Margaret of Anjou

Margaret of Anjou (French: Marguerite; 23 March 1430 – 25 August 1482) was the Queen of England by marriage to King Henry VI 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, King of Naples, 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. Owing 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 this provided the spark that ignited a civil conflict that lasted for more than 30 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.

Margaret was taken prisoner by the victorious Yorkists after the Lancastrian defeat at Tewkesbury. In 1475, she was ransomed by her cousin, King Louis XI of France. She went to live in France as a poor relation of the French king, and she died there at the age of 52.

Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou, detail from the Talbot Shrewsbury Book
Queen consort of England
1st tenure23 April 1445 – 4 March 1461
Coronation30 May 1445,
Westminster Abbey
2nd tenure3 October 1470 – 11 April 1471
Born23 March 1430
Pont-à-Mousson, Lorraine
Died25 August 1482 (aged 52)
SpouseHenry VI, King of England
IssueEdward of Westminster, Prince of Wales
FatherRené, King of Naples
MotherIsabella, Duchess of Lorraine

Early life and marriage

Margaret was born on 23 March 1430[1] at Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire east of France ruled by a cadet branch of the French kings, the House of Valois-Anjou. Margaret was the second daughter of René, King of Naples and of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. She had five brothers and four sisters, as well as three half-siblings from her father's relationships with mistresses. Her father, popularly known as "Good King René", was duke of Anjou and titular king of Naples, Sicily and Jerusalem; he has been described as "a man of many crowns but no kingdoms". Margaret was baptised at Toul in Lorraine and, in the care of her father's old nurse Theophanie la Magine, she spent her early years at the castle at Tarascon on the River Rhône in Provence and in the old royal palace at Capua, near Naples in the Kingdom of Sicily. Her mother took care of her education and may have arranged for her to have lessons with the scholar Antoine de la Sale, who taught her brothers. In childhood Margaret was known as la petite créature.

Vigiles du roi Charles VII 15
The marriage of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou is depicted in this miniature from an illustrated manuscript of Vigilles de Charles VII by Martial d'Auvergne

On 23 April 1445, Margaret married King Henry VI of England, who was eight years her senior, at Titchfield Abbey in Hampshire. The king and queen of France were the uncle and aunt of the groom and the bride respectively: Henry's late mother, Catherine, had been the sister of King Charles VII, whose wife Marie of Anjou was a sister of Margaret's father René. Further, Henry claimed for himself the Kingdom of France, and controlled various parts of northern France. Due to all this, the French king agreed to the marriage of Margaret to his rival on the condition that he would not have to provide the customary dowry and instead would receive the lands of Maine and Anjou from the English. The English government, fearing a highly negative reaction, kept this provision secret from the English public.

Margaret was crowned Queen Consort of England on 30 May 1445 at Westminster Abbey by John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury at the age of fifteen.[2] She was described as beautiful, and furthermore "already a woman: passionate and proud and strong-willed".[3] Those that anticipated the future return of English claims to French territory believed that she already understood her duty to protect the interests of the Crown fervently.[4] She seems to have inherited this indomitability from her mother, who fought to establish her husband's claim to the Kingdom of Naples, and from her paternal grandmother Yolande of Aragon, who actually governed Anjou "with a man's hand", putting the province in order and keeping out the English.[3] Thus by family example and her own forceful personality, she was fully capable of becoming the "champion of the Crown".[3]

Birth of a son

Henry, who was more interested in religion and learning than in military matters, was not a successful king.[5] He had reigned since he was only a few months old and his actions had been controlled by protectors, magnates who were effectively regents. When he married Margaret, his mental condition was already unstable and by the time of the birth of their only son, Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales (born 13 October 1453), he had suffered a complete breakdown. Rumours were rife that he was incapable of begetting a child and that the new Prince of Wales was the result of an adulterous liaison. Many have speculated that either Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, or James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond, both staunch allies of Margaret, was the young prince's actual father.

Although Margaret was aggressively partisan and had a volatile temperament,[3] she shared her husband's love of learning by dint of her cultured upbringing and gave her patronage to the founding of Queens' College, Cambridge.

Elizabeth Woodville (born ca 1437), later Queen of England as future wife of her husband's rival, King Edward IV, purportedly served Margaret of Anjou as a maid of honour. However, the evidence is too scanty to permit historians to establish this with absolute certainty: several women at Margaret's court bore the name Elizabeth or Isabella Grey.[6]

Beginnings of the dynastic civil wars

Enmity between Margaret and the Duke of York

Arms of Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou's arms as Queen consort of England.[7]

After retiring from London to live in lavish state at Greenwich, Margaret was occupied with the care of her young son and did not display any signs of political will until she believed her husband was threatened with deposition by the ambitious Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York,[8] who, to her consternation, had been appointed Lord Protector while Henry was mentally incapacitated from 1453 to 1454. The duke was a credible claimant to the English throne and by the end of his protectorship there were many powerful nobles and relatives prepared to back his claim. The Duke of York was powerful; Henry's advisers corrupt; Henry himself trusting, pliable, and increasingly unstable; Margaret defiantly unpopular, grimly and gallantly determined to maintain the English crown for her progeny. Yet at least one scholar identifies the source of the eventual Lancastrian downfall not as York's ambitions nearly so much as Margaret's ill-judged enmity toward York and her over-indulgence in unpopular allies.[9] Nevertheless, Queen Margaret was a powerful force in the world of politics. King Henry was putty in her hands when she wanted something done.[10]

Margaret's biographer Helen Maurer, however, disagrees with earlier historians having dated the much-vaunted enmity between the Queen and York to the time he obtained the office of the protectorship. She suggests the mutual antagonism came about two years later in 1455 in the wake of the First Battle of St Albans, when Margaret perceived him as a challenge to the king's authority. Maurer bases this conclusion on a judicious study of Margaret's pattern of presenting gifts; this revealed that Margaret took a great deal of care to demonstrate that she favoured both York and Edmund Beaufort (Somerset) equally in the early 1450s. Maurer also claims that Margaret appeared to accept York's protectorship and asserts there is no substantial evidence to back up the long-standing belief that she was responsible for the Yorkists' exclusion from the Great Council following Henry's recovery (see below).[11]

The late historian Paul Murray Kendall, on the other hand, maintained that Margaret's allies Edmund Beaufort (Somerset) and William de la Pole, then Earl of Suffolk, had no difficulty in persuading her that York, until then one of Henry VI's most trusted advisers, was responsible for her unpopularity and already too powerful to be trusted. Margaret not only convinced Henry to recall York from his post as governor in France and banish him instead to Ireland, she repeatedly attempted to have him assassinated during his travels to and from Ireland, once in 1449 and again in 1450.[12] Edmund Beaufort (Somerset) and Suffolk's joint responsibility for the secret surrender of Maine in 1448, and then the subsequent disastrous loss of the rest of Normandy in 1449 embroiled Margaret and Henry's court in riots, uprisings by the magnates, and calls for the impeachment and execution of Margaret's two strongest allies. It also might have made an ultimate battle to the death between Margaret and the House of York inevitable by making manifest Richard's dangerous popularity with the Commons. Richard of York, safely returned from Ireland in 1450, confronted Henry and was readmitted as a trusted advisor. Soon thereafter, Henry agreed to convene Parliament to address the calls for reform. When Parliament met, the demands could not have been less acceptable to Margaret: not only were both Edmund Beaufort (Somerset) and Suffolk impeached for criminal mismanagement of French affairs and subverting justice, but it was charged as a crime against Suffolk (now a duke) that he had antagonised the king against the Duke of York. Further, the demands for reform put forward included that the Duke of York be acknowledged as the first councillor to the king, and the Speaker of Commons, perhaps with more fervour than wisdom, even proposed Richard, Duke of York, be recognised as heir to the throne.[13] Within a few months, however, Margaret had regained control of Henry, Parliament was dissolved, the incautious Speaker thrown in prison, and Richard of York retired to Wales for the time being.[14]

In 1457, the kingdom was again outraged when it was discovered that Pierre de Brézé, a powerful French general and an adherent of Margaret, had landed on the English coast and burnt the town of Sandwich. As leader of a French force of 4,000 men from Honfleur, he aimed at taking advantage of the chaos in England. The mayor, John Drury, was killed in this raid. It thereafter became an established tradition, which survives to this day, that the Mayor of Sandwich wears a black robe mourning this ignoble deed. Margaret, in association with de Brézé, became the object of scurrilous rumours and vulgar ballads. Public indignation was so high that Margaret, with great reluctance, was forced to give the Duke of York's kinsman Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, a commission to keep the sea for three years. He already held the post of Captain of Calais.[15]

Leader of Lancastrian faction

Hostilities between the rival Yorkist and Lancastrian factions soon flared into armed conflict. In May 1455, just over five months after Henry VI recovered from a bout of mental illness and Richard of York's protectorship had ended, Margaret called for a Great Council from which the Yorkists were excluded. The Council called for an assemblage of the peers at Leicester to protect the king "against his enemies". York apparently was prepared for conflict and soon was marching south to meet the Lancastrian army marching north. The Lancastrians suffered a crushing defeat at the First Battle of St Albans on 22 May 1455. Edmund Beaufort (Somerset), the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were killed, Wiltshire fled the battlefield and King Henry was taken prisoner by the victorious Duke of York. In March 1458 along with her husband and leading nobles of the warring factions, she took part in The Love Day procession in London.

In 1459, hostilities resumed at the Battle of Blore Heath, where James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley, was defeated by a Yorkist army under Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury.

The Wars of the Roses

Early campaigns

Margaret of Anjou 1463
Portrait medallion of Margaret of Anjou, by Piero da Milano, 1463

While Margaret was attempting to raise further support for the Lancastrian cause in Scotland,[16] her principal commander, Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset,[17] gained a major victory for her at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460 by defeating the combined armies of the Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury. Both men were beheaded and their heads displayed on the gates of the city of York. As Margaret was in Scotland at the time the battle had taken place, it was impossible that she issued the orders for their executions despite popular belief to the contrary.[18] She followed up with a victory at the Second Battle of St Albans (at which she was present) on 17 February 1461.[19] In this battle, she defeated the Yorkist forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, and recaptured her husband. It was after this battle that she, in a blatant act of vengeance, ordered the execution of two Yorkist prisoners of war, William Bonville, 1st Baron Bonville, and Sir Thomas Kyriell, who had kept watch over King Henry to keep him out of harm's way during the battle. The king had promised the two knights immunity, but Margaret gainsaid him and ordered their executions by decapitation. It is alleged that she put the men on trial at which her son presided. "Fair son", she allegedly asked, "what death shall these knights die?" Prince Edward replied that their heads should be cut off, despite the king's pleas for mercy.[19]

Sojourn in France

The Lancastrian army was beaten at the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461 by the son of the late Duke of York, the future Edward IV of England, who deposed King Henry and proclaimed himself king. Margaret was determined to win back her son's inheritance and fled with him into Wales and later Scotland. Finding her way to France, she made an ally of her cousin, King Louis XI of France, and at his instigation she allowed an approach from Edward's former supporter, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who had fallen out with his former friend as a result of Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, and was now seeking revenge for the loss of his political influence. Warwick's daughter, Anne Neville, was married to Margaret's son Edward, Prince of Wales, in order to cement the alliance, and Margaret insisted that Warwick return to England to prove himself before she followed. He did so, restoring Henry VI briefly to the throne on 3 October 1470.

Final defeat at Tewkesbury

By the time Margaret, her son and daughter-in-law (Anne) were ready to follow Warwick back to England, the tables had again turned in favour of the Yorkists, and the Earl was defeated and killed by the returning King Edward IV in the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471. Margaret was forced to lead her own army at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471, at which the Lancastrian forces were defeated and her seventeen-year-old son Edward of Westminster was killed. The circumstances of Edward's death have never been made clear; it is not known whether he was killed in the actual fighting or executed after the battle by the Duke of Clarence. If he died in battle, he would have been the only Prince of Wales ever to do so. Over the previous ten years, Margaret had gained a reputation for aggression and ruthlessness, but following her defeat at Tewkesbury and the death of her only son, she was completely broken in spirit. After she was taken captive by William Stanley at the end of the battle, Margaret was imprisoned by the order of King Edward. She was sent first to Wallingford Castle and then was transferred to the more secure Tower of London. Henry VI was also imprisoned in the Tower in the wake of Tewkesbury and he died there on the night of 21 May; the cause of his death is unknown, though regicide was suspected. In 1472 she was placed in the custody of her former lady-in-waiting Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk, where she remained until ransomed by Louis XI in 1475.[20]


Margaret lived in France for the next seven years as a poor relation of the king. She was hosted by Francis de Vignolles and died in his castle of Dampierre-sur-Loire, near Saumur (Anjou) on 25 August 1482 at the age of 52.[21] She was entombed next to her parents in Angers Cathedral, but her remains were removed and scattered by revolutionaries who ransacked the cathedral during the French Revolution.

Margaret's letters

Many letters, written by Margaret during her tenure as queen consort, still exist. One was written to the Corporation of London regarding injuries inflicted on her tenants at the manor of Enfield, which comprised part of her dower lands.[22] Another letter was written to the Archbishop of Canterbury.[23][24] Margaret's letters, which were typically headed with the words "By the Quene,"[25] are compiled in a book edited by Cecil Monro, which was published for the Camden Society in 1863.[26]


Queen Margaret of Anjou
Margaret appears in an illumination in the Books of the Skinners Company, 1422. It was entered in the roll of the Fraternity of Our Lady in 1475.

Depictions in fiction

Margaret is a major character in William Shakespeare's first tetralogy of History plays. Henry VI, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Richard III. She is the only character to appear alive in all four plays, but due to the length of the plays for the taste of modern audiences, many of her lines are usually cut.[27] Shakespeare portrays Margaret as an intelligent, ruthless woman who easily dominates her husband and fiercely vies for power with her enemies. In Henry VI, Part 2 Margaret has an affair with the Duke of Suffolk and mourns his death by carrying around his severed head. In Henry VI, Part 3 she personally stabs the Duke of York on the battlefield after humiliatingly taunting him, and becomes suicidal when her son Edward is killed in front of her. Although in reality Margaret spent the rest of her life outside England after the death of her husband and son, Shakespeare has her return to the court in Richard III. Margaret serves as a Cassandra-like prophetess; in her first appearance she dramatically curses the majority of the nobles for their roles in the downfall of the House of Lancaster. All of her curses come to pass as the noblemen are betrayed and executed by Richard of Gloucester, and each character reflects on her curse before his execution. Shakespeare had famously described Margaret : "How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex/ To triumph like an Amazonian trull/ Upon their woes whom Fortune captivates."[28]

Margaret's prominence in Shakespeare has led many theatre-makers to interpret the story with her at the center, drawing from the plays she is featured in. An adaptation called Margaret of Anjou by Elizabeth Schafer and Philippa Kelly was performed in 2016 in London by By Jove Theatre Company[29] and at California Shakespeare Theater in 2018.[30] In 2018 the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester premiered Queen Margaret, using all the lines spoken by Margaret over the four plays with additional material by playwright Jeanie O'Hare.[27]

Margaret is the title character of Giacomo Meyerbeer's 1820 opera Margherita d'Anjou.

In the 1963 production by the Royal Shakespeare Company of The Wars of the Roses, broadcast by the BBC in 1965 and 1966, Margaret was played by Peggy Ashcroft. In the second series of The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, a three-part television adaptation of the Tetralogy first broadcast in 2016, Margaret was portrayed by Sophie Okonedo.

She also is the subject of a fictional biography, The Royal Tigress by a fictional character, David Powlett-Jones who is the main subject of To Serve Them All My Days, R.F. Delderfield's novel of a Welsh schoolmaster at a Devon public school from World War I to the Battle of Britain in the 1940s. Delderfield, in the person of Powlett-Jones, appears to have a very good grasp of Margaret's life and the Wars of the Roses, and the content and development of the book give us an entertaining sub-plot to the book's main narrative.

In the television series The White Queen (2013), based on Gregory's The Cousins' War novels, Margaret of Anjou is portrayed by Veerle Baetens.

She is also depicted in the German historical novel Das Spiel der Könige (the game of kings; covering the period 1455–1485, from 1st St Albans to Bosworth Field) by Rebecca Gablé.

The character of Cersei Lannister in George RR Martin’s book A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV series adaptation Game of Thrones is based on Margaret of Anjou.


  1. ^ Brooke, C.N.L.; Ortenberg, V. (June 1988). "The Birth of Margaret of Anjou". Historical Research. 61 (146): 357–58. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2281.1988.tb01072.x.
  2. ^ Margaret Lucille Kekewich, The Good King: René of Anjou and Fifteenth Century Europe, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 101.
  3. ^ a b c d Kendall, p.19.
  4. ^ Maurer, Helen E. (2004). Margaret of Anjou : Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England. Woodbridge: Boydell. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-84383-104-4.
  5. ^ Sellar, W.C.; Yeatman, R.J. (1930). 1066 And All That. Methuen. p. 46.
  6. ^ Smith, George (1975). The Coronation of Elizabeth Wydeville. Gloucester: Gloucester Reprints. p.28
  7. ^ Boutell, p.276.
  8. ^ Kendall, pp.30–31.
  9. ^ Kendall, pp. 18, 19 & 24: "Excessive greed and ambition—the besetting sins of his contemporary peers—seem to have been largely absent from his character. It would require the unrelenting enmity of a queen to remind him that he owned a better title to the throne than Henry the Sixth," id. at 18." It appears that Richard, Duke of York, was neither aiming at the crown nor seeking more of a voice in the government than he was entitled to. He represented, to many Englishmen of the day, the only hope of rescue from the swamp of disorder and evil rule in which the realm was floundering." Id. at p.517, n8.
  10. ^ Fraser, p.139.
  11. ^ Review of Maurer, Helen (2003). Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England. Retrieved 1 March 2011
  12. ^ Kendall, pp. 21–23, citing The Paston Letters, vol. 4, as original source.
  13. ^ Kendall, pp.21–23.
  14. ^ Kendall, pp.13–14. When York and the king and queen met again, on a field of truce at Blackheath in 1452, he found himself ambushed and taken prisoner while Edmund Beaufort (Somerset) was again restored to honours. Id.
  15. ^ Kendall, p.32.
  16. ^ Haigh, p.32.
  17. ^ Wagner, p.26.
  18. ^ Kendall, pp.39–40.
  19. ^ a b Costain, p.305.
  20. ^ Hartley, Cathy (2003). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. London: Europa Publications Ltd. p.298 ISBN 1-85743-228-2
  21. ^ Hookham, Mary Ann The life and times of Margaret of Anjou, queen of England and France; and of her father René "the Good," king of Sicily, Naples, and Jerusalem, Tinsley brothers eds. London, 1872, p. 369-71, retrieved on 17 December 2016.
  22. ^ Letters of Queen Margaret of Anjou and Bishop Beckington and Others, edited by Cecil Monro, Esq., published for the Camden Society, M.DCCC.LXIII, pp.98–98, Google Books, retrieved on February 24, 2010
  23. ^ Monro, pp.99–100.
  24. ^ As the letter was not dated, it is not known which Archbishop this was; Munro suggests it was most likely to have been either John Stafford, (13 May 1443 – 25 May 1452) or Cardinal John Kemp, (21 July 1452 – 22 March 1454).
  25. ^ Monro, pp.89–165
  26. ^ Letters of Queen Margaret of Anjou and Bishop Beckington, and Others, edited by Cecil Monro, Esq., published for the Camden Society, M.DCCC.LXIII, Google Books, retrieved on 24 February 2010.
  27. ^ a b Ian Youngs (20 September 2018). "Bringing Shakespeare's neglected women out of the shadows". BBC News. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  28. ^ Castor, Helen (2011). She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth. New York: Harper Collins. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-06-143076-3.
  29. ^ "Margaret of Anjou". By Jove Theatre. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  30. ^ Alicia Coombes. "Introducing Margaret of Anjou". California Shakespeare Theater. Retrieved 20 September 2018.


  • Abbott, Jacob (2004). History of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI of England. Reproduction of 1871 text by Kessinger Press.
  • Bagley, J.J. (1948). Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England. Herbert Jenkins.
  • Brooke, C.N.L.; Ortenberg, V. (June 1988). "The Birth of Margaret of Anjou". Historical Research. 61 (146): 357–58. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2281.1988.tb01072.x.
  • Boutell, Charles (1863). A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular. Winsor & Newton.
  • Cokayne, George Edward, ed. (1893). Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct or dormant (L to M). 5 (1st ed.). London: George Bell & Sons.
  • Costain, Thomas B. (1962). The Last Plantagenets. Popular Library, New York.
  • Fraser, Antonia (1975). The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England. University of California Press.
  • Haigh, Philip A. (1995). The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses. Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-938289-90-6.
  • Hookham, Mary Ann (1872). The Life and Times of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England and France.
  • Kendall, Paul Murray (1955). Richard the Third. George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-942048-8.
  • Laynesmith, J. L. (2004). The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-924737-0.
  • Maurer, Helen E. (2004). Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England. Boydell Press.
  • Wagner, J.A. (2001). Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. Santa Barbara. ISBN 1-85109-358-3.

External links

Margaret of Anjou
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 23 March 1430 Died: 25 August 1482
English royalty
Title last held by
Catherine of Valois
Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland

23 April 1445 – 4 March 1461
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Woodville
Preceded by
Elizabeth Woodville
Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland

30 October 1470 – 11 April 1471
1430 in France

Events from the year 1430 in France

Act of Accord

The Act of Accord was passed by the English Parliament on 25 October 1460, three weeks after Richard, Duke of York, had entered the Council Chamber and laid his hand on the empty throne. Under the Act, King Henry VI of England was to retain the crown for life but York and his heirs were to succeed, excluding Henry's son, Edward of Westminster. Henry was forced to agree to the Act.

Far from ending the Wars of the Roses, it split the kingdom further, as it was unacceptable to the queen, Margaret of Anjou, who saw her son disinherited, while retaining a large body of Lancastrian supporters. In the immediate aftermath, the Lancastrians defeated and killed York in December 1460 (even though the Act had made it high treason to kill him), but they were in turn defeated in spring 1461 by York's son Edward, who then became king.In the same parliament (on 31 October), York was made Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall and Lord Protector of England.

Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk

Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk (c. 1404 – 1475) was a granddaughter of the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Married three times, she eventually became a Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, an honour granted rarely to women and marking the friendship between herself and her third husband William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk with King Henry VI and his wife Margaret of Anjou.

Battle of Mortimer's Cross

The Battle of Mortimer's Cross was fought on 2 February 1461 near Wigmore, Herefordshire (between Leominster and Leintwardine, by the River Lugg), not far from the Welsh border. It was a major battle of the Wars of the Roses. The opposing forces were an army led by Jasper Tudor and his father, Owen Tudor, and other nobles loyal to the King Henry VI of the House of Lancaster, his Queen Margaret of Anjou and their seven-year-old son Edward, Prince of Wales on one side, and the army of Edward, Earl of March. Some sources say it was fought on 3 February, and the exact location has been the subject of some speculation.

Battle of Northampton (1460)

The Battle of Northampton was fought on 10 July 1460 near the River Nene, Northamptonshire. It was a major battle of the Wars of the Roses. The opposing forces were an army led by nobles loyal to King Henry VI of the House of Lancaster, his Queen Margaret of Anjou and their seven-year-old son Edward, Prince of Wales on one side, and the army of Edward, Earl of March and Warwick the Kingmaker on the other. The battle was the first in which artillery was used in England.

Battle of Wakefield

The Battle of Wakefield took place in Sandal Magna near Wakefield in northern England, on 30 December 1460. It was a major battle of the Wars of the Roses. The opposing forces were an army led by nobles loyal to the captive King Henry VI of the House of Lancaster and his Queen Margaret of Anjou on one side, and the army of Richard, Duke of York, the rival claimant to the throne, on the other.

For several years before the battle, the Duke of York had become increasingly opposed to the weak King Henry's court. After Henry became his prisoner, he laid claim to the throne, but lacked sufficient support. Instead, in an agreement known as the Act of Accord, he was made Henry's heir to the throne, displacing from the succession Henry's and Margaret's 7-year-old son Edward, Prince of Wales. Margaret of Anjou and several prominent nobles were irreconcilably opposed to this accord, and massed their armies in the north. Richard of York marched north to deal with them, but found he was outnumbered.

Although he occupied Sandal Castle, York sortied from the castle on 30 December. His reasons for doing so have been variously ascribed to deception by the Lancastrian armies, or treachery by some nobles and Lancastrian officers who York thought were his allies, or simple rashness or miscalculation by York. The Duke of York was killed and his army was destroyed, many of the prominent Yorkist leaders and their family members died in the battle or were captured and executed.

Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales

Edward of Westminster (13 October 1453 – 4 May 1471), also known as Edward of Lancaster, was the only son of King Henry VI of England and Margaret of Anjou. He was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury, making him the only heir apparent to the English throne to die in battle.

Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville (also spelled Wydville, Wydeville, or Widvile) (c. 1437 – 8 June 1492) 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 mother Jacquetta of Luxembourg had previously been an aunt by marriage to Henry VI. Elizabeth's 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 the first king of England since the Norman Conquest to marry 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, and to the execution of Elizabeth's father Richard Woodville in 1469.

After the death of her husband in 1483 Elizabeth remained politically influential even after her son, briefly proclaimed King Edward V of England, was deposed by her brother-in-law, Richard III. Edward and his younger brother Richard both disappeared soon afterwards and are presumed to have been murdered on Richard's orders. Elizabeth subsequently played an important role in securing the accession of Henry VII in 1485. Henry married her daughter Elizabeth of York, ended the Wars of the Roses and established the Tudor dynasty. Through her daughter, Elizabeth was the grandmother of the future Henry VIII. Elizabeth 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.She died in 1492, possibly of plague.

James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond

James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond, 1st Earl of Wiltshire (24 November 1420 – 1 May 1461) was an Anglo-Irish nobleman and soldier. Butler was a staunch Lancastrian and supporter of Queen consort Margaret of Anjou during the Wars of the Roses. He was beheaded by the victorious Yorkists following the Battle of Towton.

King's College Boat Club

King's College Boat Club is the rowing club for members of King's College, Cambridge. The first record of King’s rowing is in 1838.In 1973, women row at King’s for the first time, forming a women's boat club under the name Queen Margaret of Anjou Boat Club (QMABC). The name QMABC was dropped in 1996, and all King's crews since have rowed under King's College Boat Club.


Kœur-la-Petite is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

In 1464,during the war of the roses (1455-1487) it was a refuge for members of the defeated house of Lancaster. They found shelter at the chateau of Koeur la Petite. Henry VI of England's queen, Margaret of Anjou lived there with Sir John Fortescue, and also the dukes of Exeter and Somerset along with others.

Margaret of the Palatinate

Margaret of the Palatinate (German: Margarete von der Pfalz; 1376 – 26 August 1434, Einville-au-Jard) was the daughter of Rupert of Germany and his wife Elisabeth of Nuremberg. She married Charles II, Duke of Lorraine on 6 February 1393. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick V, Burgrave of Nuremberg and Elisabeth of Meissen. One of her grandchildren was Margaret of Anjou, Queen Consort of King Henry VI of England.

Her children with Charles II of Lorraine included:

Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine (1400–1453), heiress of Lorraine and wife of René I of Naples

Louis (died young)

Ralph (died young)

Catherine de Lorraine (1407–1439), wife of Jacob, Margrave of Baden

Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden

Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (c. 1460 – 14 May 1523) was a soldier and courtier in England and an early member of the House of Commons. He was the son of Lancastrian loyalists, Sir William Vaux of Harrowden and Katherine Penyson (or Peniston as she is sometimes called in later sources), a lady of the household of Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of the Lancastrian king, Henry VI of England. Katherine was daughter of Gregorio Panizzone of Courticelle (modern Cortiglione), in Piedmont, Italy which was at that time subject to King René of Anjou, father of Queen Margaret of Anjou, as ruler of Provence. He grew up during the years of Yorkist rule, and later served under the founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII.

Queens' College, Cambridge

Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. Queens' is one of the oldest and the largest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, and has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. The college spans both sides of the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the Mathematical Bridge connecting the two.

The college's alumni include heads of government and politicians from various countries, royalty, religious leaders, astronauts and Oscar nominees. Examples are Stephen Fry, Abba Eban and T. H. White. Its most famous matriculant is Desiderius Erasmus, who studied at the college during his trips to England between 1506 and 1515.

As of June 2016, the college held non-current assets valued at £111.18 million.The current president of the college is the senior economist and Labour Party adviser, Lord Eatwell. Past presidents include Saint John Fisher.

Ralph Percy

Sir Ralph Percy (c. 11 August 1425 – 25 April 1464) was a knight, a Governor of Bamburgh Castle and a supporter of the Lancastrian faction in the Wars of the Roses. Percy was the son of Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland and Lady Eleanor Neville, and the grandson of Sir Henry "Hotspur" Percy.

Percy married, firstly, Eleanor Acton and they had six children:

Sir Ralph Percy

Peter Percy

Sir Henry Percy

George Percy

John Percy

Margaret PercySir Ralph married, secondly Jane Teye. They had a child, Catherine Percy.

During 1462 and 1463, the Lancastrians attempted to destabilise the kingdom, ruled by their Yorkist enemy, Edward IV. These attempts were concentrated in the north of England and directed by the Lancastrian Queen, Margaret of Anjou (Henry VI's wife).

The Earl of Warwick led campaigns to neutralise the Lancastrians in the north in the early 1460s. As a result, Sir Ralph Percy surrendered Bamburgh Castle to Edward IV, on Christmas Eve 1462 in return for a free pardon. Sir Ralph swore allegiance to Edward IV and, as part of Edward IV’s policy of conciliation, Percy’s lands were then returned to him. Sir Ralph took control of both Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh Castles, under his surrender agreement with Edward.

Fighting in the north continued, exacerbated by a Scottish invasion led by James III, Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI in 1463. When the Scots sued for peace, Lord Montague was sent to arrange terms. On 25 April 1464, Montague was on his way to Norham. The Duke of Somerset (who had surrendered and sworn allegiance with Percy) and Percy, forswearing their oaths, attacked Montague with 5,000 men. The site of that battle was Hedgeley Moor, seven miles south of Wooler. Percy led Somerset's vanguard and was killed.


A Ribauldequin, also known as a rabauld, ribault, ribaudkin, infernal machine or organ gun, was a late medieval volley gun with many small-caliber iron barrels set up parallel on a platform, in use during the 14th and 15th centuries. When the gun was fired in a volley, it created a shower of iron shot. They were employed, specifically, during the early fifteenth century, and continued serving, mostly, as an anti-personnel gun. The name organ gun comes from the resemblance of the multiple barrels to a pipe organ.

As an early type of multiple barrel firearm, the ribauldequin is sometimes considered the predecessor of the 19th century mitrailleuse.The first known ribauldequin was used by the army of Edward III of England in 1339 in France during the Hundred Years' War. Edward's ribauldequins had twelve barrels which fired salvoes of twelve balls.

Nine-barreled ribaults were used by Milan and other participants in the Italian Wars.

Ribauldequins were also used in the Wars of the Roses. During the Second Battle of St Albans, Burgundian soldiers under Yorkist control utilized the weapon against the Lancastrian Army led by Queen Margaret of Anjou.

In Eastern Europe, a heavier version of the organ gun was used by Stephen the Great of Moldavia as late as 1475, as attested to by Polish chronicler Bielski.

Thomas Tresham (speaker)

Sir Thomas Tresham (died 6 May 1471) was a British politician, soldier and administrator. He was the son of Sir William Tresham and his wife Isabel de Vaux, daughter of Sir William Vaux of Harrowden. Thomas's early advancement was due to his father's influence. In 1443 he and his father were appointed as stewards to the Duchy of Lancaster's estates in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, and by 1446 Thomas was serving as an esquire for Henry VI, being made an usher of the king's chamber in 1455. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Huntingdonshire in 1446, a position he held until 1459, and was returned to Parliament for Buckinghamshire in 1447 and Huntingdonshire in 1449. Despite the Tresham family's close links with the royal court they were also on good terms with Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and when he returned from Ireland in 1450 Tresham and his father went to greet him. Shortly after leaving home on 23 September they were attacked by a group of men involved in a property dispute with his father; William Tresham was killed, and Thomas was injured.

After recovering from his injuries he again began to take government appointments; he was High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire between 1451 and 1452, a justice of the peace between 1452 and 1460 for Northamptonshire and a Member of Parliament in 1453 for Northamptonshire. Tresham stayed in favour throughout the disturbances of 1456, and was again made High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire between 1457 and 1458, and for Sussex and Surrey between 1458 and 1459. He was returned to parliament in 1459 for Northamptonshire again, and the parliament, packed with anti-Yorkists, chose him to act as Speaker of the House of Commons. After the Parliament ended he was appointed to various anti-Yorkist commissions of Oyer and terminer, followed by an appointment as Comptroller of the Household in 1460.

He fought at the Battle of Northampton in 1460, but denied having been at the Battle of Wakefield, an odd thing for a Lancastrian. He joined up with Margaret of Anjou in January 1461 and fought at the Second Battle of St Albans, where he was knighted. He fought at the Battle of Towton and was captured; despite being one of the lords on whom Edward IV had placed a £100 bounty, he only suffered forfeiture. He secured a pardon in 1464 and again represented Northamptonshire in Parliament in 1467, but failed to regain his lands and possessions. As a result, he took part in the plots of John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London from 1468 until Henry VI regained the throne in 1470. He was rewarded for his services and loyalty with various grants, including that of Huntingdon Castle, to be held for seven years.

After the Battle of Barnet he fled to meet Margaret of Anjou but was captured and executed on 6 May 1471.His children by Mary, daughter of William, Lord Zouche of Harringworth, included a son, John, who was born in 1462. John was restored to his father's estates after the reversal of the attainder by Henry VII in 1485. John's son was Sir Thomas Tresham (d.1559). A daughter, Isabella, was born in 1460 and married Sir Henry de Vere of Addington, thus establishing a long line of descendants.

William Ayscough

William Ayscough (or Aiscough) was a medieval Bishop of Salisbury.

Ayscough was nominated on 11 February 1438 and consecrated on 20 July 1438.Ayscough was murdered at Edington, Wiltshire, on 29 June 1450 by an angry mob during Jack Cade’s rebellion, as he had married Henry VI and the deeply unpopular Margaret of Anjou.

Yolande, Duchess of Lorraine

Yolande (2 November 1428, Nancy – 23 March 1483, Nancy), was Duchess of Lorraine (1473) and Bar (1480). She was the daughter of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, and René of Anjou (King of Naples, Duke of Anjou, Bar and Lorraine, Count of Provence). Though she was nominally in control of major territories, she ceded her power and titles to her husband and her son. In addition, her younger sister was Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England.

In the 19th century, a romanticised version of her early life was popularised by the play King René’s Daughter by Henrik Hertz, in which she is portrayed as a beautiful blind princess living in an isolated garden paradise. It was later adapted to Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanta. There is no evidence that she was ever blind.

Ancestors of Margaret of Anjou
8. Louis I, Duke of Anjou
4. Louis II of Naples
9. Marie of Blois
2. René I of Naples
10. John I of Aragon
5. Yolande of Aragon
11. Violant of Bar
1. Margaret of Anjou
12. John I, Duke of Lorraine
6. Charles II, Duke of Lorraine
13. Sophie of Württemberg
3. Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine
14. Rupert of Germany
7. Margaret of the Palatinate
15. Elisabeth of Nuremberg
Key figures
See also

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