Eleanor, the Secret Queen : The Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne, Paperback

Eleanor, the Secret Queen : The Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne Paperback

2 out of 5 (1 rating)


When Edward IV died in 1483, the Yorkist succession was called into question by doubts about the legitimacy of his son, Edward (one of the 'Princes in the Tower').

The crown therefore passed to Edward's undoubtedly legitimate younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

But Richard, too, found himself entangled in the web of uncertainty, since those who believed in the legitimacy of Edward IV's children viewed Richard III's own accession as a usurpation.

From the day when Edward IV married Eleanor, or pretended to do so, or allowed it to be whispered that he might have done so, the House of York, previously so secure in its bloodline, confronted a contentious and uncertain future.

John Ashdown-Hill argues that Eleanor Talbot was married to Edward IV, and that therefore Edward's subsequent marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous, making her children illegitimate.

He thereby offers a solution to one of history's great mysteries.




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I was excited to find this book, since I read Mr. Ashdown-Hill's book about Richard III's last days and that was informative and gave new insights into Richard. This book, however, read more like the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark - one geneology after another, accounts of property and who married whom, who fought for York and who fought for Lancaster. Granted, there is little known about Eleanor Butler. The author stretched out data as far as he could to bring the woman who was married to Edward IV (by the traditions and laws of medieval England) before he married Elizabeth Wydevill Grey - a marriage that was bigamous (by the traditions and laws of medieval England). Mr. Ashdown-Hill does offer explanations of why Edward's relationship with Eleanor was bigamous and how it dropped the crown in his younger brother Richard's lap, but the book was so very, very, dull. I would have had a better time reading the extant documents that gave the author the facts and basis for his work - in their original middle English.