In the late spring of 1193, Richard I composed a song. It was a ballad of melancholy and abandonment, of frustration and homesickness. The haunting melody accompanied lyrics written in Occitan. It is known, after its first line, as ‘Ja nus hons pris’. It is a song that would survive more than eight centuries.
The lyrics of the two most famous verses are:
Ja nus hons pris ne dira sa raison
adroitement, se dolantement non;
Mes par confort puet il fere chancon.
Moult ai amis, mes povre sont li don;
honte en avront, se por ma reancon
sui ces deus yvers pris.
Ce sevent bien mi homme et mi baron,
Englois, Normant, Poitevin et Gascon,
que je n’avoie si povre compaignon,
cui je laissasse por avoir en prixon.
Je nei di pas por nule retracon,
mes encor suit ge pris.
No man imprisoned tells his story
rightfully, as if he were not sorrowful;
but for comfort he can write a song.
I have many friends, but poor are their gifts;
shame on them, if for my ransom
I must be two winters imprisoned.
It is well known by my men and my barons,
English, Norman, Poitevin and Gascon,
that I do not have the poorest companion
whom I would leave to remain in prison.
I don’t say this for their reproach,
but still, I am imprisoned
Dan Jones, ‘The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England’
550-year-old hand-written book is signed by Richard III and contains his personal motto. The signed book is one of only 13 of Richard III’s books that is known to still exist. It is especially valuable as he has signed it ‘R Gloucester’ as he was only the Duke of Gloucester as a young man. Above his signature in the book he wrote the words 'Tant le desieree’, which means 'So much desired’.
William, Count of Poitiers (1153-1156) / Henry the Young King (1155-1183) / Matilda, Duchess of Saxony (1156-1189) / Richard I “The Lionheart” King of England (1157-1199) / Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany (1158-1186) / Eleanor, Queen of Castile (1161-1214) / Joanna, Queen of Sicily, Countess of Toulouse (1165-1199) / John, King of England (1166-1216)
From Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII, Henry VII’s emissary to Pope Innocent VIII in 1485;
“The beauty and chastity of this lady are indeed so great neither Lucretia nor Diana herself were ever more beautiful or more chaste. So great is her virtue, and her character so fine, that she certainly seems to have been preserved by divine will from the time of her birth right up until today to be consort and queen. “
“ Her [Elizabeth Woodville] devotion to Edward was obvious and she had fulfilled her role impeccably. Her beauty had not occasioned any scandal….and those who had feared the worst in those now far-off days of the 1460s had learned to respect, and admire, a lady who had proved herself to be everything an English Queen should be. ” - “Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower” by David Baldwin
“Look at this happy family, gathered close so as to stab each other with the most convenience. Why it must be that of Henry II! You see from left to right there is Geoffrey, Henry, Eleanor, Richard, John and who could leave out family friend Thomas Becket at the bottom.”
“Eleanor, I beseech you! Make peace with my Lady mother and-”
“No! Louis, I am first and foremost your wife. I will honour the duty that God has bestowed upon me as such but I am Queen of the Franks, as I am a daughter of Aquitaine and I will not break to fit the mould that your mother dictates to me. I would rather drown in the Garonne, than bend to her dull will.”
The episode begins 25 July 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine marries the devout Prince Louis in Bordeaux and they are immediately enthroned as Duke and Duchess of Aquitaine. However, their tour of the provinces are interrupted in August 1137 by the news that Prince Louis father, Louis VI, has died. The couple are anointed and crowned King and Queen of the Franks on Christmas Day, 1137 both still teenagers. The episode also delves into the tense relationship Eleanor has with the northeners of her kingdom, who disapprove of her high-spirited nature, particularly Prince Louis’ mother, Adelaide of Maurienne and Bernard of Clairvaux.
“ After the royal procession left the Abbey, the Queen [ Elizabeth Woodville ] was led to her chamber, where she was dressed in purple surcoat and brought into the Hall to dine. Each time the Queen took a bite, she herself removed her crown, putting it back when she was finished. ” - David Baldwin
ROYAL CONNECTIONS: Born Margaret Plantagenet daughter of George, Duke of Clarence (brother to Edward IV, King of England) and Isabelle Neville (who was the elder daughter of Richard Neville, Duke of Warwick). Lived in the court of her uncle Richard III, King of England who was her father’s brother and his wife Anne Neville, Queen of England who was her mother’s sister (who suceeded her Uncle Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville as King and Queen of England). Trusted friend of her cousin Elizabeth of York, Queen of England. Married to Richard Pole trusted friend of Henry VII, King of England who defeated her Uncle on the battlefield. Lived in Ludlow with Arthur, Prince of Wales (son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York) and his wife Katherine, Princess of Aragon and Castile. Lady in Waiting to Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England now wife of Arthur’s brother Henry VIII, King of England who succeeded his father. Governess of Mary Tudor, future Mary I of England (daughter of Henry VIII, King of England and Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England). Mother to Reginald Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury a figure of importance in Mary I’s court.