Anne Beauchamp, wealthy Countess of Warwick, sat by her window and sighed. Her husband, the Earl of Warwick, still wasn’t home and she’d been expecting him for hours. Working late at Westminster was what he would tell her when he came in but she wasn’t sure she believed him. Why would he want to hurry home to her? she thought, despising herself even as he did. He’d shown his contempt many times in the past and she was sure there were many more to come. She caught sight of her reflection in the mullioned glass and sighed again. She wasn’t beautiful even if she was very rich. Her husband, the Earl of Warwick, deserved a beautiful wife and he didn’t have one. Many times she’d thought of asking her husband, the Earl of Warwick’s, aunt, the Duchess of York, what her secret was that made her the most beautiful woman in England. But Anne, Countess of Warwick was shy and ashamed of her lack of beauty.
He was probably with another woman. A beautiful one. He blamed her for their not having any children except a daughter despite having been married since they were very small children. It wasn’t that she didn’t try. “There’s plenty of time,” she said to him, her lip quivering in fear of his sudden anger which was always unexpected. “But you don’t come to my bed very often. Maybe if you did…”
“Look at you!” he growled at her. “How can I want to lie with you!” And he turned away from her in disgust leaving her blinking away hot tears and cursing herself and him for not being beautiful. But there was no other way for her to give him the son he so badly wanted. They had a daughter and Anne had been very pleased with herself and thought her husband, the Earl of Warwick, would be pleased with her too but he’d taken one look at the face of his little girl and turned and left the room so quickly that it felt like a dagger through her heart. He didn’t even ask her what her name was. It was Isobel.
Had she but known that this was the very reason that even now he lay in the queen’s arms, his fingers twining her chestnut tresses like the soft tendrils of a creeper creeping over his heart and into the depths of his dark and bottomless soul, so much more full of colour, life and vibrancy than her own insipid locks, she would not have appreciated the irony; for who can who is its victim? Who can who is mocked by its cruel voice and icy fingers?
Anne wanted her husband to love her. She felt the tears of despair trickling down her face thinking of the lonely life ahead of her. When his footfall outside her door made her look up. Wiping away the tears she went to the door and opened it. All she saw was his back as he passed her door and kept on going. He didn’t even turn his head when she cried out his name in despair and loneliness. Anne went back inside and cried some more, his name on her lips and the dull dying ember of hope in her heart fading away though she still clung to it like a drowning man clings to the wreckage of his life.
Margaret of Anjou, young and beautiful Queen of England, lay in the afterglow of love in her room at Windsor Castle. Her lover had just left her, touching her face softly with sad wistful fingers and slipping out before anyone else was up. He would be in London now, she thought wistfully. Her hand touched her belly and she wondered if the heir to the throne of England was there yet. Then she sighed angrily remembering that tomorrow she would have to go and see her husband the king who bored her with his praying. Ziss is not zee life for a Frenchwoman wiz passion in her blood, she ruminated. To live wiz a man who does not see her as a woman. Petulantly she rolled over and closed her eyes. Behind her eyelids her lover danced and she fell asleep to the memory of the rhythms of his breathing and his heart, his mouth close to her ear whispering that while she was not the most beautiful women in England she was the most beautiful woman in France if she went to France.
Richard Neville, powerful Earl of Warwick, secret lover of the queen of England, lay on his bed, his hands clasped behind his head. She is mine, he thought potently. I own her body and soon I will own her soul. No-one will stop me and I will be ruler of England through my son. And if I have a daughter, I will find her a husband who will listen to me and make her queen anyway and I will still rule England! In the next room he could hear his wife, the Countess of Warwick, sobbing and his lip curled into a sneer. A proper sneer this time. He would have to dispose of her. There was always a way to do it that no-one would suspect him of.
Henry VI, saintly king of England knelt on the floor in his room at Windsor Castle praying when suddenly he started to gabble and foam at the mouth.
“He goes mad,” the Duke of Somerset, his evil and manipulative chief councillor said to himself in wonder.
Henry VI saintly, and now quite mad, king of England didn’t say anything but if he had he wouldn’t have made any sense because the Duke of Somerset had quite astutely summed up the situation and suddenly and without any warning he had suddenly gone quite mad.