What is it about Richards, @aurora01 ?
“Having converted publicly at the age of seventeen, Richard, Duke of York and Normandy remained a passionate Calvinist until his death a full twenty years later. Many of the great Reformers of the age praised his beliefs and his protection of them, saying only that he had one great flaw that he never managed to conquer – his equally fervent passion for the gentler, prettier sex.
Differences of religion and a mutual resentment of their forced match served to drive Richard and his Duchess, Beatrice of Portugal, apart, rather than bond them together, and, while Richard managed to do his duty often enough to ensure the Norman branch of the Tudor Rose took root in the form of their son Edward, he was always happier in another woman’s bed.
Many of Dickon’s mistresses have been lost to time, but there are two we know for certain, for their children tied their fates to that of the young Duke irrevocably. First is Anne Cecil, a woman who came over to Normandy on a visit in Lady Lancaster’s train in 1542 and never left, acting as Lady Governess to Lord Edward of York and Normandy in the later 1540s. Her own daughter, Cateline, was born in 1543, two years before Anne married Sir Edward Harington of Ridlington, one of Richard’s favoured retainers. As if that wasn’t proof enough of Cateline’s royal paternity, she was raised alongside Lord Edward in the nursery and bore the surname FitzYork, for Richard’s English Duchy.
The other mistress is the intriguingly nicknamed ‘Minette’. Despite redoubtable scholarly efforts, ‘Minette’ has never been categorically identified, but she was clearly Richard’s favourite mistress, indeed, possibly even the love of his life. Minette bore Richard three children, all of whom he acknowledged, and in a letter dating to c. 1553, Richard claimed that, ‘were it not for the sake of my dear son, in whom all my father’s French hopes once rested, I would throw off the yoke that binds me to Portugal and name you, Minette, my Duchess for all our days, not just a day by the river.’
Of their three children, the daughter, Madeleine, married George Hastings, later 4th Earl Hastings, while their elder son, Henry, became Captain of Calais and Le Havre, and the younger, named Francis for Richard’s schoolroom companion, Francis Hastings, won himself renown as a soldier in the wars in the Spanish Netherlands.
It is my hope that this book, the first to examine Richard’s extramarital life rather than his tempestuous marriage to Beatrice of Portugal, will build up a fuller picture of the women Richard chose to surround himself with, and, in so doing, will show an as yet unexplored side to the first Duke of York and Normandy.
____________________‘“Rosebuds of Normandy”: The Loves and Bastards of Richard of York and Normandy’ by Susanna Filrein