Wife of King Henry VI: Margaret of Anjou

Margaret of Anjou was born on the 23rd March 1429 at Pont-a-Mousson in the Duchy of Lorraine, to parents Rene, the Duke of Anjou and Isabella, the Duchess of Lorraine.

Margaret lived at the Castle of Tarascon in the Rhone valley and the Palace at Capua in Naples in her early years.

She was betrothed to King Henry VI of England, as part of a peace treaty between England and France.  On the 23rd April 1445 they were married, and on the 30th May was crowned at Westminster abbey.

In 1453, Henry VI exhibited signs of mental illness, and Margaret bore him a son; Prince Edward to continue the Lancastrian line of succession.

With the King incapacitated, and the new prince barely out of the womb, a protector should be appointed until the King had recovered.  Margaret had the hunger for power, but the position went to the Duke of York in 1454, who was a descendant of Edward III’s son, Lionel of Antwerp.  The Queen was excluded from all things pertaining to the government and Henry’s kingdom.

Violent clashes took place between the houses of Lancaster and York.  On the 31st December 1460, Margaret’s forces killed the Duke of York.  Henry who had been taken prisoner on the 10th July 1460, was also released that day.

Edward of York, son of the Duke of York, became King Edward IV, but had failed to capture King Henry and his Queen, as they fled to Scotland then France.

Edward IV was forced into exile, and Henry was restored to the English throne on the 30th October 1470.  In 1471 Edward became the victor at the Battle of Tewkesbury, where Henry’s son Edward was killed… eliminating the male side of the house of Lancaster.

On the 21st May 1471 Henry was murdered by order of King Edward IV, and buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1484 by order of Richard III.

Margaret had gone from Queen of England to a childless widow, at the strike of a sword.  She remained a prisoner for the next four years, and then returned to France after Louis XI paid a ransom for her.

On the 25th August 1482, Margaret of Anjou, she who had been Queen of England, died with nothing to call her own… a tragic ending for an English Queen.  She was entombed by her parents in Angers Cathedral, and her remains were removed and scattered by revolutionaries when the cathedral was ransacked during the French Revolution.

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