The Lady and the Unicorn – Sapere Books

No one knows the identity of the woman spy that King Edward IV sent across to Calais with messages for his brother, the Duke of Clarence, begging him to change sides. The Lady of Calais had to be someone who could easily have access to the duke. This implies she was possibly of noble birth or maybe had a family connection. The ideal candidate was Margaret, the Earl of Warwick’s bastard daughter, since she was half-sister to the duke’s wife, Isabella, and may have been brought up as a companion to her and her sister Anne. We do know that Margaret was later one of the ladies attending at the coronation of Anne and Richard III. Margaret also may have been the mysterious relative of Warwick’s that King Edward was rumoured to have seduced. She would have been the right age and less of a ‘no go area’ than the earl’s legitimate daughters. So there you have the heroine of my novel, and the hero — well, the man she married — Richard Huddleston. In truth, he may have been a lot older than her. I don’t know. But he became the other main character.

I do hope you will find the story of Margaret and Richard and the political intrigue surrounding them a good read.

This story was also published in the USA as The Maiden and the Unicorn. It is also available in German at Dotbooks as Der Stolz der Lady

The Lost Princes

How refreshing to hear about some new historical documents that have come to light concerning the fate of the Princes in the Tower. Philippa Langley has done it again, pioneered a fresh path through the shadows. She has achieved this by recruiting a team of researchers to comb the European archives and by taking a very forensic approach to the investigation.

I’ve now had to change my mind about what happened to Edward V. I was wondering if as a teenager he had actually become so depressed and desperate in the Tower that he committed suicide. One account (Mancini quoting the boy’s physician, Dr Argentine) says that Prince Edward sought remission of his sins and was convinced he was going to die (presumably because most deposed kings were murdered?) and another theory is that he was suffering from a very painful jaw. Added to that, he was incarcerated with a younger brother who he hardly knew, since from the age of three he had spent most of his life iin his own household at Ludlow rather than with his parents. Prince Richard was only nine. To add to Prince Edward’s poor state of mind, his mentor, the man who had supervised his education, Lord Rivers, his maternal uncle, had been executed. All this could have prompted the lad to take his own life. Of course, he would have believed that to take your own life would be against the will of God, but committing that act would certainly mean that the common people would regard Richard III and Henry, Duke of Buckingham as child murderers.

OK, all that was just a theory and, yes, I’ve abandoned it gladly. The documents that have now come to light are very convincing so if you are interested in the mystery of the Princes, do read Phiippa Langley’s book The Lost Princes or watch her recent doumentary. It is utterly fascinating

A Yuletide round robin from Eleanor of Aquitaine

Mes Amis en Aquitaine,

With this horrid pestilence going round, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the keep so I thought it about time to catch up on my missive writing. I’ll try to keep it short because the scribes do get cramp, poor things.

It’s been a busy year. We decided to crown young Henry as part of his Christmas present (well, what does one give the heir to the throne?). I’d honestly run out of ideas until his father came up with that one.

Geoff and Connie are getting along fine. They’ve bought a castle in Brittany together. Connie is expecting and if it’s a boy, they’ll call him Arthur to shut up all those radical Bretons who are always ranting on about the Pendragon Second Coming.

Richie got a High Distinction in Jousting but I do worry about him. ‘Look at the big picture not just the pages’, I keep telling him. Of course, he will do sleepovers at his friend Blondel’s and I know Blondel’s parents aren’t as strict as Henry and I.

Johno? Ah, our problem. He’s seeing a therapist about his mood swings. He had a good exam result in maths and economics, but I don’t think the other students like him very much.

We’ve had a French student, Alys, doing an exchange stay with us. Henry has been spending a lot of time teaching her our English sort of French and how to write English French letters. At least that what I think he said.

Tom Beckett’s in town again. I do hope he and Henry won’t have ones of their nasty arguments on Intelligent design – they do get very irritated over the hypocras and wafers.

Anyway, there’s my tidings for now. Remember to keep the drawbridge up!

À Bientôt,


Eleanor Regina

Bessie’s Christmas letter

In 1483, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of the late King Edward IV, found herself and her siblings suddenly declared illegitimate. Her panicky mother, Queen Elizabeth Woodville, insisted they take refuge in Westminster Sanctuary. Here’s what she may have written to her uncle, now crowned King Richard III.


Abbot’s House

Westminster Sanctuary


Dear Uncle Dickon,

I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!

Do you think you can twist Mum’s arm to let us out for Chrissie? I am so booooored with being here (whoops, forgot that was your insignia—no insult intended, still have that cuddly little boar you gave me when I was little). Mum is being an absolute pain (she’s missing her Pilates classes) and we can’t move in here for chests and candelabra. Cis tripped over a tapestry pole last week. It’s just such a squash.

Master Nesfield, the sergeant you put in charge is really dishy. I’ve practised flirting with him to let me sneak out for a walk but he’s being very loyal to you.

Look, I understand what’s going on and that Dad was really wicked in proposing to Mum when Nell Talbot was still around and then them wedding in secret at Gran and Grandpa’s. Really stooopid. I don’t care, though. I think you’ll make a really good king though it’s a shame Aunty Anne’s health is a bit iffy. Please give her a gentle hug from me.

Can I suggest you keep an eye on Cousin Margaret? She sent some GP in to see Mum the other day and he was waxing lyrical about that son of hers, Henry. They thought I wasn’t listening but, heck, you can’t exactly not. The fellow (Henry, that is) sounds a right turnip, to be honest, but apparently the French think he’s a weapon of mass destruction. Boom, boom, to them, silly frogs.

BTW are you going to get your young Ned down for York for Christmas? It would be good to meet him at last. I’d like to get him a book for a present. What’s he interested in? Chess? Hunting?

Look, promise me, you’ll get us out of here asap.

Love you heaps!



PS: I imagine my little brother is furious but it’s Dad he should be angry with.

PPS: Cis has run out of nuts for her pet squirrel. Could you be wonderful and send us over a bag from the palace.

Richard III demands a say in his reburial

Richard III demands a say in his reburial
Another document you won’t find in the UK’s National Archives

2012: Email sent to Leicester Council from

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

I read in the Telegraph this morning that my bones have been found. About ruddy time! I’ve been lying in that damn damp carpark waiting for decades, but did you knaves consider that, no, it was ‘He’s in a horse trough at the bottom of the river’ and ‘Let’s move on to the next subject: waste disposal.’ Well, thank heaven for John and Philippa finally getting the gravediggers in. Oh, wash my mouth out, they prefer to be called archaeologists, do they?

Right, what I want to know is who is going to make the decision about where I’m going next, the bones, I mean. How about Westminster Abbey with Anne?

Standing room only? Pah, they could kick out the Percys and give Anne and I a chapel all to ourselves. You reckon not? Oh, come on, that bastard Tudor and his friggin’ mother have plenty of social distancing from the rest. And what about the Tower chicken bones in the urn?

No, not Windsor! I don’t want to go in with Ned and her indoors. A Woodville “lying” next to me. I had enough of that when I was living.

Holy Paul! You are telling me unless the Home Secretary intervenes, the bones of anyone who came to a sticky end (mine was sticky alright) have to be buried within a certain radius of the place of death. Who is this Home Secretary person? Is it because of the plague he’s working from home and not in his office. You say he doesn’t want to interfere? Could someone notify him I was a king. K-I-N-G?

What about Middleham or York Minster? I really loved it up there.

Oh, Leicester wants to attract tourists? TOURISTS? What, like pilgrims? You want my bones to make money for you? And what do I get from this deal?

A new tomb? Pah, I had one of those before in the Greyfriars Chapel. How do I know a developer isn’t going to rip into the back of your cathedral and build a highrise?

You give me your word?

What about my burial procession and a lying in state? I want it like we did for my dad — at least 600 in mourning robes with brooches on their hats and torches. No, not those sort of torches. You reckon over a thousand unpaid volunteers lining the road. Not bad, but, what, only one horse? More horses! And move my statue! Are we settled now? You want Leicester City winning the Cup Final?

I don’t know but….

OK, done!