The Honorable and forgotten Queen Elizabeth of York by Ingrid Camargo da Motta

The “bastard” or destitute princess of York, mother of Henry VIII and grandmother of Elizabeth I.
Her memory is almost forgotten and her life unknown in the English history.

If you ask to anyone about the life of Elizabeth, the answer probably is going to be the silence. Or maybe something as “Oh sure, the mother of Henry VIII”. Almost none understand about her influence in the Tudor history and about her sacrifice to keep the peace in England and in the York line.

Before marry Henry of Richmond (Henry VII), Elizabeth lost her title of princess of England after her protector father Edward VI death. She was forced to own herself illegitimate daughter. Then she was hurried with her brothers, mother and sisters into sanctuary.
The time that the princess and her mother have passed in the tower was enough to make a secret and private negotiate of marriage between her and Henry by their mothers. That was the only way to keep her family and the York’s safe. So she promised to her mother with her life marry him and if in case of her death before the marriage, her sister Cicely was to take it and keep the York line apparently alive.

After her uncle Richard III declared himself the king and resolved to receive Elizabeth is his court in his wife death, he considered Elizabeth a good match. It was of course not acceptable in his court, because of the York line and after all Elizabeth was suffering the distance of her family and death of her brothers whom she had loved incredible.

While she was living in the Richard’s court she has had time enough to make alliance with Lord Stanley. The step-father of her betrothed. She usually called him as “father Stanley” and entreated his help. With success and intelligence she prepared a union with Talbot and Savage who were all ready to risk her life if she would marry with Henry.

In the Richard’s fall, she “meets” with him on its way towards the Grey Friars he had founded, to be interred. She is said to have exclaimed “Uncle, how like you now the slaughtering of my brethren dear?”. Then in the day of Henry’s victory he had been crowned and greeted by the acclamations as Henry VII.
Elizabeth and Henry married and his coronation took place in October 30.

Then a great part of problems began, because Henry refused recognize the York line of Elizabeth. The Tudor and York were enemies. During a long time lots of rebellions got place, but the official York family had never asked the rights of the secession line. Since the beginning, to keep the rest of the family safe by Henry arms they preferred to ‘forget’ theirs name.

Elizabeth of York was treated as queen consort till his death.

She is recognize to be very affectionate to her destitute sisters and give them a large income during the rest of theirs lives. Her behavior of ‘perfect and lovely’ queen was a big influence in her son Henry VIII. We can find a picture of Henry VIII with Jane Seymour and Elizabeth with Henry VII.

Even with all problems during her life, Elizabeth was very strong and also calm at all. She had lost her father, her line succession, was hurried, lost also her brothers and was securely smart enough to in the enemy court get hers own allies to protect her life. And was knowing to be one excellent mother and wife. That is a kind of reputation really honorably!

5 thoughts on “The Honorable and forgotten Queen Elizabeth of York by Ingrid Camargo da Motta”

  1. Lynsay Green says:

    I think she was a remarkable woman, and it’s sad that the quieter Queens are forgotten and not considered for their strong determination to survive. And she had lost so much yet she kept going, that’s a strong woman.

  2. Andrea says:

    This is an interesting article except it was hard to read.

  3. Can says:

    This is hard to read because the article is peppered with grammatical errors. The author obviously lacks the command of the english language. From readings, Elizabeth of York is a strong woman and well rounded enough to be loved by her husband King. Pity their offspring Henry VIII is shameful.

    1. Martin B says:

      It is amazing how much Henry VIII resembled his grandfather Edward IV in his younger years, both very tall, over 6 feet, and identical looks, although Edward was darker haired. Both had the same appetites for women and food, and both ignored the rule of their kingdom in pursuit of these delights. There is a very good case for genetic disposition, and I wonder how Edward V would have fared had his uncle spared his life.

      But Elizabeth was an exceptional women, renowned for her beauty and courage, and she showed much political skill in ensuring the survival of her line. Richard III’s pursuit of her as a potential wife alienated most of the nobility and helped to contribute to his virtual abandonment on the battlefield.

      Elizabeth was a good wife and Queen to Henry VII, and though he was in many ways a cold fish, not connecting much with the people, he truly loved Elizabeth, and she was very loyal to him. After she died in childbirth, he mourned her fiercely, and it makes you wonder how Henry VIII might have turned out if she had been able to exert some later influence on him.

      She was one of the good guys, a rare light in a benighted age.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Richard didn’t pursue her as a potential wife, that is nonsense. Read the actual evidence. He declared he had no intention of marriage with her. Richard was betrothed to the Infanta of Portugal, he sent envoys there within weeks of his wife’s death because he needed a son. Elizabeth was going to be married to the future Manuel ii as part of the same treaty.

        No, he didn’t alienate most of the nobility of England. The only noble we know for certain that he had a problem with, other than the Earl of Oxford who left England long before Richard was lawfully made King, as his brothers kids were illegitimate, was Lord Thomas Stanley. As most of the old nobility was dead anyway, there were few of them left and they supported Richard. Northumberland did not refuse to fight, his position made it impossible. Norfolk died on the battlefield and Suffolk and his sons remained loyal. John de la Pole was with him. The family wanted Henry Vii out of the way, not Richard iii. Any problems Richard had with Southern gentleman was due to his fair legal system, which he used to deal fairly with ordinary people who complained against them, even if they were his own men. If any nobles were upset with Richard iii it was because he clipped their power wings, not because he wanted Elizabeth of York.

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