Quote of the week: 14 August 2017

BH okerlund coverArlene Okerlund, Elizabeth Wydville: The Slandered Queen (Tempus Publishing: Stroud, 2005)

Proof that even a stopped clock can occasionally be correct …

A book review of Professor Okerlund‘s book may well be in the offing – on the basis that, as I often tell students) it’s easier to write about something you don’t like, rather than something you do.  This book really annoyed me as few others have, but I managed to get to the end of it.

I picked this up as part of my recent retail therapy, and the book caught my eye because of my increasing obsession with all things Richard III – both the play and the true story.  Here, Okerlund is discussing the unsettling events of Christmas 1484, when Richard was established on the throne.  It seems we had a Early Modern wardrobe malfunction – a LOT more serious than the kind we’re used to nowadays:

‘Strict sumptuary laws distinguished rank by dress and required that no one wear clothing in a colour or style similar to the Queen’s.  For Princess Elizabeth to wear apparel that matched Queen Anne’s could only provoke speculation about her relationship to Richard III.’

Okerlund goes on to suggest that after the death of his son and heir (yet another Edward), Richard was desperate to cement his legitimacy, and sought marriage with his niece to neutralise her as a potential conduit to the throne in rivals such as Richmond.  But Anne didn’t die until March 1485 (of course, that’s pinned on Richard too), and Richard was obliged to quash the rumours that were prompted by this Christmas performance, eventually sending Elizabeth out of London …

 

 

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