Alison Weir and Elizabeth of York



Alison Weir is first and foremost a historian but when you combine this with her writing skills and ability to make us care about historical figures whether popular or less known, then you can guarantee that any book with her name on it ‘does what is says on the tin’


This is not a history book however – it is a story of intrigue and mystery A story of a woman often forgotten in history but who was right at the heart of the action during the golden era of the Plantagenets and the rise of the Tudors.


Elizabeth  has often been written about only in relation to her father, uncle husband and of course son was, but delve into Elizabeth’s story is to find out a different story altogether overlooked.


There is a lot of history covered here and for all those history buffs out there, you will love the family trees, the history of the family feuds, how the nobles of the time dressed, what they ate etc. It is a very detailed book but is not a heavy read thanks to the skill of the author. The nature of her writing, the development of her findings is impressive as are the conclusions which she comes to.


An interesting introduction to the Palace of Westminster too where Elizabeth of York was born and lived as a child  –


The Palace of Westminster

Where  Elizabeth was born in 1466 – 

The royal palace of Westminster extended along the Thames shore, southwest of the City of London. A royal residence had stood on this site opposite Westminster Abbey since the sainted King Edward the Confessor had rebuilt both in the eleventh century…..

The rambling old palace was much in need of upgrading and Edward IV had set about converting part of it into new royal lodgings, which Elizabeth of Tok would come to come very well.


But for now England was celebrated as ‘The ringing isle’ because of its many churches, abbeys  and priories.


I thought I’d read everything there was to read on Elizabeth of York and her family. How wrong was I? I discovered many things and not just about the lady herself and the Tudor time period but they way in which it was written made me remember them and care and also want to read more about her.

Daughter of Edward IV, sister to the princes in the tower, wife of Henry VII, mother of Henry VIII, and grandmother of Elizabeth I: Elizabeth of York is a pivotal character in English history.

She certainly comes back to life in this book –  In the early part we see Elizabeth as a young woman unsure of her future and on her way becoming Queen. She becomes a much more shadowy character after the wedding. Weir tries to give us a picture of her life by detailing her wardrobe, the places she visited with Henry, the events she took part in, and her role in bearing the royal children.


 Elizabeth would have learned early in life that she was a very special little girl


The end of the book is much more interesting from the aspect of historical events. The pretenders caused Henry worry about the security of his throne. We do get a sense of what Elizabeth thought of all this and it goes to heighten the drama and the truth of what history has already told us but never really from a woman’s point of view – and not just any women -one at the heart of everything that was going on.


For a history lesson and a fascinating read – Elizabeth of York is THE place to start. One to add to the growing pile…..

Alison Weir writes about some fascinating time periods, people and places in the UK
Alison Weir writes about some fascinating time periods, people and places in the UK





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