Permit me to tell you a medieval love story. In the middle of the War of the Roses, King Edward IV snatched the crown from Henry VI. His right hand man, Richard Neville the Earl of Warwick AKA the Kingmaker, initially planned for Edward to marry a French princess because this would not only provide a powerful ally against the return of the Lancastrians, but it would also end England’s century long feud with France. Ultimately, Edward chose to marry one of his own subjects, Elizabeth Woodville. This made Edward IV the first English king to marry one of his own subjects since the Norman Conquest of 1066. Unlike the prestigious French princess Edward was arranged to marry, Elizabeth was a widow who came from a large family of very minor nobles.
The Woodvilles were not barons, earls, or dukes. Instead, they were landed gentry, who were the middle-class of medieval society. Due to this, Elizabeth and her family did not possess the power and influence that would have allowed Edward to firmly consolidate his hold on the English throne. Therefore, for political reasons, she was far beneath Edward’s status. Even so, Edward did not care because he was in love with Elizabeth and Edward had a well deserved reputation of being led by his loins.
Edward’s decision to marry Elizabeth had dire consequences. This union stirred the wrath of Edward’s right hand man, Warwick, as well as the rest of the senior nobility. To them, the Woodvilles were a bunch of low-ranking opportunists muscling in on the well established order. Their worst fears were realized when Edward IV established political marriages between the Woodvilles and the senior aristocracy.
Eventually, Warwick and his allies could take no more and rebelled against Edward IV multiple times before being put down for good in the Battle of Barnet. However, even though Warwick was defeated, Warwick and his allies managed to exterminate a number of the Woodvilles including Elizabeth’s father and one of her brothers.
I am thinking of creating a similar love story in the third volume of the Magnus Dynasty Saga. Instead of landed gentry, the main character’s love interest will come from an ancient family of middle-class landed knights. Landed knights are the lowest rank in the Gradaian nobility. They possess less power, wealth, and influence than a baron and can only muster small armies that number in the hundreds.