This week Alison Weir attends the Hexham Book Festival to talk about her latest historical book Elizabeth of York.
Elizabeth was of course the mother of Henry VIII – she married Henry VII and thus helped bring to an end the War of the Roses between two sides of a warring family that had plagued England for many years.
She is perhaps not the most well known figure in history – did you know she planned to marry Richard III? Even though she suspected him of killing her brothers – the princes in the tower?
Alison Weir calls her an enigma and reading this biography she certainly seems that way. She did what all women had to do at that time – stay in the background. And this meant that scheming and survival techniques were a key way of life.
The good thing about historical books of this nature is that it takes a book and a booktrail to really bring it to life! This book does tell us a lot about a woman’s lot in life, royal or not and sadly somethings still ring true even today –
Elizabeth of York would have ruled England but for the fact that she was a woman. – (sexism)
It has been said that Elizabeth was distrusted and kept in subjection by Henry VII and her formidable mother-in -law Margaret Beaufort (mother in law problems)
..thus uniting the red and white roses of Lancaster and York (peacekeeper and mediator)
And all of this whilst living through the most restrictive period of history for a woman, royal or not. Even so Elizabeth of York was important. She was the daughter, sister, niece, wife , mother and grandmother of monarchs.
She was the ancestress of every English monarch since 1509 including the present day Queen. Wife to one Tudor king and mother to another she became a catalyst for change.
More importantly that her role as Queen consort, she lived through a remarkable period of British history – from medieval to modern and a book trail around some of the places associated with her can open up the readers eyes even more.
Palace of Westminster
Elizabeth was born here and lived her for most of her life and you can visit here to get a real sense of where she started her life – http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/
The tower of London
Where at least one of her brothers – probably two were thought to have been held captive and then murdered by Richard III. Visit this remarkable place here –http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/
Where Richard III dies in battle and Henry VII is the victor who goes on to marry Elizabeth of York and end the War of the Roses.http://www.bosworthbattlefield.com/
And don’t forget to visit the author here on her website – http://alisonweir.org.uk/