The King's Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen
From The Back Cover:
SOME ARE DESTINED FOR GREATNESS, few more so than Elizabeth of York. Yet while she was the only English queen to have been a wife, daughter, sister, niece, and mother to English In this groundbreaking novel, award-winning author Sandra Worth brings us the first complete account of the people’s queen, “Elizabeth the Good.” kings, the legacy of her noble spirit and love of country far outweighs her impressive bloodline.
Fiercely devoted to her beloved father and King, seventeen-year-old Elizabeth of York trusts that his dying wish has left England in the hands of a just and deserving ruler. With a young successor not ready to reign, the power is passed to Elizabeth’s uncle, Richard of Gloucester—a man her mother has never trusted. It isn’t long before Elizabeth fears that her own faith was misplaced. Upon Richard’s rise, her family experiences one devastation after another: her late father is exposed as a bigamist, she and her siblings are branded bastards, and her brothers are taken into the new king’s custody, then reportedly killed. How could her father have believed in a man capable of such treachery?
But one fateful night shakes Elizabeth to the core and leads her to question all of her prejudices. Through the eyes of Richard’s ailing queen she sees a man worthy of respect and undying adoration. His dedication to his people inspires a forbidden love and ultimately gives her the courage to accept her destiny, marry Henry Tudor and become Queen. While her soul may always secretly belong to another, her heart forever belongs to England . . .
Daughter of the King, 1470
Hoodman's Bluff was so much fun with my father! I hid behind a pillar and peeked out. He was heading toward me, fumbling like a blind man. "Elizabeth, Elizabeth!" he called. "Where are you? I can't see you." I laughed. Of course, he couldn't see me! He was blindfolded with the black silk scarf I had tied tightly around his eyes. I ran through the chamber, shrieking with delight as I evaded his outstretched hands.
As he headed in my direction, I abandoned the pillar and fled around the big table in the center of the room, across to the window seat. I waited there and tried to be silent, but I burst into a fit of giggling when he bumped into a wall and knocked over a candelabra. There was no one else I'd rather play with, not even my sisters Mary and Cecily, who were younger than I, for they cried too much. But my father was always laughing. He was nearly as big as the dragon he had told me about in one of his tales, yet he was beautiful, not scary. He looked nothing like a dragon with his blond hair tumbling around his blindfold. Though I couldn't see the twinkling blue light in his eyes behind his scarf, his love enfolded me as warmly as my favorite blanket as he chased me about the room.
Papa was close now, as if he knew I stood on the window seat. I looked around the room to see where I should go next. In the corner, behind the coat of armor! I scrambled down from the window seat and ran there, shrieking. Smiling servants stepped aside to make way for me. The nobles who had been gathering for the past hour gave me smiles, too.
My father turned around as if he could see from the back of his head, and made for my direction again. I squealed with fear and ran toward the silver cabinet against the opposite wall. I crouched beside the chest, not making a sound, not even daring to breathe. The man-at-arms by the door turned to give me an encouraging look.
More nobles entered the hall. This was a bad sign. My father would soon have to stop our game and meet with them around a table behind closed doors. But for now they dropped their gloomy looks to give me kindly smiles as I ran past them into my father's privy chamber. In spite of his blindfold, my father seemed to know exactly where I was, for he moved to follow. He nearly caught me several times as I fled, but I ducked, and he grabbed the arm of a chair instead and bumped the corner of a table. I was glad to be alone with him. Away from his lords, Papa might forget about them and we could play a while longer.
There was nothing in the bedchamber but a four-poster bed, a tall chest, and some large chairs and cushions by the hearth. Papa would never catch me on the bed, for it was huge and I could easily elude him there. I caught at one of the bedposts and hopped up.
My mother's sharp voice stopped me in my tracks. I ceased my giggling and stood very still on the bed, trying to keep my balance on the soft feather mattress that was covered with a shiny silk bedspread of golden suns and white roses, my father's emblem. I didn't smile anymore, and neither did my father. He took off his blindfold and looked at my mother. She stood in the doorway, her face stern, her gold hair like a halo under her cone-shaped velvet headdress and gauzy veil. But then, unlike my father, my mother seldom smiled. When she entered the chamber, I knew she was angry about something.
"Edward, sometimes I do wonder about you! Playing Hoodman's Bluff with Elizabeth as if you had no care in the world. When your council awaits to discuss urgent matters with you."
"My dear Bess, what cares do I have? What urgent matters await?" Papa laughed. "Is there not peace in my kingdom? Do my nobles not love me, every last one?" He went to my mother and bent down to kiss her cheek, for though she was tall, he was taller than any man I had ever seen.
"Edward, you do try my patience, you know," she sighed.
He knelt at her feet and took her hand as if he were Sir Lancelot before Queen Guinevere. "Dear love, tell me how I can get you to smile?"
Her lips curled up a little. "There is a way, Edward."
"I knew there would be, Bess," he said, rising to his feet. "There always is."
The joy had gone out of him, and he was different. I couldn't tell why, but I knew something was wrong.
"Leave us, Elizabeth," said my mother.
I jumped down from the bed. My mother and father watched me leave the room. I shut the chamber door. The happiness had gone out of me, too.
Outside, the nobles around the table watched me, and they no longer smiled either.
* * *
My father came to me later that night. I was in my shift and Nurse was brushing my hair and getting me ready for bed. "Papa!" I cried, running to him in my happiness. He swept me up in his strong arms. I always felt safe there. He gave me a kiss. His breath smelled of wine. Then he looked over at Nurse and threw her a nod of dismissal. She curtsied and shut the door quietly as she left.
"My sweetheart, we had fun today, didn't we?"
I nodded happily. "Wagons and wagons of fun, Papa!" I gave him a tight embrace and kissed him on the cheek.
"Sometimes we amuse ourselves, and sometimes we must tend to weighty matters."
He sat down with me in a chair by my bed. I snuggled in his lap, my arm around his neck. I waited for him to speak again, for he had fallen silent.
"Your mother wished me not to inform you," he said at last. "But I have decided you should know."
"Know what, Papa?"
"I have betrothed you to George Neville, nephew to the Earl of Warwick."
"Warwick the Kingmaker?"
"Warwick," my father corrected. "'Tis a mistake to call him Kingmaker. I owe my crown to no man."
Papa must have known how bad I felt, for he kissed my brow, and said in a different voice, "George is a nice boy about your age. I feel sure you will like him, and if you don't, you will forgive me, Elizabeth? I had to do it."
"'Tis hard to explain, but let me try. The Earl of Warwick has a brother who is a great general. He is loyal to me, though Warwick leads the rebellion against me."
"His brother, the Earl of N-North-amber-land?" I got a bit tongue-tied on the long word, and Papa laughed.
"Northumberland. You are bright for your age, Elizabeth. Your mother said you wouldn't understand, but you do understand, don't you?"
I nodded vigorously. My mother didn't like me because I was a girl, not a boy, and thought me stupid. I wasn't stupid. I just didn't say much because I liked to listen. I reached out and drew my favorite blanket to me from the bed. It was wine and blue velvet, and stroking it between my fingers always helped soothe me.
"Warwick has broken faith with me," my father said and fell silent again.
Because of Mama, I thought. But I didn't say it.
My father spoke. "And his brother, Northumberland, leads my forces. He will have to fight for me against his own kin. I cannot trust him to do that, so I have taken his earldom away from him. In return I have betrothed his son to you, so he can feel he received something precious in return for the loss of his power."
I drew my blanket closer to me as I considered this. I am ashamed to admit I still cuddle my blanket when I sleep, for a maiden of nearly five years should have no need of it. But one thing I surely know. Though I shall give up my blanket one day, I shall have need of my father always. Happiness is being in his presence; happiness is sitting on his knee for a story and balancing on his shoulders as he carries me around the castle halls. Even when I think I'm going to slip off, I'm not frightened, for I know he would not let me fall.
How could I ever live without him?
"Will I have to leave you, Papa?" I held my breath as I waited for his answer.
"Not for a long time, my sweet."
The warmth returned to me. "That's good. I don't want to leave you, Papa. I want us to be together forever, and ever."
My father laughed. Then he gazed at me solemnly. "I love you, my beautiful Elizabeth. May God in His mercy grant thee happiness all the years of thy life, my sweet little girl."
It was a blessing, but the way he said it made me feel very sad.
"If you are looking for excellent historical fiction novels on The War of the Roses, then check out Sandra Worth."
“She turns what might be an ordinary fictionalized biography into a banquet of simply luscious and delicious history."
—The Romantic Times. A TOP PICK!