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The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of Yorkby Jean Plaidy
Synopses & Reviews
It grows darker with the passing of every minute. The people in the streets crowd together and gaze up at the sky. It is a portent of evil, they say. God is showing His displeasure by covering the face of the sun.
Very soon I shall lay down my pen. I am too tired to write more. My strength is slowly ebbing away and I feel Death close.
It is an unhappy time to leave this world. Suspicion and treachery are all around us. There are rumors to which I try to shut my ears. They frighten me. I tell myself I do not believe them. I do not want to hear the things people are saying--yet I must know.
Tell me . . . tell me everything, I beg my ladies.
They shake their heads. They say, There is nothing, your Grace.
That is not true. They know but they will not tell me.
We were happy at Middleham before Richard took the throne. Middleham will always be home to me . . . and, I believe, to him. It meant something very special to us both. It was there that we first knew each other. I always said it was there that love between us first began. The people there understood him. They knew his worth. They do not like him here. In their hearts they do not accept him as their king. He is not tall and handsome as his brother was. He lacks the gift of charm that Edward had in such abundance. How perverse human nature is Richard would be a good king; he would serve his country faithfully; but it was Edward whom they loved because he was good to look upon; he was a giant among men; he smiled his way through his reign, beguiling rich and poor alike. His profligacy, his self-indulgence mattered not. He looked like a king and they had adored him. It was perhaps natural that they should resent his successor. Richard is not tall; he lacks the golden beauty of his brother; he is dark and serious and does not smile easily; he serves his country with zeal; but the people remember Edward's charm and mourn for him.
And in the streets they are whispering that I am dying on my husband's orders. The rumor is that he is having me slowly poisoned. How cruel they are They cannot think of anything vile enough to say of him. It is his enemies of course--and they are all about us. They would make a monster of him. But who should know him better than I? And I know he is a good man. He would be a great king and good to them, greater than his self-indulgent brother--if they would let him.
It is true that I am dying--but not at his hands. He knows that I cannot live long and he is heartbroken. I can see the misery in his eyes. I am the only one whom he can trust. How could anyone think that he would want to be rid of me? I know I am sick, unable to bear the sons all kings want, but there has been a special bond between us since he came to my father's castle when we were children. If only he could cast away his crown If only we could go back to Middleham and the North where the people love and understand us. Richard is paying too highly for his crown.
I try to comfort him. More than any I know his feelings.
Whom can I trust? he asks. Who in this sad court can trust whom?
I know he is thinking of Buckingham--his one-time friend, or so he thought--now turned traitor.
Sometimes when he looks hurt and bewildered he reminds me so much of the boy I knew all those years ago. I alone am able to see the real Richard; to others he is
Offers a fictionalized account of Anne Neville, daughter of the "kingmaker," the Earl of Warwick, who became a pawn of court intrigues and, eventually, Queen through her marriage to Richard III.
In 1470, a reluctant Lady Anne Neville is betrothed by her father, the politically ambitious Earl of Warwick, to Edward, Prince of Wales. A gentle yet fiercely intelligent woman, Anne has already given her heart to the prince’s younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Unable to oppose her father’s will, she finds herself in line for the throne of England—an obligation that she does not want. Yet fate intervenes when Edward is killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Anne suddenly finds herself free to marry the man she loves—and who loves her in return. The ceremony is held at Westminster Abbey, and the duke and duchess make a happy home at
Middleham Castle, where both spent much of their childhood. Their life is idyllic, until the reigning king dies and a whirlwind of dynastic maneuvering leads to his children being declared illegitimate. Richard inherits the throne as King Richard III, and Anne is crowned queen consort, a destiny she thought she had successfully avoided. Her husband’s reign lasts two years, two months, and two days—and in that short time Anne witnesses the true toll that wearing the crown takes on Richard, the last king from the House of York.
About the Author
\Jean Plaidy is the pen name of the prolific English author Eleanor Hibbert, also known as Victoria Holt. More than 14 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide.
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