Cecily Neville Mother of Kings
Known to be proud, regal and beautiful, Cecily Neville was born in the year of the great English victory at Agincourt and survived long enough to witness the arrival of the future Henry VIII, her great-grandson. Her life spanned most of the fifteenth century. Cecily's marriage to Richard, Duke of York, was successful, even happy, and she travelled with him wherever his career dictated, bearing his children in England, Ireland and France, including the future Edward IV and Richard III. What was the substance behind her claim to be 'queen by right'? Would she indeed have made a good queen during these turbulent times? One of a huge family herself, Cecily would see two of her sons become kings of England but the struggles that tore apart the Houses of Lancaster and York also turned brother against brother. Cecily's life cannot have been easy. Images of her dripping in jewels and holding her own alternative 'court' might belie the terrible heartache of seeing her descendants destroy each other. In attempting to be the family peacemaker, she frequently had to make heart-wrenching choices, yet these did not destroy her. She battled on, outliving her husband, friends, rivals and most of her children, to become one of the era's great survivors.
'Amy Licence has given us an insight into the life of a prominent and significant leader during the Wars of the Roses. That she was a woman explains why this glance is so rare and so valuable. As mother of the three sons of York - Edward, George and Richard - she helped put two kings of England on the throne. As grandmother of the Princes in the Tower she was present at the greatest mystery in English history. Nicknamed the 'Rose of Raby' for her famous beauty, she was the loving and loyal wife of the York lord who started the Wars of the Roses. This is a considered and scholarly account of the matriarch of the House of York' Philippa Gregory 'A long overdue biography of one of the most dramatic medieval heroines - vivid, very readable, and wonderfully detailed' Sarah Gristwood 'We have long needed a full-length biography of one of England's most famous medieval queens, the story of whose life spans the entire tumult of the Wars of the Roses. Licence's work is a readable and engaging portrait of life at the centre of power during a remarkable age, filled with detail that brings Cecily Neville and her age to life.' CHRIS SKIDMORE, author of Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors 'The story of Cecily Neville has been neglected for too long. Amy Licence has written a well-researched, thoughtful and deeply perceptive biography of this important lady.' JOSEPHINE WILKINSON, author of Richard III: The Young King to Be 'A readable, sympathetic portrayal of a medieval woman and her world. Amy Licence provides an engaging narrative of Cecily's life and times, incorporating a wealth of fascinating detail.' DAVID SANTIUSTE, author of Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses
Amy Licence is the author of Royal Babies: A History 1066 - 2013, In Bed With the Tudors: The Sex Lives of a Dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I ('What really went on in Henry VIII's bedroom' The Daily Express), Elizabeth of York: The Forgotten Tudor Queen and Anne Neville: Richard III's Tragic Queen ('A fascinating story, well told' The Good Book Guide), all published by Amberley. She lives in Canterbury.