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

Family of Queen Katherine: Sir William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal

Impaled arms of Parr and FitzHugh, Hampton Court Palace Pedigree window of Katherine Parr.

Impaled arms of Parr and FitzHugh, Hampton Court Palace Pedigree window of Katherine Parr.

Sir William Parr, Baron Parr of Kendal (1434-bef. 26 February 1484[2, see notes]/Autumn 1483[1]) KG was a courtier and soldier best known for being the grandfather of Queen Katherine Parr, Lady Anne Herbert, and William, 1st Marquess of Northampton. His granddaughter would become the sixth and final queen of King Henry VIII and his grandson would become one the most powerful men during the reigns of Edward VI (as the king’s “beloved uncle”) and Elizabeth I.

Family

Parr was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Parr and Alice Tunstall, daughter of Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland. His paternal grandparents were Sir John Parr of Kendal Castle and the heiress Agnes Crophull of Weobley, widow of Sir Walter Devereux. Her family owned Weobley Castle in Herefordshire which passed to her children by Devereux. By his mother Agnes, Thomas Parr was a half-brother of Walter Devereux Esq. Parr’s grand-nieces and nephews included Sir Walter, 1st Baron Ferrers of Chartley and Lady Elizabeth (Devereux), Countess of Pembroke [wife to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke] which would give the Parr’s connections to some of the most important nobility at court. Thomas Parr’s other brother, Bryan, became Lord of Parr Manor from which a branch of the Parr family, which still resides in England, descends.  His maternal grandparents were Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland Castle and Isabel Harrington, daughter of Sir Nicholas and Isabel English. Sir Thomas Tunstall would go on to marry Hon. Joan Mowbray, daughter of Lord Mowbray and Lady Segrave and thus become the step-father of her children by Sir Thomas Grey which included the 1st Earl of Tankerville.

Kendal Castle was acquired through the marriage of Sir William de Parr to the heiress and only child of Sir John de Ros of Kendal, Elizabeth de Ros in 1383.

Kendal Castle was acquired through the marriage of Sir William de Parr to the heiress and only child of Sir John de Ros of Kendal, Elizabeth de Ros in 1383. Lord Parr was the last to reside at Kendal.

Life

Lancaster_vs_York

The Parr family had been long established in Parr, Lancashire. Parr’s family resided in Kendal. By marriage they inherited Kendal Castle and 1/4 of the Barony of Kendal which would come to be known as the “Marquis Fee.” Parr’s father, Thomas, was part of the War of the Roses and fought on the Yorkist side. He was attained in 1459 with the other Yorkists’, but the attainder was reversed in 1461 as he died in 1464. All of Parr’s siblings married into prominent families. His brother, Sir John, also a Yorkist, was rewarded in 1462 by being made Sheriff of Westmorland for life. Sir John would marry a daughter of Sir John Yonge, Lord Mayor of London. Parr’s other brother, Sir Thomas, was killed at Barnet. His sister, Mabel, married to Sir Humphrey Dacre, Baron Dacre of the North. Another sister, Agnes, would marry to Sir Thomas Strickland of Sizergh Castle. And Margaret married Sir Thomas Radcliffe.

Lord Parr was high in favor and a close friend with King Edward IV and repaid it with great fidelity. In 1469, he was on the side of the Nevilles during the battle of Banbury. In 1470, before the battle of Lose-coat-Fields he was sent by Clarence (the King’s brother) and Warwick (his wife’s uncle) and was entrusted with his answer. In 1471, Parr was one of the commissioners appointed to adjust with James III of Scotland of some alleged violations of the truce, which including a marriage treaty. On the return of King Edward again to contest his right to the crown, with Margaret Anjou supported by Warwick, Parr met him at Northampton with a considerable force and thence inarched to Barnet field where he was decided in favour of his royal master. Also in 1471, Sir Henry Stafford and his wife, Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of King Henry VII), conveyed to him two parts of the lordships of Grasmere, Loghrigge, Longdon, Casterton, Hamelsett, and Troutbeck with their members, the hamlets of Applethwaite, Undermilbeck, and all lands in them; the close or park of Calgarth, the herbage and pannage of the same, the fishery in and of the water in Windermere, etc. Westmorland.

For his loyalty and part at Barnet, Parr was rewarded with the office of Comptroller of the Household which he held from 1471 to 1475 and again in 1481 till Edward’s death in 1483.[1][2][3]  Lord Parr was created a knight barrenet and was one of only two courtiers to become a Knight of the Garter in the second reign of Edward IV.  He was MP for Westmoreland in the 6th and 12th Edward IV and served as sheriff of Cumberland in 1473. in 1475, he travelled with the King on his expedition to France. In 1483, he was constituted chief commissioner for exercising the office of constable of England and was made ambassador to treat with the embassy from Alexander, Duke of Albany (son of James II of Scotland and uncle to James IV). Upon the death of King Edward, he was part of the funeral.

Life under Richard III

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

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

Neville arms

Arms of the heirs of Sir Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, eldest son of Sir Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland by his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Swynford.

Sometime after 1475, Parr married secondly to Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Lord FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville (sister of Warwick and cousin to Edward IV and Richard III). Lord FitzHugh was the associate of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury (Elizabeth’s grandfather). Lord FitzHugh had been a long-standing supporter of the Neville family; he supported the Earl of Salisbury in his dispute with the Percy family in the 1450s. FitzHugh also served with the earl on the first protectorate council. Lord FitzHugh would go on to become a close ally of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick [“Warwick, the Kingmaker”] during the War of the Roses. In about 1452, FitzHugh would marry into the Neville family, marrying a sister of Warwick, Alice.

Due to the affiliation of Parr’s second wife to the Royal family, Parr was pressured by his mother-in-law, Lady FitzHugh, to follow the rule of her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III), while he was serving as Lord Protector of the Realm.[1] Parr, however, was not persuaded that Richard’s determination for the throne was justified. The murder of William, Lord Hastings on 13 June 1483 was the tipping point.[1] Hastings had been a close friend and adviser of the late King Edward IV.[1] Parr was no doubt a friend as well as a relation (Hastings was Parr’s uncle by marriage; Hastings was married to Lady Katherine Neville, another sister of Warwick). Parr was loyal to the institution of the monarchy, but deserted the idea of usurpation, however justified it was in political terms.[1] When Richard became King, Lord Parr chose not attend the coronation.[1] Parr had even been given a position in the coronation as canopy bearer.[1] Lady Parr and her mother, however, were present.[1] Both were dressed in fine dresses made by cloth that the new King himself had given them. Elizabeth 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. It is not known which gown Elizabeth wore as she rode behind Queen Anne (Neville); but she was one of the seven noble ladies given this honour. After the coronation, Lady Parr was personally appointed by the new Queen and served as lady-in-waiting to her cousin, whom she was close to. Queen Anne was the younger daughter of Lady Parr’s uncle, Lord Warwick.

Tomb of William Parr, Kendal Parish Church.

Tomb of William Parr, Kendal Parish Church.

Lord Parr is thought to be buried in Kendal Parish Church in Kendal, Cumbria, England. The tomb is not majestic and is tucked away behind chairs. His coat of arms can be seen on his tomb. The Church also features the famous “Parr Chapel.”

Marriages and Issue

Before July 1468, Lord Parr was married firstly to Joan Trusbut (d.1475).[2] The marriage produced no known children, however, Joan left a son, John, from her previous marriage to Thomas Colt Esq. of Roydon (d.1467). After Joan’s death, her son’s wardship was granted to Lord Parr. (The Manors of Suffolk) Colt most likely grew up with the children of Parr’s second marriage. Colt would marry and have a daughter, Jane, the first wife of Sir Thomas More.

After Joan’s death in 1475, Lord Parr married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron FitzHugh of Ravensworth and his wife Lady Alice Neville by whom he had three sons and two daughters. After Parr’s death, his widow would remarry to Sir Nicholas Vaux (later 1st Baron) and by him she had further issue. (Plantagenet Ancestry)

  1. Anne Parr, Lady Cheney (AFT 1475–4 November 1513), who married Sir Thomas Cheney of Irthlingborough. Their daughter Elizabeth, would go on to marry the son of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (Elizabeth FitzHugh’s second husband) by his second marriage to Anne Green; maternal aunt to Katherine Parr. When Elizabeth Cheney married Lord Vaux, she was age 18 and he was age 14. While there were no blood relations,  Lord Vaux’s father had issue by his marriage to his first wife (see below); thus making Hon. Katherine, Hon. Alice, and Hon. Anne Vaux her maternal aunts. Through these relations, Elizabeth Cheney and her husband, the 2nd Lord Vaux, would have Throckmorton cousins in common.[2]

    Elizabeth_Cheney_Lady_Vaux

    Elizabeth Cheney (or Cheyne), Lady Vaux of Harrowden; daughter of Anne Parr and Sir Thomas Cheney. Sketch by Holbein.

  2. Sir Thomas Parr, Lord of Kendal (AFT 1475–11 November 1517), who was the eldest son, was knighted and was sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1509; he was master of the wards and comptroller to Henry VIII. He was rich, owing to his succeeding, in 1512, to half the estates of his cousin, Lord FitzHugh, and also to his marriage with Maud Green, daughter and coheiress of Sir Thomas Green of Boughton and Greens Norton in Northamptonshire. He died on 12 November 1518, and was buried in Blackfriars Church, London. His widow died on 1 September 1532, and was buried beside him. They were parents to Queen Katherine Parr, William Parr [1st Marquess of Northampton], and Anne Parr [Countess of Pembroke].[2]
  3. Sir William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton (BEF 1483–10 September 1547), the second son, was knighted on 25 December 1513, was sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1518 and 1522, and after his niece’s Katherine Parr’s promotion became her chamberlain. On 23 December 1543 he was created Baron Parr of Horton, Northamptonshire. He died on 10 September 1547, and was buried at Horton (for his tomb, see Bridges, Northamptonshire, i. 370). By Mary, daughter of Sir William Salisbury, he left four daughters.[2]
  4. John Parr, Esq. (BEF 1483–8 September 1508), married Constance, daughter of Sir Henry Vere of Addington, Surrey. They had no issue.[2]
  5. Alice, died young (b. before 1483).[2]

After her husband Sir William Parr died in 1483, Elizabeth, who was twenty three at the time, was left with four small children. A familiar situation which Queen Katherine’s own mother would find herself in when her husband died in 1517, leaving her with three small children. Instead of choosing not to re-marry, like Maud Parr, Lady Parr made a dubious second marriage with a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort [mother of the new King], Sir Nicholas Vaux, the future 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden, which saved the family fortunes.[3]

References

  1. Linda Porter. “Katherine, the queen,” Macmillan, 2010.
  2. Douglas Richardson. “Plantagenet Ancestry,” Genealogical Publishing Com, 2011. pg 662.
  3. James, Susan. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. (2009), pg 15, 81.
  • Sir Leslie Stephen. “Dictionary of National Biography,” Vol 43, Smith, Elder, 1895. pg 366. Google eBook