Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Bit More English History

Margaret of Anjou was born 23 March 1430 in Lorraine.
She died 25 August 1482 in Anjou and was interred in Angers Cathedral. Her remains were removed and scattered during the French Revolution three hundred years later.

In attempting to make a selection of one worthy of commemoration today, I looked through a list of celebrities and quasi-celebrities as well as lists of the notorious and the felonious. I picked Margaret, because you can't make this stuff up.

I am not a historian, but I have long had a keen fascination with the feats and peccadillos of our ancestors. In attempting to truncate volumes (literally) of information down to a post-sized snippet, there is danger of doing violence to history. I hope not to do that.

I have looked at ancestral charts for the honoree of the day, but have chosen not to go into the genealogical background, fascinating though it is.

We will start with the Lady as a women of fifteen years who, according to one account was "already a woman, beautiful, passionate and proud, and knew her duty which was to zealously guard the interests of the Crown." With these credentials, she married Henry VI of England in 1445.

Henry was eight years older than Margaret and had "ruled" England since his infancy. Unfortunately, about the time their only son was born, Henry fell into a state of mental incompetence which rendered him incapable of functioning as king. But Margaret proceeded to "zealously guard the Crown."

By March 1461 Edward IV of Lancaster who, curiously enough, was married to Elizabeth Woodville who was Maid of Honor at the wedding of Margaret and Henry, had deposed Henry and declared himself king. End of story.

Not so fast.

Margaret, enlisting her cousin, Louis XI of France in her cause, took his suggestion that she form an alliance with Neville, Duke of Warwick. This was accomplished by the marriage of her son the Prince of Wales to Warwick's daughter, Anne Neville. Warwick was successful in returning Henry to the throne in October 1470. But the Yorkists under Edward returned to the lists, and Margaret herself led her forces against him at the Battle of Tewkesbury, 4 May 1471. She was defeated and captured and her seventeen-year-old son was killed.

Margaret was imprisoned at Wallingford Castle and later at the Tower of London until she was ransomed by the King of France in 1475, at which time she moved to France where she lived out her days.

Image: Wikipedia

You might also like Lady Jane; Eleanor Castile; or Royal Wedding.


Lin said...

Sigh. My life is very boring indeed.

vanilla said...

Lin: Nay, not so. You daily lead the charge into the lists of the 21st century business world, and come out each day, if not unscathed, certainly victorious!

Besides, "Duck and Wheel" is evidence of the exciting life you lead. Write on!