Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Love sickness

Elizabeth filled Richard's thoughts. Whenever she came into the same room, it felt like a huge physical effort to stop his legs walking over to her. He felt as if he would burst when courtiers pointed out to him how well she looked. His feelings were so strong that he found it hard to understand why they were not obvious to everyone else, but he knew that he must maintain self control, both out of respect for Anne and to ensure that Lady Margaret Beaufort had no idea that Elizabeth was allied to him. A distraction was called for, to divert suspicion.

For the forthcoming Christmas festivities, Richard made a gift of a new dress to Princess Elizabeth of York. It was to be in the same style as Queen Anne's dresses. Richard commissioned its procurement to Lady Matilda Rose, by now the oldest Maid of Honour in the history of England. This had the desired effect of setting tongues wagging in the court about Richard's designs upon his niece.

Elizabeth read Richard's move perfectly. She encouraged her daughter to write to her uncle, thanking him for his gift with exaggerated terms of endearment. She gave the letter to Lady Matilda Rose, stressing that it was so confidential that it could not be entrusted to any lesser person. Matilda delivered the letter faithfully, but not without first peeking at its contents. As a result, talk of Richard marrying the Princess spread like wildfire.

Richard had the satisfaction of being forced to make another solemn public pledge, this time that he had no intention of marrying Princess Elizabeth of York.

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