January 18, 1486 – Henry VII Marries Elizabeth of York

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York by Sarah Malden (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York by Sarah Malden, Countess of Essex (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

This is the anniversary of the marriage of Henry VII with Elizabeth of York – the union of the red rose of Lancaster with the white rose of York to create the Tudor Rose and finally end the Wars of the Roses.

Interestingly, the marriage occurred five months after Henry VII acceded to the throne – and after the man’s coronation. Henry VII needed to make a very important point to the world – that he ruled by his own right, not through his wife’s claim. After all, his claim – beyond the fact that he won the Battle of Bosworth – was somewhat tenuous (through illegitimate heirs etc.). By forcing people to fully recognize his legitimacy before his marriage, the union was transformed into a magnanimous gesture rather than a desperate grab. It was actually the right way to manipulate the optics of the situation.

Agnes Strickland describes the event as follows:

Their wedding day was, in the words of Bernard Andreas, ‘celebrated with all religious and glorious magnificence at court, and by their people with bonfires, dancing, songs and banquets, throughout all London.’ Cardinal Bourchier, who was at the same time a descendant of the royal house of Plantagenet and a prince of the church, was the officiating prelate at the marriage. ‘His hand,’ according to the quaint phraseology of Fuller, who records the circumstance, ‘held that sweet posie, wherein the white and red roses were first tied together.’”

It was said the marriage was a happy one – enough that Henry VII had a reputation for fidelity – a rare attribute for a king. She got pregnant right away, giving birth to Arthur Tudor on September 20, 1486. At that point her husband was thrilled to have her crowned: on November 25, 1487 she was anointed Queen of England. Everything was golden at that point, and it would remain that way for quite some time….

Still, I always wonder how Elizabeth felt about marrying Henry. I mean, she was raised as a princess, so she would have expected a marriage based on politics. But how did she really feel about her overbearing mother-in-law? And there were several instances of men claiming to be her long-lost brothers…did she ever question -even for a moment – whether they were? What must that have feel like? I need to go lose myself in some good books…feel free to suggest your favorites!

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November 25, 1487 – Elizabeth of York Crowned

Elizabeth of York by an unknown artist, scanned from The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings and Queens of England by David Williamson (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Elizabeth of York was crowned a little more than two years after her husband, Henry VII. Although she was widely regarded as the Yorkist heir to the throne, Henry did not want to condition his legitimacy on her claim so he insisted on being crowned himself before their marriage – and then Elizabeth’s coronation had to wait  because she  was pregnant with their first child (Prince Arthur was born on September 20, 1486).

On the 24th, she rode through London to Westminster. The crowd was immense as it was her first public appearance since her marriage, and everyone was anxious to behold her. Apparently, she did not disappoint. As Agnes Strickland puts it in her wonderful Lives of the Queens of England,

[S]he had not completed her twenty-second year, her figure was, like that of her majestic father, tall and elegant, her complexion brilliantly fair and her serene eyes and perfect features were now lighted up with the lovely expression maternity ever gives to a young woman whose disposition is truly estimable. The royal apparel, in which her loving subjects were so anxious to see her arrayed, consisted of a kirtle of white cloth of gold, damasked and a mantle of the same, furred with ermine, fastened on the breast with a great lace or cordon, curiously wrought of gold and silk, finished with rich knobs of gold and tassels. ‘On her fair yellow hair, hanging at length down her back, she wore a caul of pipes and a circle of gold, richly adorned with gems.’”

Then, on the day itself, she was even more majestic – and provoked a near-riot:

“The next day she was attired in a kirtle of purple velvet, furred with ermine bands in front. On her  hair she wore a circlet of gold, set with large pearls and colored gems. She entered Westminster Hall with her attendants, and waited under a canopy of state till she proceeded to the abbey. The way thither was carpeted with striped cloth, which sort of covering had been, from time immemorial, the perquisite of the common people. But the multitude in this case crowded so eagerly to cut off pieces of the cloth, ere the queen had well passed, that before she entered the abbey several of them were trampled to death, and the procession of the queen’s ladies “broken and distroubled.”

Elizabeth’s mom, Elizabeth Woodville, was not present – she was suspected of having been involved in the 1487 Yorkist rebellion that claimed that Lambert Simnel was the true king of England and was sent to remote Bermondsey Abbey where she took up a quiet, contemplative life. Elizabeth’s step-brother Thomas Grey, Earl of Huntingdon and Marquess of Dorset, had been caught up in that same rebellion and sent to the Tower, but was liberated and allowed to assist the coronation. Part of the reconciliation, after all!

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February 11, 1503 – Death of Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York, by an unknown artist (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Elizabeth of York, by an unknown artist (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Elizabeth of York was an amazing woman. Eldest child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, she married Henry VII after he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. By all accounts, the marriage was a successful one. Not just on a political level (the union of the White Rose of York with the Red Rose of Lancaster ended the War of the Roses that had plagued England for too long), but on a personal one as well (it is said that Henry VII took no mistresses during his marriage – rare and admirable restraint for a king). She certainly was well-beloved by the English people, and when news of her death from childbed fever spread through the land, “the utmost sorrow was manifested among all ranks of her subjects.”

Sir Thomas More wrote an elegy for her. It starts by highlighting the folly of the astrologers who had predicted that all sorts of good fortune would befall Elizabeth in 1503 (!) then goes on to mention the people she left behind – all in careful order of protocol. After the King her husband is named (and gets two stanzas!), then comes her daughter Margaret (she had been married by proxy to James VI so she was technically Queen of Scotland though she hadn’t yet left the country); then her mother-in-law Margaret Beaufort; then Catherine of Aragon as widow to her oldest son Prince Arthur (!); then her son Henry, the new heir; then her daughter Mary and the newborn Katherine to whom she had just given birth (and who would follow her into death a few weeks later); then her sisters (first the three who remained at court, then the youngest, Bridget, who had taken the vows of a nun); and finally everyone else.

Yet was I lately promised otherwise,

This year to live in weal and in delight;

Lo! To what cometh all thy blandishing promise,

O false astrology and divinitrice,

Of God’s secrets vaunting thyself so wise!

How true for this year is thy prophecy?

The year yet lasteth, and lo! Here I lie.

Adieu! Mine own dear spouse, my worthy lord!

The faithful love, that did us both combine

In marriage and peaceable concord,

Into your hands here do I clean resign,

To be bestowed on your children and mine;

Erst were ye father, now must ye supply

The mother’s part also, for here I lie.

Where are our castles now? Where are our towers?

Goodly Richmond, soon art thou gone from me:

At Westminster, that costly work of yours,

Mine own dear lord, now shall I never see,

Almighty God vouchsafe to grant that ye,

For you and children may well edify;

My palace builded is, for lo! Now here I lie.

Farewell my daughter, lady Margarete,

God wot full oft it grieved hath my mind

That ye should go where we might seldom meet;

Now I am gone, and have left you behind.

O mortal folk! But we be very blind,

What we least fear full off it is most nigh,

From you depart I first, for lo! Now here I lie.

Farewell, madame, my lord’s worthy mother;

Comfort your son, and be of good cheer,

Take all at worth for it will be no other.

Farewell, my daughter Katherine! Late the phere

Unto prince Arthur, late my child so dear;

It booteth not for me to wail and cry,

Pray for my soul, for lo! Now here I lie.

Adieu, lord Henry! Loving son, adieu!

Our lord increase your honor and estate;

Adieu my daughter Mary! Bright of hue,

God make you virtuous, wise, and fortunate;

Adieu sweetheart, my little daughter Kate!

Thou shalt, sweet babe, such is thy destiny,

Thy mother never know, for lo! Now here I lie.

Lady Cicely, lady Anne, and lady Katherine,

Farewell! My well-beloved sisters three,

Oh! lady Bridget, other sister mine,

Lo here the end of worldly vanity!

Now are you well who earthly folly flee,

And heavenly things do praise and magnify,

Farewell, and pray for me, for lo! Now here I lie.

Adieu my lords! Adieu, my ladies all!

Adieu, my faithful servants every one!

Adieu my commons! Whom I never shall

See in this world: wherefore to Thee alone

Immortal God, verily three in one,

I me commend; thy infinite mercy

Show to thy servant, for now here I lie!

RESOURCES

As always, Wikipedia is a great place to begin for an overarching view.

And Agnes Strickland is a wonderful source for great, more in-depth material. Lives of the Queens of England, Volume IV.

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May 27, 1541 – Margaret Pole Executed

May 27, 154 1 - Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury was executed. One of the low points of Henry VIII's reign. Read about it (warning - not for the squeamish) on www.janetwertman.com

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, by unknown artist. Given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1931

[Spoiler alert – this is not for the squeamish! The execution of Margaret Pole is one of the darkest marks in Henry VIII’s reign – and considering how dark some of them were, that is saying a lot…]

Born Margaret of York, Margaret Pole was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarendon (brother of King Edward IV ad King Richard III) – which made her, along with Elizabeth of York, one of the few remaining Plantagenets after the War of the Roses. Margaret loyally served Catherine of Aragon for years…then continued to support her after the annulment, which started her troubles. She might have gotten away with it, but her youngest son Reginald Pole had become a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. He wrote against the King, denying Henry’s religious supremacy in England and urging others to do the same. In late 1537, Reginald supported the insurgents in the Pilgrimage of Grace, working with the Pope to try to persuade France and Spain to help replace Henry with a Catholic ruler (the plan was that he would be released from his vows to marry the King’s daughter Mary, combining their claims).

Because Reginald was smart enough to remain outside England’s reach, Henry took his anger out on the man’s relatives. In November 1538, Margaret and her children were arrested for having corresponded with Reginald. Her manor was searched at the time, but then six months later Cromwell “found” a tunic bearing the Five Wounds of Christ (the banner adopted by the Pilgrims) and used it as evidence that she supported the treasonous plan to place her son on the throne. She was sentenced to death, and held in the Tower for two years.

Henry finally decided to execute his frail, 67-year-old relative in 1541. This is when the story gets bad. Margaret Pole continued to deny that she was a traitor – and based on that, refused to lay her head down on the block. Forced down, she continued to struggle and try to free herself.  That would have been difficult for any executioner, but hers was said to be a “blundering youth” who missed.  Many times. The Calendar of State Papers contains a report that he “hacked her head and shoulders to pieces” – it took eleven blows to finally decapitate her.

So perish all the King’s enemies….

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Author Interview: A Song of Sixpence, by Judith Arnopp

A Song of Sixpence, but Judith Arnopp

A Song of Sixpence, by Judith Arnopp

I am getting excited – we are just a few days away from the publication of A Song of Sixpence, a new novel by Judith Arnopp that tells the story of Elizabeth of York and Perkin Warbeck. To celebrate, Judith has let me interview her about the book. This is the first interview I have done for the blog, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it! I also hope you will join me in pre-ordering the book, I have so enjoyed Judith’s other offerings!

A bit of context: Edward IV had two sons, Edward and Richard, both of whom were minors when he died in 1483; he also had a daughter, Elizabeth of York. Edward’s brother Richard was named Lord Protector for his oldest nephew, who was pronounced Edward V. The young King and his brother were conducted to the Tower in great ceremony in preparation for Edward’s coronation – but before that could take place, Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid, making their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. As a result, Richard changed roles from Lord Protector to King in his own right: Richard III. His nephews never left the Tower, and the rumor arose that they had been murdered there on Richard’s orders. Perhaps because of this suspicion, Richard was an unpopular king, and Henry Tudor led a rebellion against him, killing him at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to become Henry VII. Henry married Elizabeth of York, arguably heir to the throne in her own right, uniting the country.

In 1490, a young man named Perkin Warbeck appeared on the scene claiming to be Richard of York, the younger of the two murdered princes. Perkin was not the first to make this claim – Lambert Simnel had done so only four years previously. But Perkin saw greater success: he got Margaret of York, Edward IV’s sister and Elizabeth of York’s aunt, to concur that he indeed who he claimed to be. This put Elizabeth in a very awkward position…

 

Janet Wertman: First, congratulations. This is your – eleventh is it? – novel, most of which have dealt with the Tudor court. You’ve written about Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr and others – and now Elizabeth of York. How did you decide to write about her, and what inspired you to center intrigue around Perkin Warbeck?

Judith Arnopp: Hi Janet, thank you for hosting me on your lovely blog.

Eleventh novel? I think it is the seventh, you are rushing me – lol. The Tudor period has always fascinated me, especially the women. Since I was a teenager I’ve read everything I can get my hands on but when I began to write professionally I chose another era because people are always saying the Tudors have had too much attention. My first three books were Anglo-Saxon/early medieval (another of my favourite periods). But I had so many readers asking if I’d ‘done anything Tudor’ that I decided to give it a try. The Winchester Goose was my first in the 16th century and that is when people began to notice my work. A Song of Sixpence is my fourth novel in the Tudor period and it won’t be my last.

Perkin Warbeck is intriguing and I am surprised he hasn’t been the subject of more novels. Although I write historical ‘fiction’ I do try to keep to fact as far as possible but with Perkin the records are nebulous, which gave me a much freer hand for his part of the narrative. We will never know his real identity for sure and I could no longer ignore the ‘was he, wasn’t he?’ aspect of his story.

As the mother of the Tudor dynasty Elizabeth has never had a great deal of attention yet her plight was significant. Like it or not she was married to the opposing team, a man she had been raised to loathe. Even if, as we suspect, her mother had been intriguing with Margaret Beaufort on Henry’s part, Elizabeth had no choice in whether to marry him or not. Duty or ambition were the only factors in the union, she put personal desire aside although they did, in the end come to have a great deal of affection for one another.

There is no record that she ever encountered Perkin but she must have wondered about him. He had considerable backing among the heads of Europe and Henry was certainly quite rattled by his claim. In the years between the disappearance of her brothers in 1483 and Warbeck’s arrival on the scene Elizabeth’s life had taken a complete turnaround. Had Warbeck’s cause been successful her conflict would have been immense; imagine having to choose between brother or husband.

A Song of Sixpence charts the transition of her loyalties from those of a Yorkist princess to a Tudor queen.

JW: It sounds from the synopsis that your Perkin Warbeck was a legitimate claimant. If it is not giving away too much, does Elizabeth of York believe that Perkin Warbeck was actually her brother?

 JA: For much of the novel Elizabeth is horribly unsure. Warbeck’s claim has a profound effect upon Elizabeth. She just doesn’t know, and although she pretends to Henry she believes ‘the boy’ is just a pretender, in her heart she is terrified he isn’t. For years she has believed her brothers met a grisly end, so on one hand she wants it to be Richard, but because of her newfound loyalty to Henry and her son, she needs him to be an imposter.

As I said earlier there is no record of them ever having met but they do in the novel and her conflict increases once she realises her little brother is back from the dead, the living image of her father and determined to reinstate York on the throne. Elizabeth never really loses her York loyalties but after Warbeck’s fall discovers a new way of ensuring Plantagenet power lives on.

JW: Where does the title come from?

JA: From the nursery rhyme:

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,

Oh wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

The king was in his counting house counting out his money,

The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey

The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,

When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose.

 We all know the rhyme, don’t we? There are a few different interpretations of the meaning behind it, but I have always preferred the idea that the king in the counting house is Henry VII and the queen in the parlour is Elizabeth of York. Early on in the novel Elizabeth reminisces about her father’s court and how she used to sing to him in exchange for sixpence. Sixpence seems to have been the going rate for a song in those days. There are references to singing for sixpence in contemporary or near contemporary literature; most notably in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night during a drunken conversation between Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew.

SIR TOBY BELCH: Come on; there is sixpence for you: let’s have a song.” (Twelfth Night, Act II Sc. III)

Of course, no Tudor banquet was complete without minstrels to play the favourite songs. One can easily imagine the king and queen seated with their court at groaning tables, dining on exotic dainties to the strains of fabulous music. I couldn’t resist the image. I don’t recall when I struck by the idea for a title but since it is instantly recognisable it seems to be drawing people to it.

 JW: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I love writing so although the hours are long and lonely, and the research can be tedious, I don’t really find it difficult. The trickiest part is the editing. During the first draft, when my creative juices are in full flood, I am perfectly happy but then I have to go back and tweak it. Editing is hard. Sometimes, for the sake of the novel, I am forced to remove some of my favourite parts. Then I have to find those pesky errors, anachronisms or just plain rubbish writing. I am a bit obsessive. I go over and over it, and so does my husband, then my beta readers take a look at it. Then it goes to a professional editor and STILL she finds small things wrong.

It is also hard to let go. To finally say, ‘it is finished’ and send it off into the world. It is rather like sending your toddler to school for the first time, a bit of a relief but incredibly sad. Almost immediately I begin to think of what my next baby …erm novel might be. J

JW: How do you research your subjects? Do you try to get it all done before you start writing, or do you prefer to research as you go?

JA: One of my obsessions is perspective which is why I often write with dual narratives. This obsession also prompts me to read widely and obtain as many different takes on a subject as possible. Sometimes I use primary sources but the Tudor period is so well covered that I rarely need to. I have a vast personal library which is growing every day and, once I have exhausted that, I visit the university library and see what they have on their shelves.

A novelist needs to take a stance, it may not always be one I personally believe, but for the sake of the book I pretend to believe. For example to make A Song of Sixpence work I had to assume that Warbeck was in fact the younger of the two princes. In taking that view I then dismissed the confession he made on the scaffold, and assume he made it under duress.

For research purposes it is important to be objective but once I begin to write the fiction I have to be biased in a particular direction or the novel wouldn’t work. I have to believe in what I am writing for the duration of the project.

I research thoroughly before I begin to write, and continue to read extensively during the writing process. I make notes (and often lose them) I have portraits of my characters if I can find them. I study their expression, their clothes, visit their homes if I can, read their letters if any are extant. (Katherine Parr, even if her writing is rather tedious to the modern eye, was especially good for this). Very often the things I learn never make it into the novel but having the knowledge in my head helps to create a believable world.

By the time the novel is finished I feel I know my characters very well. History provides the skeleton and I try to provide the flesh. Since I write in the first person I have to become my characters, love who they love, hate who they hate, and pity who they pity. It is a strange but wonderful way to make a living.

JW: Do you have any ideas about what your next novel will be about? Are you ready to share?

 JA: A few people have asked me to write about Jane Seymour but she isn’t ‘speaking’ to me yet.

JW: I have to say, I am rather glad about that, since I’m writing my own book about her! And perhaps that’s because she’s been too busy speaking to me…

JA: I suspect you’re right, Janet! One voice that is rather insistent is Margaret Beaufort. During the writing of A Song of Sixpence I spent quite a lot of time with Margaret and came to understand her better. She is usually depicted as a staid, pious woman, which of course she probably was. She was immensely powerful and loyal to her son but there would have been more. Philippa Gregory has her down as a bit of a religious nut, an obsessive, but she is so interesting I don’t think she requires that kind of sensationalising. Margaret was an immensely rich heiress. She divorced her first husband at the age of ten – think of that – she married again at twelve, gave birth to Henry at thirteen. That is unthinkable today and it was frowned upon at the time. In A Song of Sixpence, seen through Elizabeth’s eyes, Margaret is quite annoying; an interfering mother-in-law with a rarely seen gentler side. I’d like to return to her childhood and build on that to illustrate how she became the formidably powerful woman she was.

Most experts agree that our early years shape us into the adults we become and I’d like to trace her experiences but she had a long eventful life, it might require a trilogy.

JW: More books to love! Can’t wait – for them AND this one!

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 Excerpt from A Song of Sixpence:

London ― Autumn 1483

Ink black water slaps against the Tower wharf where deep, impenetrable darkness stinks of bleak, dank death. Strong arms constrict him and the rough blanket covering his head clings to his nose and mouth. The boy struggles, kicks, and wrenches his face free to suck in a lungful of life-saving breath. The blanket smothers him again. He fights against it, twisting his head, jerking his arms, trying to kick; but the hands that hold him tighten. His head is clamped hard against his attacker’s body. He frees one hand, gropes with his fingers until he discovers chain mail, and an unshaven chin. Clenching his fingers into a fist, he lunges out with a wild, inaccurate punch.

With a muffled curse, the man throws back his head but, keeping hold of his prisoner, he hurries onward down narrow, dark steps, turning one corner then another before halting abruptly. The boy hears his assailant’s breath coming short and sharp and knows he too is afraid.

The aroma of brackish water is stronger now. The boy strains to hear mumbled voices, low and rough over scuffling footsteps. The ground seems to dip and his stomach lurches as suddenly they are weightless, floating, and he senses they have boarded a river craft. The invisible world dips and sways sickeningly as they push out from the stability of the wharf for the dangers of the river.

The only sound is the gentle splash of oars as they glide across the water, then far off the clang of a bell and the cry of a boatman. The boy squirms, opens his mouth to scream but the hand clamps down hard again. The men draw in their breath and freeze, waiting anxiously. There’s a long moment, a motionless pause before the oars are taken up again and the small craft begins to move silently across the surface.

River mist billows around them; he can smell it, feels it seeping through his clothes. He shivers, but more from fear than cold.

He knows when they draw close to the bridge. He can feel the tug of the river; hear the increasing rush of the current, the dangerous turbulence beneath. Surely they will not shoot the bridge, especially after dark? Only a fool would risk it.

The boy wriggles, shakes his head, and tries to work his mouth free of the smothering hand. He strains to see through the blinding darkness but all is inky black. The boat gathers pace and, as the noise of the surging river becomes deafening, the man increases his hold, a hurried prayer rumbling in his chest.

The whole world is consumed in chaos, rushing water, clamouring thunder, biting cold. In the fight for survival, the boy continues to battle fruitlessly for breath, struggle for his freedom. The body that holds him hostage tenses like a board and beneath the boy’s ear beats the dull thud of his assailant’s heart. The blanket is suffocatingly hot, his stomach turning as the boat is taken, surging forward, spinning upward before it is hurled down again between the starlings, shooting uncontrollably beneath the bridge.

Then suddenly, the world is calmer. Somehow the boat remains upright on the water. It spins. He hears the men scrabble for the oars, regain control, and his captor relaxes, breathes normally again. Exhausted and helpless, the boy slumps, his fight defeated.

All is still now; all is quiet. The oars splash, the boat glides down river, and soon the aroma of the countryside replaces the stench of the city.

His clothes are soaked with river water; his stomach is empty, his body bruised and aching. As the man releases his hold the boy slumps to the bottom of the boat. He lies unmoving, defeated and afraid.

He sleeps.

The world moves on.

Much later, waking with a start, the boy hears low, dark whisperings; a thick Portuguese accent is answered by another, lighter and less certain. This time when he blinks into the darkness, he notices a faint glimmer of light through the coarse weave of the blanket. He forces himself to lie still, knowing his life could depend upon not moving, but his limbs are so cramped he can resist no longer. He shifts, just a little, but it is too much. His kidnapper hauls him unceremoniously from the wet wooden planks.

The boy’s legs are like string. He stumbles as they snatch off his hood and daylight rushes in, blinding bright. He blinks, screwing up his face, squinting at the swimming features before him, fighting for focus. He sees dark hair; a heavy beard; the glint of a golden earring—and recognition and relief flood through him.

“Brampton!” he exclaims, his voice squeaking, his throat parched. “What the devil are you doing? Take me back at once.”

Brampton tugs at the boy’s tethered arms, drawing him more gently now to the bench beside him.

“I cannot. It is unsafe.”

“Why?” As his hands are untied the boy rubs at each wrist in turn, frowning at the red weals his bonds have left behind. He pushes Plantagenet-bright hair from his eyes, his chin juts forward in outrage. “If my father were here …”

“Well, he is not.”

Brampton’s tone lacks respect, but the boy knows him for a brusque, uncourtly man.

“But where are you taking me? What is happening?”

“To safety. England is no longer the place for you.”

The boy swallows, his shadowed eyes threatening tears. Switching his gaze from one man to the other, he moistens his lips, bites his tongue before trusting his breaking voice. “Where is my brother? Where is Edward?”

Brampton narrows his eyes and looks across the misty river. He runs a huge, rough hand across his beard, grimaces before he replies. His words, when they come, spell out the lost cause of York.

“Dead. As would you be had I left you there.”

 

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A Song of Sixpence is available on Amazon Kindle now, the paperback to follow soon.

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