I read Philippa Gregory’s gripping story of The Kingmaker’s Daughter a little while ago. It shows a different perspective of the political intrigue surrounding the court of Edward IV and the upstart Woodville family of his beautiful, bewitching Queen Elizabeth than Gregory’s previous books about the women of the Cousins War, later known as the War of the Roses.
Anne, daughter of the Kingmaker, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and her sister Isabel, are destined to marry the other 2 York brothers, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and George, Duke of Clarence, respectively. With no sons, Warwick uses both his daughters as pawns to feed his desire to rule England through one of them; it makes no difference to him which one. The kingmaker drops one and picks up the other when things do not go his way, changes loyalties, changes prospective pretenders, and in the end is killed by his former protegé, Edward IV.
But Warwick does dote on Anne. We watch her grow up from a carefree, favourite child to become a widow at 14, having had a brief and miserable marriage to Prince Edward, son of Henry IV and Margaret of Anjou, a pawn in her father’s quest to rule England. She goes next to the restrictive wardship of her brother-in-law, George, who cares only for her inheritance in his drive to replace his brother as king. From there, she becomes a happy wife to her rescuer, Richard, and finally, a wife and mother who dreads to go to court for fear of being poisoned by the Lancaster queen who has never forgiven the Nevilles for the death of her own father and brother. Anne believes the queen to have magical powers: believes her to have created the storm at sea when her sister Isabel gave birth to a stillborn boy, believes her to be responsible for the poisoning of her sister, responsible for the subsequent death of her brother-in-law, and for the weakening of her husband Richard’s sword arm. When her own son, heir to the throne, dies, she cares about nothing more and the cause of her death is one more mystery of the time. Richard III is presented in a contrasting light to the widely-accepted Shakespearean rendering and the mystery of the disappearance of the princes in the Tower of London is also seen from a new perspective, but of course, with no solution. This tale is a wonderful narration told by Anne herself, full of rich descriptions, bold assumptions, and suspenseful events. Next book after this is the historical novel which ends the Cousin’s War, The White Princess which is also a great read; different than I expected but full of surprising interpretations of the life of the new Tudor king and his white queen.
- Anne Neville (historicalbritain.org)
- Tales from History: Anne and Richard (persephonemagazine.com)
- King Richard III (historicalwritings.wordpress.com)
- Elizabeth Woodville (historicalbritain.org)
- Video Interview: The White Queen’s Philippa Gregory & Max Irons (Julio 16) (maxironsmexico.wordpress.com)
- Philippa Gregory