August 24 – Cecily of York, Henry VIII’s aunt and a sister of the Princes in the Tower

Posted By on August 24, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, in the reign of King Henry VII, Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles, died at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. She was buried at “the friars”.

Cecily was the daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and the sister of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower. She was. therefore, the sister-in-law of King Henry VII and the aunt of King Henry VIII.

But there’s far more to Cecily than her royal connections.

For example, did you know that she married without permission and had to be sheltered by Henry VII’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort?

Find out all about Cecily of York’s life…

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles, died at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. She was buried at “the friars”, but it is not known what religious house the record was referring to.

Here are some facts about this Plantagenet princess…

  • Cecily was born at Westminster Palace in London on 20th March 1469 and was the third daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and the sister of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower. It is believed that Cecily was named after her paternal grandmother, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York.
  • In October 1474, when she was aged 5, Cecily was betrothed to Prince James, son of King James III of Scotland, as part of a peace treaty between England and Scotland. However, relations broke down between the two countries after James supported English raids and Edward supported the claim to the Scottish throne of Alexander Stuart, Duke of Albany, James’s exiled brother. In June 1482, it was decided that if Albany could annul his marriage then Cecily would marry him. It didn’t happen and then, in October 1482, the betrothal between Cecily and Prince James was broken off.
  • Cecily’s father died suddenly on 9th April 1483, when Cecily was 14, leaving the throne to Cecily’s brother, Edward, who became Edward V. However, their uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, took the throne as King Richard III and Edward and his brother, Richard, disappeared. Their fate is unknown.
  • Cecily’s mother, the dowager queen, had taken Cecily and her sisters into sanctuary at Westminster Abbey and they remained there until March 1484. Richard III promised Elizabeth Woodville that he would ensure that his nieces would have good marriage matches, and that he’d give each of them 200 marks per annum in land. Cecily was married off to Ralph Scrope, brother of Thomas Scrope, 6th Baron Scrope of Masham.
  • In 1486, following the accession of King Henry VII, who was married to Cecily’s sister, Elizabeth of York, Cecily’s marriage to Scrope was annulled and she went on to marry John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles, maternal half-brother of Lady Margaret Beaufort and so half-uncle of King Henry VII. The couple had two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne, but they both died young.
  • In September 1486, Cecily carried her nephew, Prince Arthur Tudor, to the font at his christening at Winchester, and in November 1487 she carried her sister Elizabeth of York’s train at her coronation at Westminster Abbey.
  • In February 1499, Viscount Welles died and Cecily was left a life interest in his lands. However, she lost these when she married Thomas Kyme of Friskney, Lincolnshire, without Henry VII’s permission. The king’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, ended up sheltering the couple and was able to intercede with the king on their behalf. Some of Cecily’s lands were restored to her on the condition that the king could keep hold of some.
  • Cecily died on this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, at the age of just 38.
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