27th June 2017 – Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law: Fashioning Tudor Queenship, 1485-1547 (Queenship and Power) by Retha M Warnicke
‘This study of early modern queenship compares the reign of Henry VII’s queen, Elizabeth of York, and those of her daughters-in-law, the six queens of Henry VIII. It defines the traditional expectations for effective Tudor queens―particularly the queen’s critical function of producing an heir―and evaluates them within that framework, before moving to consider their other contributions to the well-being of the court. This fresh comparative approach emphasizes spheres of influence rather than chronology, finding surprising juxtapositions between the various queens’ experiences as mothers, diplomats, participants in secular and religious rituals, domestic managers, and more. More than a series of biographies of individual queens, Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law is a careful, illuminating examination of the nature of Tudor queenship.’
13th July 2017 – Cecily Duchess of York by J L Laynesmith
‘This is the first scholarly biography of Cecily Neville, duchess of York, the mother of Edward IV and Richard III. She was said to have ruled Edward IV ‘as she pleased’ and Richard III made his bid for the throne from her home. Yet Cecily has been a shadowy figure in modern histories, noted primarily for her ostentatious piety, her expensive dresses, and the rumours of her adultery.
Here J. L. Laynesmith draws on a wealth of rarely considered sources to construct a fresh and revealing portrait of a remarkable woman. Cecily was the only major protagonist to live right through the Wars of the Roses. This book sheds new light on that bloody conflict in which Cecily proved herself an exceptional political survivor. Skilfully manipulating her family connections and contemporary ideas about womanhood, Cecily repeatedly reinvented herself to protect her own status and to ensure the security of those in her care.
From her childhood marriage to Richard duke of York until her final decade as grandmother of the first Tudor queen, the story of Cecily Neville’s life provides a rich insight into national and local politics, women’s power and relationships, motherhood, household dynamics and the role of religion in fifteenth-century England.’