Thursday, November 10, 2016

Forgotten Daughter of York

Princess Bridget of York
Nun at Dartford Priory
On November 10, 1480, Elizabeth Woodville gave birth to her seventh daughter. Born during the most peaceful days of her father's reign, Bridget's position would have seemed charmed and secure until Edward IV died unexpectedly less than three years later.

Bridget joined the large York royal family just over a year after her older sister, Katherine, and only months after older sisters, Mary and Cecily, had been made Ladies of the Garter. Queen Elizabeth's last child is often overlooked in the drama that occurred during her early life, but Bridget would leave it all behind for a monastic life just as her namesake, St Bridget of Sweden, had done.

Born at Eltham Palace, Bridget was baptized the following day with her eldest sister, Elizabeth, standing as godmother. It is likely that the decision to dedicate this child to the church had already been made. Cecily of York, Bridget's grandmother, had recently retired to Berkhamsted to devote her life to religious study and worship. She is thought to be the one to suggest the unconventional name of Bridget for the youngest York princess.

As a toddler, Bridget went with her mother and sisters into sanctuary when her father died in 1483. Hearing that Richard of Gloucester had taken control of the boy who was now Edward V, Elizabeth panicked and rushed her remaining children to Westminster Abbey. While the rest of the family waited in fear to see how events would unfold, Bridget was young enough to be blissfully ignorant.

The girls did not leave sanctuary until March of the following year, after Queen Elizabeth had convinced the man who was by then Richard III to publicly promise to see to the protection and well-being of her five surviving daughters. Blessed by her youth, Bridget would not have understood the loss of her two brothers that devastated her mother and older sisters. Edward V and little Richard of York would never be seen again.

Then, in 1485, the world shifted again. The Plantagenet dynasty, which had begun in 1154, came to an end when Richard III was killed in the Battle of Bosworth by the forces of Henry Tudor. In an underdog victory that none could have foreseen, the Tudor dynasty was born and Bridget found herself the youngest princess of a defeated regime. She was almost five years old.

Since Bridget's eldest sister, Elizabeth, became Henry Tudor's bride, her position was safe if uncertain. What would Henry VII decide to do about all those York girls with royal blood running through their veins? Parliament had bastardized them, but Henry quickly had them legitimized for his wife's sake. Their marriage would unite their houses and bring peace, but who could he safely marry her sisters to?

Dartford Priory
1786 Print
In Bridget's case, Henry had no worries. By the time she was ten years old, Bridget was dedicated to the church. She was sent to the Order of St Augustine at Dartford, which had been founded by her ancestor, Edward III, in 1349. Dartford was an affluent priory with a reputation for scholarly and religious study. It was the lone order of Dominican nuns in England. Bridget became eligible to take vows on her thirteenth birthday in 1493, but it is unknown precisely when she did become a nun. She also stayed in touch with her sister, the queen, until Elizabeth's death in 1503. One of the few times that Bridget left Dartford was for the funeral of the first Tudor queen.

Bridget died in 1517 and was buried at the priory. However, the exact location of her grave was lost due to the Dissolution of the Monasteries by her nephew, Henry VIII.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Sad Birthday for York

King Edward V
National Portrait Gallery London
November 2nd is an important day in York history. On this day in 1470, Edward IV was granted his greatest wish. After the births of three daughters, Queen Elizabeth Woodville bore Edward a son. She was in sanctuary at the time, though she never seemed to doubt that her golden warrior husband would return to reclaim his kingdom and his family.

Her faith was well placed. Approximately six months later, Edward did return and for the first time met his heir, who had been christened Prince Edward in his absence. Over the next decade, Prince Edward was joined by two more brothers and four more sisters. One of these sisters, Anne, was born on Edward's fifth birthday. While this day was likely filled with rejoicing, neither of these siblings would enjoy a happy life.

Prince Edward was at Ludlow, training to become king someday that should have been far off when he received the news that his father had died. At only 12 years old, the prince became Edward V in April 1483. However, the name Edward Prince of Wales seems to be a cursed one, for his predecessor, referred to by the Yorks as Edward of Westminster had died in battle, fighting for the throne of his father, Henry VI, that would have eventually fallen to him. Edward V's successor as Prince of Wales, Edward of Middleham, also met an early and untimely end.

Anne of York
Lady Howard
Pages and pages have been written about the possible fate of Edward V and his brother Richard Duke of York. Their brother, George had died in 1479, but these remaining two brothers became known as the Princes in the Tower. Their disappearance in 1483 remains one of histories most astounding unsolved mysteries.

Their sister, Anne, survived her brothers and was married to a member of the ambitious Howard family during the reign of Henry VII. However, their union produced no children, and Anne died just three weeks after her 36th birthday. (Her sisters each died at a similar age, except for Catherine who died at age 48.)

A prince and a princess, each born with so much promise and sharing a birthday, met sad ends as their dynasty crumbled and the Tudors took their place.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

From the Scriptorium: November 2016

I've decided to add a new monthly feature to my blog! The 'From the Scriptorium' post each month will highlight book news, reviews, historical blogs & articles, events, media mentions, and more. Here is my first go at it. Let me know if there are other features that you would love to see.

Happy Reading!

November 2016 Edition

Last month was exciting! October was full of Kindle sales and guest posts, and now it is time to start looking forward to the holiday season. I will be kicking it off in a few days at the Trinity Christmas Bazaar on November 5th. Come and see me and give the unique gift of signed books to your friends and family this year!

In the News

I have been busy over the past month with several guest blog posts. You can find them all here:

Bookish News

November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, so you can expect to find me closeted away with my laptop and stacks of books most days this month. My goal is to make great strides toward getting Queen of Martyrs completed.

You can keep up with what I am reading by following me on Goodreads.

Featured Reviews

One for Plantagenet Princess Tudor Queen: review by Author Stephanie Churchill
One for Faithful Traitor: 5-star review on Amazon

Have you written a review? I would love to feature it! Add a link in the comments below.

Did you miss it?

My post this month on Cecily of York was my most popular blog to date! I knew you guys loved Cecily, and I'm glad you enjoyed learning more about her. If you missed it, you can read it here - Marrying Down: Cecily of York.

You want it? You got it.

Is there a topic you would like to see a blog on? Interested in hosting an author event? Is there a newsletter feature I've missed that you want to see? Let me know in the comments below & I will do my best to deliver.