I never told you who it was that Richard of York married, did I?
As we saw, he used the alias of Sir Henry Gylford…
and history tells us that around 1525, Sir Henry married Lady Mary Gylford…
Now she was not a newcomer to portraiture, as we saw. The name we knew her by was Elsbeth Binzenstuck, as hidden text in the paintings confirms, and she was previously married to Hans Holbein. He painted her a lot, too, and from quite an early age:
Some of you may have wondered why this list of portraits starts with number 4? That was because I chopped the first three off. And I chopped them off because some people were getting terribly upset about what Holbein was saying about the parentage of the Princes, and I didn’t want to provoke them even more. But that’s not fair to everyone else, is it? Especially since I just found another portrait of Richard of York. It’s known to art history as the Darmstadt Madonna, and he’s supposed to be the Burgermeister of Basel, but he’s not. And she’s not really the Madonna we all think her to be, either. Well, not that one, anyway. In fact you probably recognize her: it’s the recently married Lady ‘Mary’ Gylford…
and there she is with her new husband, his earlier wife (now deceased) and their kids.
But I still haven’t told you who she really was, have I? And I’m not going to. I’m just going to let you look at the rest of the portraits of her, and see if you can guess.
Yes, I know… absurd, preposterous, ridiculous, rubbish, hogwash… that’s what I thought too. But that’s what happens to us when we all live in a fairytale for five hundred years, when we believed everything we were told, and then meet the truth. It’s bizarre, surreal, incredible. So don’t believe me: believe your own eyes instead!
But of course, knowing even that doesn’t really tell you who she was, either, does it? Or why she was important enough to marry one of the Princes of the Tower?