The Queen’s Rival: Letter Four

To celebrate the release of the new historical novel The Queen’s Rival by bestselling author Anne O’Brien, we have been sharing some letters that feature in the book. Our final letter features our protagonist Cecily, Duchess of York, writing to her daughter Anne, Duchess of Exeter.


Cecily, Duchess of York, to her daughter Anne, Duchess of Exeter

Written from Tonbridge Castle


To my dear Anne,

I am allowed to write to you, through the kind permission of your aunt Buckingham (although I begrudge her the right to give me such permission), since Exeter is well known to be hand

in glove with the House of Lancaster. There is no hope of aid for York in your household.

What should I write to you, my daughter? Be brave. There is no blame on you for Exeter’s deeds. Nor can his commission of array have any effect on those we love. They are all safe, beyond the sea.

Pray for your father and brothers. There is no need for Exeter to know what is said between you and the Blessed Virgin. As your mother I absolve you from total obedience to him. He is a fool and a treacherous one at that. If you should find a need for consolation outside marriage, I cannot blame you. All I would say is, be discreet.

You may consider this to be strange and sinful advice from a mother to her daughter, but life can be very long and lonely without affection in it.

Your loving mother,

Cecily, Duchess of York


If you have enjoyed this letter, and the other ones we’ve featured on the blog, make sure to pick up The Queen’s Rival out now. Available on Amazon, Waterstones, Hive and your local bookshop.

To read the rest of the letters, you can find them here.

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