Friday, 4 April 2008

Elizabeth Woodville

I've come across a couple of interesting sites for Elizabeth Woodville. The more detailed one is here.

Elizabeth has had some hard criticism from Ricardians over the years. Much of it is unjustified. I can't understand why anyone finds it remarkable that an English medieval queen would be surrounded by ceremony - it came with the job, and she probably couldn't have switched it off if she'd wanted to. Nor is it odd that she should look after her relations - that's what anyone with access to power was expected to do. In fact, it was the whole point of having power.

There's a couple of recent positive biographies of Elizabeth. David Baldwin's Elizabeth Woodville, Sutton Publishing Ltd ISBN 0 7509 3886 2. Also Elizabeth Wydeville, The Slandered Queen by Arlene Okerlund ISBN 0 7524 3384 9. The latter is also available here. Or indeed here. A review of Okerlund's book is here.

2 comments:

Susan Higginbotham said...

I've found these biographies very useful. I hope the more balanced treatment of Elizabeth W starts filtering into fiction--even in recent novels, she's still treated as the epitome of evil. One even has her (as a lady in waiting to Margaret of Anjou) arranging to have Thomas Malory imprisoned!

By the way, do you think she was a lady in waiting to Margaret? I've read conflicting accounts of this.

Brian said...

One way of showing Richard in the best possible light is to show his 'enemies' in the worst possible. I gave up on the St Richard of Fotheringhay cult some while back. He was human, so were the rest of them. I don't think La Woodville was up there with Mother Teresa, not by any means, but 'evil' is really pushing it. If anything I think her influence over Edward IV is probably exaggerated. Edward was a very hard man under all that affability - its too easy (though quite in line with historical precedent) to put all the blame on his 'advisers'. He did the things he did because that was what he decided.

Like you I've read various accounts that suggest Elizabeth was attendant on Margaret, but I think (without checking) that the latest consensus is that she wasn't. Don't take that as ex cathedra though as I am relying on memory.