Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Women of the Cousins' War

The Women of the Cousins' War, The Duchess, The Queen and The King's Mother

Three stories by three different authors comprise this book which is quite fascinating to read

for the medieval times of English history and the early reign of

the Tudors.

The first story is of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who was married to King Henry V's

brother, John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford and subsequently married Sir Richard Woodville, father of Elizabeth Woodville, a future queen of England.

I enjoyed reading of

Jacquetta's life as I had earlier read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

where Jacquetta plays a significant role in the story. There are the family

legends of Melusine, a water nymph. Perhaps

because of these unfounded legends Jacquetta at one time is suspected and arraigned for being

a witch. She certainly was fortunate in that she was acquitted of all charges. Jacquetta is a

witness at the marriage ceremony of Elizabeth and Edward IV. Jacquetta's allegiances

previously were for the Lancasters. In those precarious times Jacquetta and her husband

often had to balance their position between the opposing forces of Lancasters and Yorks.

The next story is of Jacquetta's daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV. This gives a fascinating insight inot her life as queen.

The following story is of the life of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of a King Henry VII, grand-mother of Henry VIII.

This biography gives an insight into the times prior to the early Tudor kings of Henry VII and Henry VIII and of Margaret's life, who was married at a young age to Edmund Tudor and gave birth to Henry VII at a young age as a widow. Margaret was ambitious and concerned mostly for her son, Henry, in exile in France, whom she did not see for many years. Margaret Tudor was the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty.

Her story is a noteworthy one of setting up a Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge University and being a founder of St John's College, Cambridge and Christ's College, Cambridge.

Margaret was a Beaufort, descended from the line of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Swynford, who subsequently became John of Gaunt's third wife, the Duchess of Lancaster. During Henry IV's time a clause was included in the succession bill that the Beauforts could not claim the throne. Margaret's rise in politics and royalty is all the more spectacular for what she achieved from her early beginnings.

The stories give a good overview of the women and how they adapted to change and coped during troubled times in English history. The stories are written by three different authors, Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones respectively. It is more of a book of interest for people who are interested in this era of English history and drama of the times. It gives details more likely to be found in a non-fiction book than a fictionalised story.

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