Women who Married for Love

Chapter 4 : Cicely of York


Seventy years passed before the next royal scandal broke. Cicely of York attracted royal attention of the most unwelcome sort after marrying for love.

After Henry VII married her sister, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV, Cicely was married in 1487 to John, Viscount Welles, the King’s half-uncle. Cicely had a warm relationship with her new sister-in-law, Lady Margaret Beaufort, the King’s mother, but this did not save her from disgrace, when, in around 1503, widowed for three years, she chose to marry Thomas Kyme from a minor gentry family of Lincolnshire.

Henry, shocked, and no doubt angry that the opportunity to marry his sister-in-law advantageously had been denied him, banished Cicely and Kyme from court, and confiscated her estates. Although there is no record of Cicely and Kyme having children, a Thomas Kyme of the same family was the husband of Anne Askew in the 1530s. It would be fascinating to know whether this Thomas was, in fact, a descendant of Cicely’s.