My Book Review: Owen – Book One of the Tudor Trilogy

Jane Seymour

In recent years I’ve recognized that my favorite books are ones that are written in the first person. It allows me to imagine that I’m that character meandering through the story. This book does not disappoint.

Until reading “Owen” by Tony Riches I previously only read Tudor period historical fiction books written by women. The ones I enjoyed the most were all written in the first person style, including this one. Reading a book written by a man gave me a different insight into the story.

Owen Tudor is rarely written about – as far as I know this is the first book about him. The fact that it’s written by a fellow Welshman adds a sense of credibility to it. This book allowed my imagine to run wild with ideas of what it was like.

Catherine de Valois? wooden funeral effigy
Catherine Valois? wooden funeral effigy

Owen Tudor worked his way into the household of dowager queen Catherine of Valois sometime after the death of her husband, Henry V. From the beginning Owen was enamored by the beauty and frailty of the queen – he was instantly attracted to her, but she didn’t really know he existed.

As I’m sure was quite common in a large household, Owen found ‘love’ with another servant, Juliette. Juliette made the first move and showed up at Owen’s door one night. They ended up sleeping together that night – Owen couldn’t resist her beauty.

While Owen and Juliette continued their secret affair, he secretly only had eyes for the queen. It wasn’t long before Juliette figured it out, however, she was willing to share Owen with his fantasy, assuming it wouldn’t become a reality.

As we all know already, Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois married (some may dispute the marriage) and had children together. If you’re a fan of the Outlander books or TV series you’ll appreciate the nature of their romance and all the troubles along the way…all the people who tried to come between them and keep them apart. Owen always had Catherine in his heart. Until the very end. Just like Jamie and his Sassenauch.

While reading the book I kept wondering how Tony Riches was going to end the story of Owen. When I reached the last page of the book I was very pleased with the ending – he couldn’t have written a better ending to a story about a warrior, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a lover. Owen Tudor was a real person. This book brings him to life in a beautiful way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was an easy read. If you’re a fan of the Tudor dynasty you truly need to read about where it all began. Owen and Catherine.

xoxo Rebecca

Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling historical fiction and non-fiction books. His latest novel, JASPER ? Book Two of The Tudor Trilogy, can be found on Amazon UK??Amazon US?and?Amazon AU. For more information about Tony?s other books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and his WordPress website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.

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Joan of Arc: Her Mission

Guest Article written by: Samia Chebbah

Place du vieux
Place Du Vieux Marché Rouen where Joan of Arc died

Hello everyone, my name is Samia, I live in Rouen, Normandy in France where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake on Wednesday 30th May, 1431, at the age of 19. We know she was 13 when she heard voices from three saints, Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. Apparently, God sent them to her to tell her that she would be the one who would save France, drive the English out of the country and last but not least, have King Charles VII crowned at Reims Cathedral on July 17, 1429. Although Charles was the legitimate heir of his father, Charles VI of France, he was not allowed to become king of France. Indeed, the signature of the Treaty of Troyes in May 1420 between the King of France and Henry V of England gave the throne of France to the king of England who was going to marry the princess Catherine of Valois, Charles VI’s daughter.[1] That left little hope to Charles to become king one day. His only luck was that both his father and Henry V died in 1422.

After this brief recap, let’s go back to Joan of Arc’s story which was short but full of mystery.  The even more mystical part of it is that it is said that centuries before she was born, soothsayers said they foresaw her mission.

The most popular versions are those of Merlin, the famous enchanter and Marie d’Avignon. It is even said that Joan herself envisioned her own death.

Let’s start with Merlin. His prophecies are collected in Prophecii Merlini by Geoffrey Monmouth[2] in the 12th century. Monmouth’s life is not well documented and historians often use words such as ”traditionally”.[3] This is understandable since at that period, the accounts were oral. It was often based on hearsay. Some also said that some parts of the collection were invented.[4]

Apparently, Merlin foresaw two things. First of all, he said ”ex nemore Canuto eliminabitur puella” meaning ”from Le Bois Chenu, a maiden will come” He also said ”Descendet virgo dorsum sagitarii et flores virgineos obscurabit.” meaning ” she will ride down the back of the Sagittarius”.[5] Le Bois Chenu was a wood which belonged to Joan’s father, Jack of Arc and the Sagittarius, reminded of the shape the English archers.[6] In this imagination of Joan of Arc riding down the english archers, one can understand that she will succeed in defeating the English. Since Merlin is a legendary figure. Can we believe it? Indeed, in my research, he existed either in literature and some he truly existed because of the prophecies.  Some even said that he descended from the Devil.[7] His very existence is as mysterious as how it was possible that in 1429 a young girl was allowed to wear an armor to fight and to top it all, have a king crowned! But there must be some truth in it because how could Geoffrey Monmouth relate the prophecies?

cross (3)
Cross in Memory of Joan of Arc, Place du Vieux Marché

Closer to Joan of Arc’s lifetime, Marie Robine, also known as Marie of Avignon (in the south of France) because she settled down in this city, was considered insane. Her predictions started when she was cured from paralysis.[8] In total, she had 12 visions which are collected in Marie Robine’s Book of Revelations. It is said that she told King Charles VI of France, father of the future Charles VII, that ”she had a vision where she could see numerous arms. She feared that she had to use them but she was told that they were meant for another maiden that would come after her.”[9] It is even said that Charles VII himself might have remembered the conversation between his father and Marie Robine.[10]The account was oral, based on hearsay and related during the revision of Joan of Arc’s trial in 1456 that gave way to a rehabilitation[11]. To this extent, we cannot be sure of the veracity of the facts. What is more, I have found a source that contradicted the fact that Marie Robine foresaw Joan of Arc. Indeed, the historian Noël Valois makes it clear that after reading The Book of Revelations, he had found no mention to the Joan of Arc episode.[12]

The white sign, the very place where she died

Joan of Arc herself foresaw her mission. She supposedly knew that the Dauphin Charles would eventually be restored. She also predicted that the English would be defeated and driven out of France, except for those who would die there. She gave the very localization of Charles Martel’s Sword inside the Church of Fierbois. Eventually, she asked the voices if she would be burnt at the stake.[13]

The white sign, the very place where she died
The white sign, the very place where she died

The question of the sword is essential since it was that very one that Jeanne D’Arc used to fight. Charles Martel was a descendant of Charlemagne (King of the France in 8th century).[14] Martel defeated the Arabs in Poitiers in 732 and gave his sword to the said church. The voices supposedly told Joan about where she would find it and fight with it herself.[15]

Other soothsayers were said to have foreseen Joan of Arc. Among them, Pierre de MonteAlcino, St Bede the Vulnerable, Jean de Montalcin, Euglide of Hungary. They are mentioned but little is known about what was said exactly.

Interesting fact:

Satue JA (2)
Photo Copyright: Samia Chebbah

During her trial for heresy and witchcraft, which started on February 24th 1431, Joan of Arc was asked to dress like a woman and to deny that God gave her the mission to save France. She did not until May 24th when the Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon decided to stage her execution. In fact, Joan of Arc carried on saying that she would not stop fighting and wearing men clothes as long as God did not stop her.[16] Everything was done in due form during the fake execution episode for even the executioner, Geoffroy Thérage, was present. That was cruel but seemed to work on Joan. Indeed, she accepted to wear women’s clothing again and her death sentence was commuted into a life sentence.[17] A source explains the reason why Pierre Cauchon did not accept Joan of Arc’s mission to crown Charles VII. In fact, the bishop was a counsellor of the King of England, Henry V. In fact, on May 21st 1420, King Charles VI of France signed the Treaty of Troyes, an alliance with England through the marriage of Catherine of Valois (his daughter) and King Henry V of England[18]. That Treaty stipulated that Henry V would become King of France after Charles VI’s death, even though the latter had an heir, Charles. So If Charles VII really was the king of France, that meant that Joan of Arc’s mission (saving France and have the Dauphin crowned) were legitimate.[19] The life sentence also dissatisfied the English. Unfortunately, Joan of Arc returned to her old habits of wearing men clothes and was sentenced to death again.[20] It is said that the executioner, Geoffrroy Tthérage, was moved by the death of Joan of Arc ”and feared that God would never forgive him for he did.”[21]

NB : Most of the sources are in french, if you are interested and need more explanation about this article, I will gladly help you.
[1]https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trait%C3%A9_de_Troyes
[2]http://medievales.revues.org/5513
[3]http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/geofmon.html
[4]http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/geofmon.html
[5]http://channelconscience.unblog.fr/2012/10/30/propheties-du-moyen-age-2eme-partie/
[6]https://medievales.revues.org/5800#ftn28
[7]https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin
[8]https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Robine
[9]http://www.persee.fr/doc/mefr_0223-5110_1986_num_98_1_2857
[10]Liocourt, de, Ferdinant. La Mission de Jeanne D’Arc, Volume 2. Source Internet
[11]  I visited the Historial Jeanne D’arc in Rouen which is mostly about the revision of her trial. I was told that       Charles VII needed that revision because she was the reason why he was king and she was sentenced to death because she was said to be a witch. In order to legitimate his title, he needed her to be rehabilitated.
[12]Valois, Noël. Jeanne D’Arc et la Prophétie de Marie Robine. Source Internet.
[13]https://archive.org/stream/lavraiejeanneda03ayrogoog#page/n527/mode/2up
[14]http://www.history.com/topics/charlemagne
[15]http://www.jeannedomremy.fr/S_ChinonRouen/fierbois.htm
[16]Les Mini Larousse. Jeanne D’Arc. Editions Larousse, 2012.
[17]Les Mini Larousse. Jeanne D’Arc. Editions Larousse, 2012.
[18]http://www.larousse.fr/encyclopedie/divers/trait%C3%A9_de_Troyes/147556
[19]http://www.histoire-normandie.fr/le-proces-de-jeanne-darc-le-role-de-pierre-cauchon
[20]Les Mini Larousse. Jeanne D’Arc. Editions Larousse, 2012.
[21]http://www.brogilbert.org/joan-arc/6jofa_ordeal.HTM

About the Author: Samia Chebbah

SnHLuCicI live in France and french is my mother tongue. I am in love with the History of England ! Whenever I go there, visiting castles is my top priority ! My favourite period is the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance. So it came as no surprise that when I had to decide the dissertation topic for my Master’s Degree, the English monarchy was my first choice. And so I talked about the ennoblement of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII’s race for supremacy. I am very curious and always have to make some researches when I learn about a new historical event! I have found it to be very enriching to do so because it always leads to another fact. This is the magic of history I guess!

Catherine of Valois: Family History with Mental Illness

catherine-of-valois-family-history-withmental-illness

Catherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabelle of Bavaria was born into royalty at the royal palace of the Hôtel Saint-Pol in Paris on 27 October 1401.

Catherine’s father was called, “Charles the Mad” because of his bouts with mental illness.  Through my research I’ve discovered that he is not the only family member with mental illness. There were more – it’s almost alarming and mostly surprising that she did not suffer from it herself.

Catherine’s father, Charles VI was mentally ill, he is believed to have suffered from schizophrenia, Charles experienced delusions, believing he was made of glass or denying he had a wife and children. He ran from room to room until he collapsed from exhaustion, declaring that his enemies were upon him. Charles’ illness is believed to have been later inherited by his grandson, Henry VI of England. Charles’ ancestors were closely related. His mother, the French Princess, Joan of Bourbon (1338-1377) was slightly unstable, as were her brother, Louis, Duke of Bourbon, her father and grandfather, she suffered a complete nervous breakdown in 1373 after the birth of her seventh child.” ¹

In general, medieval Europeans allowed the mentally ill their freedom, as long as they were not dangerous to others. With that being said there were often times when the mentally ill were labeled as witches or said to be possessed by demons.



I’m not sure how they treated Charles VI for his illness but it is known that common “remedies” were: Bleeding of the humors, exorcism, shaving a cross on the head of the “infected” person and having them drink ice-cold water.

Did the royal family understand that this was something that was genetic? Obviously it was passed down through the generations. Some were spared but some of the unlucky ones had a very confusing and difficult life. Did Catherine of Valois understand that when she had a child that it was possible this child could also carry this family “curse?”

The early years for Catherine of Valois were not as rich and glamorous as one might expect of a royal family. She was the tenth child of her parents and at the time France was in chaos due to her father’s bouts of insanity.² This left an opening for other countries, like England, to fight for throne of France.

In 1405, Henry IV of England had suffered the first of many debilitating illnesses. In pain, and clearly unable to rule his nation he ceded power to his council, which included his son, Henry, also known as “Hal.” Over the final years of King Henry’s reign it is believed there was tension between the king and his son. It is said that when the king lay dying his young son took the crown from his head. Still alive, Henry IV asked his son what right he had to the crown since it had been won in blood and not received through a divinely blessed hereditary line. Hal replied, “As you have kept the crown by the sword, so will I keep it while my life lasts.

Henry V

In early July 1415 the now reigning King Henry V declared his intention to fight for the throne of France. He claimed it through his lineage to Edward III – his great-grandfather. Edward III’s mother was the daughter of the French king Philip IV. Henry V saw this as his right to France since the French king, Charles VI, was widely known to have bouts of madness and was unable to rule his own country.

England advanced upon France and captured Harfleur, then marched to Calais. He defeated the french at Agincourt with his army outnumbered (6,000 vs. 20,000) and then returned to London where he was acclaimed as King Henry V of England and France by his subjects as he rode through the streets of London.

From 1417 – 1419 there was a second campaign on France and Henry captured Caen and Rouen, capital of Normandy. At this point France had suffered many losses and the remaining leaders were ready to come to an agreement with Henry V.

The Treaty of Troyes in 1420 brought together Catherine of Valois and Henry V. The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement that King Henry V (of England) and his heirs would inherit the throne of France (instead of Charles’ son, the Dauphin) upon the death of King Charles VI of France. It was signed on 21 May 1420 after Henry’s successful military campaign in France. ³

Marriage of Catherine & Henry V
Marriage of Catherine & Henry V

Henry V thought Catherine was a beautiful young woman and it wasn’t long after their marriage that she gave birth to a son – Henry on 6 December 1421 at Windsor. This son, and prince, would soon inherit the throne…as an infant. On 31 August 1422, as Henry V lay dying of dysentery (or cancer, depending on what you read) he appointed his brothers as regents of his domains.

Catherine, now dowager queen was nearly 21 years old upon the death of her husband. Her father, King Charles VI died a few months after her husband which left her son to also inherit the throne of France, per the Treaty of Troyes. Catherine doted on young Henry during his early years.

Since the dowager queen was so young Parliament passed a bill (1427-1428) which set forth the provision that if Catherine remarried without the king’s consent her husband would forfeit his lands and possessions. Any children of said marriage would not suffer punishment. The king’s consent was contingent upon his having attained his majority. At that time, the king was only six years old.

Young Henry would be crowned King of England when he was eight years old – in 1429. Catherine continued to live in her son’s household so she could care for the young king. This was also beneficial to the council because they could keep a watchful eye on the dowager queen.

Henry Vl
Henry VI

Eventually Catherine started a secret relationship with Owen Tudor while living at Leeds Castle.[1] Owen was the keeper of Catherine’s wardrobe. Legend says that Owen caught the Queen’s eye when she saw him swimming, or that he tripped and fell into her lap when dancing.



No documentation has survived of Catherine’s marriage to Owen Tudor.  Owen and Catherine produced at least five children in all. Edmund, Jasper and Owen Tudor were all born away from court. My research has also unearthed that they may have had two daughters (Tacinda & Margaret), however I have been unable to confirm those reports.

Towards the end of the summer of 1436, while pregnant with her fifth child rumours of the Queen’s secret marriage appear to have reached the Duke of Gloucester. Upon further investigation the truth of the matter was revealed and the Duke acted swiftly and decisively. We are told that, ‘the high spirit of the Duke of Gloucester could not brook her marriage. Neither the beauty of Tudor’s person nor his genealogy, descended from Cadwallader Kings, could shield him or the Queen from sharp persecution as soon as the match was discovered.’ The Queen’s household was dissolved with immediate effect. Catherine was parted from her children the eldest of whom were sent to live with Catherine de la Pole, sister of the Earl of Suffolk, Owen was confined to Newgate and Catherine was sent to Bermondsey Abbey.

By this time the heavily pregnant Queen was gravely ill and deeply distressed by this enforced separation from her husband and children. Not long after entering Bermondsey she gave birth to a daughter, christened Margaret, who died shortly after her birth. Overcome by illness and trauma it appears the Queen never recovered. Even the ‘tablet of gold, weighing thirteen ounces on which was a crucifix set with pearls and sapphires’ an elaborate token of remembrance sent to Bermondsey from her son, Henry VI failed to revive her spirits. On 3rd January 1437, Catherine of Valois, Queen of England died a broken woman. – Source of Quote: Britannia 

When Henry VI came of age it is said that he never forgave his uncle, Duke of Gloucester for the harsh treatment his mother had experienced. Henry subsequently knighted his stepfather Owen, made him Warden of Forestries, and appointed him a Deputy Lord Lieutenant.

Mental illness once again crept into this family when Henry VI went into a catatonic state, August 1453, Henry experienced some kind of mental breakdown and became completely unresponsive to everything that was going on around him for more than a year. During this time his queen, Margaret of Anjou gave birth to a son, Prince Edward and Henry failed to respond to his birth.

It seems Henry inherited this condition from his grandfather, Charles VI of France. I’m curious if his son, Edward was also inflicted by this awful hereditary disease. Unfortunately we’ll never know - his life was cut short when he was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury when he was only 17 years old.

Sources/References:

¹ - http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/plantagenet_36.html  (paragraph 2)
² - http://www.britannia.com/history/biographies/catherine_valois.html
³ - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Troyes
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain, by Charles Phillips (pages 82-87)
Kings and Queens of Great Britain, David Soud

 



Wars of the Roses – Beginning to the Battle of Towton

When it comes to the Wars of the Roses I am most attracted to it because it’s cousins fighting over the throne of England. Richard, 3rd Duke of York attempted to take the throne from his cousin Henry VI but failed. Eventually his son, Edward, Earl of March would succeed as Edward IV, but not without many battles of his own. These wars are what eventually led to the Tudor Dynasty – the one my site is primarily based on.

Edward lll
Edward III

The beginning: Edward III’s descendants are behind the Wars of the Roses. Edward III had seven sons – five of which survived to adulthood: Edward The Black Prince (Duke of Cornwall/Prince of Wales), Lionel of Antwerp (Duke of Clarence), John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster), Edmund of Langley (Duke of York) and Thomas of Woodstock (Duke of Gloucester).

The Black Prince
The Black Prince
John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt

As the eldest son, Edward the Black Prince would have succeeded his father had he outlived him – he died in 1376. So when Edward III died in 1377 his grandson, Richard of Bordeaux (Plantagenet) succeeded his grandfather as King of England at only ten years old.  He became Richard II of England.

Richard II – Getty Images

By February 1400 Richard II was dead. Henry IV (House of Lancaster) was the new King of England. He was the son of Edward III’s third surviving son, John of Gaunt. This is where you can say the problems started. Henry IV’s claim to the throne, some would say, was not as strong as his cousin Edmund, Earl of March who was a descendant of Edward III’s second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp. Subsequently, the Earl of March was arrested and thrown into prison. Henry IV also seized his estates.  All of this to remove any question of who was the rightful king of England.

Henry lV
Henry IV
Henry V
Henry V

In 1413 Henry IV had died and passed the throne to his son named, Henry V.  Henry V died in 1422 at age 35. When he died he had one son, Henry VI to take the throne, however Henry VI was not yet one year old. He was the youngest ever, at nine months old, to inherit the throne of England. At this time England would be ruled by a council of men.

When Henry VI grew into adulthood and could run his own kingdom (1437) he did not seem to be able to run it as successfully as the council had done.

In 1450, Richard, 3rd Duke of York (who also had a strong claim to the throne through Edmund of Langley – Duke of York), was persuaded to return to England from Ireland and claim his rightful place on the council and put an end to bad government.

In 1453 Henry VI’s queen, Margaret of Anjou became pregnant. This was the time that King Henry had his first bout with mental illness. His illness lasted for the best part of a year. Margaret gave birth to a son and heir – Edward, Prince of Wales on 13 October 1453 while Henry VI was still in the midst of his illness.

After the birth of the young prince there were questions on who was in charge of the kingdom – and so begins my favorite part of the Wars of the Roses.

Before we get into some of the battles, let’s learn about the people who were involved to better understand the situation.

Richard, Duke of York:

Richard, Duke of York

Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, was born on 21 September 1411,[1] the son of Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridgeby his wife Anne Mortimer, the daughter of Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, and Eleanor Holland. Anne Mortimer was the great- grand-daughter of Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, the second surviving son of King Edward III (1327-1377). This ancestry supplied Anne Mortimer, and her descendants the Dukes of York, with a claim albeit not in a direct male line, to the English throne supposedly superior to that of the reigning House of Lancaster, descended from John of Gaunt the third son of King Edward III.

On his father’s side, Richard had a claim to the throne in a direct male line of descent from his grandfather Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York (1341-1402), fourth surviving son of King Edward III. [1]

Cecily Neville:

Cecily Neville

Cecily Neville was a daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland. Her paternal grandparents were John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby, and the Hon. Maud Percy, daughter of Henry de Percy, 2nd Baron Percy. Her maternal grandparents were John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his third wife Katherine Swynford. John of Gaunt was the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault. By her mother, Cecily was a niece of King Henry IV of England.

She was the aunt of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, one of the leading peers and military commanders of his generation, a grand-aunt of Queen consort Anne Neville, and a great-great-grand-aunt of Queen consort Catherine Parr, sixth wife of her great-grandson, King Henry VIII. [2]

Henry VI: (The basis of the beginning of the wars)

Henry Vl

Henry was the only child and heir of King Henry V. He was born on 6 December 1421 at Windsor Castle. He succeeded to the throne as King of England upon his father’s death on 31 August 1422 at the age of nine months: he was the youngest person ever to succeed to the English throne. A few weeks later, on 21 October 1422, he became titular King of France upon his grandfatherCharles VI‘s death in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes of 1420. His mother, Catherine of Valois, was then 20 years old. As Charles VI’s daughter, she was viewed with considerable suspicion by English nobles and prevented from playing a full role in her son’s upbringing.

On 28 September 1423, the nobles swore loyalty to Henry VI. They summoned Parliament in the King’s name and established a regency council to govern until the King should come of age. One of Henry V’s surviving brothers, John, Duke of Bedford, was appointed senior regent of the realm and was in charge of the ongoing war in France. During Bedford’s absence, the government of England was headed by Henry V’s other surviving brother,Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was appointed Protector and Defender of the Realm. His duties were limited to keeping the peace and summoning Parliament. Henry V’s half-uncle Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester (after 1426 also Cardinal), had an important place on the Council. After the Duke of Bedford died in 1435, the Duke of Gloucester claimed the Regency himself, but was contested in this by the other members of the Council.

Henry’s half-brothers, Edmund and Jasper, the sons of his widowed mother and Owen Tudor, were later given earldoms. Edmund Tudor was the father of Henry Tudor, who later became Henry VII. [3]

Margaret of Anjou:

margaret of anjou

Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England. As such, she was Queen of England from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471. Born in the duchy of Lorraine into the House of Valois-Anjou, Margaret was the second eldest daughter of René of Anjou and Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine.

She was one of the principal figures in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses and at times personally led the Lancastrian faction. Due to her husband’s frequent bouts of insanity, Margaret ruled the kingdom in his place. It was she who called for a Great Council in May 1455 that excluded the Yorkist faction headed by Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, and thus provided the spark that ignited a civil conflict that lasted for over thirty years, decimated the old nobility of England, and caused the deaths of thousands of men, including her only son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. [4]

Edward, Prince of Wales:

Edward was born at the Palace of Westminster, London, the only son of King Henry VI of England and his wife, Margaret of Anjou. At the time, there was strife between Henry’s supporters and those of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, who had a claim to the throne and challenged the authority of Henry’s officers of state. Henry was suffering from mental illness, and there were widespread rumours that the prince was the result of an affair between his mother and one of her loyal supporters. Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset and James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormonde, were both suspected of fathering Prince Edward,[1] however, there is no firm evidence to support the rumours, and Henry himself never doubted the boy’s legitimacy and publicly acknowledged paternity. Edward was invested as Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in 1454. [5]

Edward would marry Anne Neville, daughter of Richard, 16th Earl of Warwick when he father became a supporter of Henry VI because he was upset with Edward VI marrying Elizabeth Woodville and his loss of personal power.

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick:

Richard Neville

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander. The son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, Warwick was the wealthiest and most powerful English peer of his age, with political connections that went beyond the country’s borders. One of the Yorkist leaders in the Wars of the Roses, he was instrumental in the deposition of two kings, a fact which later earned him his epithet of “Kingmaker” to later generations.

Through fortunes of marriage and inheritance, Warwick emerged in the 1450s at the centre of English politics. Originally a supporter of King Henry VI, a territorial dispute with the Duke of Somerset led him to collaborate with Richard, Duke of York, in opposing the king. From this conflict he gained the strategically valuable post of Captain of Calais, a position that benefited him greatly in the years to come. The political conflict later turned into full-scale rebellion, where in battle York was slain, as was Warwick’s father Salisbury. York’s son, however, later triumphed with Warwick’s assistance, and was crowned King Edward IV. Edward initially ruled with Warwick’s support, but the two later fell out over foreign policy and the king’s choice of Elizabeth Woodville as his wife. After a failed plot to crown Edward’s brother, George, Duke of Clarence, Warwick instead restored Henry VI to the throne. The triumph was short-lived however: on 14 April 1471 Warwick was defeated by Edward at the Battle of Barnet, and killed.

Warwick had no sons. The elder of his two daughters, Isabel, married George, Duke of Clarence. His younger daughter Anne had a short-lived marriage to King Henry’s son Edward of Westminster, who died in battle at the age of 17. She then married King Edward’s younger brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III. [6]

Edward IV:

Edward lV

Edward of York was born at Rouen in France, the second son of Richard, 3rd Duke of York (who had a strong genealogical claim to the throne of England[5]), and Cecily Neville.[6] He was the eldest of the four sons who survived to adulthood.[7] His younger brotherEdmund, Earl of Rutland, died along with his father at Wakefield on 30 December 1460.[8]

With the support of his cousin Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (“The Kingmaker”), Edward’s father, Duke of York routed theLancastrians at the First Battle of St. Albans on 22 May 1455.[9] At this battle, several prominent Lancastrians including Edmund, Duke of Somerset, Henry Percy and Lord of Clifford were killed.[10] Additionally, Somerset’s son Henry Beaufort, Earl of Dorset,Thomas, Earl of Devon and Buckingham were all wounded. This was the first battle of the conflict that became known as the Wars of the Roses.

Richard, Duke of York’s assertion of his claim to the crown in 1460 was the key escalation of the Wars of the Roses. When he was killed during the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460,[8] his claim to the throne of England did not die with him. Instead it passed to his son, Edward. [7][7-1][7-2][7-3][7-4][7-5]

Elizabeth Woodville:

ElizabethWoodville (2)

Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. At the time of her birth, her family was mid-ranked in the English aristocracy. Her first marriage was to a minor supporter of the House of Lancaster, Sir John Grey of Groby; he died at the Second Battle of St Albans, leaving Elizabeth a widowed mother of two sons. Her second marriage, to Edward IV, was a cause célèbre of the day, thanks to Elizabeth’s great beauty and lack of great estates. Edward was only the second king of England since the Norman Conquest to have married one of his subjects, and Elizabeth was the first such consort to be crowned queen. Her marriage greatly enriched her siblings and children, but their advancement incurred the hostility of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, ‘The Kingmaker’, and his various alliances with the most senior figures in the increasingly divided royal family.

This hostility turned into open discord between King Edward and Warwick, leading to a battle of wills that finally resulted in Warwick switching allegiance to the Lancastrian cause. Elizabeth remained politically influential even after her son, briefly proclaimed KingEdward V of England, was deposed by her brother-in-law, Richard III, and she would play an important role in securing the accession of Henry VII to the throne in 1485, which ended the Wars of the Roses. After 1485, however, she was forced to yield pre-eminence to Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and her influence on events in these years, and her eventual departure from court into retirement, remains obscure. [8][8-1][8-2] 

Elizabeth of York:

Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York was queen consort of England from 1486 until her death. As the wife ofHenry VII, she was the first Tudor queen. She was the daughter of Edward IV, niece of Richard III and married the king following Henry’s victory at the Battle of Bosworth which ended the Wars of the Roses. She was the mother of Henry VIII. [9]

Edmund, Earl of Rutland:

Edmund, Earl of Rutland was the fifth child and second surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. He was born in Rouen.

Edmund died at the age of seventeen after the Battle of Wakefield during the Wars of the Roses. He had fought in the battle at the side of his father. [10]

George, Duke of Clarence:

George Plantagenet

George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence was the third son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the brother of English Kings Edward IVand Richard III. He played an important role in the dynastic struggle between rival factions of the Plantagenets known as the Wars of the Roses.

Though a member of the House of York, he switched sides to support the Lancastrians, before reverting to the Yorkists. He was later convicted of treason against his brother, Edward IV, and was executed (allegedly by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine). He appears as a character in William Shakespeare‘s plays Henry VI, part 3 and Richard III, in which his death is attributed to the machinations of Richard. [11]

Isabel Neville:

Lady Isabel Neville was the elder daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (theKingmaker of the Wars of the Roses), and Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick. She was the wife of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. She was also the elder sister of Anne Neville, who was Princess of Wales, by her first marriage and Queen consort of England by her second.

Isabel Neville was born at Warwick Castle, the seat of the Earls of Warwick. In 1469, her ambitious father betrothed her to England’s heir presumptive, George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, the brother of both King Edward IV and Richard, Duke of Gloucester(later Richard III). The king opposed the marriage as it would bring the already powerful Earl of Warwick too close to the throne. The ceremony however took place in secret at Calais on 11 July 1469, conducted by Isabel Neville’s Uncle George Neville, archbishop of York. Following their marriage Clarence joined forces with Warwick and traitorously allied with the Lancastrians led by Margaret of Anjou, queen consort to Henry VI. After Isabel Neville’s sister Anne was married to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the son and heir of Henry VI, Clarence rejoined his brother, realizing that it was now unlikely that he would become king. [12]

Richard, Duke of Gloucester/Richard III:

Richard lll

Richard III was King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485, at the age of 32, in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of the fictional historical play Richard III by William Shakespeare.

When his brother King Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward’s son and successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. As the young king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met and escorted him to lodgings in the Tower of London, where Edward V’s own brother Richard of Shrewsbury joined him shortly afterwards. Arrangements were made for Edward’s coronation on 22 June 1483; but, before the young king could be crowned, his father’s marriage to his motherElizabeth Woodville was declared invalid, making their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. On 25 June, an assembly of Lords and commoners endorsed the claims. The following day, Richard III began his reign, and he was crowned on 6 July 1483. The young princes were not seen in public after August, and accusations circulated that the boys had been murdered on Richard’s orders, giving rise to the legend of the Princes in the Tower. [13]

Anne Neville:

Anne Neville

Lady Anne Neville was an English queen, the daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick(the “Kingmaker”). She became Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster and then Queen of England as the wife ofKing Richard III.

As a member of the powerful House of Neville, she played a critical part in the Wars of the Roses fought between the House of Yorkand House of Lancaster for the English crown. Her father Warwick betrothed her as a girl to Edward, Prince of Wales, the son ofHenry VI.[1] The marriage was to seal an alliance to the House of Lancaster and continue the civil war between the two houses of Lancaster and York.[1]

After the death of Edward, the Dowager Princess of Wales married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV and ofGeorge, Duke of Clarence, the husband of Anne Neville’s older sister Isabel. Anne Neville became queen when Richard III ascended the throne in June 1483, following the declaration that Edward IV’s children by Elizabeth Woodville were illegitimate. Anne Neville predeceased her husband by five months, dying in March 1485. Her only child was Edward of Middleham, who predeceased her. [14] [14-1]

Margaret Beaufort:

She was the daughter of Margaret Beauchamp of Bletsoe and John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset. Margaret’s father was a great-grandson of King Edward III through his third surviving son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. At the moment of her birth, Margaret’s father was preparing to go to France and lead an important military expedition for KingHenry VI. Somerset negotiated with the king to ensure that, in case of his death, the rights to Margaret’s wardship and marriage would belong only to his wife.

Somerset fell out with the king after coming back from France, however, and he was banished from the court and about to be charged with treason. He died shortly afterwards. According to Thomas Basin, Somerset died of illness, but the Crowland Chronicle reported that his death was suicide. Margaret, as his only child, was the heiress to his fortunes.[4]

Margaret was the mother of King Henry VII and paternal grandmother of King Henry VIII of England. She was a key figure in the Wars of the Roses and an influential matriarch of the House of Tudor. [15] [15-4]

Edmund Tudor:

In 1452 Lady Margaret Beaufort, the nine-year-old daughter of the Duke of Somerset was summoned to the court of her second cousin, King Henry VI and the following year Edmund was granted wardship. On 1 November 1455 at Bletsoe Castle, she was married to Edmund. By the end of the following November, he was dead, leaving his 12-year-old widow pregnant with the future King Henry VII.

The Wars of the Roses had begun and Edmund (a Lancastrian) was captured by Yorkist partisan William Herbert in mid-1456. Herbert imprisoned him at Carmarthen Castle in Wales, where he died of the plague on 3 November 1456. [16]

Henry Tudor/Henry VII:

Henry Vll

Henry won the throne when his forces defeated the forces of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. Henry was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the political upheavals of the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. He founded the Tudor dynasty and, after a reign of nearly 24 years, was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.

Henry’s paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor, originally from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle ofAnglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V. He rose to become one of the “Squires to the Body to the King” after military service at Agincourt.[1] Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Henry V, Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII. Edmund was created Earl of Richmond in 1452, and “formally declared legitimate by Parliament”.[2]

Henry’s main claim to the English throne derived from his mother through the House of Beaufort. Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III, and his third wife Katherine Swynford. [17] [17-1] [17-2]

Jasper Tudor:

jasper

Jasper was the second son of Owen Tudor and the former Queen Catherine of Valois, the widow of Henry V of England. He was the half-brother to Henry VI, who, on attaining his majority in 1452, named Jasper the Earl of Pembroke. Through his father, Jasper was a direct descendant of Ednyfed Fychan, Llywelyn the Great‘s renowned Chancellor. This connection added greatly to his status inWales.

was the uncle of King Henry VII of England and the architect of his successful conquest of England and Wales in 1485.[1] 

[18] [18-1]

The Battle of Wakefield – 30 December 1460

The Battle of Wakefield would be the last fight for Richard, 3rd Duke of York and his son Edmund, Earl of Rutland. Richard was killed in the fight and the Earl of Rutland was murdered when he tried to escape. The Earl of Rutland was the only son of the Duke of York fighting with him in the battle since Edward, Earl of March was fighting for the same cause in the west. The Earl of Rutland (Edmund) was captured – he attempted to beg for his life by offering a ransom, but was killed anyway.

By the account given by Roderick O’Flanagan in his 1870 biography of Edmund:

Urged by his tutor, a priest named Robert Aspell, he was no sooner aware that the field was lost than he sought safety by flight. Their movements were intercepted by the Lancastrians, and Lord Clifford made him prisoner, but did not then know his rank. Struck with the richness of his armour and equipment, Lord Clifford demanded his name. “Save him”, implored the Chaplain; “for he is the Prince’s son, and peradventure may do you good hereafter.”

This was an impolitic appeal, for it denoted hopes of the House of York being again in the ascendant, which the Lancastrians, flushed with recent victory, regarded as impossible. The ruthless noble swore a solemn oath: “Thy father”, said he, “slew mine; and so will I do thee and all thy kin;” and with these words he rushed on the hapless youth, and drove his dagger to the hilt in his heart. Thus fell, at the early age of seventeen, Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Rutland, Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

689px-'The_Murder_of_Rutland_by_Lord_Clifford'_by_Charles_Robert_Leslie,_1815Edmund, Earl of Rutland was then executed by order of the Lancastrian Lord Clifford, or by the man himself. So has been depicted in this portrait – the young Edmund begging for his life.

The death of Richard, Duke of York and Edmund, Earl of Rutland were revenge killings (as were many) by the Lancastrians, for their many losses. Richard’s eldest son Edward was now Duke of York.

 

The Battle of Mortimor’s Cross - 2 February 1461

When Edward, now Duke of York, advanced towards Mortimor’s Cross, to stop two Lancastrian armies from joining, his army witnessed what was presented to them as a good omen – a meteorological phenomenon known as a sun dog.  A sun dog in the sky makes the sun appear as there are three suns in the sky at once. Edward took this to represent his father’s three remaining sons, himself, George and Richard.

At this battle, Sir Owen Tudor was was captured and put to death – he was the grandfather of Henry VII. This battle was a win for the York faction and Edward, Duke of York.

The Second Battle of St. Albans - 17 February 1461

Here, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick waited to join forces with the army of the Edward, Duke of York, near London. While waiting the Lancastrian army surprised them and attacked – Warwick fled. As the Yorkists retreated, they left behind the bemused King Henry, who is supposed to have spent the battle sitting under a tree, singing.

The Battle of Towton - 29 March 1461

This battle has been described as the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. More than 50,000 soldiers from both sides fought for hours amidst a snowstorm. The battle took place on Palm Sunday. It was reported that 28,000 men died on the battlefield.

Hand-to-hand combat lasted hours which exhausted the armies. “The arrival of Norfolk’s men reinvigorated the Yorkists and, encouraged by Edward, they routed their foes. Many Lancastrians were killed while fleeing; some trampled each other and others drowned in the rivers, which are said to have made them run red with blood for several days. Several who were taken as prisoners were executed.” [19]

The power of the House of Lancaster was critically reduced after the battle. King Henry VI fled the country, and many of his most powerful followers were dead, including Henry Percy, 3rd earl of Northumberland, or in exile after the encounter which allowed Edward rule England uninterrupted for nine years until a brief restoration of Henry VI to the throne in 1470.

The Timeline of Wars of the Roses – via warsoftheroses.com

Year Date Event
1421 6 December 1421 Henry VI born
1429 1429 Margaret of Anjou born
1442 28 April 1442 Edward IV born
1450 August 1450 Return of Richard, Duke of York from Ireland
1453 December 1453 Henry VI first bout with mental illness
1454 April 1454 Start of York’s first protectorate
1455 February 1455 End of York’s first protectorate
22 May 1455 Wars of the Roses begins
22 May 1455 First St. Albans
1459 23 September 1459 Battle of Blore Heath
12 October 1459 Battle of Ludford Bridge
1460 10 July 1460 Battle of Northampton
30 December 1460 Battle of Wakefield
1461 2 February 1461 Mortimor’s Cross
17 February 1461 Second St. Albans
28 March 1461 Ferrybridge
29 March 1461 Towton
1464 25 April 1464 Hedgeley Moor
15 May 1464 Hexham
1469 26 July 1469 Edgecote Moor
1470 12 March 1470 Losecote Field
4 November 1470 Edward V born
1471 14 April 1471 Barnet
4 May 1471 Tewkesbury
21 May 1471 Henry VI dies
1483 9 April 1483 Edward IV dies
1485 22 August 1485 Richard III is killed at the battle of Bosworth
Battle of Bosworth
1487 16 June 1487 Stoke
16 June 1487 Wars of the Roses ends

 

Sources:

[1] Quoted from:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_of_York,_3rd_Duke_of_York#Ireland_.281445.E2.80.931450.29 

[2] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecily_Neville,_Duchess_of_York

[3] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VI_of_England

[4] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Anjou

[5] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_of_Westminster,_Prince_of_Wales#Early_life

[6] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Neville,_16th_Earl_of_Warwick

[7] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_IV_of_England#Reign

[7-1] thePeerage.com – Person Page 10187. Retrieved 5 December 2009.

[7-2] Biography of EDWARD IV – Archontology.org. Set sail on 2 October 1470 from England and took refuge in Burgundy; deposed as King of England on 3 October 1470. Retrieved 5 December 2009.

[7-3] Charles Ross, Edward IV (English Monarchs Series), 1998 ISBN 978-0-300-07372-0

[7-4] BBC Edward IV

[7-5] York was a direct descendant of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III. The House of Lancaster was descended from John of Gaunt, the third surviving son of Edward III, and as such had a superior claim over the House of York. However, Richard Plantagenet’s mother was Anne de Mortimer, the most senior descendant of Edward III’s second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp. Lionel had been the eldest son of Edward III to leave a surviving line of descent; as such, by modern standards, his line had an indisputably superior claim over that of his younger brother, John of Gaunt. By contemporary standards, this was by no means so certain; nonetheless, it allowed Richard and then Edward a good title to the throne.

[8] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Woodville

[8-1,2]

  1. “Women in Medieval England”. google.co.uk.
  2. Jump up^ Baldwin, David, Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower

[9] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_of_York

[10] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund,_Earl_of_Rutland

[11] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Plantagenet,_1st_Duke_of_Clarence

[12] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabel_Neville,_Duchess_of_Clarence

[13] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_III_of_England

[14] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Neville

[14-1] John A. Wagner. Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses, ABC-CLIO, Jan 1, 2001. pg 171.

[15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Beaufort,_Countess_of_Richmond_and_Derby

[15-4] Jones & Underwood, 35.

[16] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Tudor,_1st_Earl_of_Richmond#Capture.2C_captivity_and_death

[17] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VII_of_England

[17-1] Kendall, Paul Murray. Richard the Third. p. 13

[17-2] Williams, Neville. The Life and Times of Henry VII. p. 17.

[18] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasper_Tudor,_Duke_of_Bedford

[18-1] Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry: R. S. Thomas, “Tudor, Jasper was a duke of Bedford (c.1431–1495)”, first published 2004

[19] Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Towton#CITEREFGravett2003

Video: Wars of the Roses: A Bloody Crown

The Wars of the Roses by Martin J. Dougherty

1387 – Birth of Henry V

Henry V
Henry V

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House: House of Lancaster
Father: Henry IV of England
Mother: Mary de Bohun

Henry V was the 1st husband of Catherine of Valois. He was also the Father of Henry VI, who was half brother to Edmund and Jasper Tudor from Catherine’s second marriage to Owen Tudor.

by Edward Hargrave, after Unknown artist, coloured line engraving, 1842
Catherine of Valois
Henry Vl
Henry Vl

#TDIH Death of John Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford

John,_Duke_of_Bedford_-_British_Library_Add_MS_18850_f256v_-_detail

John Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, was the third surviving son of King Henry IV of England by Mary de Bohun. He was brother to Henry V, and acted as regent of France for his nephew, King Henry VI.

He was married to Anne of Burgundy until her death from the plague in 1432. In 1433 he married Jacquetta of Luxembourg – future mother to Elizabeth Woodville.

Anne of Burgundy
Anne of Burgundy
Jacquetta of Luxembourg
Jacquetta of Luxembourg
Henry V
Henry V
Henry Vl
Henry Vl