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.

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