Hello Mr Cornwell, I was watching a fascinating programme on UK TV recently dealing with the possible illegitimate claim to the English throne of Edward IV in 1461, and this has prompted me to write to you. As I'm sure you know, Edward VI was supposedly the eldest son of Richard, Duke of York and was born in Rouen on April 28, 1442. To cut a long story short, records in Rouen cathedral clearly show that Richard was not with his wife in Rouen at the time of Edward's conception around the 1st week of August 1441 - he was on campaign in Pontoise (several days march away) from July 14th-Aug 28th. Edward was a very tall man who bore little resemblence to Richard and questions regarding his paternity were raised by prominent people of the time (Richard Neville - Earl of Warwick, George, Duke of Clarence to name a few). It was suggested that his real father was an archer called Blaybourne. Do you anticipate extending the 'archer' series to include this period and the Wars of the Roses - with the aforementioned archer perhaps being one of Thomas' descendants? Kind regards Mike Woffinden
Never heard the story, but it doesn't surprise me. A.N. Wilson, in his splendid book The Victorians makes out a very cogent case that Queen Victoria (and Prince Albert) was born 'on the wrong side of the blanket'. Still, William the Conqueror was illegitimate, so it started off that way. Thanks for writing - I don't know if the series will get that far, but your information is very tempting.