Local author Caroline Newark spoke about a royal marriage to seal a peace treaty between England and France when she introduced her latest novel, The Pearl Of France, at Crewkerne Library on Tuesday morning. Caroline’s 19 times great-grandmother Marguerite was the inspiration for the new book. Marguerite of France, the half sister of King Philip IV married King Edward 1 in September 1299 at Canterbury Cathedral. The arranged marriage between the 19 year old French girl and the 60 year old King of England was sanctioned by the Pope and sealed the peace treaty between the two countries, who had been at war for five years over the region of Gascony in south west France.
Caroline explained that the marriage was also to provide the elderly king with another son, an heir to the throne. Although Edward I had been very much in love with his first wife Eleanor of Castille, she had died in 1290, leaving him with four daughters and one son, the only surviving children from a large family. His boy, Edward of Caernarvon was more into hobbies than duties befitting of a royal prince. Caroline brought the history of the late 13th Century alive as she shared extracts from her book with an audience who were interested in the story, the history of England at that time and keen to know what had inspired Caroline to write the book.
Caroline is following the lives of the twenty-one women mentioned in her mother’s family tree. Her main character, Marguerite, in her second novel was a great-grandmother going way back in history. Caroline Newark is now writing her third novel about the next lady in her ancestral lineage and very much enjoying the journey back in time. All those who attended Caroline’s talk at Crewkerne Library found her enthusiasm for writing novels inspiring and will be looking forward to hearing more about her next novel.