonated was not a subject.
3) The youth was a commoner who thought himself to be Richard of Shrewsbury and may well have been insane. “Tudor” “justice” had little interest in this – we see Edward of Warwick executed in the same week, Elizabeth Barton (1534) and Viscountess Rochford (1542), all of whom were deluded to some degree – and insanity was evidently not viewed as a defence.

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