It took me until the season finale to get to writing about the relations in the series. I won’t deny, I was thinking of not even watching. After The White Queen, I was repulsed. Ok, so there are NO other shows that feature this time period–with such depth. Surprisingly, I fell in love with this series. Why? Actors were better and the clothing of Queen Elizabeth was gorgeous! Big thank you to the costume designers and hair dressers! BRAVO!
So, why am I doing an article on Katherine Parr in relation to those historical figures featured in The White Princess? Because the Parr family was there at court. They were ALWAYS there. Why are they not featured? I honestly have no idea. It’s a pity that these shows don’t weave in connections to the future Queens of England. We know that the Boleyn, Seymour, and Howards were present. The Howards are the easiest to track. The Boleyn family starts to come around with the Howards eventually. And the Seymours? They are also around, somewhere.
The Parr family, however, were courtiers to the Crown since the 1300s.
In the reign of Henry Tudor, the Parrs’ were quite close to the crown on both the side of Henry AND Elizabeth. Sir William Parr had died shortly after the coronation of King Richard III and Queen Anne. His widow, Lady Elizabeth (born FitzHugh), had been a lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne as Duchess and Queen. She was part of the coronation and witnessed her niece and cousin being crowned. After the death of her first husband, Lord Parr, Elizabeth would marry again to a very close ally of the Lancastrians/King Henry. His name was Sir Nicholas Vaux. He was the son of Lancastrian sympathizers. His mother was a lady to Queen Margaret of Anjou and was with her in exile. Lady Margaret Beaufort was close to Parr’s step-father, Sir Nicholas Vaux, who had been educated in her household. Parr is also believed to have spent some time in her household and may have been educated there as well. That wouldn’t be completely absurd seeing how close Margaret was to the Vaux family.
Katherine’s father, Sir Thomas Parr, was a close friend of King Henry VIII. Sir Thomas was present at court and was in the circle of Henry VIII which included Sir Thomas Boleyn. Both were knighted in 1509 at Henry’s coronation; Parr was also made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Sheriff of Northamptonshire on that occasion. Parr became Master of the Wards and Comptroller of the household of Henry VIII. Parr’s brother, William [later Baron Parr of Horton], was also a part of the King’s circle. They kept company with the Staffords and their cousins, the Nevilles. They were also friend’s with the Carews and Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of Queen Anne Boleyn. In 1515, Parr was entrusted with escorting Queen Margaret of Scotland [the king’s elder sister] from Newcastle back to London.
As for Elizabeth of York’s connection to Katherine Parr, we have it on both sides. One comes from her father’s royal blood and the other comes from a Woodville connection that connects her mother to one of Elizabeth Woodville’s relatives. Lady Parr’s grandmother, Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) was a lady to Queen Elizabeth Woodville. When Elizabeth became queen to Edward IV, she brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her. Lady Fogge, was one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, in the 1460s.
On Whit-Sunday, the queen-dowager’s corpse was conveyed by water to Windsor, and there privily, through the little park, conducted into the castle, without any ringing of bells or receiving of the dean … and so privily, about eleven of the clock, she was buried, without any solem dirge done for her obit. (Gristwood)
The body was only accompanied by the prior of Charter-house, and Dr. Brent, and Mr. Haute. (Strickland) The only gentlewoman to accompany the body was Grace, one of the illegitimate daughters of Edward IV. The only children to accompany their mother was Princesses Anne, Katherine, and Bridget. Also present was Woodville’s son and daughter-in-law, the Marquess and Marchioness of Dorset. Elizabeth of York and her sister Cecily were not present. (Gristwood) The priest of the college received the queen in the Castle.
On the morn thither came Audley, Bishop of Rochester, to do the office, but that day nothing was done solemnly for her saving; also a hearse, such as they use for the common people, with wooden candlesticks about it, and a black [pall] of cloth of gold on it, four candlesticks of silver gilt, every one having a taper of no great weight. (Strickland)
On the Tuesday hither came, by water, king Edward’s three daughters, the lady Anne, the lady Katherine, and the lady Bridget [the nun princess] from Dartford, accompanied by the marchioness of Dorset, daughter of the duke of Buckingham, the queen’s niece, the daughter of the marquis of Dorset; Lady Herbert, also niece to the queen; dame Katherine Grey; dame Guildford (governess to the children of Elizabeth of York); their gentlewomen walked behind the three daughters of the dead. Also that Tuesday came the marquis of Dorset, son to the queen; the of Essex, her brother-in-law and; the viscount Welles, her son-in-law. And that night began the dirge. But neither at the dirge were twelve poor men clad in black, but a dozen divers old men that old men dressed in the many coloured garments of poverty– “and held old torches and torches ends. And the next morning one the canons called master Vaughan sang Our Lady mass at which lord Dorset offered a piece of gold he kneeled at the hearse head ladies came not to the mass of requiem and the lords sat about in quire My lady Anne came to offer the mass penny and herofficers arms went before her she offered the penny at the head of the queen she had the carpet and the oushion And the viscount Welles his wife’s offering and dame Katherine Gray bare the lady Anne’s every one of the king’s daughters offered. The marquis of offered a piece of gold and all the lords at their pleasure the knights of Windsor dean canons yeomen and officers at arms
Twelve poor men neatly clad in black that custom would have dictated at the ceremony, there were only “a dozen divers old men, and they held old torches and torches’ ends.” (Gristwood)
Sarah Gristwood. Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the War of the Roses, Basic Books, Mar 4, 2014.
Agnes Strickland. Lives of the queens of England, from the Norman conquest, 1864.
Scene RE-DONE the way it should have been done! You bow twice to the King’s mother and she doesn’t back down!
After the first episode of ‘The White Queen’, I was quite upset at the representation of the King’s mother, the Duchess of York [I even wrote a blog I was SO upset]. As a royal Duchess who would have become Queen if her husband had not died — she was in fact practically queen in all but name; Queen Mother. Her husband, Richard, Duke of York, was granted the title of Prince of Wales and Lord Protector so Cecily was technically Princess of Wales before her husband died.
“But for an accident of fate would have been queen”. (‘At the King’s Pleasure’: The Testament of Cecily Neville by Alison Spedding)
Born Lady Cecily Neville, she was part of the powerful Neville family which would help bring her son to the throne. Cecily was the youngest daughter of Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, herself the daughter of one of the most powerful royal Princes and noblemen in history, Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. As such, Lady Cecily was a niece of King Henry IV of England, cousin of King Henry V, and cousin, once removed of King Henry VI. And by the marriages the children of the Duke of Lancaster made, Cecily was kin to several royal houses on the continent, i.e, Portugal, Castile, and Burgundy. She was of royal blood being the great-granddaughter of King Edward III and his consort Philippa of Hainault.
Her husband, the Duke of York, was the leading contender for the House of York’s claim to the throne of England. York was made Lord Protector of England in 1453 and 1455, however he did not press his claim to the throne during these two periods. In 1460, York was named Prince of Wales and again Lord Protector of the Realm. With King Henry VI in custody, the Duke of York became the de facto ruler of England. However, before York could claim his crown, he was defeated in December 1460 at the Battle of Wakefield with his son, Edmund of York, and his brother-in-law the Earl of Salisbury. The Duchess of York narrowly missed becoming queen of England and her eldest son, Edward, Earl of March, was crowned Edward IV of England in March of 1461.
However, in 1477, following the marriage of her grandson Richard of York, the Duchess was accorded the title ‘Queen of right‘ after using the title of ‘Cecily, the king’s mother and late wife unto Richard in right king of England and of France and lord of Ireland’ since 1464.
Princess of Wales
Duchess of Cornwall
Duchess of York
Countess of March
Countess of Cambridge
Countess of Ulster
Countess of Chester
“Warwick rose toweringly. His rose-dappled mantle swirled; black hair curled on his brow. Everything of him was puissant and challenging and might have said: Behold us! We of the royal blood, of Edward the Third…” — ‘The King’s Grey Mare’ pg 53. [Warwick was Cecily’s powerful nephew who helped Edward to his throne].
The first episode as dictated by Gregory and her writer — was a travesty towards the Duchess.
“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.” — Amy Licence
“You can lower you eyes all you want — I shall laugh and thank you for your visit…I AM the King’s mother and Duchess of York; queen of right!” — Lady Cecily, Duchess of York.
DK Publishing. History of Britain & Ireland, Penguin, May 2, 2011. pg 122. Google eBooks
Davies, John S. An English Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI, folios 208-211 (Google ebooks, retrieved 15 July 2013)
Alison J Spedding. ‘At the King’s Pleasure’: The Testament of Cecily Neville, University of Birmingham. Midland History, Vol 35, No 2, 2010. pg 256-72.
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].
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.
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. 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.
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
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].
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.”
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.
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.
Chipps Smith, Jeffrey (1984). “The Tomb of Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford, in the Musée du Louvre“. Gesta23 (01): 39–50.
Weir, Alison (1996). “The Wars of the Roses: Lancaster and York“. London: Ballantine Books.
A young commoner from the House of Lancaster with angelic beauty and high intellect, Elizabeth becomes widowed when her first husband is killed in battle. She is left to fend for herself with two small boys, until fate introduces her to the noble King Edward IV (Max Irons) from the House of York. They both fall madly in love, and after a secret wedding she becomes Queen of England. At the outset of their lives together, Elizabeth’s motives are pure but once she finds herself on the throne, Elizabeth becomes fiercely protective of her family as she sees the dangerous forces surrounding her in the perilous politics of the day. — STARZ
The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins’ War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of the Wars of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this extraordinary family drama to vivid life through its women – beginning with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
Elizabeth Woodville, of the House of Lancaster, is widowed when her husband [Sir John Grey of Groby, by whom she has issue] is killed in battle. Aided and abetted by the raw ambition and witchcraft skills of her mother Jacquetta, Elizabeth seduces and marries, in secret, reigning king Edward IV, of the family of the white rose, the House of York. As long as there are other claimants to Edward’s throne, the profound rivalries between the two families will never be laid to rest. Violent conflict, shocking betrayal and murder dominate Elizabeth’s life as Queen of England, passionate wife of Edward and devoted mother of their children.
In The White Queen Philippa Gregory brilliantly evokes the life of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position and fights tenaciously for the survival of her family, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower whose fate remains unknown to this day. — Gregory
Elizabeth Woodville’s (Rebecca Ferguson) mother. Jacquetta hails from royalty through the House of Burgundy. She is a kind, caring and loving mother. As the matriarch of the family and a woman who feels she is in tune with the Earth and worldly callings, Jacquetta encourages the romance between Elizabeth and Edward, claiming it to be destiny. Jacquetta wants only the best for her daughter, and in Edward, she has gotten it, along with a proper place for herself and the rest of her family in history. That is, if they all can weather the raging political storm. — STARZ
Elizabeth Woodville was the niece of Queen Katherine’s maternal great-great-grandmother Joan Wydeville [Katherine would have been a first cousin, thrice removed of Queen Elizabeth by her mother, Maud Green]. Joan Wydeville married Sir William Haute/Hawte. Their daughter, Alice, married Sir John Fogge. The Haute family which Joan married into was quite prominent during the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. Fogge had originally been a supporter of the Lancastrian king, but in 1460 Fogge joined the Yorkist earls in Kent. It is obvious however that he was a Yorkist by the families which he married into; Alice Kyriel (daughter of Yorkist Sir Thomas) and Alice Haute c. 1465 who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. The previous year, Elizabeth Woodville had married Edward. Queen Elizabeth brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her. Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) would be one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin, queen consort Elizabeth Woodville during the 1460s. (Harris) The other ladies included her sister Lady Anne (wife of William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent) and her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Scales (wife of Sir Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers). (Harris)
Katherine Parr was also a descendant of Henry V, Count of Luxembourg and Marguerite de Bar; William II, Baron of Tingry and Blanche de Brienne; Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders; and several other paternal ancestors of Jacquetta of Luxembourg.
The 3 cousins are coming to tv soon in the BBC Series “The White Queen”; which features Lady Anne Neville (daughter of Warwick, the Kingmaker and later Queen to Richard III), Elizabeth Woodville (mother of Elizabeth of York), and Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII Tudor). All three women were cousins to Katherine Parr. The series will air on STARZ in the US in August.
Based on the The Cousin’s War series of novels by Phillipa Gregory and developed for TV by Emma Frost, The White Queen is set in 1464, during the height of the War of the Roses, and tells the story of the women caught up in the ongoing conflict for the throne. The House of York’s young and devilishly handsome Edward IV is crowned King of England with the help of the master manipulator Lord Warwick “The Kingmaker.” But when Edward falls in love and secretly marries a beautiful young widow, the commoner Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick’s plan for control over the English throne comes crashing down around him. Frustrated by the new Queen’s influence he will stop at nothing to maintain his grip on the King. The ten-part drama series stars Max Irons, James Frain, Rebecca Ferguson, Janet McTeer, Amanda Hale, Faye Marsay, Aneurin Bernard, David Oakes, Juliet Aubrey, Eleanor Tomlinson, Frances Tomelty, Michael Maloney, Ben Lamb, Hugh Mitchell, Simon Ginty, Eve Ponsenby and Robert Pugh. Company Pictures is producing with John Griffin, George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Eurydice Gysel and Polly Hill serving as executive producers. — (Patrick Munn)
Elizabeth and her mother, Lady Alice [sister of Warwick], were appointed personally by Queen Anne to be ladies when she became queen and participated in the coronation, receiving gifts from Richard III himself. They were close.
Sir Thomas Parr’s father, William, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal, had once been Lady Margaret Beaufort’s revisionary heir to her substantial lands in Westmoreland, known as the “Richmond fee.” Lord Parr married to Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Henry, 5th Baron FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville (sister of Warwick). Lady Margaret Beaufort was a double second cousin to Elizabeth FitzHugh, Lady Parr [so she would have been a double second cousin, thrice removed of Katherine]. After the death of Lord Parr, his widow made a marriage with the Lancastrian family, the Vauxs’ of Harrowden. The Vaux family was close to Margaret, enjoying a long-term relationship with her. The previous Lady Vaux, mother of Thomas Parr’s step-father Nicholas, had been lady and friend to the Lancastrian queen Margaret of Anjou. Katherine, Lady Vaux served the queen during her exile. Nicholas Vaux (later 1st Baron Vaux) was a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort. The young Thomas Parr [Katherine’s father and Margaret’s cousin] most likely studied under Maurice Westbury of Oxford who had been installed as a teacher by Lady Margaret Beaufort at her estate of Colyweston. It was at Colyweston that certain gentlemen, including the son of the Earl of Westmoreland [cousin of Sir Thomas], not only received an education but also gained political connections that would prove useful in their future careers.
Elizabeth Woodville was the niece of Queen Katherine’s maternal great-great-grandmother Joan Wydeville [Katherine would have been a first cousin, thrice removed of Queen Elizabeth by her mother, Maud Green]. Joan Wydeville married Sir William Haute/Hawte. Their daughter, Alice, married Sir John Fogge. The Haute family which Joan married into was quite prominent during the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. Fogge had originally been a supporter of the Lancastrian king, but in 1460 Fogge joined the Yorkist earls in Kent. It is obvious however that he was a Yorkist by the families which he married into; Alice Kyriel (daughter of Yorkist Sir Thomas) and Alice Haute c. 1465 who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. The previous year, Elizabeth Woodville had married Edward. Queen Elizabeth brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her. Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) would be one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin, queen consort Elizabeth Woodville during the 1460s. The other ladies included her sister Lady Anne (wife of William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent) and her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Scales (wife of Sir Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers).