Wife of King Richard III: Anne Neville

Anne grew up at a time when England was at war with itself: “The Wars of the Roses.”

Anne Neville was born on the 11th June 1456 at Warwick Castle, to parents Richard Neville the Earl of Warwick and Anne Beauchamp.

Plantagenet King Henry VI considered weak, took the ambitious French Princess Margaret of Anjou as his wife and Queen.  The Queen with her circle of nobles and devout followers became known as the Lancastrians, who bore the Red Rose.  Those who opposed the Queen, were led by Richard the Duke of York.  Henry’s cousin and descendant of King Edward III bore the White Rose and were known as Yorkists.  In 1455 war broke out: The Wars of the Roses, each seeking to be King of England. 

Her mother being Anne Beauchamp, daughter and heiress of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick and Isabel dispenser.

Her father being the Earl of Warwick, he who had power and influence, and an important supporter of the House of York.

On the 30th December 1460, Richard the Duke of York, was killed by Lancastrians at the “Battle of Wakefield,” and his younger sons; George the Duke of Clarence and Richard the Duke of Gloucester came under Warwick’s care and moved to Middleham Castle.

Anne and Richard were first cousins once removed, both descendants of Ralph Neville the Earl of Westmorland and Joan Beaufort, the daughter of John of Gaunt the Duke of Lancaster and son of Edward III.

Warwick arranged that York’s eldest son would take the post of King Edward IV of England, and for the first three years Warwick would rule on his behalf.  The seeds of discord were sown, when Warwick attempted to arrange the marriage of Edward with France’s Bona of Savoy.  Upon his return to England, Warwick learnt his young king had secretly married, taking Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Sir John Grey, a Lancastrian knight.  It wasn’t long before Warwick detested his new Queen.

Edward’s brother the Duke of Clarence, took an utter dislike to Edward’s choice of wife and Queen.  Warwick, he who had much influence over George, he who had been raised in Warwick’s house, attempted to arrange marriage with his daughter and co-heiress Isabel.  The king refused to permit marriage, which led Clarence and Isabel to marry in Calais, France.

Bitter feelings erupted, leading to Warwick and Clarence’s revolt against Edward, and his defeat at the Battle of Edgecote Moor in 1469, where the King was taken prisoner.

Warwick attempted to rule England in Edward’s name, but a counter rebellion led to the King’s release.

In a stroke of clever diplomacy, Louis XI of France, reconciled the discontented Warwick with the Lancastrian Queen; Margaret of Anjou.  It was no mean feat, they being bitter enemies, for Margaret had ordered Warwick’s fathers execution.  It is reported that Warwick knelt before Margaret, before she would consent to an alliance.

Anne Neville (14) would marry Margaret’s son, Edward of Westminster (16), the Lancastrian Prince of Wales on the 13th December 1470 at Angers Cathedral.

In October of 1470, Warwick restored Henry VI to the English throne, and made Anne, Princess of Wales.  In April of 1471 Warwick was slain by Edward on the battlefield at the “Battle of Barnet.”  Margaret of Anjou, her son Edward and Anne heard of the disaster at Barnet, upon landing on English soil, and considered returning to France.  Prince Edward persuaded her to stay in England and lead her army to the north, seeking to join up with Welsh Lancastrian forces, led by Jasper Tudor.

They were intercepted by Edward IV, forced into battle at Tewkesbury on the 4th May 1471.  Margaret and Anne took refuge in a house of God, and Edward the Prince of Wales lost his life that day, and was buried at the Tower of London.

Anne was escorted to Coventry first, then moved to the home of her sister; Isabel and the Duke of Clarence’s home in London.  Richard of Gloucester requested and was granted permission to marry Anne, co-heiress of her father’s estate.  Clarence opposed the proposed marriage, seeking her inheritance.

It is believed she escaped from the Clarence household and sought refuge in a London cook shop disguised as a servant.  Richard traced her, and she was taken to the Church of St.Martin le Grand, where she was granted sanctuary.  On the 12th July 1472, Richard and Anne were married at Westminster Abbey.

It is believed Richard and Clarence then engaged in a lengthy dispute over who should inherit the majority of the Neville and Beauchamp estate, although Anne’s mother, Anne Beauchamp was still alive.  The property was divided between her two sons-in-law.  Richard and Anne made Middleham Castle their home and their marriage produced one child Edward Plantagenet born around 1473 at Middleham.

King Edward IV died on the 9th April 1483 and Richard of Gloucester was appointed Lord Protector for Edward’s twelve-year-old son; Edward V.  On the 25th June 1483, Edward and his brother Richard, the Duke of York were declared illegitimate, leaving the path clear to ascend as King Richard III.  Anne was crowned Queen of England on the 6th July 1483 at Westminster Abbey.  Her son Edward became the Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on the 24th August 1483 at the York Minster.

Anne had a good relationship with her mother-in-law and aunt; Cecily Neville, the Duchess of York with whom they often discussed religious matters.

Tragically on the 9th April 1484, Anne’s only son Edward of Middleham died of tuberculosis aged ten at Sheriff Hutton in Yorkshire and buried at Sheriff Hutton Church.

With the death of his son and heir, Richard planned to divorce Anne and take his niece Elizabeth of York as his new wife.  Following the death of her son, Anne adopted Edward the Earl of Warwick, son of George of Clarence and her sister Isabel. Who died in 1476 and Clarence had been executed in 1478 for plotting against Edward IV.  Edward became the nephew of Richard and Anne, and Richard made the boy his heir.

On the 16th March 1485 Queen Anne Neville died of tuberculosis at Westminster and was buried in Westminster Abbey near the high altar.

Historical accounts report Richard wept at her funeral, but rumours suggest Richard might have poisoned her.  After her death Richard made John de la Pole the Earl of Lincoln heir presumptive, he being the son of his sister; Elizabeth of York.  Edward the Earl of Warwick was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Henry VII and executed in 1499 on charges of treason.







Yorkist King: Richard III

Richard Plantagenet was born on 2nd October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire.  He was the youngest son of Richard, Duke of York who died at the battle of Wakefield on 30th December 1460, and his wife, Cecily Neville.

Edward, Richard’s eldest brother, seized the English throne in March 1461, and went on to defeat the Lancastrians at Towton on the 29th March that year.

The newly crowned King Edward IV now assumed responsibility for the upbringing of his brother’s.  George became the Duke of Clarence, and Richard, was appointed Duke of Gloucester.

King Edward IV married a Lancastrian widow; Elizabeth Woodville, who became his Queen Consort of England in1464, but the Earl of Warwick, his most powerful ally, had favoured a political match with a European Princess.

Richard accompanied his brother Edward when he was driven into exile on the continent in 1470 and on their return to England in 1471.  Richard Duke of Gloucester was given command of the vanguard at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury.

These battles were resounding victories and both the Earl of Warwick, and the next heir, Prince Edward of Wales, were killed in battle, and the former King; Henry VI, died a few days later in London.

Richard now assumed new responsibilities in line with his position.  He had been admiral of England since 1461, and he was now appointed constable.

In 1462 he married the Earl of Warwick’s youngest daughter Anne, who was the widow of Prince Edward who had been killed at Tewksbury.

Richard and his new wife the Duchess Anne took up residence in the north of England, and he became Warden of the West Marches of Scotland, holding the north against incursions from Scotland.  Anne bore him their only child; Edward of Middleham in 1473, also known as Edward Plantagenet.

King Edward IV fell ill in the Easter of 1483, and named his brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester as Protector after his death, and entrusted his young sons, the two little princes; Edward and Richard to his care.  On the 9th April 1483, King Edward IV died, aged 40, and he was buried at Windsor Castle.

Richard hearing of his brother’s death headed to London, fully realizing that the young Prince Edward (aged 12), would become successor to the English Throne.  On route he was joined by the Duke of Buckingham.

Political factions were immediately formed, each believing they had an important role to play in the new government of England.

Richard escorted his nephew, Edward V, the new King of England, to the Tower of London, arriving on the 4th May.

On the 16th June, Richard Duke of York left the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, and joined his brother in the royal apartments at the Tower of London, ready for the coronation on the 22nd June.

Revelations came to pass, by one Dr. Ralph Shaa, on the 22nd June, brother of the mayor, declaring to the citizens of London, that King Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was illegal.  This was because of a pre-contract of marriage between Edward IV and Lady Eleanor Butler and the clandestine nature of the King’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.

First their had been a contract of marriage between Edward and Lady Eleanor Butler (born Talbot) before he married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464.  They had their own private wedding, before a handful of witnesses.  No banns were called, no participation by King’s ministers, no priest required … not a wedding in the true sense of the word.

Richard III put forward his argument to Parliament:  The two princes (Prince Edward V and Richard Duke of York), were the children of his other brother, the Duke of Clarence, who was executed for treason.  This would make Richard the rightful heir to the English Throne, as presented to Parliament in the ‘Titulus Regis’ document, and accepted by that assembly.

This news changed everything, and the princes were declared illegitimate, and barred from succession to the English Throne, on the 25th June as pronounced by Parliament.

Once the news was out, that the young princes were illegitimate, they disappeared, never to be seen again.  Were they killed on the orders of Richard III Duke of Gloucester?

The same Parliament, declared Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was to be the next true King of England.

On the 6th July, Richard, Duke of Gloucester was crowned King, together with his wife Anne at Westminster Abbey.

On the 9th April, 1484, Richard suffered his first personal setback, when his son Edward of Middleham, also referred to as Edward Plantagenet, his only son, died suddenly, cause unknown.

Less than a year later on the 16th March, 1485, Richard was to suffer his second personal setback, when his wife, Anne Neville, died of tuberculosis.

King Richard’s reign was overshadowed by the constant threat of a Tudor invasion, and by personal losses he had suffered.

The long awaited and dreaded invasion came on the 7th August 1485, when Tudor’s landed at Milford Haven in Wales.

King Richard III mobilised his forces, and on 22nd August, both armies clashed on Bosworth Field in Leicestershire.

Despite Richard’s much larger and superior army, the battle was lost when the King was slain.  One of his own followers, Sir William Stanley, turned traitor in favour of his step-nephew Henry Tudor.

Richard Plantagenet was the last English King to die on the battlefield.

During his lifetime, Richard had been a loyal brother to Edward IV, administering the north of the realm, and defending the country against the Scots.

The premature death of Edward IV led to a national crisis in which Richard emerged as King of England.

Once Richard had been crowned King of England and his illegitimate nephews were no longer an important factor.  They just disappeared, which led to the greatest controversy surrounding King Richard III: Did he kill his nephews?

According to one story, guards reported seeing the shadow of two small figures, gliding down the steps, in the Bloody Tower, in the late 15th century …  In 1674 workmen found a chest containing two children’s skeletons, believed to be those of the young princes, and were given a royal burial.

Following the death of King Richard III in 1485 at the Battle of Boswoth Field in Leicestershire.  Historical accounts tell us his naked body was taken to Leicester, and buried without pomp or ceremony in the Church of the Grey Friars.

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, legend has it, that his remains were tossed into a nearby river, by an angry mob.

The mystery that has remained with us, for the last 500 years, is where his body is buried.  The answer to that was answered in September 2012, when archaeologists dug up the skeleton of an adult male who appeared to have died in battle, from under the council car park in Leicester.

The skeleton had a battle wound in the skull, a metal arrowhead lodged between his vertebrae in his upper back.  It showed signs of curvature, which matched Richard III’s believed appearance.  A small penetrating wound, to the top of the head, and a larger one to the base of the skull, along with other shallow wounds to the skull.

What was most revealing and conclusive, were DNA tests showed a direct match to two distant relatives of the monarch.

It was announced to the media on 4th February 2013, the long awaited search was at an end, they had found King Richard III’s remains.

King Richard III’s demise ended the Plantagenet dynasty.  With opinion split over his character.  Some say he was a misunderstood man who ushered in new freedoms, whilst other’s claim he was an evil murderer who killed or had killed on his orders the two young princes in the Tower of London.

Yorkist King: Edward V

On the 4th November 1470 Edward V, was born at Westminster Abbey to parents King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.  On the 9th April 1483, Edward V ascended to the English throne, upon the death of his father; King Edward IV.

Edward left the confines of Ludlow Castle, his place of education, destined for London accompanied by Anthony Woodville his uncle and governor, along with his half-brother Sir Richard Grey.

On route; Richard, the Duke of Gloucester and Henry Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, changed orders, sending Woodville and Grey to Richard’s base in the north, with noted objections by Woodville, Grey and Edward V, but they were powerless.  Anthony Woodville and Richard Grey were later executed.

Queen Elizabeth Woodville received news of events that at taken place at Stony Stratford.  She fled to Westminster Abbey taking her daughters and son; Richard, the Duke of York.

King Edward V, entered London under military escort.

King Edward V stayed at garden Tower, now known as the Bloody Tower, awaiting his coronation… this being a royal residence and prison.  The Queen sent Edward’s brother, Richard the Duke of York from the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey to the Tower of London.

On the 13th June, Richard the Duke of Gloucester had William, Lord Hastings arrested on the charge of treason.  He, who had been a close friend of Edward IV, was executed without trial on the very same day.  With Hasting’s out of the way, the legitimacy of Edward V as the new King was brought into question.

Buckingham put forward, that King Edward IV had been the son of an archer named Blackburn, and he had been the result of an affair with Cecily, the Duchess of York.  It was further argued that King Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, was invalid which rendered both princes as illegitimate, and calling upon Richard to ascend as the true heir to the English throne.

From that day forth, Edward V and his brother Richard of York, appeared less frequently; until the princes were no more.

It is believed that King Edward V was murdered during the month of September in 1483 at the Tower of London, upon the order’s of King Richard III who had seized the throne, through deceit.

In 1674 workmen found an elm chest, whilst demolishing a staircase within the Tower of London, leading to the chapel within the White Tower, made the discovery of the bones of two children’s skeletons.  They were originally tossed out with other rubble.  Believing these skeletons to be those of the young princes, they were given a royal burial.

Wife of King Edward IV: Elizabeth Woodville

Britain of the 1400’s was embroiled in a civil war, known as the “Wars of the Roses.” 

In 1437 Elizabeth Woodville was born to parents Sir Richard Woodville and Jacquetta Woodville of the royal house of Burgundy and had links with King Henry VI and his wife Margaret of Anjou.

In 1450 Elizabeth was dispatched to live with Lady Grey, to learn the finer things and become a lady.

In 1452 Elizabeth Woodville and John Grey were married, and she bore two sons; Richard and Thomas.

England was at war; the Lancastrians against the Yorks, each fighting for the English crown.  The Woodville’s and Greys were both Lancastrians.

At the Battle of St.Albans in 1461, the York’s were victorious, and her husband John had been killed.  Her lands were seized by the Yorkists and she was forced to return to the family home in Grafton.

In 1464, Elizabeth begged of King Edward IV to have her lands returned to her.  Negotiations took an unexpected twist between Edward and Elizabeth, when they were married in secret that same year, and she was crowned Queen of England on the 26th May 1465.

A Lancastrian and York had joined in marriage, and this event was hated by the Kings mother and Lord Warwick, who forced Edward out of England.  Elizabeth and her three daughters and only son Edward, took sanctuary in Westminster Abbey.

In 1470, Edward returned to English shores defeating Warwick’s forces, and Warwick died in the battle.

King Edward IV died on the 9th April 1483 of pneumonia, and was succeeded by his son Edward V, with his brother Richard as Lord Protector.

Richard, placed the new king; Edward V in the Tower of London, supposedly awaiting his coronation.  In fact he declared that Edward V was an illegitimate, and evidence put forward to parliament, meant he was appointed as King Richard III of England.

Elizabeth’s sons of her first marriage; Richard and Thomas grey joined in battle, to overthrow Richard III.  Richard Grey was beheaded and Thomas joined Henry Tudor’s forces.

Elizabeth entered into an alliance with Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor the Lancastrian heir.

In 1485 Henry Tudor invaded England and defeated Richard III in battle, and Henry was crowned King Henry VII of England and so the Tudor dynasty was born.

In January of 1486, Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York, an arranged marriage by Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort.  The marriage was designed to unite warring factions, bring the Wars of the Roses to an end, and ensure the English throne to descendants of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.

In 1487, Elizabeth Woodville came under suspicion of plotting against Henry VII, her dowry was seized, and she lived the remainder of her life at Bermondsey Abbey.

In April of 1492 she died and was buried in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Yorkist King: Edward IV…

Edward IV was born on the 28th April 1442 in Rouen, Normandy to parents, Richard the Duke of York and Cicelly Neville. 

King Henry VI of England and Margaret of Anjou were married on the 23rd April 1445, and on the 30th May crowned at Westminster abbey, as part of a peace treaty between England and France. 

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, is declared King Edward IV of England by the Earl of Warwick, following the Battle of Towton, but had failed to capture King Henry and his Queen, as they fled to Scotland then France.

On the 4th March 1461, he ascended to the English throne, and was crowned on the 28th June 1461 at Westminster Abbey.

The Earl of Warwick defeats Lancastrians at the Battle of Hexham, in 1464, where Henry VI is captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

On the 4th May 1464 King Edward IV marries Elizabeth Woodville, she bears him three children: Elizabeth of York (1466-1503), Prince Edward V (1470-1483) and Prince Richard the Duke of York (1473-1483).

The Earl of Warwick and Edward IV have a falling out, leading to Edward IV being forced into exile, and Henry 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.

In 1478 Edward has a falling out with his own brother; George the Duke of Clarence, who is tried for treason, and executed privately at the Tower of London.

On the 9th April 1483 King Edward IV died at Westminster Abbey, of an undiagnosed illness, and was buried at Windsor Castle.