Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Newsletters, Medieval Style

Ah, the annual Christmas newsletters people send out this time of year. You probably thought they were a recent development, but naturally, you're dead wrong, because I've discovered one from 1483, which bears every mark of having been written by Richard III's wife, Anne Neville. And who knows? There might even be one from the fourteenth century, from Queen Isabella herself, appearing on this blog in the near future.


Another year almost over! Who could have guessed that 1483 could have passed so quickly? Well, time flies when you’re having fun, they say!

First, the big news. Richard got a new job! It involves a lot more prestige and rewards, but also a lot more responsibility, so he wasn’t really sure whether he wanted to take it or not. But after talking it over with family and friends, he decided to go for it, and so he did! There were a couple of minor obstacles in the way, but they weren’t as hard to get around as he thought they would be at first. Anyway, he’s been in his new position since July, and though he’s not one to brag, we think he’s doing a pretty good job in it. Some of the old staff didn’t care for him taking over, it’s true, but some people just don’t like change, even when it’s good for them. We know they’ll adjust.

The only bad thing about the new job is that it requires Anne to do a lot of entertaining, so she had to move to London with Richard and leave little Ned up north with Anne’s mum. We really miss them both, but Ned is doing well. Now that it looks as if he’ll be going into the new “family business,” he’s got a lot of learning to do anyway.

Anne’s mum is such a card, by the way! When she heard about Richard’s new job, she said, “Well, maybe now you can spare me an acre or two, the pair of you!” She’s so funny, she makes the north seem a little warmer just by being there.

Richard’s mum is doing well too. There was a bit of a dust-up when she heard of some foolish gossip about her just before Richard got his new job, which some very silly people blamed on Richard himself! But everything’s been smoothed over now, and she’s back to praying at Berkhamsted just as if nothing ever happened at all. She tells Richard that she prays for him more than ever now, and we certainly do appreciate that.

Anyway, we’re adjusting pretty well to Richard’s new job and to our new digs in London. Anne wants a little company there, so we’re trying to get Richard’s niece Elizabeth—you remember that pretty girl whose father was always trying to pinch someone’s arse—to come join us there. It’s a delicate situation because her mother is VERY overprotective and has her nose out of joint for some reason too. But Richard says that he thinks he can sweeten her up for the right price. We certainly hope so, because if he doesn’t, Elizabeth just might get fed up and marry this dreadful man named Henry who’s been after her hand. His mother (the Henry creature’s, that is) used to be positively underfoot here in London, trying to get her precious Henry a position, and to hear her talk her darling boy could do Richard’s job just as well as he could. The very nerve! We don’t envy her husband one bit—how many times can you say, “Yes, dear,” in an evening? But she’s back at home where she belongs now, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be hearing anything from her and her precious son any time soon—which is just another Christmas blessing!

The best to you and yours this Christmastide.

Richard and Anne


Su_H said...

Ha ha ha! Loved it - made me laugh out loud Susan. :-)

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

Gorgeous! :) I can't imagine why Elizabeth's mother might have had her nose out of joint - so protective, these women can be. And a delightful little snippety snippet about Margaret Beaufort - yes, amazing woman, but I DO imagine she'd be rather difficult to live with.

teabird said...


Gabriele Campbell said...

minor obstacles


Mimi said...

Bwahahahaha! The minor obsticles made me laugh too.

Michele said...

Love it! This was my laugh for today!

Kathryn Warner said...

Classic. Loved it!

Christy K Robinson said...

December 2008
Dear family and fiends (I mean friends),
This was a banner year for your sister/niece/aunt/cousin/daughter, as she met, in cyberspace, several authors and historians. They are fascinating, intellectual, and funny people. (Writers are wickedly disrespectful people who I admire enormously.) Among them was Susan Higginbotham, whose book "The Traitor's Wife" finally came off the Amazon wishlist, made it into the TBR stack, and in spite of several minor traumas interrupting, was read and enjoyed in August and September. I actually finished reading it while waiting for the lab tests to come back on one of those traumas. As you see by this letter, I lived.
All else is well, and I pray that your 2009 will be one of fulfilled resolutions, peace, and satisfaction.
With affection,
Christy and fur-children

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks, all! Christy, hope all of your traumas are safely resolved!

Carla said...

Priceless. You capture the tone of those round-robin newsletters perfectly :-)

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks! (Sorry it took me so long to moderate a couple of you--Blogger didn't send me a notification. Bad Blogger!)