Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The unavoidable conflict

Queen Anne's funeral soon followed, preceded by that of her only child. Richard and Elizabeth considered the option of giving the throne and Princess Elizabeth to Henry Tudor, and retiring to live quietly in the north. They both knew, though, that a Lancastrian Margaret doting on her only son would never give them any peace. There was no choice but to defeat Henry Tudor in battle.

The odds were stacked against Richard. He knew that he could not rely upon most of his chief commanders. Lord Stanley was the wife of Lady Margaret Beaufort and stepfather of Henry Tudor. His brother William was even more doubtful. The Earl of Northumberland was a Percy, and in their hearts all Percys were Lancastrians, "the bird in my bosom" as one of them poetically described it. Only the Duke of Norfolk could be depended upon. Richard attempted to mitigate the situation by holding Lord Stanley's son Lord Strange as security for his father's loyalty.

The time came for the man Elizabeth loved to depart for battle. When John Grey had departed all those years ago, she had been too naive to appreciate the danger. Whenever Edward had departed, her attachment to him was not so strong that she cared overmuch whether he returned or not, and ironically he always did return. This time, though, her heart really ached. Richard was about the same age as John when he died. It was as if she had the prospect of resuming her life where she had left off with John. Her future was about to be decided in the Leicestershire countryside just a few miles away from where she had spent the happiest days of her life.

Her daughter joined her as they watched the army depart. Soon one of them would be Queen of England, but which one?

Next Chapter

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