Monday, 14 March 2016

The Woodville Curse

Croaky voice this morning. This cold has been brewing for a day or two and now its here. The sad thing is I cannot lie in bed like I used to! I'm more comfortable up and about. The paracetomol has lifted the worst of the symptoms so I'm doing some work before the effects wear off.

I'm reading The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory and finding it a depressing tale. One thing I had not realised before opening this book was how many Plantagenets were still around in Tudor times. A vast family, and most of them healthy, unlike the Tudors, who were the absolute opposite. Poor genes, or was it the curse? Gregory has taken up the rumour that Elizabeth Woodville and her daughter Elizabeth spun a curse on learning of the death of the young Plantagenet princes in the tower - whoever killed them would fail to rear sons and grandsons of their own. I first read this in the White Queen, and thought what a stroke of genius it was.

When daughter Elizabeth married Henry Tudor she became a victim of that curse, for her eldest son Arthur died very young. Her second son lived, but most of his children died in the womb or shortly afterwards. One son survived into his teens before he died. Two girls lived into adulthood - Mary and Elizabeth. His one illegitimate but acknowledged son died young. It was not a prolific record for a king with so many rumoured extramarital affairs.

Believe in curses or not, there is a strange rightness to the fact that it exonerates Richard III because I think I am right in saying that though his son died, he died before the Princes in the tower, and before the curse was made.

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