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Mistress to the Crown

I thought it might be fun to imagine how a modern day reporter might handle the rumours about the gorgeous Mistress Shore in the 1470s before she met the king.

London citizen's wife sues for a divorce

The Mercers’ Guild was shocked today by the news that the wife of guild member, William Shore, is asking for a separation on the grounds that he is impotent, frigid and unable to give her children.

‘I am prepared to take this case to Rome,’ she told our reporter this morning. ‘I have been married to him since my early teens but it was not my choice and I should like our marriage to be annulled.’

‘Utterly disgraceful,’ ‘It will create unwelcome precedents’, and ‘Unless she has friends in high places, how is she going to pay for it?’ are some of the comments from concerned guildsmen.

A spokesman for the Court of Arches, where matrimonial cases are heard with the consent of his Holiness in Rome, told our reporter that such cases are rarely allowed to proceed. ‘If the wife has been beaten by a drunken husband for eight years or more then there is a chance that His Holiness will appoint a tribunal for the hearing. Mistress Shore, however, has suffered no such abuse. She has vexatiously tried to bring a case several times already and her chances of succeeding this time are futile.’

When we raised this with Mistress Shore, she was undeterred. ‘I shall find the funds somehow.’

If Rome does give permission for proceedings against William Shore, he will need to undergo tests to disprove his impotence in the presence of several scantily-clad ‘cherrylips’ from Southwark.

Master Shore has refused to be interviewed but one of his fellow liverymen told us, ‘William is a God-fearing, hardworking guild member. He shouldn’t have married such an educated girl.’

Shore’s wife is the daughter of former London Sheriff, mercer John Lambard, Alderman of Farringdon ward and former member of the Council of Aldermen. Lambard has declined to give comment.

Does Mistress Shore have friends in ‘high places’? Read tomorrow’s London Chronicle

Click here for reviews, a blurb and to read an extract. For more about the real historical Mistress Shore, go to Inspiration for a New Novel.