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Hoo sto ho sto mon amy

Maurice Keen: Knightly Pursuits, 15 December 2005

A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry 
by Geoffroi de Charny, translated by Elspeth Kennedy.
Pennsylvania, 117 pp., £10, May 2005, 0 8122 1909 0
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The Master of Game: The Oldest English Book on Hunting 
by Edward, Duke of York.
Pennsylvania, 302 pp., £14.50, September 2005, 0 8122 1937 6
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... two paperbacks, of Geoffroi de Charny’s A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry and Edward, Duke of York’s The Master of Game, make accessible two texts that are of exceptional interest for the light they shed on the ethos, style and tastes of the secular aristocracy of the later Middle Ages. Charny’s book ...

Complete Internal Collapse

Malcolm Vale: Agincourt, 19 May 2016

The Hundred Years War, Vol. IV: Cursed Kings 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 909 pp., £40, August 2015, 978 0 571 27454 3
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Agincourt 
by Anne Curry.
Oxford, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 19 968101 3
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The Battle of Agincourt 
edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer.
Yale, 344 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21430 7
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24 Hours at Agincourt: 25 October 1415 
by Michael Jones.
W.H. Allen, 352 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 7535 5545 3
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Agincourt: Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer 
by W.B. Bartlett.
Amberley, 447 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 1 4456 3949 9
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... is ‘impulsive, changeable, irascible … unwilling to listen to advice’. John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy is ‘graceless, awkward and taciturn’, ‘brutal, cunning and duplicitous’, while his son, Philip the Good, is a playboy prince, given to ‘dancing, feasting, jousting, hunting and fornication’. Philip is admitted to be a subtler ...

Foxy

Peter Campbell, 21 January 1988

Running with the fox 
by David Macdonald.
Unwin Hyman, 224 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 04 440084 5
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... some 687 foxes in one session.’ But hunters were also early systematic observers. Edward, second Duke of York, in his Master of the Game noticed what David Macdonald’s research has confirmed: foxes eat worms. As it became a more respectable quarry the fox was pampered: its habitat was protected, its enemy, the farmer ...

Petulance is not a tragic flaw

Rosemary Hill: Edward and Mrs Simpson, 30 July 2015

Princes at War: The British Royal Family’s Private Battle in the Second World War 
by Deborah Cadbury.
Bloomsbury, 407 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 1 4088 4524 0
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... and Cartier, standing beside him through the long years of what became, in effect, their exile as Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Then, at last, inside Buckingham Palace, after her husband’s funeral: the much tightened face glimpsed at the window, only the eyes expressive of some incalculable regret. In the many retellings, of which Deborah Cadbury’s is the ...

Done for the State

John Guy: The House of York, 2 April 2020

The Brothers YorkAn English Tragedy 
by Thomas Penn.
Penguin, 688 pp., £12.99, April, 978 0 7181 9728 5
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Richard III: The Self-Made King 
by Michael Hicks.
Yale, 388 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21429 1
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... was a strong one if you ignored the deposition of Richard II in 1399. In the mid-1450s, Richard, Duke of York, Edward’s father and England’s pushiest peer, had twice attempted to sideline Henry VI, who suffered from lengthy spells of mental illness and was repelled by the idea of warfare. He was a pious, compassionate ...

Unction and Slaughter

Simon Walker: Edward IV, 10 July 2003

Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: The Kingship of Edward IV 
by Jonathan Hughes.
Sutton, 354 pp., £30, October 2002, 0 7509 1994 9
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... When Richard, Duke of York, laid claim to the English throne in 1460, he presented himself as a physician, sent to heal the ills of the kingdom. In partnership with his apothecaries, the faithful Commons, he would probe ‘the root and bottom of this long-festered canker’ and separate ‘the clean and pure stuff from the old, corrupt and putrefied dregs ...

Bertie pulls it off

John Campbell, 11 January 1990

King George VI 
by Sarah Bradford.
Weidenfeld, 506 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 297 79667 4
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... it was a relief – or would have been if there had not been serious doubt whether his brother the Duke of York was up to the job either. His health was poor, he suffered from a severe stammer and he lacked even Edward’s vapid charm. For some months – while the American press speculated that the new king was ‘of poorer ...

What happened to Edward II?

David Carpenter: Impostors, 7 June 2007

The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the British Nation 
by Ian Mortimer.
Pimlico, 536 pp., £8.99, April 2007, 978 1 84413 530 1
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... other high-ranking lay and ecclesiastical magnates, most notably William Melton, Archbishop of York, came to believe that Edward II was alive, or said they believed it, or were alleged to believe it. This doesn’t mean it was any more true than the belief that Richard II was still alive in the 1400s or Richard Duke of ...

Something to Do

David Cannadine, 23 September 1993

Witness of a Century: The Life and Times of Prince Arthur of Connaught, 1850-1942 
by Noble Frankland.
Shepheard-Walwyn, 476 pp., £22.95, June 1993, 0 85683 136 0
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... prospect of later rediscovery. Who, today, knows anything about such defunct dynasts as the Duke of Cambridge, the Marquess of Carisbrooke or the Earl of Athlone? The subject of Noble Frankland’s well-intentioned but unconvincing effort at rehabilitation, His Royal Highness Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, ...

Unemployed

David Cannadine, 2 December 1982

Duchess: The Story of Wallis Warfield Windsor 
by Stephen Birmingham.
Macmillan, 287 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 333 34265 8
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The Duke of Windsor’s War 
by Michael Bloch.
Weidenfeld, 397 pp., £10.95, October 1982, 0 297 77947 8
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... either to fade out of the public eye or be a nuisance.’ It has generally been assumed that the Duke came in the second of these categories and, since it is even easier to hit a man when he is dead than when he is down, tilting at Windsor has recently become a popular sport. Some of the jousting has been in dubious taste, with lances forged in malice, aimed ...

Royal Anxiety

Gabriele Annan, 9 June 1994

The Queen 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 341 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 297 81211 4
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Divine Right: The Inglorious Survival of British Royalty 
by Richard Tomlinson.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 316 91119 4
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... Instead, he cites other people who shared these views – as many did and do. Take the Duke and Duchess of Windsor: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth knew, Harris writes, that the Duke ‘was irresponsible, insensitive, feckless. He never paused to consider the implications of what he said and did. They put ...

Merry Wife of Windsor

Patricia Beer, 16 October 1980

The Duchess of Windsor 
by Diana Mosley.
Sidgwick, 219 pp., £8.95, June 1980, 9780283986284
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... must have been Edwina H. Wilson’s Her name was Wallis Warfield, for it was published, in New York, in December 1936, before the issue was decided. (‘Suppose – just suppose – an American girl should become Queen of England!’) The volume is worth looking at, for it sets the style of much that has been written since, and the tone is of an ...

Blood on the Block

Maurice Keen: Henry IV, 5 June 2008

The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England’s Self-Made King 
by Ian Mortimer.
Vintage, 480 pp., £8.99, July 2008, 978 1 84413 529 5
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... Returning unbidden from exile in July 1399 to claim his confiscated inheritance as Duke of Lancaster while Richard II was in Ireland, Henry Bolingbroke was greeted tumultuously as the prospective saviour of the realm. Richard, hurrying home, found himself deserted in mid-Wales and faced with no alternative to putting himself in his cousin’s power ...

Spurning at the High

Edward Pearce: A poet of Chartism, 6 November 2003

Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics 1819-69 
by Miles Taylor.
Oxford, 290 pp., £45, January 2003, 0 19 820729 8
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... English, although born and brought up abroad. Jones’s father served in the household of the Duke of Cumberland, Ernst Augustus, later King of Hanover, and he spent his youth near Hamburg and went to school in Lüneburg. In short he was, like Will, an exotic, and played to the fact. More important, he had been educated, to the limit of his father’s ...

Family Fortunes

Helen Cooper: The upwardly mobile Pastons, 4 August 2005

Blood and Roses: The Paston Family in the 15th Century 
by Helen Castor.
Faber, 347 pp., £8.99, June 2005, 0 571 21671 4
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... or at least violence and sentimentality. The roses most relevant to the story are in fact those of York and Lancaster, whose surges of hostility wrecked almost every one of the Paston family’s schemes for advancement just as they were coming to fruition. The Pastons managed to avoid most of the bloodshed directly associated with the civil war, but there was ...

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