Okay! Part Seven! If you missed Friday’s post covering Richard’s marriage to Anne Neville, then you can catch up here. Today, we’re going to cover Edward IV’s disastrous 1475 military campaign in France and Richard’s disagreement with his brother over the end result.
Shortly after Edward IV’s restoration in 1471, Richard, Duke of Gloucester expressed his desire to marry Lady Anne Neville, daughter of the deceased Earl of Warwick and sister-in-law to his brother, George, Duke of Clarence. Anne, recently widowed by the death of the Lancastrian Prince Edward, was barely 15 and, following her pardon by Edward IV, living with George and her sister, Isabel.
Picking up where we left off: George, Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick’s rebellion in the summer of 1469 enhanced Richard’s position at Edward IV’s court. Around the same time that he joined Edward for his triumphant return to London, Isabella of Castile wrote a letter to her brother, King Henry IV, listing out four possible suitors, including, “the brother of the King of England.”
You can catch up on the first two posts on Richard III here and here. Today, we’re going to pick up where we left off in 1461, with Richard and his brother, George, newly returned to England from the Burgundian court in time to see their brother, now Edward IV, crowned king.
Ok, we’re picking up where we left off yesterday with Richard III. You can catch up on how I’m approaching him here. As I mentioned yesterday, we know very little about Richard’s early years save that they were predominantly spent at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, and that his most constant companions were his sister, Margaret, and his brother, George. Our next glimpse of him comes in October 1459 when Richard was seven, by which time the first half of the Wars of the Roses was well underway.
By now I hope most of you have read Thursday’s post that covers how I’m approaching Richard III. If you haven’t, I recommend starting there. Going forward, while I will be providing some basic context on people and events, my aim is to keep these relatively tight biographical posts so the links I include in the text will direct you to older posts that delve more deeply into various topics.
Richard III is a tricky monarch to write about in a forum like this. His life and brief reign occurred during a particularly complex period in England’s history, and there’s an incredible level of controversy over even some of the most basic facts of his life. Compared with writing about other monarchs, Richard presents a unique challenge in that the devil is very much in the details, but I also try to write my historical posts in a way that makes them accessible for people with a more casual interest in English history or its monarchy.
That’s part of it. The other part is that few historical figures prompt as strong a reaction as Richard does. The second half of the Wars of the Roses has its own cult following akin to that of the Tudors (indeed, Richard’s closest peer in the canon may well be Anne Boleyn when it comes to sheer volume of ink spilled) and people tend to fall into two camps: those who believe Richard has been unfairly maligned and those who believe he is in fact guilty of murdering his nephews, the Princes in the Tower.