There were times in my life when I had no idea if I would keep my head. I was never a bad wife or a bad queen, the people often refer to me as “The Good Queen,” but for years I could not produce a male heir and, whenever I did, the infant died. During those trying years, I had to remember where I, Elizabeth Gedding, came from. I was the youngest daughter of The Duke of Rabbian, Edward Gedding. Let us start from the beginning.
I was the tenth and last child of Edward Gedding, Duke of Rabbian, and his loyal wife, Lucy Gedding. According to my mother, I was also the most beautiful.
They named me Elizabeth after my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Anne Gedding, mother of my grandfather on my father’s side. My mother loved me so much, as I was the healthiest and supposedly prettiest of all of her daughters. This angered my six older sisters. My oldest sister was 16 at the time of my birth. Her name was Joan, Countess of Rabbian. Her husband was Count of Rabbian and, coincidentally, their oldest child, Alice, was only a week younger than I!
My youngest sister, Winifred, was 3 and I had a brother, Stephen, who was 2 at the time. My other four sisters and two brothers were all between 7 and 15, much older than their newborn sister. There was 15 year old twins, Avis and Beatrice, who were both rather pinch faced. They were both married to Austrian archdukes and departed from New England Isle when I was only a few months old, much to their relief. (Now I feel sorry for them, as I now know that my mother was too busy with me to say goodbye.) Then there was my father’s heir, Walter, who was my only sibling who treated me affectionately. Walter was, however, horribly ugly with yellow teeth and a crooked nose.
Grace was 12 and very beautiful with silky hair and eyes like lilacs. She was married to a German baron at 14, but was widowed after a year of marriage; her husband had always been sickly. She remarried to his brother, the new baron, and gave birth to his child, Anne, but she found herself divorced at 17 in a disgrace, for her husband wished to marry his mistress, who had already given him two sons since the beginning of Grace’s marriage! Grace then returned home and decided to become a nun, which I think was a horrifying waste of her gorgeousness.
There was chubby little Reynold, who was 10. He was fat since infanthood and had a grotesque appearance from his love of food. Finally, I had a 7 year old sister named Denise, who was very impertinent and self-absorbed, even though she was tubby and plump. At 16 she was sent away to marry a knight from Zigonia, and she died childless 3 years later. Rumors say that she was still a virgin upon her death because her husband was horrified by her looks and behavior; therefore he took many mistresses and never spoke to his wife. This did not upset me at all, I must confess.
And so, my life began being doted on by my parents and loathed by my siblings. Winifred and my brothers were the only siblings around when I turned 14, Winifred was 17, Reynold was 24, Stephen was 16 and Walter was 28. Walter was engaged to a woman named Lady Florence Town, a kind, modest woman of 23. Winifred was still around because she was two months pregnant with the bastard child of a peasant boy. It was quite a disgrace.
Soon, my father was summoned to the court of King Leonard and Queen Catherine. He insisted that my mother, siblings and I come along (even the scandalously pregnant Winifred). I was so excited to begin this new journey in my life.