The Kingmaker's Daughter
By the same author
The Cousins’ War
The Lady of the Rivers
The White Queen
The Red Queen
The Women of the Cousins’ War:
The Duchess, the Queen and the King’s Mother
The Tudor Court Novels
The Constant Princess
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Boleyn Inheritance
The Queen’s Fool
The Virgin’s Lover
The Other Queen
The Wise Woman
A Respectable Trade
The Wideacre Trilogy
The Favoured Child
Civil War Novels
Mrs Hartley and the Growth Centre
The Little House
Bread and Chocolate
First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2012
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © Philippa Gregory, 2012
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
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The right of Philippa Gregory to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
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Hardback ISBN 978-0-85720-746-3
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THE TOWER OF LONDON, MAY 1465
L’ERBER, LONDON, JULY 1465
BARNARD CASTLE, COUNTY DURHAM, AUTUMN 1465
WARWICK CASTLE, SPRING 1468
CALAIS CASTLE, 11 JULY 1469
CALAIS CASTLE, 12 JULY 1469
CALAIS CASTLE, SUMMER 1469
ENGLAND, AUTUMN 1469
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, CHRISTMAS 1469–70
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, JANUARY 1470
WARWICK CASTLE, MARCH 1470
DARTMOUTH, DEVON, APRIL 1470
THE RIVER SEINE, FRANCE, MAY 1470
ANGERS, FRANCE, JULY 1470
ANGERS CATHEDRAL, 25 JULY 1470
AMBOISE, FRANCE, WINTER 1470
PARIS, CHRISTMAS 1470
HARFLEUR, FRANCE, MARCH 1471
HARFLEUR, FRANCE, 12 APRIL 1471
CERNE ABBEY, WEYMOUTH, 15 APRIL 1471
TEWKESBURY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, 4 MAY 1471
WORCESTER, MAY 1471
THE TOWER OF LONDON, 21 MAY 1471
L’ERBER, LONDON, AUTUMN 1471
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, CHRISTMAS 1471
L’ERBER, LONDON, FEBRUARY 1472
ST MARTIN’S, LONDON, FEBRUARY 1472
ST MARTIN’S, LONDON, APRIL 1472
ST MARTIN’S, LONDON, MAY 1472
LAMBETH PALACE, LONDON, SUMMER 1472
WINDSOR CASTLE, SEPTEMBER 1472
FOTHERINGHAY CASTLE, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, AUTUMN 1472
WINDSOR CASTLE, CHRISTMAS 1472
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, SPRING 1473
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, JUNE 1473
FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE, SOMERSET, 14 AUGUST 1473
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, SUMMER 1473
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, JULY 1474
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, SPRING 1475
LONDON, SUMMER 1475
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, SEPTEMBER 1475
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, SUMMER 1476
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, AUTUMN 1476
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, CHRISTMAS DAY 1476
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, JANUARY 1477
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, JANUARY 1477
LONDON, APRIL 1477
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, MAY 1477
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, SUMMER 1477
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, AUTUMN 1477
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, CHRISTMAS 1477
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, JANUARY 1478
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, FEBRUARY 1478
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, MARCH 1478
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, SUMMER 1482
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, WINTER 1482–3
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, APRIL 1483
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, MAY 1483
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, JUNE 1483
BAYNARD’S CASTLE, LONDON, JUNE 1483
THE TOWER OF LONDON, JULY 1483
A ROYAL PROGRESS, SUMMER 1483
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, OCTOBER 1483
MIDDLEHAM CASTLE, YORKSHIRE, WINTER 1483
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, NOVEMBER 1483
GREENWICH PALACE, LONDON, MARCH 1484
NOTTINGHAM CASTLE, MARCH 1484
NOTTINGHAM CASTLE, SUMMER 1484
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, WINTER 1484
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, JANUARY 1485
WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, MARCH 1485
THE TOWER OF LONDON, MAY 1465
My Lady Mother goes first, a great heiress in her own right, and the wife of the greatest subject in the kingdom. Isabel follows, because she is the oldest. Then me: I come last, I always come last. I can’t see much as we walk into the great throne room of the Tower of London, and my mother leads my sister to curtsey to the throne and steps aside. Isabel sinks down low, as we have been taught, for a king is a king even if he is a young man put on the throne by my father. His wife will be crowned queen, whatever we may think of her. Then as I step forwards to make my curtsey I get my first good view of the woman that we have come to court to honour.
She is breathtaking: the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. At once I understand why the king stopped his army at the first sight of her, and married her within weeks. She has a smile that grows slowly and then shines, like an angel’s smile. I have seen statues that would look stodgy beside her, I have seen painted Madonnas whose features would be coarse beside her pale luminous loveliness. I rise up from my curtsey to stare at her as if she were an exquisite icon; I cannot look away. Under my scrutiny her face warms, she blushes, she smiles at me, and I cannot help but beam in reply. She laughs at that, as if she finds my open adoration amusing, and then I see my mother’s furious glance and I scuttle to her side where my sister Isabel is scowling. ‘You were staring like an idiot,’ she hisses. ‘Embarrassing us all. What would Father say?’
The king steps forwards and kisses my mother warmly on both cheeks. ‘Have you heard from my dear friend, your lord?’ he asks her.
‘Working well in your service,’ she says promptly, for Father is missing tonight’s banquet and all the celebrations, as he is meeting with the King of France himself and the Duke of Burgundy, meeting with them as an equal, to make peace with these mighty men of Christendom now that the sleeping king has been defeated and we are the new rulers of England. My father is a
The king, the new king – our king – does a funny mock-bow to Isabel and pats my cheek. He has known us since we were little girls too small to come to such banquets and he was a boy in our father’s keeping. Meanwhile my mother looks about her as if we were at home in Calais Castle, seeking to find fault with something the servants have done. I know that she is longing to see anything that she can report later to my father as evidence that this most beautiful queen is unfit for her position. By the sour expression on her face I guess that she has found nothing.
Nobody likes this queen; I should not admire her. It shouldn’t matter to us that she smiles warmly at Isabel and me, that she rises from her great chair to come forwards and clasp my mother’s hands. We are all determined not to like her. My father had a good marriage planned for this king, a great match with a princess of France. My father worked at this, prepared the ground, drafted the marriage contract, persuaded people who hate the French that this would be a good thing for the country, would safeguard Calais, might even get Bordeaux back into our keeping, but then Edward, the new king, the heart-stoppingly handsome and glamorous new king, our darling Edward – like a younger brother to my father and a glorious uncle to us – said as simply as if he was ordering his dinner that he was married already and nothing could be done about it. Married already? Yes, and to Her.
He did very wrong to act without my father’s advice; everyone knows that. It is the first time he has done so in the long triumphant campaign that took the House of York from shame, when they had to beg the forgiveness of the sleeping king and the bad queen, to victory and the throne of England. My father has been at Edward’s side, advising and guiding him, dictating his every move. My father has always judged what is best for him. The king, even though he is king now, is a young man who owes my father everything. He would not have his throne if it were not for my father taking up his cause, teaching him how to lead an army, fighting his battles for him. My father risked his own life, first for Edward’s father, and then for Edward himself, and then, just when the sleeping king and the bad queen had run away, and Edward was crowned king, and everything should have been wonderful forever, he went off and secretly married Her.
She is to lead us into dinner, and the ladies arrange themselves carefully behind her; there is a set order and it is extremely important that you make sure to be in the right place. I am very nearly nine years old, quite old enough to understand this, and I have been taught the orders of precedence since I was a little girl in the schoolroom. Since She is to be crowned tomorrow, she goes first. From now on she will always be first in England. She will walk in front of my mother for the rest of her life, and that’s another thing that my mother doesn’t much like. Next should come the king’s mother but she is not here. She has declared her absolute enmity to the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville, and sworn that she will not witness the coronation of a commoner. Everyone knows of this rift in the royal family and the king’s sisters fall into line without the supervision of their mother. They look quite lost without the beautiful Duchess Cecily leading the way, and the king loses his confident smile for just a moment when he sees the space where his mother should be. I don’t know how he dares to go against the duchess. She is just as terrifying as my mother, she is my father’s aunt, and nobody disobeys either of them. All I can think is that the king must be very much in love with the new queen to defy his mother. He must really, really love her.
The queen’s mother is here though; no chance that she would miss such a moment of triumph. She steps into her place with her army of sons and daughters behind her, her handsome husband, Sir Richard Woodville, at her side. He is Baron Rivers, and everyone whispers the joke that the rivers are rising. Truly, there are an unbelievable number of them. Elizabeth is the oldest daughter and behind her mother come the seven sisters and five brothers. I stare at the handsome young man John Woodville, beside his new wife, looking like a boy escorting his grandmother. He has been bundled into marriage with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, my great-aunt Catherine Neville. This is an outrage; my father himself says so. My lady great-aunt Catherine is ancient, a priceless ruin, nearly seventy years old; few people have ever seen a living woman so old, and John Woodville is a young man of twenty. My mother says this is how it is going to be from now on: if you put the daughter of a woman little more than a witch on the throne of England you will see some dark doings. If you crown a gannet then she will gobble up everything.
I tear my eyes from the weary crinkled face of my great-aunt and concentrate on my own task. My job is to make sure that I stand beside Isabel, behind my mother and do not step on her train, absolutely do not step on her train. I am only eight, and I have to make sure that I do this right. Isabel, who is thirteen, sighs as she sees me look down and shuffle my feet so that my toes are under the rich brocade to make sure that there is no possibility of mistake. And then Jacquetta, the queen’s mother, the mother of a gannet, peeps backwards around her own children to see that I am in the right place, that there is no mistake. She looks around as if she cares for my comfort and when she sees me, behind my mother, beside Isabel, she gives me a smile as beautiful as her daughter’s, a smile just for me, and then turns back and takes the arm of her handsome husband and follows her daughter in this, the moment of her utter triumph.
When we have walked along the centre of the great hall through the hundreds of people who stand and cheer at the sight of the beautiful new queen-to-be and everyone is seated, I can look again at the adults at the high table. I am not the only one staring at the new queen. She attracts everyone’s attention. She has the most beautiful slanty eyes of grey and when she smiles she looks down as if she is laughing to herself about some delicious secret. Edward the king has placed her beside him, on his right hand, and when he whispers in her ear, she leans towards him as close as if they were about to kiss. It’s very shocking and wrong but when I look at the new queen’s mother I see that she is smiling at her daughter, as if she is happy that they are young and in love. She doesn’t seem to be ashamed of it at all.
They are a terribly handsome family. Nobody can deny that they are as beautiful as if they had the bluest blood in their veins. And so many of them! Six of the Rivers family and the two sons from the new queen’s first marriage are children, and they are seated at our table as if they were young people of royal blood and had a right to be with us, the daughters of a countess. I see Isabel look sourly at the four beautiful Rivers girls from the youngest, Katherine Woodville, who is only seven years old, to the oldest at our table, Martha, who is fifteen. These girls, four of them, will have to be given husbands, dowries, fortunes, and there are not so very many husbands, dowries, fortunes to be had in England these days – not after a war between the rival houses of Lancaster and York, which has gone on now for ten years and killed so many men. These girls will be compared with us; they will be our rivals. It feels as if the court is flooded with new clear profiles, skin as bright as a new-minted coin, laughing voices and exquisite manners. It’s as if we have been invaded by some beautiful tribe of young strangers, as if statues have come warmly to life and are dancing among us, like birds flown down from the sky to sing, or fish leapt from the sea. I look at my mother and see her flushed with irritation, as hot and cross as a baker’s wife. Beside her, the queen glows like a playful angel, her head always tipped towards her young husband, her lips slightly parted as if she would breathe him in like cool air.
The grand dinner is an exciting time for me, for we have the king’s brother George at one end of our table and his youngest brother Richard at the foot. The queen’s mother, Jacquetta, gives the whole table of young people a warm smile and I guess that she planned this, thinking it would be fun for us children to be together, and an honour to have George at the head of our table. Isabel is wriggling like a sheared sheep at having two royal dukes beside her at once. She doesn’t know which way to look, she is so anxious to impress. And ?
George at fifteen is as handsome as his older brother the king, fair-headed and tall. He says: ‘This must be the first time you have dined in the Tower, Anne, isn’t it?’ I am thrilled and appalled that he should take notice of me, and my face burns with a blush; but I say ‘yes’ clearly enough.
Richard, at the other end of the table, is a year younger than Isabel, and no taller than her, but now that his brother is King of England he seems much taller and far more handsome. He has always had the merriest smile and the kindest eyes but now, on his best behaviour at his sister-in-law’s coronation dinner, he is formal and quiet. Isabel, trying to make conversation with him, turns the talk to riding horses and asks him does he remember our little pony at Middleham Castle? She smiles and asks him wasn’t it funny when Pepper bolted with him and he fell off? Richard, who has always been as prickly in his pride as a gamecock, turns to Martha Woodville and says he doesn’t recall. Isabel is trying to make out that we are friends, the very best of friends; but really, he was one of Father’s half-dozen wards that we hunted with and ate with at dinner in the old days when we were in England and at peace. Isabel wants to persuade the Rivers girls that we are one happy family and they are unwanted intruders, but in truth, we were the Warwick girls in the care of our mother and the York boys rode out with Father.