Elizabeth Woodville : Mother of the Princes in the Tower, Paperback

Elizabeth Woodville : Mother of the Princes in the Tower Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Elizabeth Woodville is undoubtedly a historical character whose life no novelist would ever have dared invent.

She has been portrayed as an enchantress; as an unprincipled advancer of her family's fortunes and a plucky but pitiful queen in Shakespeare's histories.

She has been alternatively championed and vilified by her contemporaries and five centuries of historians, dramatists and novelists, but what was she really like? In this revealing account of Elizabeth's life David Baldwin sets out to tell the story of this complex and intriguing woman. Was she the malign influence many of her critics held her to be? Was she a sorceress who bewitched Edward IV? What was the fate of her two sons, the 'Princes in the Tower'? What did she, of all people, think had become of them, and why did Richard III mount a campaign of vilification against her? David Baldwin traces Elizabeth's career and her influence on the major events of her husband Edward IV's reign, and in doing so he brings to life the personal and domestic politics of Yorkist England and the elaborate ritual of court life.




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An interesting and convincing account of the life of Elizabeth Woodville, who despite being a much reviled figure of the Wars of the Roses era, does not have a society dedicated to reassessing her life as does Richard III. The alleged rapaciousness of her and her family is simply not supported by the historical evidence. Worth a read, though in places it does rather read like a "life and times" rather than a biography, something the author says in the introduction to the book that he wishes to avoid, but which is more difficult to avoid in the case of most Medieval personages, whose personal lives are very often very or fairly closed books. The only slight downer is the sometimes quite lengthy extracts from contemporary sources which are not translated into more modern English and are quite difficult to read.

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