Today it’s King Richard III’s 566th birthday – and also the first anniversary of publication of The Order of the White Boar.
I’m lucky enough to be spending the day at the King’s primary home in the north of England, at Middleham Castle, where his banner will be flying proudly in honour of the day and cake will be cut.
I will also be celebrating the day with a special promotion for The King’s Man, sequel to The Order. Described as “a book full of action, heart, fire and hope”, The King’s Man picks up Matthew Wansford’s story just days after the end of The Order and follows Richard Plantagenet in the days, months and years after his brother King Edward IV’s death.
The King’s Man will be on a Kindle Countdown deal, with the ebook available for several days at a discount, starting at 99p / 99c. Time to grab a copy for yourself and/or let your friends know.
But it is in The Order of the White Boar that we celebrate Richard’s birthday with him. And it’s a big birthday…
“His Grace’s thirtieth birthday…
The day began with a special Mass and sermon from Sir William in the village church, giving thanks for preserving the Duke through this his thirtieth year. It was attended by local noble families, the mayor of York, and other dignitaries from the city and surrounding towns.
All at the castle were given another holiday to celebrate along with the villagers. This time it involved sports and competitions, in archery and feats of arms, followed by feasting and entertainments. A dancing bear was brought from York especially for the evening. Then the ladies and gentlemen also danced, and music continued late into the night.
As the torches began to splutter out, but before we were left with just the dark red glow of the fire to cast shadows into the rafters of the great hall, the Duke rose.
After a few words of thanks to those who were still awake, he bowed deeply. Then, taking the hand of his wife, he led her from the hall into their private chambers. Edward, blinking rapidly and almost tripping over his feet in his tiredness, followed them. The dying light of the torches glinted off the brand new cloth-of-gold tunic he had been given by his father to mark the occasion.
Before long the rest of the company also retired. Within seconds of us reaching our mattresses, Roger’s gentle snores began to break the darkness and the deep breathing of our fellow pages slowed as one by one they too fell asleep. But I lay awake a little longer, turning over in my fingers the gold coin the Duke had presented to each of us in celebration of his special day. I offered up silent thanks for having been a part of it – and also for our being excused Mass and morning lessons the next day….”
Happy birthday Your Grace!
*Of course the coin depicted is a coin of King Richard himself – not the one given out at his thirtieth birthday celebrations… that would involve a space/time paradox worthy of Dr Who and with no place in a historical novel!