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Saturday, October 3, 2015

For King Richard's Birthday

Born October 2, 1452, Richard was the fourth and last son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and his wife Cecily Neville, during the last convulsions of The Wars of Roses. As  Duke of Gloucester, he was his elder brother's right hand man both before and after Edward became Edward IV. Richard was also the last Yorkist King and the last Plantagenet King of England. From the Battle of Bosworth field in 1485 until today, England would be ruled by foreign families: Welsh (Tudors), Scots (Stuarts) and German (Saxe-Coburg).
Shakespeare famously created the image of a deep-dyed villain in his play, Richard III. However, scholars and historians from the 17th Century onwards have posed their doubts about the truth of  "history as written by the victors" in what was essentially a long, ugly turf war for possession of Britain.
One thing even Richard's enemies never denied was his bravery. Here, in an excerpt from The Song of the Lady Bessiye, probably written by man who'd heard an account from an actual veteran of Bosworth, Richard is portrayed as unwilling to flee the field, even though his cause is lost.
....“Heere is thy horse at thy hand readye;
another day thou may thy worshipp win,
& for to raigne with royaltye,
to weare the crowne, and be our King.” —
he said, “give me my battell axe to my hand,
set the crowne of England on my head so hye!
for by Him that shaped both sea and Land,
King of England this day I will dye!
“one foote will I neuer flee
whilest the breath is my brest within!”
as he said, so did it bee;
if hee lost his life, he were the King...."
It all happened 500 years ago, but this long ago, mysterious~perhaps murderous~Richard still has a host of loyal followers. The Richard III Society (English and American) is broadly dedicated to the scholarly study of Later Medieval Britain, and, in particular, to those last tumultuous fifty years of the Wars of Roses .

Recently, this once obscure corner of English history has received much attention in a flood of historical novels, often from the POV of the royal protagonists. My own Roan Rose, written after a lifetime of imagining Richard and his cousin-wife, Anne Neville, is told from the view of a "body" servant, one who shares the sometimes terrifying ups and downs of her lady's experience. Rose, a farmer's child, picked up by a countess in much the same way we'd pick up a barnyard puppy, sees far more than her "betters" imagine. She's an intimate witness to--and sometimes a secret participant in--the personal lives and loves of those she serves. 

  5 Star Reviews at Amazon:

..."With an interesting twist at the end, Rose's story is sure to delight."
..."If you are a fan of all things Richard III, as I am, don't pass this one up."
"...I loved the strength of this woman..."

"...Powerful Sense of Time and Place"

"A 'Downstairs' view of the Houses of Neville and York, narrated by a devoted servant, Rose, whose life is irrevocably entangled with the lethal schemes of her '"betters'."

"...Waldron certainly knows her history...Yet despite its accuracy ... Roan Rose is ultimately a book about character..."

ROAN ROSE is available at:



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http://mizging.blogspot.com (Ginger Simpson)