Those of you who have been following me for a while know that one of my favourite histories of England is Jane Austen’s satirical prose piece.
Known for her lighthearted romances that poke fun at the etiquette of her day, Jane wrote her history in 1791 when she was just 15 years old. Her sister, Cassandra, to whom the work was dedicated, provided little illustrations throughout. Intended only to amuse her family, in 1922, a descendant of her brother’s gave permission for the quaint, handwritten manuscript to be published. The title page reads:
‘The History of England from the reign of Henry the 4th
to the death of Charles the 1st
By a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant Historian
To Miſs Austen, eldest daughter of the Revd George Austen, this work is inscribed with all due respect by The Author
N.B. There will be very few Dates in this History.’
Henry the 7th
This Monarch soon after his accession married the Princess Elizabeth of York, by which alliance he plainly proved that he thought his own right inferior to hers, tho’ he pretended to the contrary. By this Marriage he had two sons & two daughters, the elder of which daughters was married to the King of Scotland & had the happiness of being grandmother to one of the first Characters in the World. But of her, I shall have occasion to speak more at large in future.
The Youngest, Mary, married first the King of France & secondly the D. of Suffolk, by whom she had one daughter, afterwards the Mother of Lady Jane Grey, who tho’ inferior to her lovely Cousin the Queen of Scots, was yet an amiable young woman and famous for reading Greek while other people were hunting. It was in the reign of Henry the 7th that Perkin Warbeck & Lambert Simnel before mentioned made their appearance, the former of whom was set in the Stocks, took shelter in Beaulieu Abbey, & was beheaded with the Earl of Warwick, & the latter was taken into the King’s Kitchen.
His Majesty died, & was succeeded by his son Henry whose only merit was his not being quite so bad as his daughter Elizabeth.