“The Tudor Child”, by Amy Licence

January 25, 2017 in Guest Writers, Queen Anne Boleyn Youth Blog by Beth von Staats

Prince Edward Tudor (later King Edward VI) Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

Prince Edward Tudor (later King Edward VI)
Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

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THE TUDOR CHILD

by Amy Licence

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It’s something of a myth that the Tudors treated their children like small adults. Although some portraits show them dressed similarly, these were moments captured of children dressed up for the occasion. Society did recognise that there was a process of development involved; a rite of passage with different stages. Once the child had survived the dangerous years of infancy, learning to walk, read, write and care for themselves a little, they progressed into a different world.

richard3Seven was a critical age, especially for young aristocratic boys. Until then, they were under the care of the Lady Governess, overseeing the nursery, where they were dressed and shared similar experiences to their sisters. From their seventh birthday onwards, though, a boy’s masculinity was asserted, their clothing changed and they entered male company more frequently. Often the household of noble boys was rearranged, to give new positions of authority to trusted men, whose job was to serve and mentor their charge. Poorer children were often expected to work at this age: recent archaeological excavations show the effects of hard labour on the bones of children this young. Their formal education would begin, with the appointment of tutors, and their involvement in sports like archery and hunting would have been stepped up.

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The next crucial stage was around twelve, when girls could be considered of marriageable age, rising to fourteen for boys. Some aristocratic matches were arranged well before this, in the children’s infancy, after which they might be brought up in the household of their betrothed. Royalty were united young: Richard of York was married at the age of four in 1478 to a five-year-old heiress, Anne de Mowbray. Sometimes these matches did not work out but often, the pair were considered capable of consummating the union by their mid-teens, such as with Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon in 1501. The onset of puberty was also considered to pose certain dangers to health, with girls suffering from “green sickness,” or anaemia, and commencing their menstruation. Early childbearing was avoided where possible, for the potential risks, with the consummation of marriages being delayed. However, this was not always the case and Margaret Beaufort’s experience of bearing Henry VII at the age of thirteen or fourteen either damaged her physically, or led her to avoid childbirth completely in later years. Writers on health, like Sir Thomas Elyot, identified fourteen as a cut-off point, offering different dietary advice to those younger than this, from the “adult” advice intended for men who had reached that age.

Fourteen was also the traditional age for apprenticeships and service to begin. Boys and girls could be bound to a master and learn a trade for the next seven years, being sent away from home and working long hours, sometimes for little food or recompense. They had to follow strict rules of conduct or face dismissal and punishment. The bands of unruly apprentices that caused havoc on London streets must have been exploiting their only outlet of freedom; small wonder these groups of repressed adolescents frequently turned to violence and mischief on feast days. The May Day riots of 1517 saw a few thousand young men causing mayhem in the streets under the excuse of xenophobia; many were captured but later pardoned by Catherine of Aragon.

henry viiiEducation was uneven across Tudor society. The wealthiest could afford their own private tutors. Henry VIII was taught by some of the leading thinkers of his day, such as poets Bernard Andre and John Skelton. Grammar schools did exist, particularly established under Edward VI, to instruct the sons of the middle classes in the basics, such as the one Shakespeare attended in Stratford-upon-Avon but there was no universal curriculum. Discipline was again harsh, classes large and experiences determined by the interest and character of the school master. Girls learned at home, from their mothers, who prepared them for their future lives as wives and mothers. A medieval poem “How the Goodwife taught her daughter” focuses on desirable behaviour and morals, such as modesty, charity and religion. Even Princess Mary was raised with these expectations, although she was then the heir to the throne. Other manuals, such as the fifteenth century “Babees’ Book” and the poem “Urbanitantis”, focused on table manners and a child’s interactions with others; they were to speak sensibly when spoken to and otherwise remain silent. As the sixteenth century progressed, more noble women were taught to read, to enable them to run their own households. The survival of letters, diaries, poems and recipe books show how this skill was becoming increasingly valued. Later, when religious changes meant that people were encouraged to read the Bible themselves in English, more impetus existed for the teaching of literacy. The most prominent women set the example; Elizabeth I, Jane Grey and the daughters of Thomas More all received impressive educations and by the end of Elizabeth’s reign, many more women were reading, writing and composing: the “Blue-stocking” had already been born.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Licence

Amy Licence

Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She is also interested in Modernism, specifically Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Post-Impressionism.

Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The English Review, The Huffington Post, The London Magazine and other places. She has been interviewed regularly for BBC radio, including Woman’s Hour, and made her TV debut in “The Real White Queen and her Rivals” documentary, for BBC2, in 2013. She also writes literary fiction and has been shortlisted twice for the Asham Award.

Her website can be found at AMY LICENCE

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BOOK DESCRIPTION FOR All About Henry VIII

booktouramy

MadeGlobal’s “All About” series is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to know more about the key characters of history. The books are colourfully illustrated throughout, have a simple narrative to explain the key points in the character’s life and more detailed sections for the more-able reader or teacher. The book also contains a section of thought-provoking questions which can be used to further discussions about history.

Henry VIII is probably the most famous Tudor. He was a handsome, athletic young man; he never expected to become king and so was determined to enjoy his reign. Henry had six wives but could hate as passionately as he loved. He even had two wives executed. Henry surrounded himself with extraordinary men, including Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, and, during his reign, he changed religion forever in England. His son and daughters went on to be famous monarchs too.

Why did Henry have so many wives? Why was his reign so important?

Read the facts about Henry VIII in this book and make up your own mind.

Paperback: 42 pages

Age Range: 7 years and up

Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8494593749

ISBN-13: 978-8494593741

Amazon UK: All About Henry VIII 

Amazon USA: All About Henry VIII

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Amy Licence and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of All About Henry VIII to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on January 30, 2017. Good Luck!!!

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QAB Book Review: “Cecily Neville, Mother of Kings” by Amy Licence

April 21, 2015 in QAB Book Reviews by Mary Rose Tudor UK Z

By Marisa Levy

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Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet

Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet

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Thou shalt, where thou livest, year by year

The most part of thy time spend

In making of a glorious legend

Of good women, maidens and wives

That were true in loving and all their lives.

— Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women —

Used in Amy Licence’s biography: Cecily Neville

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Now that Richard III has been laid to rest, I thought this would be the perfect time to review the only biography about the mother of Edward IV and Richard III, Amy Licence’s biography Cecily Neville, Mother of Kings.  I recently started to study the War of Roses, which I found to be a fascinating, yet complicated era in English History. So many Nevilles, Buckinghams, Percys, and Yorks. Amy Licence’s genealogical tables helped make sense of these dynastic families. I became intrigued by Cecily Neville during my studies. Cecily, a woman known as the Rose of Raby and Proud Cis, her claim to be “queen by right'” was born in 1415 and died in 1495. She died during the reign of Henry VII, the king who killed her son and married her granddaughter. During her long life span, she witnessed victories and suffered great personal losses. It has taken Amy Licence to let this fascinating women’s story be told.

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

In Amy Licence’s introduction, she explains the difficulty of researching Cecily Neville:

” Writing a biography on Cecily Neville has been rather like striking a series of matches in the dark. There are moments when she steps forward and claims the historical limelight, when rumors question the paternity of her son Edward, or the moment she hears of his victory following the battle of Towton. But her voice is muted. A couple of letters survive and her household ordinances outline her routine in old age; more faintly still, she can be glimpsed inside the Great Hall at Raby Castle, or among ruins at Fortheringhay or Berkhamsted. Most often she is omitted altogether from records, even at times she must have been suffering or celebrating the most. A large proportion of her life lies amid the darkness of lost records and burned letters.”

Amy Licence’s research is excellent. Since only a few letters survive, a lot of conjectures and speculation must be made. Cecily seemed to have a successful and loving relationship with her husband Richard, Duke of York. She traveled with him as often as possible and ran his estates diligently when he was away. From the 13 children born to them, their marriage was intimate until her husband’s death. The rumors of Cecily having an affair with a common archer, who fathered Edward IV, contradicts the way she led her life. I also find it impossible for a man as proud as Richard Plantagenet to allow Edward to be his heir if their was any hint of impropriety. Richard, Duke of York, does not strike me like a man to be cuckolded.

King Edward IV

King Edward IV

I found this book to be very informative about the War of Roses, as well as giving us a glimpse into Cecily’s life. I believe a novice or expert alike would find this book to be an excellent read. My favorite chapters were the ones about Cecily’s relationship with her sons. How could she unite Edward and George again? The pain she must have endured with George’s execution and Edward’s death is stunning. Amy License makes us think about the humanity of this proud and noble woman. Did she feel that Richard would provide more stability for England instead of  her grandsons? Did her heart go out to Edward’s children? How did she feel about her granddaughter marrying the man who killed her youngest son in battle? While we can not judge through the eyes of the twenty-first century, we can’t help but wonder how this woman dealt with and endured so much tragedy. As a mother, I can only sympathize with her anguish of the loss of her children. Cecily called herself “queen by rite”, but she was the mother of two kings, the grandmother of a queen, and the great grandmother of King Henry VIII.

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Amy Licence

Amy Licence

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Amy Licence is an English historian of medieval women, powerful and common, Queens consorts and monarchs, rich and poor — particularly women living in the late 15th and 16th centuries. Topics of special interest include gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. Amy also has an enviable expertise and interest in the Wars of the Roses. Besides Amy’s non-fiction historical books, she also is a prolific journalist, regularly contributing the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. For more information on Amy’s varied interests, check out her pinboard on Pininterest at http://www.pinterest.com/amylicence/.

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To Purchase Cecily Neville, Mother of Kings

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!

Cecily Neville, Mother of Kings

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“The Reburial of Richard III: What Now For Ricardians?”, by Amy Licence

March 24, 2015 in 2015 King Richard III Tribute, Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

By Amy Licence

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This week has proven to be an intense and moving one. The mortal remains of Richard III have made their last emotive journey through green fields and crowded streets, uniting people of different countries and faiths in mutual respect. Sunday March 22 was one of those still-points in history: one of those times you can feel the convergence of past and present, when the gulf of five centuries seemed to collapse and create a real and direct emotional connection between the modern and the medieval. In the stillness and reverence, in the incense and hymns of the Anglican Church, in the ritual and ornament of the draping of the embroidered pall and placing of the jewelled crown, an older way of worship was alluded to, and we are reminded of the common humanity of people across the ages. We might be divided by codes of time-specific conduct and comprehension, but the basic human emotions do not change.

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The coffin carrying the remains of Richard III leave after a service at Bosworth Battlefield in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, Sunday, March 22, 2015.

The coffin carrying the remains of Richard III leave after a service at Bosworth Battlefield in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, Sunday, March 22, 2015.

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Yet hindsight is a wonderful thing. From the platform of 2015, we experience a simultaneity of knowledge, a concertinaing of five centuries of varied opinion: some positive, some negative, some true, some false. We are aware of Richard’s cultural afterlife: the process by which he has been defined and redefined by different individuals and movements across time. We know that his reputation has taken many turns, through reactionary Tudor politics, to a revisionist Enlightenment, through a Victorian restoration of Shakespeare’s play and modern cinematic portrayals. We know too that Richard was considered brave, loyal and pious during his lifetime, but that equally, some of his subjects questioned his succession and rose in revolt in the autumn of 1483. Then and now, there are problems with the survival and dissemination of information. Some sources have been credited with greater significance, while others have been forgotten. Some important material may have been destroyed: some questions may never be answered. The interpretations of certain writers have benefited from greater publicity than others, while our modern forms of media have perpetuated certain memes without the requisite historical context that would enable recipients to reach informed conclusions. Richard’s reputation is a perfect lesson in the discipline of history.

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The coffin of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral. Photo Credit: Modern Medievalism

The coffin of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral.
Photo Credit: Modern Medievalism

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But what now? We bring to the present moment a headful of historical contradictions. It’s a mismatched body of knowledge that doesn’t always sit easily alongside what we believe or what we feel: sometimes, if we let it, a fresh fact can alter the belief we’ve held for years. Anyone researching the twists and turns of Richard’s afterlife becomes aware of the arbitrary nature of sources, of the fragility of reputation and the randomness of formative moments of history. This can only make us better equipped to deconstruct historical characters and events, although it ultimately pushes any sort of definitive answer further away. The more sources we read, the less we realise we can be certain of.

And yet this has also been a time of crucial new discoveries. Through the archaeological excavations, the University’s forensic analysis and the reburial controversies, our generation has written a new chapter in Richard’s historiography. Future generations will see this as a marker, whether or not they approve or disapprove of this week’s events. No doubt they will see it as much as a reflection of early twenty-first-century values and concerns, perhaps even more so, than a development of Ricardian understanding. This is neither the end for Richard, nor the beginning; it’s simply one step along a much longer journey, much bigger than ourselves and the present moment. When we consider how the arc of Richard’s afterlife will develop through future generations, there is only one thing we can be sure of: it will continue to be one of contradiction. Perhaps that is the most important thing we can take from the past few years: there will be things we disagree about, but the continuity is greater than the difference.

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15th Century Re-enactors Prepare a Canon for a 21 Gun Salute. Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Joe Giddens, PA Wire)

15th Century Re-enactors Prepare a Canon for a 21 Gun Salute.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Joe Giddens, PA Wire)

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I’m aware I’ve strayed into the sentimental now but I do think there’s a crucial point here. This has been a journey for everyone interested in Richard’s life, from the first moment we heard about him at school, or picking up a Ladybird Book, through the years of study, passion and (possibly) defence: every Ricardian has been through a personal experience, intensified in the last three years. There have been points of agreement and points of disagreement, which is to be expected, even welcomed, as we analyse the nuances of texts and events in order to try and come closer to an understanding of the man and his time. I see that journey, leading to the events in Leicester this week, to be a common bond, something we’ve witnessed evolving together, whatever country we live in, or whatever our personal views about the man. While I relish the historical differences that will continue to be debated long after our time, the past few years have made me want to stand back and look at a bigger timeline of Richard’s story. As we tune in around the world on Thursday to watch him finally laid to rest, I will be reflecting on the similarities between Ricardians rather than the differences, on a sense of resolution that comes from the reburial and hoping that this will define a new chapter of debate.

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Amy Licence

Amy Licence

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Amy Licence is an English historian of medieval women, powerful and common, Queens consorts and monarchs, rich and poor — particularly women living in the late 15th and 16th centuries. Topics of special interest include gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. Amy also has an enviable expertise and interest in the Wars of the Roses. Besides Amy’s non-fiction historical books, she also is a prolific journalist, regularly contributing the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. For more information on Amy’s varied interests, check out her pinboard on Pininterest at http://www.pinterest.com/amylicence/.

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Richard III RL CVR.indd

To Purchase Richard III, The Road to Leicester

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!

Richard III, The Road to Leicester

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QAB Quest Post: Extract– ANNE NEVILLE, RICHARD III’S TRAGIC QUEEN, by Amy Licence

May 4, 2014 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

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Boy and Girl

1461–1465

Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;

Not separated with the racking clouds,

But sever’d in a pale clear-shining sky.

See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,

As if they vow’d some league inviolable:

Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.

In this the heaven figures some event.1

Anne’s world, and that of her contemporaries, was changing. The fortunes of those four babies born in the 1450s had fluctuated as the rivalry between Lancaster and York deepened. Now aged four and a half, Anne was suddenly the daughter of the most powerful man in England, on whose shoulders rested the responsibility of defending the City of London and guarding King Henry VI, while the queen’s pillaging troops marched south. At a remove from the action in Calais, Anne would have been unaware just how critical the situation in London had become, although her mother’s sympathies must have been roused by the plight of York’s widow and children; perhaps their prayers were also extended to them in the castle chapel. In England, though, grieving for her husband and second son, with her eldest boy Edward, Earl of March, leading an army of his own, Cecily of York took steps to protect her babies. Following the defeat at Wakefield, she had been in the ‘custody’ of her sister Anne, Duchess of Buckingham, but now she sent her two youngest sons, Richard and George, to Utrecht under the protection of Philip the Good, whose son their sister Margaret would eventually marry. Aged eight and eleven, they arrived at the Burgundian household without any indication of the length of their stay, or whether they would even see their home again.

anne neville 1

On the other side, the fortunes of Edward of Westminster had improved with the death of York. As the newly reinstated heir to the throne, his early years had been spent in flight from the scene of battlefields and he was used to scenes of conflict and bloodshed. Legend has it that the boy himself pronounced the death sentence on those knights who had failed to prevent his father’s capture. Queen Margaret had used him as a rallying point in the North, relying on his presence to draw men to his cause and rewarding them with badges of loyalty. Early in 1461 it appeared that he was about to be fully restored to his former life, with only the Earl of Warwick remaining of the old enemy. However, his mother and Henry Beaufort had mismanaged their armies, unable to control the continual looting as they progressed south. This meant that Westminster, after which the seven-year-old was named, was now terrified of the boy’s approach.

anne neville 2

Three more battles early in 1461 sealed the Lancastrian party’s fate. On 2 February Edward, Earl of March, won a decisive victory at Mortimer’s Cross in Herefordshire against Henry VI’s stepfather, Owen Tudor. Following the death of Henry V, his widow, Catherine of Valois had contracted a secret match with her groom, Tudor, and borne him at least two sons, the now deceased Edmund, father of Henry VII, and Jasper, who fought at his father’s side. Now a widower aged about sixty, Owen Tudor appeared at the head of a Lancastrian army in order to defend his stepson’s right. The signs were not propitious though, with even the planetary forces seeming to support the Yorkists. Before the fighting began, Edward of March witnessed the phenomenon of a parhelion, or ‘sun-dog,’ which appeared as three suns in the sky, taken to be a sign of divine favour. Using Welsh recruits, he was able to prevent the different parts of his enemies’ forces from meeting up and captured Tudor, who was later beheaded. As the old man laid his head incredulously on the block, he commented that it had been used to ‘lie in Queen Catherine’s lap’. Jasper Tudor survived the encounter and escaped into exile, although his young ward, Henry Tudor, was left behind. The four-year-old boy was removed from his mother at the Tudor’s residence of Pembroke Castle and placed under the guardianship of the loyal Yorkist, William Herbert of Raglan Castle, who had fought for Edward’s victory.

Anne-Neville

Elsewhere in the country, the Earl of Warwick had met with less success. He and Edward of March had intended to join forces to defeat Margaret but Edward had been forced to engage with the Tudors at Mortimer’s Cross before they could meet up. This left the earl outnumbered. Only two weeks later, with Henry VI in his custody, Warwick’s army met a Lancastian force at St Albans and the unfortunate town was again subjected to intense fighting and destruction. Six years had passed since the destruction of that terrible first battle, time enough for the physical damage to have been cleared away, with properties and gardens repaired and replanted. The memories, however, remained. Aware of Warwick’s technique of dividing his army into three and his north-facing positioning, the Lancastrians swung round to take him by surprise. Fighting was again concentrated within the town and in the domestic settings of back yards and houses, lasting several hours until Warwick’s troops were finally repelled. Henry VI had supposedly spent the duration of the battle singing and laughing under a tree; now he was reunited with his wife and son, knighting the young Edward, who then went on to knight thirty more Lancastrians himself. Nothing should have prevented their victorious army marching straight into London and reclaiming the throne. Except they didn’t. Their hesitation was fatal to their cause, allowing Edward, Earl of March, fresh from his triumph at Mortimer’s Cross, to enter the city himself and gain its support. London welcomed the handsome, strong, 6-foot-4 warrior, who went on to declare his hereditary right to the throne.

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Amy Licence

Amy Licence

Amy Licence is an English historian of medieval women, powerful and common, Queens consorts and monarchs, rich and poor — particularly women living in the late 15th and 16th centuries. Topics of special interest include gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. Besides Amy’s non-fiction historical books, she also is a prolific journalist, regularly contributing the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. For more information on Amy’s varied interests, check out her pinboard on Pininterest. Amy’s outstanding history books are listed below. Click to purchase your favorite today!

Elizabeth of York: The Forgotten Tudor Queen
Cecily Neville Mother of Kings
In Bed with the Tudors: From Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I
Richard III: The Road to Leicester
Royal Babies
Anne Neville

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Amberley Publishing is graciously offering a complimentary copy of Anne Neville, Richard III’s Tragic Queen to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on May 10, 2014. Good Luck!!!

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QAB Interview with Historian Amy Licence

December 8, 2013 in QAB Guest Interviews and Chats by Beth von Staats

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Amy Licence

Amy Licence

 

1. Amy, when completing your research of historical figures, particularly women such as Queen Anne Neville and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, how are you able to conclude with any certainty their contributions to history with so little contemporary sources to work with?

The short answer is that you can’t draw many conclusions with certainty, only probability. History simply isn’t a discipline that allows for us to present a concrete account of every moment in the lives of people in the past. Even the lives of those that are as comparatively well documented as Kings still raise debate about exactly what happened and why; even then we rarely know their feelings and motivation. All we can do is to try and get as close to the individual as possible by a mixture of methods. In the cases of Cecily and Anne, it is rather like a few matches being lit in the dark: there are a handful of known, fixed points in their lives with long sections of missing years between them. This is where the job of the historian becomes the most challenging and the most exciting. It becomes a search to find material that might suggest where they were or what they were up to, based on details like the location of their family, court records and Council payments etc. I’m quite happy to present my reader with possibilities, qualified by the “may have” or “might have,” because most of my readers do have a fairly sophisticated understanding of the nature of the genre and appreciate the opportunity to make up their own minds given the possibilities I present. In particular, I’ve done a lot of research on the early years of Cecily’s marriage, before her children were born, which is just skirted over in many other books. To ignore such sections gives a false impression of a life story; to Cecily, who lived through them, those years were as important as later ones, and the possibilities must be explored.

 

King Richard III and Queen Anne Neville

King Richard III and Queen Anne Neville

 

2. And to follow-up, do you find misconceptions perpetuated about these two women, and if so, how do you believe they took root?

Misconceptions about historical figures can come about for a number of reasons, during their lifetime and afterwards. Sometimes these are as a result of rumours, such as those regarding the paternity of Edward IV, which then evolve as different historians pick them up. There are also specific moments in historiography, when a certain view of an individual is presented and perpetuated through time, like More’s depiction of Richard III’s birth. It isn’t as simple as history being recorded by the winners; there are many complex reasons why certain interpretations survive over others, and history is rarely black and white. The misconceptions happen in differing degrees but women in particular do seem to have suffered from it more for two reasons; historical accounts are mostly written by men and the easiest way to attack a prominent woman was through allegations of misconduct, in terms of personality, sexuality or witchcraft. With most women dependent upon what society called their “good fame” or good reputation, mud did stick and still does. In history books published this century, the assumptions made about figures like Elizabeth Wydeville, Anne and Cecily are still being repeated without question. At the very least, it is essential that we distinguish opinion from fact.

 

3. Amy, many of the members of QAB are novice researchers and writers. Can you speak to the responsibility historical fiction writers have related to the authenticity of their work? How do you view how fact and fiction overlap in this writing genre? Do you believe it is possible for a person to be both a strong historian and a strong fiction writer? Are there skill-sets that overlap in completing strong non-fiction and fictional works?

I see no incompatibility at all between strong writing in fiction and non-fiction, in fact, a good writer in general should be able to write well in many forms. I was an English teacher for a decade and prioritised transferrable skills over genres: the most exciting writing borrows from a universal toolbox of skills. However, there are distinct criteria that remain in place when it comes to things like historical non-fiction and fiction, which really are set by the expectations of readers; if people expect to read a factual history book, then if an author chooses to use made-up sections, it must be stated explicitly in the text. The reader must know what they are getting into, that is only fair. Biographies and accounts are often more lively and accessible for such techniques but the author has a responsibility there to act as a guide and signpost the shift in gear.

However, when it comes to fiction, I think anything goes. I know this is an opinion that not everyone shares and understand that readers are annoyed when fictional authors pass off imaginative material as being real but I do think that so long as the author states it is fiction, they can do anything they like. Fiction is an art form; it can be a little bit magical and bend boundaries and rules. In it, characters can come back to life, time travel and live alternative worlds, so long as the book does what it says on the tin. That’s what it boils down to: authors stating clearly what they’re doing. It isn’t necessarily what you do, it’s the way that you do it. Being a good historian; finding and analysing sources and keeping an open mind, is another discipline entirely. It’s a tall order for any single author to juggle all these things.

King Richard III

King Richard III

 

4. We understand that you are releasing a new book detailing the life of King Richard III in January 2014. Can we expect any new revelations?

This book is really two things; an introduction to Richard and his life and a memorial. It is in two sections, biography first, then everything that happened after Bosworth. It includes the history of the site of his burial from 1485 until 2013, when the diggers moved in, as well as the findings of the dig and also looks at cultural representations of Richard in literature, art and film, as well as the chroniclers and historians who have contributed to his reputation.

We were also told that though this is a non-fiction work, you included an historical fiction preface. Is this the first time you have written fiction? Why did you choose this very unique and creative way to begin your non-fiction work?

Actually, it is me returning to my first love. I decided that I wanted to be a writer when I was eight and wrote my first full length novel at eleven. I’ve been writing fiction ever since and have had several stories and poems published in Ambit, the New Writer magazine and elsewhere; I’ve been shortlisted twice for the Asham Award for short fiction. I employ quite a few fictional techniques in my writing anyway and I take quite a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on literature art and architecture of the times , plus later cultural representations like film, so it seemed an extension of that. I do think that in writing, genre boundaries have been too rigidly drawn and that borrowing from other disciplines makes for a more vibrant and readable book. I’ve read an awful lot of history books that have been dry and dull; besides the history, it is essential to be a good writer, or else the history remains lifeless. I use a variety of tools to try and interest my readers and there is a place for fiction, so long as it is clearly demarcated as such, as in my prologue. The circumstances of Richard’s death and burial are so emotive that I thought I would approach them first this way, as fiction can be far more immediate for a reader, especially one who is relatively new to Richard’s story. I’m also aware that many people have come to Richard after having read one of the many novels about him, such as Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour or Tey’s The Daughter of Time. As this book can work as a good introduction to the history behind the character, it seemed like a good bridge between those works and this.

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

 

5. Are there any other new projects you would like to tell QAB members and browsers about?

After Cecily Neville, I’ll be turning my attention to the wives and mistresses of Henry VIII. Many of the standard works on them are a few years old now and really use the wives to focus on Henry himself. There are also a lot of really good new books out there about the individual wives but I really want to look at the female experience of Henry; what was he like as a husband and lover? I did a lot of research for my first book In Bed with the Tudors, and developed some of my own theories about these women, although the wider scope of that book meant I didn’t go into them in as much detail as I would have liked, so this will be my chance to do that, plus a lot more new research.

I can also reveal that I’ve just had a proposal accepted for my next book after that, which is going to be a joint biography of Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville, a Yorkist love story.

This is going to keep my busy for most of 2014 but if I do get any spare time, there may also be a historical novel too.

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Amy Licence is an English historian of medieval women, powerful and common, Queens consorts and monarchs, rich and poor — particularly women living in the late 15th and 16th centuries. Topics of special interest include gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. Besides Amy’s non-fiction historical books, she also is a prolific journalist, regularly contributing the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. For more information on Amy’s varied interests, check out her pinboard on Pininterest at http://www.pinterest.com/amylicence/.

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 To Purchase Click The Link Below!

Anne Neville, Richard III’s Tragic Queen

Coming in December to QAB, Where History Comes Alive!!!!

October 1, 2013 in News by Royal Squire

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Queen Anne Boleyn historical Writers is very excited to announce that with the gracious assistance and contributions of website members, Sarah Morris, Natalie Grueninger, Amy License, Elizabeth Norton and Susan Bordo, we will be celebrating the contributions of women in medieval English history throughout the month of December. Join us here at the website as we explore the lives of the Queens, Queen Consorts, nobility, religious figures, and common women of 15th and 16th century England.

Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger

Sarah Morris (l) and Natalie Grueninger (r)

Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger, authors of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, will be stopping by QAB on their online book tour leading to Christmas. Experience with Sarah and Natalie the 1535 progress of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn as they traveled through England. What was Queen Anne’s average day on progress? Come find out as Sarah and Natalie host us on her journey. 

Amy Licence

Amy Licence

Amy License, English historian of medieval women, powerful and common, Queens consorts and monarchs, rich and poor, will be joining QAB to discuss the remarkable lives of Queen Anne Neville and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. Join us as Amy discusses the difficulties facing the historical biographer in recreating a credible and interesting narrative when there are few facts available, the lives of Anne Neville and Cecily Neville, and the writing process itself.

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton, a British historian that researches and writes primarily of the women contributing to English medieval history, will be joining QAB to share her expertise of the women of the Boleyn family. Stop by and enjoy Elizabeth’s guest blog highlighting the lives of “all the other Boleyn women”, and also check out her interview with QAB highlighting her recent research and QAB’s review of Elizabeth’s new book Elfrida, The First Crowned Queen of England.

Susan Bordo

Susan Bordo

She’s back, the delightful Susan Bordo! Join QAB as we highlight the United Kingdom release of Susan’s highly acclaimed and popular The Creation of Anne Boleyn, A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen. Enjoy QAB’s interview with Susan about her thoughts on the cultural influences impacting how female historical figures throughout history are viewed and watch for a few surprises from Susan and website members.

Beth Condon

Beth Condon

When most people think of religious historical figures during the reign of King Henry VIII, Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Bishop John Fisher, Sir Thomas More and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer come to mind. Join QAB’s website administrator Beth Condon in exploring the remarkable lives of the martyred religious women of Henry VIII’s reign — Roman Catholic Elizabeth Barton, Maid of Kent and Protestant Reformer Anne Askew.

Mercy Alicea

Mercy Alicea

Mercy Alicea is QAB’s Queen Anne Boleyn Representative. Most of the beautiful historical fiction short stories and threads featuring Queen Anne Boleyn on the website are written by Mercy. Bilingual, Mercy is also QAB’s primary Spanish language writer. Join Mercy in celebrating the influence of the amazing Spanish born Queen in medieval English history, Catalina de Aragón — and by popular demand, we will learn of her sister, Juana de Castilla. (Mercy Alicea es Queen Anne Representante Bolena QAB. La mayoría de las hermosas historias cortas de ficción histórica y los hilos que ofrece la reina Ana Bolena en la página web están escritos por la Mercy. Bilingüe, Mercy también es escritor principal en español de QAB. Únete Misericordia en celebrar la influencia de la increíble reina nacida en español medieval Inglés historia, Catalina de Aragón — y por demanda popular, vamos a aprender de su hermana, Juana de Castilla.)

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Are you interested in contributing a guest article, historical fiction blog or poem celebrating the life of women of 15th or 16th century England???? Don’t be shy!! Contact Royal Squire here on the website if you are a member or email HisGraceTCanterbury@gmail.com. All contributions are welcome!!!!

 

 

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