Tag Archives: Lady Cecylee Neville 1415-1495

Lady Cecylee would like to thank all and sundry…

for the many good wishes she has received on the occasion of her 600th birthday.

Lady Cecylee says:

It is hard to believe that it is 600 years since my Lady Mother, Lady Joan de Beaufort, brought me into this world. How different the world was then, folk did not have much, they could not read, yet they knew how to celebrate, and perhaps, most importantly, they had faith.

To mark the occasion, Lady C. has selected a some pictures that convey how people in times past celebrated. maypoledancing2pressing-wine-tapestrygarden_feast


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My Fifteenth Half Great-Aunt

Recently, I learned that I am related to CastleRabyCecyleeSigLady Cecylee, the heroine of my THWARTED QUEEN series. I thought I would let Her Ladyship tell you all about this discovery, in her own inimitable way:

Today I learned the most wondrous news. Did you know that my scribe and I are related to each other? Tis passing strange.

It came about because I encouraged her to learn more about her family. I mean how can you appear before folk if you know not who you are? In my day, we spent many an hour discussing the windings and twisting of our various family trees. So she began by looking back into the past, at her ancestors in the Land of Henry, which is today called America.

Did you know that they lived there for nearly three centuries, since making landfall in a leaking ship called The Mayflower? How they managed to get across that dark and wide ocean is beyond comprehension.

Then my scribe looked beyond, into the ancestors of her Mayflower ancestor (called Mary Mayflower Allerton) and discovered that her grandfather was a Sir Edward Norris. Immediately, my ears perked up for the gentleman was a knight. I must say I am not acquainted with that family. Still, twas a promising start.

I encouraged her to go back further. Would you believe it but Sir Edward’s grandfather was a gentleman named Sir Henry Norris, a friend of a queen of England. I have never heard of this queen before, but my scribe says she is most famous. Her name was Anne Boleyn. She sounds rather like that common strumpet who played upon my son’s male weakness and inserted herself on the throne of England. I always refer to her as “The Serpent”, but I am told that people nowadays refer to her as Elizabeth Woodville. It seems that my great-grandson, Henry the Eighth of that name, was displeased with his wife and her friends and had them executed on Tower Hill.

7b1a174b4cc97f16c95d7658a57ef4eb-bpfullI shall pass no judgement on his actions, as I was then cold in my grave and had been for the past forty-one years. Wishing to turn the conversation away from unfortunate channels, I urged my scribe to find out more. “Find out who his mother, grandmother and great-grandmothers were,” I remarked. “I have a notion that the ladies of that family were well-connected.”

Lo and behold, I was right. Sir Henry’s great-great-grandmother was Elizabeth Holland, a lady I had known well. For her grandfather was none other than my grandfather, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

So what does that make my scribe in relation to me? Well, Elizabeth Holland’s mother was Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet, who was the half-sister of my mother, Lady Joan de Beaufort. That means that I am my scribe’s 15th half great-aunt. Truly I marvel at such tidings!

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I have been aware for some time that some members of my audience have been a bit confused about THWARTED QUEEN. They’ve had a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that THWARTED QUEEN was the ENTIRE saga of the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles whose family feud started the Wars of the Roses. The reason why I decided to have both the entire saga AND the four parts that make up that saga (THE BRIDE PRICE, ONE SEED SOWN, THE GILDED CAGE and TWO MURDERS REAPED) is because I was taking a leaf from the page of J A Konrath, who advised authors to do that as a way of giving readers a choice.

I realize now that this was a mistake, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my readers for making things so confusing. I was a newbie author, and a newbie marketer and it just didn’t occur to me that this way of doing things would cause problems.

So, I have re-marketed THWARTED QUEEN to make it less confusing. It is now available as a series of four e-books:

RoseRabyVol1Volume 1 retitled ROSE OF RABY (formerly called THE BRIDE PRICE) is about Cecylee’s girlhood.

Volume 2 titled ONE SEED SOWN is about Cecylee’s affair of the heart with the handsome archer on the Rouen garrison.OneSeedVol2

Volume 3 retitled THWARTED QUEEN (formerly called THE GILDED CAGE) is about Richard of York’s political career, and how Cecylee nearly became queen of England three times.ThwartedGeBAVol3

Volume 4 titled TWO MURDERS REAPED is about Cecylee’s life after Richard of York’s death, her relationship with her son Richard III, and what happened to those two boys in the Tower. TwoMurdersHofVol4

I have created new covers with Create Space to make my work look more beautiful.

If you are one of those people who have already bought my books, you need do nothing. This is just a relabeling and remarketing to make things easier for future buyers. If you have downloaded anything you don’t want, please get a refund from Amazon.

To my new readers, I hope you will find this easier to understand. And thank you, everyone, for supporting Lady Cecylee!

PLEASE NOTE: The Goodreads page is ALL WRONG! Unfortunately, as I am NOT a “super-librarian” (whatever that means) I DON’T have the power to fix it. Sorry!




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Today is your last chance to get your discounted copy of THWARTED QUEEN!

Today is the last day to get your discounted copy of ThwartedGeBACreateFrontTHWARTED QUEEN as the Kindle Countdown Deal ends at Midnight. Please click here to get your copy!

Please note that this deal ONLY applies to the KINDLE version of THWARTED QUEEN in the Amazon.com market.

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THE YORKIST AGE by Paul Murray Kendall

TheYorkistAgePaul Murray Kendall’s THE YORKIST AGE is an extremely well-researched book that involves a close reading of the Paston letters as well as wonderful nuggets about food, cleanliness, German traders and various festivals. However, it should be noted that it was first published in 1962, and so much of his incomparable scholarship has been superseded by fifty years of research on this period.


However, if you want a vivid and readable account of England in the years between 1461 and 1485, this would be a good book to start with, beforeCopper-alloy_boar_mount_from_the_Thames_foreshore_(London) going on to read more modern treatments. Four stars.

Images: Dunstable Swan (left) Richard III’s boar (right), livery badges both made in 1400s.TheDunstableSwan

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Lady Cecylee wishes to thank one & all for their support this year…


For everyone who’s dropped by to visit me at my Castle on Facebook, I thank you. Christmas can be a stressful time, as well I know. Family members do not always see things in the same way, and the results can make life difficult.

As part of my way of thanking you for your support in the Year of Grace 2012, I thought I would share a Christmas from many years back.

‘Twas the year 1468.

If I told you that my family were forced to sit near the windows where icy fingers of air crept under our heavy clothes to chill our hands and feet, while my daughter in law and her family – her six brothers, her nine sisters with their stolen husbands – were ensconced by the fire, you will understand that our family gathering did not begin well.

If you now imagine how one of the Serpent’s sisters (yes, I referred to my daughter-in-law as a serpent) made unkind comments about my sister Cath, who was married at the great age of sixty-seven years to the Serpent’s nineteen-year-old brother John, you will see why I became angry, though I hid my feelings behind a mask of politeness.

When the Serpent then invited my darling son George to play cards with her, and goaded him into blurting out that he was engaged to be married, you will sympathize with my anxiety on his behalf.

When Edward, the King, expressly forbade George to marry his cousin Bella in front of the whole court, you can empathize with my dismay. For George could not marry without the permission of his brother the King, and yet this was the second prospect Edward had turned down. What was George to do?

I rose to my feet and confronted my eldest son. What followed changed my life forever.

If you wish to read about this Christmas long past, and how my words came to haunt me, please visit my library on Amazon, where I invite you to peruse my memoirs.

Next year, I am taking my memoirs on tour.
I would be delighted to meet you personally. I leave you with some information of that event: Thwarted Queen Tour Banner FINAL

Adieu and God Bless You and Yours


Lady Cecylee de Neville

Duchess of York

Queen by Right



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Published originally in 1795, and re-published on June 5 2011 by Ulan Press, Agnes Musgrave’s CICELY or THE ROSE OF RABY is a fictionalized biography of the life and times of Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495).

It is very much a period piece with swooning ladies who gasp at what life brings them. I don’t think I am being unkind by saying that this is the “heaving bosom” version of Cecylee’s life. If you enjoy 18th century novels, and are interested in how someone from the 18th century understood Cecylee’s life, this is for you.  Otherwise, not so much. Three stars.

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Please help me celebrate Lady Cecylee’s birthday today!

I know I said no posts for May, but I couldn’t possibly let today go by without mentioning that it is Lady Cecylee’s birthday, now could I?

To celebrate, her ladyship’s memoirs THWARTED QUEEN will be going out on a virtual book tour in the Month of May with Pump Up Your Books. A fitting tribute to Lady Cecylee, whose birthday falls on May 3rd. (She will be 596 years old). Please help me in wishing her a Happy Birthday!

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Welcome to my first YouTube Video

Finally, I’ve done it.

After TWO MONTHS of trying, I have a video on YouTube that explains how I first started to write about Cecylee.

After two months of learning about lighting, photography, writing movie scripts, learning how to control a video camera so that the result doesn’t give your audience a headache…

Well,here it is. Her ladyship is delighted!


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Why do family feuds always seem to happen at this time of year? Xmas 1468.

Why do family feuds always seem to happen at this time of year? I well remember one Christmas, long ago. ‘Twas December 1468. My daughter-in-law (whom I nickname the Serpent), had been married to my son the King for nigh on five years. My second son George, was a charming boy of nineteen. Yet I could not procure a bride for him. My sister Cath, a lady of advanced years, had been obliged to marry the Serpent’s brother John.  That is all you need to know, dear reader, to appreciate the following…



“The Serpent was ensconced by the fire, clad in a magnificent dress of silver and blood-red brocade. In four and a half years of marriage, she’d given Edward two children, both daughters, and now she was heavily pregnant with their third child. Edward sat next to her, and of course her numerous Woodville relatives surrounded them: her father and mother, her six brothers, and her nine sisters with their stolen husbands.
I was forced to sit by the windows, facing them, with Warwick and his family on one side, and George on the other. Icy fingers of air made their way through the casements, chilling my fingers. I placed them in the folds of my new velvet gown.
A flurry of movement caught my eye. One of the Serpent’s sisters, Jacqueline, had wandered over a few feet away and started nibbling at some nuts. She looked like a rabbit with her fine, strong teeth, and as she talked, she continued to nibble.
“How fare you, sweet Johnny?” she said to her brother. Sir John Woodville was a well-made young man of three-and-twenty years.
“I fare well,” he replied evenly.
“How does marriage suit you?” Nibble, nibble.
“She is very kind.”
“She does not excite your passion then?” Nibble, nibble.
John sighed but made no reply.
“Is she not too old for you?” Nibble.
John occupied himself in taking his new kid gloves off. They were dyed black to match his hose and fit perfectly to his shapely hands.
“How have you the patience to bear it? Why, she has no teeth, her breath is foul, and she—”
“Couldn’t you get this marriage annulled?”
Her bell-like voice rang out as silence suddenly filled the room. My gorge rose. I stood.
“Don’t you think you should keep your wicked thoughts to yourself?” I snapped. The nibbling stopped.
The Serpent, her face impassive, rose and faced me. Casually stifling a yawn, she lumbered slowly towards George and held out her hand. “Come, brother. Come, keep me company. You know how to play piquet, no?”
George flushed as he rose and bowed to her. They went to sit near the fireplace with her family.
I went slowly back towards my place near the window, taking care to take a seat that was in earshot of the proceedings.
George tried to be polite, by she goaded him as she always did.
Suddenly, George leapt up, knocking over his chair. “How dare you insult me like this!” He jutted out his lower lip, making him look exactly like a sulky child.
The Serpent smiled sweetly.
I put my finger to my lips, but George ignored me.
“I already have a bride,” he said.
“Sweeting!” she called across the room to Edward. “Were you aware that your dear brother planned to marry?”
Edward rose, his blue eyes blazing. “Who is she?”
George faced him, scowling. “You don’t have any right—”
“Who is she?”
George flicked a look over at me.
I nodded.
“Cousin Bella.”
“What?” roared Edward.
“Why not?”
Edward shushed him with a wave of his hand. “I expressly forbid you,” he said loudly into the dead silence that followed, “to marry your cousin Bella.”
“It’s not right!” exclaimed George. “You block me at every turn. You prevented my marriage to Mary of Burgundy. Now you won’t let me marry Bella. Just because you’ve married a whore yourself doesn’t mean you can prevent me from making a good match.”
Edward went white. “You will apologize,” he said in a voice that cut like a knife.
George glared at him as Warwick went to stand by his side.
Edward put his hand on the Serpent’s shoulder. “You are talking of my wife, your liege lady, and my Queen.”
The Serpent covered his hand with her own and turned to smile up at him. They were a fortress together against the rest of the world. How had I failed in my attempts to pry Edward away from the Serpent?
My belly filling with ice, slowly, I stood.
What happened next is something that I am too ashamed to repeat. You will find it in Volume 4 of my memoirs, titled Two Murders Reaped. And now I must say “farewell”. I hope that your Christmas season is more peaceful than mine was…


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