I've completed the first volume of "Yorkist Kings", which covers the reign of Edward IV, and it was refreshing to put flesh back onto those big handsome bones. Edward was what you might call a medieval playboy--handsome, loquacious, he put it around like nobody before him. Male and female were all the same to him. In the Perkin Warbeck screenplay, Perkin says, "It was was dead he would eat it, if it was alive he would f*** it. He would try anything once." Sadly it was not love that killed Edward at just forty, but gluttony. It's hard to imagine working one's way through four courses at the dinner table, let alone fifty. They employed 'feather-boys'--young men who stood behind the screens and shoved a greased goose feather down your throat, so that you could bring up what you'd eaten to gorge yourself some more. There was of course much more to Edward than this. He was the greatest military tactician of his day, on a par with Henry V, and he never lost a battle. Also, his biggest enemies were almost always women, nasty cows such as Margaret of Anjou. Maybe that's what endears me to him!
Richard is a completely different case. I'm editing his book now--the idea being that the two books will be released several months apart. Most publishers wanted to publish them as a single, 600-page volume, even though they're the first to admit that any book over 400 pages long is almost certainly guaranteed to fail--if for no other reason that it's not cost-effective. They also give another reason, that Edward has always been overshadowed by his more controversial younger brother. This is true, which is why I'm giving him his own book. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I've had several offers, but still may do this one myself. Edward slept with virtually everyone, while Richard was a staunch moralist--even so, one who had two bastard children, and at least one male lover. I'm not sure how far the relationship with Buckingham progressed. I would suggest all the way, but before I get inundated with e-mails about "the evils of sodomy", let me say that there are more ways of cooking an egg than dropping it into the frying pan. In thirteen years of marriage, Richard had only one legitimate child. His wife was consumptive and he was advised not to sleep with her. This is where Buckingham and Lovell come in. It may have been all-out sweaty man-sex, it may have been cosy tete-a-tetes in front of the fire. I wasn't there. But there was definitely something, and when Buckingham rebelled against him--it's all in the book--Richard seemed to withdraw into his shell. The man he had loved had duped him. Then his son died, and his wife--he had nothing left. I firmly believe that when he rode out to Bosworth, he really had lost the will to live, though the chronicles tell us that he went out fighting. I often wonder what it would be like to go back and offer advice, acting on hindsight. I'm not the first to say this--though doubtless they would have sent me to the block!