The White Queen: Medieval Birth for a Royal Baby

"The White Queen", episode 6 shows Elizabeth giving birth. Unlike real life, no men would have been present and the windows would have been covered.

“The White Queen”, episode 6 shows Elizabeth giving birth. In reality, no men would have been present and the windows, floors, and walls would have been covered.

Elizabeth Woodville’s marriage to Edward IV produced ten babies in fourteen years. Edward’s own mother, Lady Cecily [Neville], had thirteen children of whom only seven survived to adulthood. Lord Warwick [father of Queen Anne Neville] and Lady Alice FitzHugh’s [great-grandmother to Queen Katherine Parr] mother, Lady Alice, Countess of Salisbury [sister-in-law to Lady Cecily], also gave birth to no less than twelve children herself. So how dangerous was it to have a royal baby in the 15th Century? Historian Dr. Jeremy Goldberg assesses what childbirth would have been like for the White Queen [and other women].

The White Queen and medieval birth for a royal baby

More info on childbirth in Tudor times: Childbearing: Queen Katherine of Aragon and Lady Maud Parr

The White Queen, episode 6

Richard X Anne fan art. Richard X Anne fan art.

Best moment of the episode? Anything and everything Richard X Anne.

A Nevill Feast

Edward: See my shiny cardboard crown!
Anne: Yes, I was married to the Prince of Wales. But I didn’t like him.
Edward: That’s all right, then.
Elizabeth: I still hate you!
Isobel: I’m going to be a bitch, now. I’m over the limping gazelle thing.
Anne: Where’s Mummy?
Isobel: Forget Mummy!
Clarence: Look at me, pretending to be nice.
Isobel: Bitch fight!
Margaret Beaufort: Give me a sign.
Messenger: Your mother’s dying.
Margaret Beaufort: *high fives God* Yesss!
Elizabeth: Jane Shore! The name of doom! She’s going to make everything go in slow motion, just you watch.
Margaret Beaufort: Dear Jasper, do you still want me?
Anne: I want Mummy!
Jaquetta: I’m dying. You’ll be senior witch soon, Elizabeth. Can you handle it?
Anne: Can I have my healing shag, now?
Gloucester: Soon, I promise.
Anne: George wants to keep my stuff!
Gloucester: I want your stuff as well, but…

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The White Queen, episode 5

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Gloucester: I’ll take care of you, Anne.
Anne: Will that involve a healing shag?
Gloucester: I rather think it will.

[everyone has been waiting long enough!]

A Nevill Feast

Margaret of Anjou: I have ominous feet.
Edward: I’ve just appeared out of nowhere and snuck into London while no-one was looking.
Elizabeth: My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble!
Edward: Now let’s fuck!
Isobel: I’m a limping gazelle.
Warwick: Suck it up, Duchess!
Margaret Beaufort: I’m the centre of the universe and so is my son.
Stafford: You’re not, but I love you anyway. You selfish cow.
Margaret of Anjou: Come here. Anne, and let me insult you.
Jaquetta: Come. my witchy daughter. Bring the baby witch and we shall raise a mist!
George: Warwick’s got three times as many men as we have.
Edward: Well, I counted 15, so that puts his army at 45. And where did this bloody mist come from? I can’t see my hand in front of my face!
Messenger: Message for you, my lord.
Warwick: Who from?
Messenger: He didn’t say…

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The White Queen, episode 3

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A Nevill Feast

Warwick: You’re my prisoner, Edward!
Edward: I’m your King, cousin!
Warwick: Where did he go?
Elizabeth: Off with their heads!
Edward: No, I’ve decided to forgive them.
Elizabeth: Off with their heads!
Edward: I’m your King, wife!
Isobel: I’m still a pawn.
Gloucester: Shouldn’t I be taking a ring to Mount Doom?
Margaret Beaufort: I had sex. Didn’t enjoy it.
Elizabeth: I need a son, mother.
Jaquetta: Sorted.
Welles: I’m confused.
Jaspeer Tudor: You’re confused?!
Elizabeth: I want Warwick’s ship to sink, mother.
Jaquetta: Sorted.

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The White Queen, episode 2

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A Nevill Feast

Elizabeth: Edward, Warwick hates you!
Edward: No, he loves me.
Warwick: No, she’s right. I hate you now.
Isobel: Anne! I’ve just found out I’m a pawn!
Henry VI: I could be wrong, but I think I might be Jesus.
Elizabeth:  I’ve just been told my father’s dead.
Audience: So have we.
Margaret Beaufort: My son will be king!
Gloucester: Hang on, I’m pretty sure I just foreshadowed that I’ll be king.
Elizabeth: I’m going to put a curse on a bunch of people.
Audience. Knock yourself out. I think we’ve lost interest.

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The White Queen, episode 1

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A Nevill Feast

Edward: I want you.
Elizabeth: You can’t have me.
Jaquetta: I see dead people.
Warwick: Edward!
Edward: Let’s get married. Secretly.
Elizabeth: Cool!
Anthony: He’s lying to you.
Elizabeth: No, he’s not.
Edward: No, I’m not.
Warwick: Edward!
Elizabeth: Curtsey, scum!

 

All I can do now is hope I get to catch the rest of it on youtube.

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6 July 1483: The Coronation of King Richard and Queen Anne

The night before the coronation, like monarchs before her, Duchess Anne of Gloucester (born Lady Anne Neville) stayed in The Tower of London. For the procession from the Tower to Westminster on the eve of the ceremony, she wore a kirtle and mantle made from 27 yards of white cloth-of-gold furred with ermine and miniver, and trimmed with lace and tassels of white silk and gold (Laynesmith, p. 92).

Queen Anne

Queen Anne

On 6 July 1483, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were crowned King and Queen of England. Richard and Anne shared a joint coronation. Not since the days of Edward II and Isabel of France had England seen such a magnificent event. The coronation day began at 7 am with a procession on foot from Westminster Hall to the Abbey. For that day, Anne dressed in a robe, curtle, “surcote overt”, and mantle, all of rich purple velvet, furred with ermine, and adorned with rings and tassels of gold; and another suit of crimson velvet, “furred with pure minever”. Her whole purple velvet suit had a fifty-six yard train. (Lawrance)

Both King and Queen had their own separate attendants and train. Lady FitzHugh (born Lady Alice Neville) and her daughter Lady Parr (born Elizabeth FitzHugh) were two of the seven noble ladies to ride behind the queen. Lady FitzHugh was an aunt to Queen Anne and a cousin to King Richard. These two ladies were of course great-grandmother and grandmother to another queen consort, Katherine Parr. Both were dressed in fine dresses made by cloth that the King himself had given them. Lady Parr received seven yards of gold and silk; her mother received material for two gowns, one of blue velvet and crimson satin as well as one of crimson and velvet with white damask. As befitting of a Baroness, eight yards of scarlet cloth was given for mantles on the occasion. Lord Parr (Sir William Parr) chose not to attend the coronation despite being given a position as canopy bearer. Lord Parr had been a staunch supporter of King Edward IV through whom he rose.

In an attempt to conciliate with the Lancastrians, the trains of both the King and Queen were carried by the two lineal representatives of the house, the Duke of Buckingham and the Countess of Richmond [Lady Margaret Beaufort]. (Lawrance)

An account from “The National and Domestic History of England“:

Queen Anne's arms as Queen of England.

Queen Anne’s arms as Queen of England.

After the procession of the king followed that of his queen Anne [Neville]. The earl of Huntingdon bore her sceptre, the viscount Lisle the rod and dove, and the earl of Wiltshire her crown. Then came the queen herself habited in robes of purple velvet furred with ermine having on her head a circlet of gold with many precious stones set therein. Over her head was borne a cloth of estate. On one side of her walked the bishop of Exeter on the other the bishop of Norwich. A princess of the blood, the celebrated Margaret, countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII supported her train. After the queen walked the king’s sister Elizabeth, duchess of Suffolk, having on her head a circlet of gold and after her followed a train of highborn ladies succeeded by a number of knights and esquires. Entering the abbey at the great west door the king and queen took their seats of state staying till divers holy hymns were sung when they ascended to the high altar where the ceremony of anointing took place. Then the king and queen put off their robes and there stood all naked from the middle upwards and anon the bishop anointed both the king and the queen. This ceremony having been performed, they exchanged their mantles of purple velvet for robes of cloth of gold and were solemnly crowned by the archbishop of Canterbury assisted by the other bishops. The archbishop subsequently performed high mass and administered the holy communion to the king and queen after which they offered at St Edward’s shrine where the king laid down King Edward’s crown and put on another and so returned to Westminster Hall in the same state they came.

Richard III with his queen Anne and son, Edward, Prince of Wales.

Richard III with his queen Anne and son, Edward, Prince of Wales.

The banquet, which took place at four o clock in the great hall, is described as having been magnificent in the extreme. The king and queen were served on dishes of gold and silver. Lord Audley performed the office of state carver. Thomas Lord Scrope that of cupbearer. Lord Lovel, during the entertainment, stood before the king, “two esquires lying under the board at the king’s feet.” On each side of the queen stood a countess with a plaisance or napkin for her use. Over the head of each was held a canopy supported by peers and peeresses. The guests consisted of the cardinal archbishop the lord chancellor, the prelates, the judges, and nobles of the land, and the Lord Mayor, and principal citizens of London. The ladies sat by themselves on both sides of a long table in the middle of the hall. As soon as the second course was put on the table, the king’s champion Sir Robert Dymoke rode into the hall; his horse being trapped with white silk and red and himself in white harness the heralds of arms standing upon a stage among all the company. Then the king’s champion rode up before the king asking all the people if there was any man would say against King Richard III why he should not claim the crown. And when he had said so all the hall cried King Richard with one voice. And when this was done anon, one of the lords brought unto the champion a covered cup full of red wine and so he took the cup aud uncovered it and drank thereof. And when he had done anon he cast out the wine and covered the cup again and making his obeisance to the king turned his horse about and rode through the hall with his cup in his right hand and that he had for his labour. Then Garter king at arms supported by eighteen other heralds advanced before the king and solemnly proclaimed his style and titles. No single untoward accident marred the harmony or splendour of the day. When at length began to close the hall was illuminated by great light of wax torches and cressets apparently the signal for the king and queen to retire. Accordingly wafers and hipocras been previously served Richard and his rose up and departed to their private apartments in the palace. (Aubrey)

Aneurin Barnard as King Richard III and Faye Marsay and Queen Anne. Fictional portrayal in Philippa Gregory's "The White Queen" (2013).

Aneurin Barnard as King Richard III and Faye Marsay and Queen Anne. Fictional portrayal in Philippa Gregory’s “The White Queen” (2013).

 

Sources

  • William Hickman S. Aubrey. “The National and Domestic History of England,” 1878. pg 193-4.
  • Hannah Lawrance. “Historical Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Commencement of the Twelfth Century,” Volume 2, Moxon, 1840.

Nonsense about Ladies Isabel and Anne Neville

Lady Anne (Faye Marsay) and Lady Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson) in "The White Queen".

Lady Anne (Faye Marsay) and Lady Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson) in “The White Queen”.

“To anyone who has any interest in these two women: Please stop writing about Isobel and Anne Nevill as if they were weak women who had no control over their lives. Please stop using their early deaths as a sign that they were Doomed From the Start. Please read something about their father. (Both Hicks and Pollard have done a bang up job here.) Oh, and can we consign the overused, tired and meaningless word pawn to the dustbin of history? Let’s stop the nonsense. It’s starting to get depressing.”

To those of you watching “The White Queen”, please take some time to read this blog about THE REAL Ladies Isabel and Anne. You would be surprised that they are NOTHING like the show has portrayed them. They also didn’t constantly get b’ed out by the queen.

Nevill_girls

A Nevill Feast

I stumbled on this while I was on the hunt for information for an upcoming post.

I feel that it needs a response, something to balance the books a little. I know, it’s an uphill battle – the view that poor Isobel and Anne were mere pawns (oh, and Doomed) is so entrenched that it’s going to take a miracle to shift it by so much as a millimetre.

Just to set the tone, here are some of the words used to described Warwick and/or his actions:

”political conniving”; “charismatic”; “self-centered”; “arrogant”; “man of moderate military skill”; “merciless”; “exploit”; “had no need to hold [his daughters] in esteem”; “hankering for supremacy and clout”; the only loyalty he held was to himself”; “enmesh in his pursuit for power”; “ego”; “narcissism”; “heedless”; “used his youngest daughter”; “spider web of intrigue”; “hopeless machinations”; “fanaticism for prestige and importance”.

Phew!

Now for the…

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The White Queen: romance, sex, magic, scowling, social snobbery and battles

“The White Queen: romance, sex, magic, scowling, social snobbery and battles” by Amy Licence

How important is authenticity when filming historical dramas?
Terribly important! You should see the notes I sent to the series producers waxing lyrical about the use of horses, clothes, how people travelled, and so on. That sort of thing really matters. However, there are a number of compromises you do have to make when working in film, which can be  very frustrating – that’s why I’m a novelist, I suppose.

Historical fiction, when written well, can teach you these things without you having to study it. (Philippa Gregory, BBC History Magazine Interview)

“It is a little more Romeo and Juliet than accurate medieval protocol.” (Licence)

cecily_1

Elizabeth and her mother Lady Rivers meet the King’s mother in ‘The White Queen’, episode 1.

Sunday nights episode of ‘The White Queen’ in my opinion was great. Put a woman screenwriter together with the BBC and bam! However there was something that really made me angry about the episode and surprise, surprise — I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE who had a problem with it.

Lady Cecily, Duchess of York portrayed by Caroline Goodall.

Lady Cecily, Duchess of York portrayed by Caroline Goodall.

Amy Licence, author of the latest biography of Queen Anne Neville and Elizabeth of York reviewed the first episode. Licence and I agree on this both — she basically sums up that they (screenwriter or Gregory herself) REALLY screwed up on behalf of Lady Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (grandaunt of Anne Neville); thank you Lord!

Jacquetta Rivers portrayed by Janet McTeer and Lady Cecily portrayed by Caroline Goodall

Jacquetta Rivers portrayed by Janet McTeer and Lady Cecily portrayed by Caroline Goodall

“It was in the exchange with Duchess Cecily (Caroline Goodall) however, that Jacquetta, as her daughter’s mouthpiece, really overstepped the historical mark. The disapproving Duchess, who was known in real life as “proud Cis,” is too easily overcome by her social inferiors when they whip out her apparent “secret” affair with a French archer. Lost for words, she is silenced within minutes, almost cowed by them. While contemporary notions of “courtesy” dictated extreme forms of submission to the queen, this is a Cecily straight from the pages of a novel rather than the actual proud aristocrat who asserted her own right to rule.”

I’m going to be brutally honest here — are you kidding me?? I don’t like Jacquetta’s “holier than thou” attitude that is emerging. This was obviously a horrid and tasteless attempt to boost Jacquetta’s influence and “power” over the Duchess. It’s more than obvious that Gregory has become obsessed with Jacquetta and her daughter. In my opinion, if they REALLY wanted to boost Jacquetta SO much — they could have done it in a different way. They didn’t have to insult the King’s mother, the daughter of a powerful Earl and Countess Lady Joan Beaufort, granddaughter of a royal Duke of Lancaster and titular King of Castile [son of King Edward III of England], and widow of the Duke of York [double descendant of Edward III]! I know it didn’t happen in history, but still — that scene should have been cut or done differently. If they had been at court and the Duchess had been sitting with her son, I do not think the two would have addressed each other as such and Elizabeth wouldn’t have pulled the Queen card after letting her mother b***h out her mother-in-law. It’s rather ironic that Elizabeth comes in flabbergasted, but after her mother calls her mother-in-law a whore she has the nerve and guts to demand the Duchess bow down to her; then gloats to her husband how everyone is “great friend’s” now. Yeah, sure — Elizabeth is now best friends with “Duchess Cecily”. I don’t think Gregory thought about court etiquette when writing these books and whoever approved the scene has not read any history books lately.

Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale and Lord Warwick portrayed by James Frain

Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale and Lord Warwick portrayed by James Frain

“James Frain, recently lauded for his performance as Thomas Cromwell in The Tudors, may well emerge to steal the show alongside Margaret Beaufort and the other York brothers…” Even Licence applauds Lady Margaret Beaufort early on.

For the complete review — http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/06/white-queen-romance-sex-magic-scowling-social-snobbery-and-battles

Jacquetta of Luxembourg and the Dukes of Burgundy?

Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404) as Philip II and King Philip II of France.

Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404) as Philip II and King Philip II of France.

Since the beginning of Philippa Gregory’s obsession with the Woodville family and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, she has claimed that Jacquetta was descended from the Dukes of Burgundy. For the past few weeks I have been trying to find a link to what she might be talking about. Jacquetta’s tree doesn’t show any connection or descent from the Dukes of Burgundy since before .. well .. I’m still looking back past the 1100s.

OK… I think I found what they are talking about; two explanations and a HUGE stretch.

Jacquetta sits with Charles "the Bold', Duke of Burgundy.

Jacquetta sits with Charles “the Bold’, Duke of Burgundy.

Theory One — Bedford’s Wives

Remember “The Tudors” brilliant idea of lumping King Henry VIII’s sisters in to one character? Perhaps Philippa Gregory and the writer Emma Frost are doing the same; two historical characters compiled in to one. Here’s how it works: Jacquetta was married to the Lancastrian Duke of Bedford. Bedford’s FIRST wife, Anne of Burgundy, was from Burgundy; the daughter of John II, Duke of Burgundy. Anne’s brother was Philip “the Good”, Duke of Burgundy and father of Charles, the Bold, who was featured in the second episode of “The White Queen” as “cousin” to Jacquetta. A year after the death of Anne of Burgundy, Bedford remarried to Jacquetta, but faced opposition for various political reasons in this decision from Anne’s brother the Duke of Burgundy.[1][2] From this time on, relations between the two became cool, culminating in the 1435 peace negotiations between Burgundy and Charles VII, the exiled king of France. Later that year, a letter was dispatched to Henry VI, formally breaking their alliance.[2] 

The series doesn’t mention the fact that Jacquetta was married to the Duke of Bedford – she is *just* a powerful noblewoman related to the Dukes of Burgundy which is not really the case as I will explain. The series chose to omit that the Duke of Bedford existed and married Jacquetta, and Jacquetta in my opinion is seen as a mix of two historical women – Anne of Burgundy, Bedford’s first wife, and Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

Theory Two — Taranto Relations

Second possible explanation Jacquetta’s grandfather, the Duke of Andria (Francesco del Balzo) married Marguerite of Taranto whose mother was Empress Catherine of Constantinople, daughter of Charles, Count of Valois (4th son of Philip III of France, brother to the 2nd queen consort of Edward I of England, Marguerite of France and uncle to queen consort Isabel of France of Edward II of England).

Francesco and Marguerite had two kids that produced NO surviving issue! Any who, Empress Catherine (of Valois) was a paternal sister to Philip VI of France (son of Charles of Valois and his first wife, Margaret, Countess of Anjou). Philip VI married Joan of Burgundy, daughter of Robert II, Duke of Burgundy. In 1361, Joan’s grandnephew, Philip I of Burgundy, died without legitimate issue, ending the male line of the Dukes of Burgundy. The rightful heir to Burgundy was unclear: King Charles II of Navarre, grandson of Joan’s elder sister Margaret, was the heir according to primogeniture, but John II of France (Joan’s son) claimed to be the heir according the proximity of blood. In the end, John won.

So Jacquetta wasn’t related to them at all by my calculations; only by marriage. Her half-uncle (James of Baux) died in 1383 and her half-aunt (Antonia, Queen of Sicily) died in 1373. They were the only blood connection to the Dukes of Burgundy as cousins. Jacquetta wasn’t born until 1416 — so there would be no close connection.

Other Possible Theory — Henry V of Luxembourg

Henry V "the blond", Count of Luxembourg.

Henry V “the blond”, Count of Luxembourg.

However, there is a stretch here — Bonne of Bohemia [of Luxembourg] was the mother of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, himself the great-grandfather of Charles the Bold. Bonne of Bohemia was the great-great-granddaughter of Henry V, Count of Luxembourg. Jacquetta herself was a 5x great-granddaughter of Henry V. Funny thing being — anyone who descended from King Edward III of England [most to all of the nobility at court and royal houses of Europe by the reign of King Edward IV] descended from Henry V of Luxembourg via his great-granddaughter, Philippa of Hainault, queen consort to Edward III of England. Included in that long list are Queens Katherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Parr [wives 1,3,4, and 6 of King Henry VIII of England].

Cecily, Duchess of York as portrayed in 'The White Queen' by actress Caroline Godall.

Cecily, Duchess of York as portrayed in ‘The White Queen’ by actress Caroline Godall.

So using that connection, Jacquetta and Charles would have been at the closest 6th cousins, once removed. Where as the King’s mother, Cecily [Neville], was a 1st cousin, once removed of the Duke. Cecily’s mother, Lady Joan Beaufort [daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster], was a grandaunt of Charles of Burgundy. So who are we kidding when it comes to the show — we saw the King’s mother treated rather poorly [imo extremely] while Jacquetta was positioned as a high born noblewoman with close connections to Burgundy and what not. Wiki [not a good source] even tried to pull that Jacquetta was cousin to Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Holy Roman Emperor (1368–1437); that her first marriage to the Duke of Bedford [John of Lancaster, a younger son of the first Lancastrian King, Henry IV] was

“to strengthen ties between England and the Holy Roman Empire and to increase English influence in the affairs of Continental Europe.”

Portrait of Emperor Sigismund, painted by Albrecht Dürer after the emperor’s death [Source: Wiki]

In actuality, Jacquetta was a fourth cousin, twice removed of Sigismund. Not a bad match for a younger son of King Henry IV, but how is marrying a fourth cousin, twice removed going “to strengthen ties between England and the Holy Roman Empire“?

To add to the distance between Jacquetta and the Holy Roman Emperors — the second Luxembourg Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, had only one child; a daughter. Elisabeth of Luxembourg was the only child of the Emperor and his second wife and consort, Barbara of Cilli. When Sigismund died in 1437, Elisabeth was expected to ascend to her father’s thrones, but her rights were ignored and the titles of King of Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia was passed to Elisabeth’s husband Albert V, Duke of Austria. The title of Holy Roman Emperor was passed to the House of Habsburg [Philip the Bold would marry Juana I of Castile, sister of Queen Katherine of Aragon] where it would stay for three centuries [1440-1740]. Frederick V, Duke of Austria would become Frederick III of the Holy Roman Empire. After only two Emperors from the House of Luxembourg, the title was passed to the Habsburg dynasty where it would remain until 1740 upon the death of Charles IV. Charles, like Sigismund, had only one surviving daughter. Maria Theresa, was obviously denied her rights to succeed as Holy Roman Empress because she was a woman. Her father, Charles IV, was succeeded by Charles VII of the House of Wittlesbach. Charles VII ruled until his death in 1745. It was then that Maria Theresa’s husband was elected as Holy Roman Emperor and she became his consort. The House was now called Habsburg-Lorraine.

Note

George, Duke of Clarence; Richard, Duke of Gloucester; and Margaret of York, episode 1.

George, Duke of Clarence; Richard, Duke of Gloucester; and Margaret of York, episode 1.

In the show, the marriage of Edward’s sister, Margaret of York, is hinted to be due to Jacquetta’s relations. Margaret of York would marry Charles as his third wife on 27 June 1468. They had no issue, but Margaret was a wonderful stepmother to her husband’s children.

Sources

  1. Chipps Smith, Jeffrey (1984). “The Tomb of Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford, in the Musée du Louvre“. Gesta 23 (01): 39–50.
  2. Weir, Alison (1996). “The Wars of the Roses: Lancaster and York“. London: Ballantine Books.