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From The White Queen
After she lost her first baby in the wild seas in the witches’ wind off Calais she had two more children, Margaret and Edward. Now they will have to manage without her. Margaret is a bright clever girl, but Edward is slow in understanding, perhaps even simple. God help both of them with George as their only parent.
Margaret leans against me and I put my arm around her and look at the two handsome boys. I know that these may be all the children I ever have. I am only twenty-six years old, I should be ready to bear half a dozen more children, but they never seem to come, and nobody, not the physicians, the midwives nor the priest, can tell me why not. In the absence of any others, these three are my children, and Margaret, who is as pretty and as passionate as her mother, is my darling and the only daughter I expect to raise.
From The Red Queen
Richard, from the castle at Nottingham, sends a commission to all the shires of England to remind them of their duty to him, and proclaiming the threat of Henry Tudor. He orders them to put aside all local disputes and be ready to muster in his cause.
He orders Elizabeth to leave me and to go to Sherrif Hutton with her sisters, to join the orphaned children of George, Duke of Clarence, in a safe place. He is putting all the York children in the safest place he can find, his castle in the north, while he fights for their inheritance, against my son.
From The White Princess
My Lady the King’s Mother comes towards us, leading Maggie by the hand. I can see that Maggie is not unhappy, she looks flattered and pleased by the attention, and I realise that this proposed marriage might give her a husband and a home and children of her own and free her from her constant vigil for her brother, and her endless anxious attendance on me. More than that, she might be lucky enough to be given a husband who loves her, she might have lands that she can watch grow and become fertile, she might have children who – though they can never have a claim to the throne – might be happy in England as children of England.
I step towards her, and look at My Lady. ‘You have a proposal for my dear cousin?’
‘Sir Richard Pole.’ She names the son of her half-sister, a man so reliable and steady in my husband’s cause that he might as well be his warhorse. ‘Sir Richard has asked me for permission to address Lady Margaret and I have said “yes”.’
‘I was a Plantagenet princess, King Edward’s niece, sister to Edward of Warwick, the heir to King Richard’s throne. If King Henry had lost the battle at Bosworth Field it would have been King Richard on the throne now, my brother as his heir and Prince of Wales, and I should be Princess Margaret, as I was born to be.’
'Instead you are Lady Margaret, wife to the warden of a little castle, not even his own, on the edge of England.'
From The King's Curse
Slowly, I become accustomed to being wealthy again, as I had to become accustomed to being poor. I order builders into my London home, and they start to transform L’Erber from the great palace that it is into an even more imposing house, paving the forecourt, carving beautiful wooden panels for the great hall. At Warblington I commission a castle, with a moat and a draw-bridge and a chapel and a green, everything just as my parents would have had, just like Middleham Castle in my childhood, when I had known I was born for greatness and never dreamed that it could all disappear overnight. I build the equal of any castle in the land, and I create beautiful guest rooms for when the king and court come to stay with me, their great subject in her own great castle.
Everywhere I put my coat of arms, and I have to confess every day to the sin of pride. But I don’t care. I want to declare to the world: ‘My brother was no traitor, my father no traitor either. This is an honourable name, this is a royal standard. I am the only countess in England holding a title in my own right. Here is my stamp upon my many houses. Here am I. Alive – no traitor. Here am I!’
My ambassador Dr Harst brings me the most shocking, the most pitiful news that I think I shall ever hear. As he told me I started to shake at the very words. How could the king do such a thing? How could any man do such a thing? The king has executed Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury. The king has ordered the death of an innocent, nearly seventy-year-old woman, for no reason in the world. Or at the very least, if he has a reason it is the one that governs so many of his actions: nothing but his own insane spite.
Everyone said that the Tudors were cursed for killing the York princes in the Tower. How should a prince-killer be blessed? But if the king thought this, how could he dare to plan a future, he who killed the Plantagenet heirs: Lady Margaret Pole, and her innocent son and grandson?
Image: Unknown woman, formerly known as Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury by Unknown artist, oil on panel, c.1535. National Portrait Gallery (NPG 2607)