Elizabeth of York
Her Early Life
Imagine being born the daughter of the king. One would think it would be
so exciting, even back in the 1400's, to be the daughter of the ruler.
But for Elizabeth of York, all the fun of being a royal was squelched
at a pretty young age. Elizabeth was about sixteen years old when her
father, King Edward IV, died and her little (?) brother was named king.
(Plowden 10) The thirteen year old Prince of Wales never got the chance
to rule. He and his younger brother, the Duke of York, were seized
by their uncle Richard and thrown into the Tower of London, never to
be seen again. Richard declared Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth's
mother invalid, and therefore the children from the marriage illegitimate.
Richard had himself crowned as ruler of all England just months after
his brother's death. (Plowden 10)
For Elizabeth and her mother, it was a difficult time. The marriage of
Elizabeth's parents was a rarity for the times, because they had married
for love, not for political gain. But this marriage caused a lot of
grumblings in the England, because Elizabeth's mother (who was also named Elizabeth) was considered
too low socially to marry so high. After her father's death, her mother's
dower rights were taken away from her, and she and her children were forced to live in
poverty at Westminster for two long years.
A Royal Wedding
Everything changed for Elizabeth of York when she married Henry Tudor
in January of 1486. She was not quite twenty, an unusually advanced
age for a princess to still be unmarried by that day's standards.
The marriage of Elizabeth and Henry was planned in order to bring more
legitiamacy to Henry's claim to the throne, although by all measures
Elizabeth's claim was -- as the eldest surviving heir of Edward IV --
much stonger than her husbands. (Plowden 15) While there was nothing
in English law to keep a woman from ruling England, the instabilty
of the monarchy at that time probably wouldn't have been able to handle
a woman as it's ruler. It was a hard time for any ruler to maintain the
throne -- think of the poor Prince of Wales -- and the thought of a
woman ruling was ridiculous to the people of the time. (Plowden 15)
Life and Death of A Queen
In September 1486, Elizabeth and Henry's first child was born. Named
Arthur, his birth was celebrated throughout England. (Plowden 17)
In November 1501, Arthur was married to the Spanish Princess Catherine.
He died just six months later (Plowden 23). Elizabeth herself
died in February of 1503 shortly after the birth of her eighth child,
a girl named Katherine, who died just days after her mother. (Plowden
King and Queens of England,
Scotland and Wales.
There's not a lot of info on Elizabeth of York on the Internet, but this is a good place to
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