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Cecily of York


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Note: The above picture is from Welle, Lincolnshire. Although the park itself dates to after my period, Welle, Lincolnshire is where my second husband, John Viscount Welles, was born.

I have a new theme song (thank you Name That Tune Contest from March 2018!):

When Will I Be Loved - Linda Ronstadt

I've been cheated, been mistreated
When will I be loved
I've been put down, I've been pushed 'round
When will I be loved
When I find a new man that I want for mine
Always breaks my heart in two, it happens every time
I've been made blue, I've been lied to
When will I be loved
When I find a new man that I want for mine
Always breaks my heart in two, it happens every time
I've been cheated, been mistreated
When will I be loved
When will I be loved
Tell me when will I be loved
(Songwriters: Phil Everly)

For the Panhistoria Parade 2017's Sail Past:

Cecily of York in the 18th century

Please visit my coffeeshop in York, Virginia, White Rose of York Coffeeshop

Cecily of York in the 15th and 16th century

My name is Cecily of York and there is no one to tell my tale. Though I am the daughter and sister of kings and queens, no one knows my story.

My grandparents:

Richard, 3rd Duke of York

My namesake, Cecily Neville, Countess of York

“"

If someone were to dare to tell a tale about Cecily of York, it would not be about me. It would be about Cecily, the Duchess of York, the mother of King Edward Iv of England. Cecily, the Duchess of York had many names. Some called her the Rose of Raby. the wife of Richard, the 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. Cecily Neville was my grandmother and my namesake. Someone might write about her one day. She gave birth to two kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Even though she lived during the civil war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, she survived them all. But what good did that do her? She lived to see one of her sons, George, executed. Her son, Edward IV of England, died young. And her youngest son, Richard III, died on the battlefield. Her grandsons, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York were killed in the Tower of London. Cecily, Duchess of York, mother of kings, retired to a nunnery and ended her life in seclusion.

My parents:

Edward IV of England

“”

Elizabeth Woodville

“”

One of my uncles:

Anthony Woodville

“"

My mother, Queen Elizabeth, wife of King Edward IV of England, ended up no better. She started life as Elizabeth Woodville. She married Sir John Grey but he died on the battlefield. Then she married King Edward IV of England and became queen of the realm. But what did she gain? Her brothers were executed. Anthony Woodville, her most famous brother, and Richard Grey, one of her sons by her first marriage, were executed because they tried to protect Edward V from those who would harm him. Then her sons, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, were killed in the Tower of London. Edward V was only a year younger than I. Others sons and daughters died young. Her eldest daughter married the victor of Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor, and was treated like spoils of war. Had Edward V lived, my mother would have been accorded honor as the queen mother. But instead, her role was usurped by Margaret, Countess of Richmond, the mother of Henry Tudor. Elizabeth, the queen of Edward IV, was sent to Bermondsey Abbey to live out her life in seclusion. There is no one who will tell my mother's story, or at least, no one who will tell it honestly.

My sisters and I:

Princesses Elizabeth, Cecily, Anne, Katherine, and Mary

So you will understand why I do not seek power or reknown. I seek only to protect my family from harm and to live comfortably with them. Power does not protect family. If you are powerful, others will seek to depose you and execute your family. But if I sometimes long for the comforts of my youth, when I was a princess, surely you will understand why. When I was a princess, nothing was denied me. I was going to marry a prince of Scotland and become queen of Scotland one day. I was not born the eldest daughter. Elizabeth and Mary were older than I. But Mary died all too soon. Then I was the second eldest surviving daughter. Many said I was the prettiest. When suitors sought the hand of my sister, Elizabeth, they also considered asking for my hand. Oh what wonderful, glorious days we had when we were princesses and our father the king was still alive! But those days are long gone.

Even after we had been declared bastards and had left the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey for the court of our uncle, Richard III, some young men looked our way. But then, after March 1485, Richard III married me off to Ralph Scrope of Upsall in Yorkshire. He was a younger brother of Thomas Scrope, 6th Baron Scrope of Masham. Scrope was a supporter of Richard III. I was 16.

But then Richard III was killed on August 22, 1485 at Bosworth Field. Henry Tudor became the king. He married my sister, Elyzabeth, but not until January 1486. He didn't crown her as queen until November 1487.

Meanwhile, I was rescued from my marriage to Ralph Scrope and sent to live with Margaret, the Countess of Richmond in September 1485. Even though she had usurped my mother's rightful role, the Countess of Richmond was not unkind to me.

In late 1487 I was married to John Viscount Welles of Lincolnshire. Viscount Welles was the son of Lionel, 6th Baron Welles (killed at Towton in 1461), and Margaret, Baroness Beauchamp of Bletso. Margaret Beauchamp was the mother of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, so Viscount Welles was the half-brother of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. In July 1489, Viscount Welles was made a Knight of the Garter (as a former princess I was already a Lady of the Garter). I had a daughter, Elizabeth Welles or Elizabeth de Welles, in June 1492. She was named after my mother, Queen Elizabeth (Woodville), who died earlier in June 1492. My second daughter, Anne, was born in 1494. But alas, my time with my family was brief. My children and my husband died between 1498 and 1499.

I returned to my sister's court as a widow. My sister, the queen, was kind to me as was Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. In time, my heart turned towards thoughts of choosing my own spouse. Sir Thomas Kyme, a squire in Lincolnshire, had always been kind to me. I grew to love him and wanted to marry him. But would the king allow it? I married Sir Thomas Kyme, hoping his humble birth would keep the king from becoming upset over our marriage. But the king was enraged and took all my lands and titles. Margaret, Countess of Richmond, spoke up for us and let us stay at her country house while she worked to restore my lands. In time, my lands were restored during my lifetime. So I lived with some income but I lived in exile from the court. So I died in obscurity.

Facts in Brief

Born: March 20, 1469 as Princess Cecily of York or Cecily Plantagenet

Parents: King Edward IV of England (died April 1483) and Queen Elizabeth, nee Woodville (died June 1492)

Sister of Elizabeth of York (wife of Henry VII), Edward V and Richard, Duke of York (the Princes in the Tower) Half-sister of Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset (Elizabeth Woodville's eldest son), who was the head of the family Half-sister-in-law to Margaret Beaufort (through marriage to Viscount Welles) Sister-in-law of Henry VII Aunt of Prince Arthur, Princess Margaret (later queen of Scotland), Prince Henry (King Henry VIII), Princess Mary

1st husband: Ralph Scrope of Upsall in Yorkshire, a younger brother of Thomas Scrope, 6th Baron Scrope of Masham. He was a supporter of Richard III. Some say this marriage never took place and it was only a rumour that she was married to him. Possible dates, after March 1485 to August 1485

2nd husband: John Viscount Welles of Lincolnshire, a half-brother of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. He was 20 years Cecily's senior. They were married in November or December 1487 or perhaps later. They may have had a daughter, Elizabeth, who may have been born in June 1492. A daughter, Anne, was born in 1494. Viscount Welles died in February 1498 (or 1499). Elizabeth died in 1498 (in January?) at age c 5. Her daughter, Anne, died in 1499, age c 5.

3rd husband: Sir Thomas Kyme, squire, from Lincolnshire. They married between c May 1502 and January 1504. They may or may not have had children. If they did, they were named Richard and Margaret or Margery. They were born between 1502 and 1507. (For story purposes, Cecily married Sir Thomas Kyme in May 1503. Richard was born in 1504 and Margery in 1506).

Died: August 24, 1507 (age 38)

Note: In the alternate history storyline, Cecily will not die in 1507. So she can have more children. Perhaps a son, Edward (to go with Richard), in 1507 and another son, Arthur, in 1509, after Prince Arthur is crowned king of England.

My Full Story

I was born March 20, 1469. When I was born, I was called Cecily of York or Cecily Plantagenet. I was named after Cecily Neville, the wife of Richard, Duke of York and the mother of King Edward IV of England. My parents were King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth (Wydeville). My older sisters were Elyzabeth and Mary of York.

The year, 1469, was a time of great uncertainty. I was only months old when my grandfather, Sir Richard Wydeville, Earl Rivers, and my uncle, Sir John Wydeville, were executed. I was only a year old when my mother, Queen Elizabeth (Wydeville) fled to Westminster Abbey in 1470 with the 4 year old Elyzabeth and the 3 year old Mary. My brother, the boy who should have ruled as King Edward V, was born at Westminster in November 1470. In time, my lord father the king returned from exile in Holland and we left our sanctuary at Westminster. My brother Richard, Duke of York, was born in 1473.

In 1474 I entered the marriage market. I was 5. I was betrothed to James, the son of King James III of Scotland. I was now styled the Princess of Scots. My sister Elyzabeth was betrothed to the Dauphin of France.

In 1477, my mother the queen and my older sister, Elyzabeth of York, were both made Lady of the Garter. I was 8 and a bit resentful of my older sister. Everyone said I was the prettiest of my sisters so why did Elyzabeth become Lady of the Garter and not me?

In 1478, I attended the marriage of my brother Richard, Duke of York, to Anne Mowbray, the heir of the Duke of Norfolk. My brothers and sisters included Elyzabeth, Mary, Edward, Richard, Anne, and George. George died the following year. My sister Katherine was born the year George died.

My turn to be made a Lady of the Garter came in 1480. My older sister, Mary, and I both became a Lady of the Garter in 1480. I was 11 and quite happy. Bridget, my youngest sister, was born in 1480. Little Anne (Mowbray), wife of my brother Richard, died in 1481.

I thought 1482 was a trying year. Mary, my older sister, died in May. In June I stopped being the Princess of the Scots and became the Duchess of Albany. The betrothal with the future James IV of Scotland was broken and I was betrothed to Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, the exiled younger brother of James III. The Duke of Albany hoped to become the king of Scotland. I had not met either man but I did like the idea of being the Queen of Scotland one day.

I had thought 1482 was the worst year a girl could have because my sister Mary died that year. But 1483 was worse. On April 9, 1483, my father, King Edward IV of England, died. He was not quite 42. His heir, my brother Edward, became Edward V. But he was only 13. My maternal uncle, Anthony, Earl Rivers, and my half-brother, Richard Grey, were his sworn protectors but they were overtaken by the forces of my paternal uncle, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester.

We fled to Westminster Abbey in April 1483. I was 14 when I stopped being a princess. Of course I did not know that I had stopped being a princess. I still hoped that my brother, Edward V, and Richard, Duke of York, would be found alive and would restore our fortunes. But they never did. Edward V's coronation had been set for June 22 but on June 26 it was Richard, Duke of Gloucester who became the king and was known as Richard III. And on June 25th Anthony, Earl Rivers, and Sir Richard Grey were executed. In August, Louis XI of France died and his son, Charles VIII, became king. He was 13, the same age as my brother the king, Edward V. But there was no division in France and Charles VIII was allowed to grow up to be a king whereas my brother was not. In October, the Duke of Buckingham rebelled against Richard III. The Duke was executed and my aunt Katherine, the widowed Duchess of Buckingham joined us in sanctuary. My only surviving half-brother, Thomas Grey, fled to Brittany.

When things could get no worse, my sisters and I were declared bastards in January 1484. My mother the queen (Elizabeth Wydeville) told us that this was just a whim of politics and that we were not the first to be declared bastards. During the recent civil war (the War of the Roses), many had been declared bastards. Some had even dared to suggest that our father the king, Edward IV, had been a bastard and that our grandmother Cecily (Neville) had been unfaithful to her husband. But it was not the news an almost 15-year old who suddenly had no marriage prospects wanted to hear.

We came out of sanctuary in March 1484. Richard III promised not to harm us. My mother the queen (Elizabeth Wydeville) and Richard III reached some kind of understanding about the fate of my sweet brothers, Edward and Richard. My sisters and I, who had been born princesses of the realm, were to have humble marriages. I was married off to Ralph Scrope of Upsall (Yorkshire), a younger brother of Thomas Scrope, 6th Baron Scrope of Masham. Scrope was a supporter of Richard III. I was given a 200 pound dowry in the form of land by Richard III. By now it was 1485 and I was 16. Richard III had to marry Elyzabeth and I off because there were rumors he was considering marriage to one of us after the death of his queen, Anne (Neville), in March 1485. My former fiance, Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, was killed in August 1485.

But the wheel of fate did not change until August 22, 1485, when Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field. We thought we had been saved at last. Henry Tudor had sworn to make my sister, Elyzabeth, his queen. She was the daughter of a king and she could give him the legitimacy he lacked. But he insisted that his own feeble parentage was enough to make him king of England. He married my sister Elyzabeth and made her his queen but his own mother, Margaret, Countess of Richmond (Margaret Beaufort) had precedence in everything. I was rescued from my loveless marriage and the marriage was annulled but only so that I could be married to an elderly supporter of Henry Tudor.

And so I, who had once been the Princess of the Scots and the Duchess of Albany, was now happy to become Viscountess Welles. At least it was better than being the sister-in-law of a baron. But while the title was better and the Welles estate was grander, the new husband was much older. There were 20 years between my husband and I. But Margaret, the Countess of Richmond (Margaret Beaufort) was kind to me, far kinder than she was to my sister the queen (Elyzabeth of York). I would later learn how important it was to have a well-placed protector who could speak to the king on my behalf.

Life in Lincolnshire with John Viscount Welles was difficult at first. I missed my natal family horribly. But in time I learned to adjust. Viscount Welles was made a Knight of the Garter on July 19, 1489. He was very pleased to be made a Knight of the Garter because it had bothered him that I was already a Lady of the Garter. Even his half-sister, Margaret, Countess of Richmond, was made a Lady of the Garter in 1488.

Then came the terrible year of 1492. That was the year my mother, Elizabeth (Woodville), died. Her eldest son, my half-brother, Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, had just been pardoned for his part in the Lambert Simnel uprising just a few days before my mother's death. He was pardoned on June 4th and my mother, the Queen Dowager, passed away on June 7. I was pregnant and could not attend the funeral. My husband went in my stead. I gave birth to my first daughter, whom I named Elizabeth, later that month. In 1494 I gave birth to my second daughter, Anne Welles.

1495 was not a good year either. On May 31, 1495, my paternal grandmother, the Dowager Duchess Cecily, died. In June, my niece, Margaret Tudor, daughter of Queen Elyzabeth (of York) and Henry VII, was betrothed to James IV of Scotland. I had been betrothed to the same man over 10 years previously. I looked at my husband, Viscount Welles, and tried not to be bitter.

In November 1485, James IV welcomed the man who was later called Perkin Warbeck into his court. Perkin Warbeck claimed he was my younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, come to life. Would that he could have been! But alas, Perkin Warbeck had earlier claimed to be the Earl of Warwick, who was still alive. But the marriage between my niece, Princess Margaret, and James IV of Scotland was now off.

More dark years came in 1498 and 1499. My darling daughter, Elizabeth Welles, died in 1498. My husband died of pleurisy in February 1498, and my daughter, Anne Welles, died in 1499. I stayed with my sister, the queen, during my widowhood.

A marriage agreement was signed between my niece, Princess Margaret, and James IV of Scotland in 1502. But worse was to come. My beloved sister, the queen, died in childbirth in February 1503. Her child, little Princess Katherine, died before her. My motherless niece, Princess Margaret, went to Scotland in August to marry James IV of Scotland. I no longer envied my motherless niece.

But the wheel of fate slowly turns. When I was in Lincolnshire with my second husband, Viscount Welles, I met a young squire by the name of Sir Thomas Kyme. He was always kind to me and I grew to love him. I wished to marry him but I was afraid that the king would not let me remarry. The king always treated my family as if we were prisoners who he let run free as long as we remembered our lowly estate. I did not know if the king would be happy to have me marry someone as low born as a squire or if he would say I could never remarry for fear that I would have a son who would threaten his throne. In the end I let my fears rule and I married without the king's permission. We married by May 1503. The king was furious. He threw me out of court and stripped me of my titles and land. His mother, Margaret, Countess of Richmond, spoke on my behalf and even let us stay at her country house in Collyweston near Stamford in Northamptonshire for a year while she worked to sort things out. Eventually my life interest in the Welles estate was returned to me but the interest was only good during my lifetime. I would have nothing to pass on to my heirs. Eventually we lived in humble means in East Standen on the Isle of Wight. I had a son, Richard, and a daughter, Margery. I named my daughter after Margaret, the Countess of Richmond, who had been so kind to me in my time of need. My son, Richard, recalls my beloved brother, Richard, Duke of York. Perkin Warbeck could not bring my brother, Richard, back to life so I gave his name to my son, Richard Kyme. I remained in contact with Perkin Warbeck's widow, Lady Katherine Gordon, the former lady-in-waiting of my sister the queen.

But all things come to an end and I died August 24, 1507. I was 38. Margaret Beaufort, the Countess of Richmond, paid for my funeral.

Note: Some dates are not known for certainty and I have chosen a date from among the possible dates.

My Novels:

Zone : History
Early American Narratives
The Lion's Den

My Reference Books:

The Symposia
Wanderlust
Tudor Rose
Booknotes

My Blog:

My Salons:

Paniverse Plottings

My Friends:

Elysabeth of York
Mary Euterpe Hawthorne

My Favorite Reads:

My Pandas:

Panda
The "It Could Have Been Me" Award
Sep 21, 2013 11:07 pm
Panda
The You've-Got-Mail! Award for Best Inbox
Aug 02, 2013 07:58 pm
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The Prisoner in the War Award for Good Plot Twist
Jul 05, 2013 04:46 pm


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