Sunday May 15th, 2011
Hello there, Sunday Weekend Warriors! Continuing in this series in hopes that those relocating to London are interested in learning more about British history, today we’ll meet yet another monarch, who is assuming the throne of last week’s Henry VI. We heard a bit about him last time, but allow me to now formally introduce you to King Edward IV.
As a result of the War of the Roses, we now see the Lancastrian faction of the Plantagenet line phase out its rule of England to make way for the Yorkist one. Edward IV had first ushered in the York dynasty in 1461 when Henry VI was exiled, as we learned last week. Allow me to revisit this time frame, then, from Edward’s point of view.
Thus far Edward has succeeded with the aid of the Earl of Warwick, but Warwick is alienated when Edward avoids the foreign marriage he’d otherwise hoped to arrange for him by secretly marrying a commoner. “Royally” pissed off (ha-ha), Warwick unites with Edward’s brother George, the Duke of Clarence, in a revolt against the monarch before fleeing to join Margaret of Anjou (Henry VI’s queen) in the Lancastrian cause. It is at this time that Henry VI is briefly restored to the throne when Edward IV flees to the Netherlands in 1470 until the following year.
Returning to England at this time in alliance with his brother Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, Edward kills Warwick at Barnet before proceeding to crush the Lancastrians in Tewkesbury. He reassumes his crown in 1471, and this is when we last saw Henry VI, executed at the Tower of London.
Join me next week when we’ll learn of this second chapter of Edward IV‘s reign.
Sunday May 8th, 2011
Hiya, Sunday Weekend Warriors! Those relocating to London will get even more out this city if you’re at least somewhat knowledgeable of British history. I, for one, have a horrible head for names and dates, facts and figures, so I find it’s the broader brushstrokes that I’ll best retain and apply to the historical sites I see in London. Hence, these bite-sized tidbits on the British monarchy each week.
Last week, we met Henry VI, subject of Shakespeare’s history play of same name. He’s having a tough time so far, not helped by the breakdown he’s just had thanks to hereditary mental illness. And now he has the War of the Roses to contend with as conflict breaks out between the houses of York and Lancaster. As a quick recap, the Duke of York, Richard (a contender for the crown), had taken care of Henry VI’s duties while the King was ill, but his quarrels with the King’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, and other Lancastrians culminates in an attack on the Queen’s forces in 1455 at St. Albans. In 1459, Henry VI is captured, and Richard assumes the role of Protector of England; the Duke meets his demise, however at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, yet his son is victorious the next year in Towton and crowns himself Edward IV.
Henry VI is exiled to Scotland for a few years, but on returning to England in 1465 is imprisoned at the Tower of London for five years. Though he’s briefly restored to the throne at that time, Henry VI loses his only son and heir in 1471 when the Lancastrians are defeated at Tewkesbery, and Henry himself (the last of the Plantagenet family’s Lancastrian line to rule England) is murdered soon after.
Sunday May 1st, 2011
Hiya, Sunday Weekend Warriors! If you’re moving to London, you hopefully have at least a mild curiosity about England’s history—the recent royal wedding in itself may have sparked some interest in the English monarchy and its traditions. Centuries before the present Queen Elizabeth, there was King Henry V, who we met last week. As I’d mentioned, Henry V died before meeting his infant son, the heir to the throne who succeeds at less than one year old in 1422…Henry VI.
To pick up with Henry VI‘s story, then, at nine months old, he is obviously too young to reign over England when he’s crowned in 1429 (and in light of his father Henry V’s victories in France, he is likewise crowned King of France in 1431), so a regency council rules in his stead until 1437. Henry VI has a few factors working against him, however: his interest in politics is only occasional, he selects unwise advisors, and his dual reign over both England and France poses an obvious challenge. He loses England’s foothold in France when Joan of Arc proves victorious in restoring the French Dauphin’s claim to the throne as Charles VII; England loses Brittany, Normandy, and Gascony by 1453, signaling the end of the Hundred Years’ War that we saw start during Edward III‘s reign…just before a war of the civil variety then commences…
In this same year, Henry VI suffers a mental breakdown due to hereditary illness. The Duke of York serves in his place for a couple years. However, on Henry’s recovery in 1453, the War of the Roses breaks out between the houses of York and Lancaster (two branches of the House of Plantagenet symbolized by a white and red rose, respectively) when Henry VI’s wife and queen, Margaret of Anjou, alienates the Duke.
Join me next week for the outcome of this fine mess!
Related sightseeing: Windsor Castle, where Henry VI was born in 1421.