Celebrating with a Giveaway

Paperback Publication of  The Royal Game on 31st March 2022.



Mistress Margaret Mautby Paston meets the Queen 1453

In April 1453 Queen Margaret (of Anjou), wife of King Henry VI, visited Norwich en route to Walsingham, on pilgrimage to give thanks at the shrine of the Blessed Virgin for her pregnancy, for which she must have experienced great relief given the King’s fragile state.  She would give birth to a son in October of that year.  She brought with her a gift of a tablet of gold encrusted with jewels to present at the shrine.



Queen Margaret stayed in Norwich for two days during which time an audience was held for her to meet the great and the good of the town.  Margaret Pastons’s cousin Elizabeth Clere was invited to talk with the Queen about her finding a husband.  Margaret, now a wife of thirteen years and mother of four children, accompanied her cousin.  Since there were many more Norfolk gentlewomen present, here was an opportunity for Margaret to make a Paston impression in the town.


After their conversation Queen Margaret declared that she was much impressed with Cousin Elizabeth, more than with any woman she had met in Norfolk.  Did Queen Margaret also single out Margaret Paston too for conversation?  We do not know.  It is very possible but I like to think that Mistress Paston would have told her husband about it in her next letter.  What did she think of the Queen?  We do not know the answer to that either.


So why is this event important to us, reading about Margaret Paston so many years later?  Because the outcome of this visit opens a window into our knowledge of Margaret and what was important to her.  She was very regretful that she had no suitable jewellery to wear to impress the well born women of Norwich.  Only her rosary beads, which she did not think at all appropriate to decorate her neckline.  She was forced to borrow an ‘ornament’ from her cousin Elizabeth on the day.



The result was that when she wrote to husband John, about a number of business matters, at the end Margaret asked him to send her some money before Whitsuntide so that she might purchase some decoration of her own.  The visit to the Queen without jewellery was clearly an issue for her.

‘I dare not out of shame in my beads go in the midst of so many lovely gentlewomen.’

The humiliation of it, having no impressive jewellery!


Did John send her any money?  Did she buy anything glitteringly decorative?

We will never know.

But it is good to know that Margaret Paston, woman of business and household management, enjoyed jewels and dressing for the occasion.




I am giving away three signed paperback copies of

The Royal Game.

For a chance to win, leave a comment at the end of this post.

Good fortune to all.





104 responses to “Mistress Margaret Mautby Paston meets the Queen 1453

    1. Thank you Anne and congratulations on your new book. I enjoy reading Historical fiction and learning more about the forgotten women who helped shape history.
      I would love a copy.

    2. Indeed , it is bad luck to wear your rosary beads , they should only ever be held / carried . . .This sounds such an interesting read , and a story that has never been told . This is only the second book that I’ve come across , that features Norwich as an integral part of the story – “The Go-Between, ” being the first . ( I probably need to read more books )

  1. Thank you Anne for all the wonderful books I have enjoyed reading that you have written. Wishing the same happiness back to you.

    1. Your books are a history lesson in themselves only more interesting and exciting that my old school lessons.

  2. Love reading about the forgotten powerful women of history….those in the background & on the sidelines who changed the course of the monarchy

  3. Ooooh another Anne O’Brien delight to add to my collection.
    Have been desperate for a signed book from you.
    Congratulations & hope sales soar.
    I love the amount of research and detail you put into everything you write 💗

  4. Once again Anne O’Brien has shown what a wonderful historian and brilliant storyteller she is. I love the Pastons, and Anne brings them to life beautifully.

    1. Hello, Anne. I first read one of your books 16 years ago when I had an accident and broke my back. After spinal surgery when I came home, my neighbour came to see me and brought flowers and a book. She said, ‘I know you love historical fiction, have you read any Anne O’Brien?’. And that was it, I was hooked! I have to say your books have helped me through some very painful times! Thank you for being such a fantastic writer! Xxx. ❤️📖📚

  5. In my eyes, every book is a good book
    Some are better than others…BUT
    Historical fiction tops the lot
    I just can’t wait to read the plot.

  6. The Paston women sound fascinating and although 8 have reserved this book at the library, I would love to own my own copy. Your books are so easy to read. You make the women and the times come to life.

  7. Be absolutely fantastic to receive a copy and it’s a queen l really don’t know a lot about be interesting to find out .blessings x

  8. You’re medieval world takes me away from the pain and numbness from my severe depression, I would be honoured to add this to my collection of your books, you take me away right back into time and I’m totally immersed in the world you so beautifully created.

    1. Men may think they are history makers, but behind the man, there is a strong intelligent woman.
      Would love to win, love your books Anne, thank you.

  9. I love that you bring these powerful women from history to life – so much(all!) of history is about the powerful men. I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the opportunity 😊

  10. To share with another woman of history emotions of embarrassment and inadequacy, and of expectations placed upon her, just as a woman experiences in today’s world, would be a liberating and strangely normalising read. To have that opportunity would be so gratefully appreciated.

  11. It would be an absolute pleasure to own a signed copy of your book. I so enjoy reading your engaging depictions of history. 💞

  12. I love reading your books and I’m looking forward to reading this book about these incredible women who are famous in the county I live in. ❤️

  13. I enjoyed this excerpt from the book and would love to read more about Margaret and her family. Somewhere in my basement is a book that I bought many years ago with letters of the Paston family.
    I would enjoy winning a book ; I haven’t won any in quite some time !

    1. Another wonderful chance to step back in time and become totally absorbed in women’s lives in the 15th century…oh joy!

  14. Thank you for providing hours of escapism from this crazy world. Your booms are just the distraction we need xxx

  15. The Pastons are such a fascinating family and I’d love to learn more about them in one of your wonderful books. Thank you so much for all the great reads.

  16. I have had this book ‘on order’ longing for it to be issued, now the waiting is over, time to settle down to the start of your latest saga. Roll on to the following books. Just love your writing, it has given me ‘lessons in history’, that I never had enjoyed at school.

  17. Love your books. You have the gift to make your characters so absorbing. Reading has been a godsend to me over these last two years, my place of calm. Thank you.

  18. Sounds so interesting reading about the Paston women. I enjoy reading your books, it fires of imagination of those times. I hope I am lucky enough to win this time!

  19. This sounds like an enthralling read. It’s true of women throughout the ages we dress to impress, it sounds like the lack of jewellery was a big issue for her. It’s actually quite sad that she feels like that, we will never know why but it makes you think.
    I love your books Anne I would really appreciate a signed copy for my collection.
    I hope this booked as well for you xx

  20. Having read several of your books now I am struck by the rather similar stories of the upper-class women of that period. It sounds as if life was very hard for women then, rich or poor!
    Well done, though. Your writing is engaging and very readable.

  21. When I was a baby and very poorly my parents where given a bottle of holy water from Walsingham Abbey as well as a tiny blue pendant with a picture of a nun on a bright blue background that I still have. It’s made in the shape of the windows from the Abbey.

  22. Dear Anne

    Congratulations on the publication of your new book. I’ve been so looking forward to reading this new tale of yet another one of the ladies from the shadows who helped shape my favourite period of history without whom families and dynasties would not have survived to the extent that they did. I’d love to be one of the lucky three to receive a signed copy of your latest masterpiece. x

  23. So glad to hear you have another book coming out. They are so fascinating to read, takes me back in time to the days when all women rich or poor were dominated by men. These women had no freedom as the poor ones did. Look forward to reading it.

  24. It makes me wonder what Queen Margaret saw in Cousin Elizabeth that made her stand out from the other Norfolk gentlewomen! And to want to know more about Margaret,it’s strange to think that after all the years that have passed we can still read her letters and know she felt embarrassed by not having fancy jewellery, and was close enough to her husband to ask him for money to buy some.
    I’d love to know more.

  25. I just cannot wait to read this wonderful book! So looking forward to that.
    Thank you for helping me to understand our countries history with your easy to read books. They are a joy. Xx

  26. I find your Stories very informative with so much detail. I just love every one I’ve read. Looking forward to adding this one to my collection,either way

  27. Hi, Anne , As I live not far away from the Oxnead Hall or Caister ,Iam looking forward to your take on the Paston,Margaret was a strong women and liked the fine thinks in life.

  28. I am looking forward to this book so much.
    I have purchased every book so far, and this latest is of particular interest, as it gives an insight into ordinary life for the women of the times.
    I am sure this new book will be as much a success as the rest, very best wishes and I will keep my fingers X.

  29. I would so love to receive this book. I have enjoyed all your books but this one is something different – about more ordinary people that I know nothing about so it will be like delving into a treasure trove of the unknown. I can’t wait to find out about the Pastons.
    Thank you for all your wonderful books.

  30. I would so love to receive this book. I love history and have read all your books and enjoyed them but this one is something different for me. It is about the more ordinary folk of history that I know nothing about so it will be like delving into a treasure trove of the unknown. I can’t wait to read it.
    Thank you for all your very interesting books.

  31. I hope John did send her money in which to buy herself some jewellery. After all…………. A lady without her jewels is like a flower without its petals.
    Can’t want to find out if he did.

  32. I love to read about these passionate, powerful medieval women! I’m intrigued by Margaret Paston, and look forward to reading her story.

  33. Fingers crossed, I’d love to win a signed copy. Having enjoyed the way you bring history so vividly to life through your characters I’m looking forward to getting to know the Pastons. Thank you and best wishes.

  34. I have always looked forward to your new books! The adventures are what keep me reading. Thank you.

  35. Would love to read about the Paston women and their viewpoint of the Wars of the Roses. Your books are always so well researched and bring the period to life. I would love a signed copy as this is the only one of your books I haven’t read yet.

  36. Good morning Anne,
    I would love to read your latest book and add it to your other novels in my library.It would be an added bonus if your signature was included please, that would be special.
    Best wishes on Mothering Sunday 27th March 2022.

  37. I love your insights into day to day concerns that may have occupied those of aristocratic or wealthy patronage in medieval times. It wasn’t all long-range political intrigue for these players! Thank you for you interesting, entertaining, and so very well written stories.

  38. I’ve only recently discovered your historical novels. They have been an inspiration, have widened my horizons and above all give me an outlet to relax and help me through a difficult time.

  39. Hi there Anne! What a lovely chance you’re giving us! I’ve recently read The King’s Concubine and I loved it a lot. It was the first novel I read by you and I became an instant fan. I would love to read more books by you in the future. The way you bring historical characters to life is amazing!

    Much love,

  40. I thought THE QUEEN’S RIVAL written as a series of letters was a master stroke. I really enjoyed it. I’ve not had chance to read your next book yet so would very much like to win it.

  41. Hello. Greetings from Washington, D.C. I have been reading your books for many years and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I thank you for the detail and research you put into the books, educating us about England’s history. I wish you further great success in the years to come. You have inspired others to write as well.

  42. Your books are very interesting and take you back in history, learning as I enjoy reading about these historical women.

  43. Loved this book and would cherish a signed copy! This book inspired me to look up the Paston letters and read more on my own and I love when books do that !!

  44. I’m an American and have lived in England for almost 20 years. I am sooooo into English history and would love this book. I can’t seem to get enough history, learning all about the medieval days and the kings & queens! England’s history is never-ending and sooo enthralling!!!

  45. I haven’t had the chance to purchase this book so, hopefully I will win one. Thank you for the daily history messages, photos and your lovely weather in the marches. Yes, my favorite weather is rain, mist, fog with thunder shaking the house.

  46. I really love your books.So magical to be whisked away to an earlier time..They are a joy to read. I’ve already put in a request to our library!!…in case a lucky copy doesn’t wing its way to the Southern hemisphere.

  47. Dear Anne – – A present of your book would make my Easter Birthday really special. Thank you for all your wonderful stories xx

  48. When I read your books Anne, I feel like I am really there. They are amazing and I truly thank you for the opportunity to be part of the world you love.

  49. Well, paperbacks coming out on my birthday?! How could I possibly miss this one?

    Looking forward to it -I’ve always been intrigued by the Pastons 🙂

  50. I would love to win this book to add to all of the others I own by you! Lol. However, if I don’t win it, I’m sure I will add it to my library soon…lol.
    Thank you for continuing to write great historical fiction about many of the fascinating women from from history.
    I love getting lost in one of your novels for hours, and I’m sure this one will be the same.

    Best of luck…

  51. What jewels did women buy in those days, were the rubies and emeralds so prized by royalty at a cost that others could afford? Was silver an acceptable metal or would only the finest gold do? Was gold jewelry made in England? What did women think of the “trinkets” their husbands bought them?
    So much we will never truly know about those who lived in the past but I thoroughly enjoy your novels and appreciate the research you do. Thank you.

  52. My family come from Norfolk so I love to read anything from the county & especially enjoy historical fiction.

  53. I would love a signed book to go with the other books in my special collection. I have all your books by this one.good luck to all who have entered, xxxc

  54. I love reading about anything connected to The War of the Roses and how interesting to see that women’s interest in fashion and jewellery remains unchanged over the centuries, whatever the underlying reason!
    Would love to read more about the Past on family.

  55. I have read all your other novels and would love to read this one. When I finish your books I pass them to my dear friend who is
    very ill . Thank you bringing these wonderful books to us all.
    Monica Burress

  56. Congratulations on the new book I would love to receive a signed copy
    I am looking forward to my next read of your book

  57. Your books about the incredible women of this terrifying period in our history are wonderful. I couldn’t afford the hardback so I would love a copy of the paperback. Thanks. Alan Farrant.

  58. To be transported back to a bygone era in your novels and to meet strong women is a pleasure I will never tire of.
    Thank you for the opportunity to win one of your books.

  59. I love the way your books tell the stories of Royal Families through the ages. I have read all of your previous books apart from this one. I really enjoy seeing the history of Kings and Queens through the eyes of a female character.
    Looking forward to reading this book.

  60. A special place is held in medieval history for the fascinating women in not only English history but all of our history. Anne’s books honour them all. Thank you xx

  61. I have been waiting for the release of this book since first learning about it on your site. Am 86 now and have been reading Historical Fiction almost exclusively for at least the last 30 years. You and Elizabeth Chadwick are my very favorites and have read every book you have published. Good luck to you with this new book; am excitedly looking forward to finally reading it.

  62. It’s little insights like this, into the lives and minds of ordinary people living in the past, that help make history so fascinating. That’s why the Paston letters are so precious to historians. Anne, I’m looking forward to seeing what characters you bring to life in The Royal Game.

  63. I would love the opportunity to win a copy of your book. Letters tell us so much about the people of the past and this especially helps us to understand the women of the past. The Paston letters are an insight to the life, loves and thoughts of those who went before us.
    Can’t wait to read this.

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