Royal Household: Love and Scandal

If we travel back to the Middle Ages, marriages were less of love, but more about politics.  Marriage below your rank was frowned upon, yet these did take place.

Catherine de Valois married Henry V, part of an agreement in the Treaty of Troyes of 1420, intended to end the “Hundred Years War.” She bore Henry a son; Henry VI who would inherit the thrones of England and France.

With the death of Henry V in August 1422, Henry VI was appointed Regent, and Catherine had no part in the affairs of the state, on behalf of her son.

Catherine, former Queen of England, would require the consent of the adult King, should she wish to remarry.

Parliament had not expected, this Queen Consort of the royal household, to cause a scandal, by having a liason, with her steward, Owen Tudor, and to make matters worse, had four children.

Parliament, viewed this as a disgrace in royal circles, however one of her sons, Edmund, married a Lancastrian heiress; Margaret Beaufort, founding the Tudor Dynasty.

Catherine de Valois was banished for her indiscretion, with one of a lower rank, and died aged 35.

Owen Tudor remained a servant within the House of Lancaster, and was executed by Yorkists, following the “Battle of Mortimer’s Cross.”

One Hundred Years War: The Why?

In 1152, Henry Plantagenet d’Anjou, heir to the English throne, married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the heiress, and took the title; Duke of Aquitaine.  In 1154, Henry ascended to the English throne as King Henry II of England, and started the Plantagenet dynasty.  Henry now held more French land, than the King of France himself.

England’s King John, lost the lands of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine and Poitou to France.  Henry III son of King John, acknowledged the surrender of Plantagenet claims to French land in France conquered by Philippe Augustus by way of the 1259 “Treaty of Paris.”

The scene had been set, Isabella of France and Edward the son and heir of King Edward I of England, would marry, according to the “Treaty of Montreuil,” dated June 1299.  These two pawns, it was hoped would bring an end, to battles over England’s territories in France.

Isabella of France married Edward II in 1308, what she hadn’t expected, was three partners in the marriage; Isabella – Edward – Pier Gaveston.  For Edward II and Pier Gaveston were lovers.

In 1314, Edward invaded Scotland, and was defeated at the “Battle of Bannockburn,” and it was not until 1329 that Scotland was recognised as an independent nation.

On the 1st August 1323, condemned prisoner Roger Mortimer of Wigmore was being held at the Tower of London, awaiting his execution.

Gerard d’Alspaye, the Tower’s deputy constable slipped a sleeping draught, into the drinks of the constables and guards.  Hastily Gerard released Mortimer from his cell, leading him to the tower’s southern wall, by way of the castle kitchens.

A rope ladder was dropped over the wall, and each climbed down to a waiting boat, and fellow conspirators rowed them across to the river’s south bank.  They escaped by horseback to the town of Porchester, and within days had crossed by ship to France.

In the March of 1325, Isabella went to France to see her brother; King Charles IV.  Her intended mission was to put an end to land disputes between England and France.  An agreement was made, that England could have Gascony and Ponthieu provided Edward attended the King’s court in Paris and paid homage to him.

It was at this time; Isabella met Roger Mortimer, an escapee from the Tower of London, who whisked her off her feet … she fell in love with him.

In the September of 1325, Edward II listened to advice from his advisors; the Despenser’s, that he should not go to France, but send his son; Prince Edward.  Prior to leaving for France on the 12th September, Prince Edward received the title; “Count of Ponthieu.”

On the 21st September 1325, Prince Edward paid homage to King Charles IV of France, and in return Charles bestowed upon him, the title of “Duke of Aquitaine.”

With her son, Prince Edward safe by her side, Isabella began setting the scene of removing her husband from his position as King Edward II of England.

In November 1325, the English Parliament requested Isabella to return to England… she refused, which incurred the annoyance of her brother: Charles.

Part of a letter written by Isabella to Edward:

“I feel that marriage is a joining of a man and woman holding fast to the practice of a life together.  But someone has come between my husband and myself and is trying to break the bond; I declare that I will not return until this intruder is removed, but discarding my marriage garment, shall put on the robes of widowhood and mourning until I am avenged.”

The Queen stayed in France, taunting the King of England who had so abused her and drawing around her a coalition of disaffected English nobles and bishops.  True to her word, she symbolized her disgust with and alienation from her husband by wearing black robes of mourning and a veil over her face.

In England, Edward was furious, and instructed leading bishops of England to tell Isabella that her absence roused fears of a French invasion of England.  Isabella was unmoved.  She held the heir to the Plantagenet realm, and she was protected by the King of France.  As 1325 drew to a close, Isabella allied herself with the fugitive Roger Mortimer of Wigmore.

Isabella left France and attended the court of her brother; William II, the Count of Hainault, who assisted here with her plans to invade England.  In return Prince Edward, now the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Ponthieu, would marry his daughter; Philippa.

In 1326, England prepared for an invasion of their lands, which had been financed partly by money advanced from Philippa’s dowry.

On the 24th September 1326 Isabella and her loyal supporters landed at Orwell in Suffolk.  Isabella’s army advanced on London seeking out Edward, but he had left the Tower of London, with the Despenser’s and the Earl of Winchester.

Isabella was welcomed upon entering Bristol in October.  The Earl of Winchester, who resided in the castle surrendered and was executed on the 27th October 1326 as a traitor.

King Edward II was captured at the “Abbey of Neath” in Wales and imprisoned in Berkeley Castle.  The Despenser’s were captured and put on trial, and Hugh Despenser was executed as a traitor.

Prince Edward, son of Edward II and Isabella Capet, was crowned King Edward III of England on the 29th January 1327, after his father abdicated his position as King of England.

Edward Plantagenet, King Edward III of England, was fourteen at his ascension, and under the tutelage of an adulterous mother; French born Isabella and her ambitious lover Roger Mortimer.  They acted as the young King’s Regents, until he became of age, to rule his kingdom.

Isabella and Roger Mortimer were now rulers of England.  Mortimer, the Earl of March, seized castles, estates and treasures.  His co-conspirator was no better, for Isabella made huge grants for herself and her lover.  Even to the point of using Parliament to pass laws in her favour.

In October 1330, when Edward could take control of his kingdom, Isabella and Mortimer secured themselves in Nottingham Castle, with guards patrolling the castle walls.

They believed they be safe, what they hadn’t bargained on, Edward and a few good men, accessed the castle through a secret passage into Mortimer’s bedroom.

Mortimer’s days of robbing Edward’s kingdom, came to an end, taken to London, charged and found guilty of treason, and hung, drawn and quartered on the 29th November.  His mother Isabella imprisoned in Castle Rising for the remainder of her days.

The Hundred Years War was started by King Edward III of England, who believed he should have ascended as King of France, following the death of Charles IV in 1328.

The Hundred Years War was the final war, going back to the Norman history, when William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy became King of England in 1066, after defeating Harold II at the “Battle of Hastings.”

In 1328, King Charles IV of France died, leaving no male heir to succeed him and continue the Capetian dynasty.

Since the death of Hugh Capet in 996, there has always been a son to carry on the family name.  France didn’t want an English King as ruler, even though Edward was related to Charles.  So it was, the French Assembly awarded the crown of France to a distant cousin; Philip of Valois, who was crowned King Philip VI of France at Reims in 1328.

King Edward III of England, reluctantly accepts the French Assembly decision; making Philip King of France.

The 17 year old Edward III attends Amiens Cathedral in 1329, in response to a summons by Philip VI, in homage for his fiefs (Fiefs – land granted by a lord in return for military service) in France.  The English King Edward III showed contempt by wearing a deep red robe, with embroidered gold leopards upon it, wearing his crown and brandishing a sword at his belt.

Over the next eight years, a gradual change was taking place, England’s symbolic act of defiance to war.

French nobles unhappy with Philip VI as King of France, urged Edward to press his claim, for the throne of France.

In 1337, King Philip VI of France declares that he is confiscating English territories in South-West France, citing England’s failure in feudal obligations.

An enraged Edward responded, claiming that France is his by right of inheritance… So it was, Edward III declared war on France.

On the 26th January 1340, Edward III entered the Flemish city of Ghent, and called upon the towns people to recognize him not only King of England, but also King of France.

This marked the most profound imaging of the Plantagenet Crown… it would spark an exhausting, seemingly endless period of hostility between England and France, that would become known as the “Hundred Years War.”

Plantagenet Kings had depicted their English sovereignty through three lions, commonly known in heraldry as leopards, against a bright red field.  The coat of arms had changed. 

The leopards had been quartered within the ancient arms of the French Crown: golden fleurs-de-lis against a blue field.  French fleurs-de-lis taking pride of place, displayed in the upper left and right corners of the coat of arms.

English and French interests clashed across Europe…  French Kings looked to expand their rights, their borders.  This brought England and France in direct conflict in trading battles and control of shipping routes.

One Hundred Years War: The Battles

The Hundred Years War:  England and France fought each other for the French throne, and English territories from 1337-1453.  The war was not fought continuously but in phases.  It started out well for the English, but by 1453, the tide had turned in favour of France, all English lands except Calais were lost.

The “Battle of Cadsand – (1337),” the first battle of the Hundred Years War, where Edward III raided the island of Cadsand… leading to an English victory.

The “Naval Battle of Sluys – (1340) saw some two hundred French, Castilian and Genoese sail across the English Channel… for a prolonged invasion of England.

The English had a small fleet, but they had long bowmen situated on platforms at the rear of their ships, and were able to fire off arrows, much quicker than Frances crossbowmen.

The French were driven from their decks by a barrage of arrows, as ships closed in.  Grappling irons secured boats for boarding, as English forces scrambled onto French ships followed by hand-to-hand fighting.

The achieved victory, gave England control of the English Channel.

The “Battle of Auberoche – (1345),” was a battle fought between English and French troops over disputed boundaries… English forces won through.

The “Siege of Calais – (1346), tells of English forces capture of Calais, turning the area into their operations base.

The “Battle of Crecy – (1346) was fought in northern France; an overwhelming defeat for the French, with a far larger army than the English forces.  Genoese mercenary crossbow men and French knights, proved no match for the English longbow men.

The “Battle of Saint – Pol – de – Leon (1346),” an English commander named Dagworth, withdrew his men, taking cover at a nearby hill, where they dug trenches and waited for the French.  He was not disappointed as General Blois and his infantry assaulted their position, and they were cut down by English forces, leading to an English victory.

The “Battle of La Roche – Derrien (1347),” England’s forces fell into a trap set by Duke Charles, luring Dagworth into a night battle.  The French overwhelmed them, Dagworth was forced to surrender.  Charles let his guard down, and English backup forces led to his defeat.

The “Battle of Saintes (1351), where French forces attempted to capture the town, but English forces arrived, and were victorious.

The “Battle of Ardres (1351).”  French forces led by Lord Beaujieu, surrounded English forces under the command of John of Beauchamp as they withdrew from Saint-Omer, leading to a French victory.

The “Battle of Mauron (1352),” tells of an English captain, Breton captain and Franco Breton forces, meeting at Brambily, where the French were defeated… leading to an Anglo-Breton victory.

The “Battle of Poitiers (1356)” saw Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, defeat the French army near Poitiers.  Yet again, the English longbowmen played a decisive part in the battle.  King John II (Jean II) of France was captured and taken to England, where he remained until 1360, promising to pay a ransom for his release.

During the French King’s captivity in England, Charles attempted to be crowned King of France, but the attempt failed.

A peace treaty was drafted in 1360, which coincided with John’s release, by 1369 the treaty broke down wand was resumed.

At the “Battle of Auray (1364),” English troops commanded by John Chandos lay siege to the town of Auray.  French forces lose and the town surrenders.  The French military leader; Bertrand du Guesclin is captured and held for ransom.

At the “Battle of Navarrette (1367),” fought between Anglo-Gascon and Franco-Castilian forces.  English forces were led by Edward, against Henry of Trastamara.  Henry’s half-brother assisted Edward in his defeat.

At the “Battle of Montiel (1369)” Peter had the support of Edward and England, Henry and France.  Peter lost the battle, as Edward withdrew his support, and Henry was victorious for France.

At the “Battle of Chiset (1373),” French forces attacked the town of Chiset.  The English called for help, but the battle was over before they arrived, and the French were the victors.

At the “Siege of Harfleur (1415)” King Henry V of England landed on French soil with 10,000 men.  The siege lasted about a month, and Henry’s forces were victorious, but at a price, his number had been severely reduced.  Next stop for Henry was Calais, but French forces intercepted him at Agincourt.

The “Battle of Agincourt (1415)”.  English forces under the command of King Henry V, defeated a superior French army, and his skilled longbowmen, won the battle for their King and England.

The “Siege of Rouen (1418-1419)” English forces reached Rouen in the July of 1418, and came face to face with the French commanded by Blanchard and LeBouteillen.  English forces found it impossible to breach city walls, and opted to starve out their enemy.  On the 20th January 1419, the French surrendered.

The “Battle of Bauge (1421)” French and Scottish forces joined up, attacking the English in Normandy.  Thomas, the Duke of Clarence’s force of cavalry and infantry, were not working with each other, as they attacked allied forces, which brought down their army and victory went to the Franco-Scots force.

On the 31st August 1422, King Henry V of England died at Vincennes in France, and two months later King Charles VI of France also died.

The “Battle of Cravant (1423).”  Following a standoff, Scottish archers began firing at the enemy.  Then under the protection of the longbows chose to cross the river.  The French withdrew their forces, as the Scottish forces fought on, only to be cut down.  This would lead to a victory for the English and Burgundian army.

The “Battle of Verneuil (1423).”  Some 15,000 French and Scottish troops attacked a 9,000 strong English force in Normandy.  As the French and Scottish forces charged, English longbowmen cut them down in their tracks.

The “Battle of St.James (1426).”  The battle took place at Avranches, between French and English troops on the border of Normandy and Brittany.  English forces overwhelmed the French, leading to an English victory.

The “Battle of Jargeau (1429).”  Joan of Arc and Duke John controlled French forces against the English.  The French assault started on the 11th June and on the 12th June, Joan called upon the English to surrender.  Even though the English suffered heavy losses, they battled on, refusing to give in, and were victorious over the French.

The “Battle of Beaugency (1429).”  French forces were losing control of the river crossings, one by one.  French determination won through, as English commanders were captured and longbowmen killed.

The “Siege of Orleans (1429),” will be most remembered when Joan of Arc, a 17 year old peasant girl, stepped forward claiming divine guidance.  Her actions marked a turning point for French forces, she would lead the troops to victory over the English.

In the year 1429, French became more victorious in battle against the English.  Joan of Arc put fire in the bellies of French troops, and she would lead them into battle.

The “Battle of Patay (1429).”  This victory is credited to Joan of Arc, even though the battle was won, before France’s main force arrived on the scene.

The “Siege of Compiegne (1430).”  Captain Louis led an artillery bombardment at Choisy.  As the French forces were victorious, Joan of Arc was captured, put on trial by the English and burnt at the stake as a witch in 1431, in Rouen. 

At the “Battle of Gerbevoy (1435).”  French forces were commanded by La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, who were victorious over English forces.  La Hire was promoted to Captain General of Normandy in 1438, and died in 1443 at Montauban.

The “Battle of Formingny (1450).”  King Charles VII of France, goes on the attack, pushing back a force of 5,000 English troops, into the town of Formingny.  French artillery open fire on the town, and only 1,000 English survived the bombardment.  Formingny marked an end to fighting in the northern territories of France.

The “Battle of Castillon (1453),” saw a victorious French army defeat English forces and marked an end to the Hundred Years War.  This battle was more about the use of cannons to achieve victory.

King Edward III of England had plunged the country into war against the French: “The Hundred Years War.”  Edward died in 1377 and so the reign of King Richard II began.  In 1396 Richard married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI.

Richard and Isabella’s marriage, led to a twenty-eight truce in hostilities between the two countries.  It didn’t take long for the truce to be broken, and war to break out again.

The English failed to achieve victory in the Hundred Years War, even though they had achieved many victories.  After the Battle of Agincourt, the war changed direction, away from the English to the French.

England lost the war, all their territories except Calais, which was later captured in 1558.

One Hundred Years War: (1399-1453)

Rivalry was escalating between the dukes of Burgundy and Orleans for governmental control, and it was heading for an internal battle within France, by two of its powerful houses.

In 1407, Louis duc d’Orleans, brother to King Charles VI of France was assassinated by the Duke of Burgundy, which led to civil war between Burgundian partisans of the Duke of Burgundy and Armagnac partisans of the Duke of Orleans.

In 1413, the Armagnacs gained control of Paris, and expelled from the city, those loyal to the Burgundians.

Feuding factions were tearing apart the French realm, to the backdrop of the Hundred Years War.  Sooner or later, England would seize the opportunity and attack France.

King Henry IV died in 1413, to be succeeded by his son Henry of Monmouth, King Henry V of England.  From the start of his reign, he was determined to attack France.

He demanded of France, that Aquitaine should be returned to English control, and the long forgotten arrears of King John’s ransom be paid.  He kept up his demands, until negotiations reached a stale mate, as France was unwilling to comply with his demands.  As the negotiations had been taking place, he had been equipping an army to do battle.

On the 11th August 1415, Henry’s fleet slipped slowly into the English Channel, heading southwards from the Hampshire coast.  On the 14th August, the fleet dropped anchor at Chef de Caux, on the north shore of the Seine estuary, a few miles from Honfleur.  He laid siege to the Norman port of Harfleur, who surrendered on the 22nd September.

Henry’s forces left Harfleur on the 8th October and marched to Calais.  Henry sent word, ordering the Governor of the town; Sir William Bardolph to take his forces to the crossing across the Somme and hold it.  At the crossing, Bardolph and his army was nowhere to be seen, instead French troops were waiting.

Henry marched south-east along the river’s left bank, and the French blocked any attempt to cross.

On the 24th October, as the English army passed through Frevent, some 30 miles from Calais and safety, his scouts reported, the French had amassed a large army and blocked the road ahead.

Henry knew there was only one action that could be taken, in reply to this information.

On the 25th October 1415, the “Battle of Agincourt” took place, as English forces took up position in three divisions; commanded by Lord Camoys on the right, the Duke of York in the centre and Sir Thomas Erpingham on the left.

The Constable of France, led the French line, with the second line led by the Dukes of Bar and d’Alencon with the Counts of Merle and Falconberg bringing up the rear.

Henry’s forces made the first move as banners advanced to the sound of trumpets.  As arrow range was reached, archers prepared, and on the King’s order a barrage of arrows, flew across the skyline, killing hundreds of French troops.

The battle raged, along the English line, archers abandoned their bows and joined knights and men-at-arms in hand to hand combat against the French.  In less than two hours, the battle was an English victory… and remnants of the French army vacated the battlefield.

The English army consisted of 5,000 knights, men-at-arms and archers.  The French army consisted of some 30,000 knights, men-at-arms and crossbowmen, of which 8,000 are believed to have died.

The Battle of Agincourt wiped out three French dukes, the Constable of France, nine Counts, and ninety Lords and close to 5,000 knights.  In response England’s losses were few; Edward, the Duke of York and 500 knights, men-at-arms and archers.

In 1417, Henry started a new campaign against France, the conquest of previously controlled English lands in France.  In January 1419, Rouen the Norman capital fell, which opened the way to Paris.

On the 10th September 1419, Duke John of Burgundy was assassinated in revenge for the murder of Louis duc d’Orleans, as the Burgundian faction joined forces with the English.

King Henry V of England, contracted fever at Meaux and died on the 31st August 1422, and was succeeded by his son; Henry VI.  Henry V’s brother, Duke John of Bedford, became Regent to the ten month old King.

King Charles VI of France died on the 21st October 1422, and the dauphin Charles, claimed the throne of France as King Charles VII.  Yet he didn’t have the backing of the people of France, and was only acknowledged as King by the people of Southern France.

The Duke of Bedford acting as King’s Regent, expanded English lands in France, as Maine came under English control.

The final phase of the Hundred Years War began with the birth of a French peasant girl, back in 1412: Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc).  In 1425 she claimed she heard voices from God; her mission in life was to save France by expelling their enemies… the English!

King Henry V of England claimed his right to the French throne and following their rejection, invaded France in August 1415 and went on to defeat Armagnac’s army at the “Battle of Agincourt” on the 25th October 1415.

Henry V conquered much of northern France in 1417, gaining support from Duke Philip III of Burgundy, for he agreed Henry V had a legal claim to the French throne.

In 1428 Joan of Arc met with Duke Charles after many rejections at his palace in Chinon.  She promised him, if he gave her an army she would turn round the war in his favour, and she would see him take his rightful place and crowned King of France at Reims.  There was much opposition to such an idea from loyal supporters of Charles, but he gave her a chance … one wonders what he saw in her.

In March of 1429, Joan of Arc led her army against the English as they were attacking Orlean’s.  She was dressed in white armour upon a white horse carrying a banner with the picture of “Our Saviour” holding the world with two angels at the sides on a white background covered with gold fleurs-de-lis.

Joan was to lead several assaults against the Anglo-Burgundian forces expelling them from their fortress, and forcing their retreat across the Loire River.  As her victories mounted, so did her fame, spread across France.

Joan kept her promise as Duke Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France in July 1429 at Reims.

After Joan’s capture in 1430 at the Battle of Compiegne, and burnt at the stake on charges of heresy.  Philip, the Duke of Burgundy renounced his English alliance at the Congress at Arras.  He accepted Charles VII as the true King of France, dealing a mortal blow to the English.

In 1444, King Henry VI of England married the French princess Margaret of Anjou, in an arranged marriage, part of an agreement towards peace.

In 1449, English warriors laid siege and looted Fougeres in Brittany.  In reply Charles VII, felt he was no longer bound by the terms of the peace treaty.

French forces captured Normandy and Gascony from the English during 1449-1451.  In 1452, a pro-English faction in Bordeaux called upon the English for assistance.  John Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury re-took Bordeaux.  On the 17th July 1453, John Talbot’s English force, proved no match against the French troops at Castillon, where they were defeated and Talbot died on the battlefield.

The final straw came on the 19th October 1453, when Bordeaux fell to the French.  England still had control of Calais, and it remained so up until 1558.  Up until the 1st January 1801, the title King of France was claimed by the English.

Effectively the “Hundred Years War” came to an end in 1453, and England was shocked by the loss of its overseas empire…

Wars of the Roses

The “Wars of the Roses,” were a series of battles, which took place in medieval England between 1455-1485.  Two rival branches, the Lancastrians who wore the red rose, and the Yorkists who wore the white rose, both descendants of the Royal House of Plantagenet.  Both wanted the same thing; control of the English throne.

England’s claimants to the throne: On one side, we have the third son of King Edward II; John of Gaunt.  Henry Bolingbroke the son of John of Gaunt, ousted King Richard II in 1399, and was crowned King Henry IV of England.  He is remembered for the creation of the “House of Lancaster.”

Henry the son of King Henry IV succeeded his father, becoming King Henry V of England in 1413.  He renewed the Hundred Years War with the French, beating them at Agincourt in 1415.  He married Catherine de Valois, and upon his death in 1422, left an infant son and heir; King Henry VI of England.

The other claimant to the English throne be Richard, the Duke of York, who claimed his right of inheritance, being descended from the female relatives of King Edward III’s second and fourth sons.  Lionel of Antwerp the Duke of Clarence and Edmund of Langley, the Duke of York. 

In the year 1411, Richard Plantagenet was born to parents Richard the 5th, Earl of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer.  In the year 1415, became the Duke of York, when Edward his uncle was killed at Agincourt.

He served as Henry VI’s lieutenant in France (1436-1437), Governor of France and Normandy (1440-1445).

The English court eyed him with much suspicion, he whose father had been executed for his involvement in the “Southampton Plot.”  He being a descendant on both sides from King Edward III.

Things would have been much different if King Henry V had died childless.  His claim to the English throne would have been guaranteed.  Instead Henry left an infant son and heir, to carry on the family dynasty.

In the August of 1453, King Henry V was declared mad and needed a Regent to rule on his behalf.  What we had at this time, was a mentally unbalanced King.

The Scheming Richard, the Duke of York stepped forward, he being the complete opposite to Henry; warlike, ambitious and greedy.  By the March of 1454, Richard had been appointed the King’s Regent.

Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset was an obstacle in Richard’s plan to seize the throne.  When Richard became the King’s Regent in 1454, he sought revenge upon his enemies.  Edmund was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, to remain there until the King regained his sanity.

It was not until the May of 1455, that Richard, the Duke of York could rid himself of Edmund Beaufort, a powerful and loyal supporter of the King.  Beaufort lost his life at the “First Battle of St.Albans.”

Henry’s bout of insanity was short lived, and by Christmas 1454, he had returned to his post, and Richard lost his position as the King’s Regent.

The power struggle instigated by the descendants of Edward III, had reached new heights.  The Plantagenet royal family had broken into two rival factions.

King Henry’s House of Lancaster, bearer of the red rose and Richard’s House of York, bearer of the white rose.

The only way the royal houses of Lancaster and York could resolve their issues was through Civil War.

The first battle of the “Wars of the Roses” took place on the 22nd May 1455, when Richard, the Duke of York, took on the forces of King Henry VI of England.  The first battle was known as the “First Battle of St.Albans,” and became a victory for the Yorkists.

Richard, the Duke of York and victor at St.Albans, became constable of England.  He became guardian of King Henry VI and imprisoned him in the Tower of London.

Queen Margaret would not stand by, and be walked over, she escaped taking command of Lancastrian forces in the north.  On the 30th December 1460, her army took on the Yorkist forces at the “Battle of Wakefield.”

Yorkists suffered a bitter blow, when their leader, Richard the Duke of York lost his life on the battlefield.  Margaret set the head of Richard, the Duke of York on the gates of York, wearing a paper crown.  York in death over looked the city of York.

The sons of Richard, the Duke of York and Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, sought to avenge their father’s.

Eighteen year old Edward, the new Duke of York, defeated Lancastrian forces at the “Battle of Mortimer’s Cross,” on the 2nd February 1461.

Margaret’s Lancastrian forces responded to their defeat, by taking on the Yorkist forces at the “Second Battle of St.Albans,” on the 17th February 1461, and were victorious.

Margaret shocked Lancastrian and Yorkist forces alike, by letting her seven-year-old son, pronounce the death sentences and means of execution on captured noblemen.

With an enlarged Yorkist force heading to London, she and the King fled north across the border, into Scotland, an ally of her homeland of France.

Edward the Duke of York entered London in 1461, and declared to the people, he was the legitimate descendant of Edward III.  Once crowned their King, marched north to confront Lancastrian forces and Margaret at Towton on the 29th March.  Lancastrian forces were defeated by Yorkists, and some 28,000 lost their lives that day.  Once again Queen Margaret, King Henry and Prince Edward fled to the safety of Scotland.

Edward, the Duke of York, had claimed the English throne, aged twenty and deposed Henry VI and sent him into exile.

Edward IV’s powerful supporter, Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick would feel he had been taken for granted, as he was arranging a diplomatic marriage with a French princess. 

Edward had crossed Warwick, by secretly marrying a commoner; Elizabeth Woodville, on the 1st May 1464.

Elizabeth Woodville’s relatives were given titles, grants of money and lands, which Warwick felt should be his.  Edward stuck the knife in Warwick’s back, by taking advice from his new family, the Woodville’s.

In the meantime Queen Margaret and Prince Edward fled to France.  The deposed King Henry VI was captured at Waddington Hall in Lancashire, in the July of 1465, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

King Edward had made an enemy of his loyal supporter and friend; the Earl of Warwick.  In the March of 1470, Edward accused Warwick of treason, and he was forced to flee into exile in France.

Warwick went on to perform one of the greatest betrays of English history.  He joined forces with Margaret in France.  Warwick was determined to have his revenge on Edward, whatever the cost.

Anne Neville, the daughter of Warwick was married to Prince Edward the royal heir; son of Margaret and Henry.

Warwick’s alliance with the French changed the balance of power from Yorkists to Lancastrians.  When the armies of Margaret and Warwick landed on English soil, Edward was forced into exile with the Duke of Burgundy, a known enemy of the French.

Henry VI was installed as King of England, under the protection of the Earl of Warwick.

In April of 1471, Edward landed in England, coming face to face with his former mentor the Earl of Warwick at the “Battle of Barnet” on the 14th April.  Warwick lost his life on the battlefield, and Edward had his body removed to St.Paul’s Cathedral in London.

On the 4th May 1471, Edward faced Margaret’s forces at the “Battle of Tewkesbury,” where Lancastrian forces were defeated.  Prince Edward fled the battle.

On the 21st May 1471, Henry VI was murdered in his prison cell in the Tower of London.

Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, youngest brother of Edward IV, one of the killer’s of Henry VI, took as his prize, Anne Neville the daughter of the Earl of Warwick and wife of Prince Edward, as his wife.

On the 22nd May 1471, Edward IV returned to London with his prisoner; Margaret, she who had lost everything; her husband, her son, her crown.  Her father King Rene of Sicily paid her ransom, and she lived out the remainder of her life in France, until her death in 1482.

On the 9th April 1483, King Edward IV suffered a stroke, and one of his last duties before his death, was to name his brother; Richard the Duke of Gloucester as protector after his death.  He entrusted his young sons, the two princes; Edward and Richard into his care.  Edward IV died later that day, and was buried at Windsor Castle.

Edward was succeeded by his 12-year-old son; King Edward V.  Richard of Gloucester became the young king’s Regent, until he was old enough to rule.

When Richard had been informed of his brother, King Edward IV’s death, he rode with haste to London, abducting his nephew Edward V, the new King of England, and placing him in the Tower of London.

When Queen Elizabeth Woodville heard that her son Edward, the boy king, was in Richard’s hands she feared for his life.  Fear reeked through her body, her other son, Richard the Duke of York needed protection, with that in mind; she took him to the safety of Westminster Abbey.  On the 16th June, she was forced to relinquish her son to Richard, to be placed in the Tower of London, along with his brother.

From that day forth, she would never set eyes on her young princes…

Richard of Gloucester, one scheming individual, had no intention of being Regent to the boy king… He wanted the throne.

Dr.Ralph Shaa, brother of the mayor, declared to the citizens of London, on the 22nd June, that King Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was illegal.  For there had been a contract of marriage between Edward and Lady Eleanor Butler (born Talbot), prior to his 1464 marriage with Elizabeth Woodville.  They had a private wedding, few witnesses, no banns called, no participation by king’s ministers, no priests… not a wedding in the true sense of the word.

Richard, the Duke of Gloucester put forward his claims to Parliament.  The two princes; Prince Edward V and Richard, the Duke of York, were children of the Duke of Clarence, his brother who had been executed for treason.  This would make Richard the rightful heir to the English throne, as presented to Parliament in the “Titulus Regis” document, and gained acceptance by the assembly.

This news changed everything, the princes were declared illegitimate, barred from succession to the English throne on the 25th June.

Richard the Duke of Gloucester was crowned King Richard III of England on the 6th July 1483.

His wife Anne Neville died, believed to have been poisoned by Richard, who sought to marry his niece; Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV.

On the 7th August Henry Tudor landed at Milford Haven in South Wales.  On the 22nd August 1485 Henry Tudor and Richard III came face to face at the “Battle of Bosworth Field.”

Henry Perce, Sir William Stanley and Lord Stanley, three of Richard’s commanders deserted him on the battlefield, at a time when he needed them most.

Henry Tudor had beaten Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on the 22nd August 1485.  He was now king of a kingdom exhausted by years of dynastic feuding.  In 1486, he married Elizabeth of York, uniting the houses of York and Lancaster, after decades of war, and founded the Tudor dynasty.  The Tudor Rose: red and white roses to symbolise a united house.

The pretender Lamber simnel claimed he be the son of the Earl of Warwick; Edward in the summer of 1487.  He was backed with a force of 8,000 Irish and Continental mercenaries, commanded by the Earl of Lincoln, once successor to Richard III.

Henry Tudor knew their claims were false, for the real Edward had not been killed, but resided as a prisoner in the Tower of London.

Their forces proved to be no match against Henry Tudor at the “Battle of Stoke” on the 16th June 1487.

The Earl of Lincoln lost his life.  Lambert Simnel was captured, and worked in the King’s kitchen.

The Battle of Stoke became the final battle of the Wars of the Roses.