Elin did not want to go to England. She was 15, and she was being made to travel with Princess Cecilia from Sweden to London. The purpose of the trip was to talk young Queen Elizabeth into marrying Cecilia’s brother, King Eric. The other five royal ladies of Princess Cecilia’s retinue were all about her age, 25. Added to Elin’s woes, the princess hated her. It took them a year, mostly in winter, traveling down the Norse peninsula and then across the English Channel, to reach London.
The Princess was soon no favorite of the Londoners, ordering huge amounts of goods and services, but never paying for anything. Elin, on the other hand, caught the eye of Northampton, not only the richest lord in England but also Queen Elizabeth’s adored uncle. Three times Elin’s age, he showered her with gifts, even moving her into one of his many mansions.
After a year’s sojourn in London, Cecilia learned that Eric had no intention of paying her debts. Cecilia’s answer was to abscond, stealing away in the fog in the dead of night. Elin wisely refused to be part of this. The ship was caught and everything on it was seized, to pay the many merchants Cecilia owed. Then the Swedes were sent on their way.
Elin stayed in England, protected by the queen herself. When her aging uncle was at death’s door, Elizabeth arranged a wedding ceremony. Northampton died a few months later, leaving Elin the richest woman in England – even richer than the queen herself. After many years in Elizabeth’s service, Elin fell in love with the queen’s cousin. And—gasp—they secretly married! When Elizabeth found out, she threw her cousin into the Tower and banned Elin from court – forever.
Elin did not know if her husband was alive or dead. After many months, Elizabeth summoned Elin. And who was there? Her husband! Elizabeth told them to go and make her a godmother. Which they did, having eight children. Elin spent the rest of her life in England, devoted to Elizabeth. When the queen died, Elin was the Chief Mourner at her funeral.
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Such an interesting story, and one that raises all sorts of questions. Why did Cecilia hate her and yet feel compelled to take her along? Why did it take them a year (to sail?) from Sweden to England? Why, besides her usual reasons, did Elizabeth turn Erik down? What was Elin like that she charmed both the duke and the queen? Such questions beg for a longer story!
I am actually writing about Elin and have about 150 pp done. All the questions are answered!