CHAZY — Five hundred years and counting, authors have penned words about Jane Shore, the final and favorite concubine of King Edward IV of England.
With last week’s Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster release of “Royal Mistress,” Anne Easter Smith, author of “A Rose for the Crown” and “Queen by Right,” adds her Ricardian spin to the canon on the Plantagenet king’s seven-year liaison with his “merriest mistress.”
Set in the 15th century during the last gasp of the Wars of the Roses, Shore, born Elizabeth Lambert, was a wealthy silk merchant’s daughter. Vivacious, beautiful and quick-witted, her father married her off to William Shore, a guild mercer (textile dealer), who was a much older, wishy-washy, gutless weasel.
The previous best-known historical work on the “Rose of London” was Jean Plaidy’s “The Goldsmith’s Wife.”
“Up until the 1970s, people believed Jane was the daughter of someone totally different and the only daughter of someone totally different,” said Anne Easter Smith, a resident of Newburyport, Mass., and former Press-Republican features editor.
“Along came historian Nicolas Barker. He did a lot more digging. He found out she was Elizabeth Lambert. Once he anchored who her father was, he was able to piece more of Jane’s background.
“That was after Jean Plaidy wrote her book. I’m writing with new information. We now know she was not a goldsmith’s wife. She was a mercer’s wife. William Shore was not a goldsmith.
“This is now Jane Shore for the 21st century, with much more information we have on her. She has been written about in ballads by poets and playwrights throughout the centuries. She was been a very complicated character for writers.”
The “Rose of London” was the concubine of Edward IV; Lord William Hastings, the king’s chamberlain; and Sir Thomas Grey, marquess of Dorset and son of Edward’s Queen Elizabeth Woodville.