Mystery Revealed: How England's “White Queen” Elizabeth Woodville Worshiped a Headless Saint
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Little is known about the role of St. According to one of the authors of the new study, John Goodall, very little attention was paid to this shrine.
In the 1470s, the so-called “White Queen” commissioned the construction of St. Erasmus' Chapel, most likely designed by the architect Robert Stowell. It is also believed that he helped save its most valuable parts when the building was destroyed less than a quarter of a century later.
Elizabeth Woodville, aka the “White Queen”, married King Edward IV in 1464 and together they had 10 children. Their eldest child was Elizabeth of York, who would marry Henry VII and give birth to Henry VIII, one of the most famous monarchs in history.
According to researchers, the chapel of St. Erasmus was not only a place of worship for the “cult” of the exterminated saint but also a royal tomb. Among those buried there is eight-year-old Anna Mowbray, the girl bride of Elizabeth's son Richard, Duke of York, who married him in 1478 (they were both about 5 years old at the time). Unfortunately, they passed away a few years after the wedding.
Saint Erasmus was the patron saint of sailors and people suffering from stomach pain, and was also responsible for the well-being of children, which could be the impetus for the construction of the chapel. And although the exact location has not been established, it is believed that it was built on the territory of the garden, next to the shops of the English merchant William Caxton.
The chapel was eventually demolished by order of Henry VII to make room for him and his wife of the chapel , and later for burial.
Now there is a statue of St. Erasmus, which, according to the authors, may be a reference to an ancient forgotten shrine.
Despite the fact that the White Queen is associated with Westminster, after her death in 1492 she was buried with her husband Edward IV in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Monarchs such as Henry VIII, George V and Elizabeth II have since been buried there.
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