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 riii@mecloud.com.heaven

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!