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How much of ‘history’ is just myth?

In the current edition of the Ricardian Bulletin is an excellent article by Joanna Laynesmith about Cecily, Duchess of York. Laynesmith demontrates conclusively:

1. That there is no evidence Cecily was born at Raby.
2. The ‘Rose of Raby’ epithet dates from no earlier than the eighteenth century and probably comes from – shock horror! – a novel.
3. There is no fifteenth century reference to her looks, and the nearest source (Edward Hall) claims that she was short of stature.
4. She did not have a daughter called Joan.
5. She was not (in context) irresponsible in her spending on clothes.
6. There is no reference to ‘Proud Cis’ prior to 1713.

This contradicts so much that we ‘know’ about Duchess Cecily that it seems to me that we are saddled with more myth than history. Nor was all this myth invented by the despised class of modern novelists.

One is left wondering just how much of ‘history’ in general is equally mythical when examined closely.

Joanna Laynesmith is publishing a new biography of the Duchess in 2016. It should be well worth reading.

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