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Elizabeth of York
King Edward IV first child is born
It is a very cold evening at the Palace of Westminster in London. Edward IV the King of England was anxiously waiting outside the Queen’s royal chamber for the news of his first child to be born anytime. He prayed to God that his child should be hale and healthy. The day is 11 Feb 1466. Soon a tender cry of the child is heard. The King running out of patience rushes in. The royal maid in waiting breaks the happy news that a beautiful daughter is born to them. He finds his mother Cecily Neville (Queen Mother), Duchess of York holding her fragile granddaughter in her hands and kisses her gently on the forehead. She said “I wish your father is still alive. He would be very much happy to see his grandchild.” The Queen Elizabeth Woodville who is exhausted tells the King “I was hoping for a boy since you always wished for a son.” King Edward answers her back “Dear I am more than delighted to welcome a daughter as my first child.”
Seventeen-year-old George and Fourteen years old Richard both younger brother of Edward enters the chamber and looks at the child playfully. Richard asks Edward” what will be her name, should I pick one.” Edward smiles and tells him “you don’t need to worry about that. She will be christened at Westminster Abbey. ” The church soon christened her name as Elizabeth. She’s is given the title Elizabeth of York.
A grand celebration is held at the palace
A grand feast is held at the palace. Many rich relatives and royals were invited for the glorious moment. Everyone danced to the music played by the court musicians. A trumpet is signaled to get everyone’s attention. Edward stands in the balcony with his wife carrying her child gives a speech “today is a special occasion in my life. I would like to take your time to say how joyful I am to see all of you here to celebrate the birth of my child. I am deeply honored by your presence to bless my child. Let’s continue the music and have a wonderful time. Once again I wish to thank everyone of you here.” All the audience took their wine glass, held it high in their hand and shouted bliss to the king and his family. There was one guy Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick who was not happy with this celebration. He was filled with full of curses instead. He was deeply enraged towards Edward for secretly marrying a knight’s daughter without caring to inform him about his decision when Neville was unknowingly making a serious royal arrangement with King Louis XI of France to marry his daughter Anne to Edward.
Neville took Edward's younger brother George aside during the celebration and said “Do you know what it takes to be a real king? You need to marry a woman who is of royal ancestry and the royal blood of yours should carry for generations to come, but your brother made a poor choice. I want you to marry my daughter Isabel. She is from a rich background and makes an excellent wife for you. Think wisely and give me your answer." George was very much interested in marrying Neville's daughter Isabel. He spoke about this with his brother Edward. He didn't encourage George to proceed further regarding this matter, for this arrangement will make Neville powerful and bring him closer to the throne. More than two years later on 11 July 1469 Edwards’s Brother George now 19 years old secretly marries Isabel elder daughter of Richard Neville at Calais (France). The ceremony had to take place in secrecy since Edward was completely against the marriage.
George secretly marries the daughter of Richard Neville
George always supported his elder brother rights to the throne but Soon Richard Neville hatched a plan to poison George's mind. Neville said" Do you feel like a real man just standing quietly by your brother's side and let him rule entire England. I can see you are more capable of being a better administrative than him. But the question is. Are you willing to challenge him and prove your subjects you are more worthy of them?"
Edward IV after many years of rule as a king in order to support his wife Elizabeth Woodville and her family, as well as to maintain his connection with Burgundy since his sister Margaret of York married to Charles, Duke of Burgundy. He started distancing himself from many nobles including Richard Neville and didn't promote their policies. The rebels raised by Richard Neville at Yorkshire demanded the government of Edward to break his relationship with Elizabeth Woodville and the family, subsequently seeing that they lose all kind of administrative power.
George and Richard Neville sailed back to England from Calais, Isabel was pregnant. On 16 April 1470, she delivered a baby girl during the fleet only to die after few days. George lamented “Oh Lord my only child has reached heaven so soon. My grief knows no bound." Soon Battle between Edward’s army and huge supporters of Richard Neville erupted at Edgecote Moor. Soon the king’s men were defeated. Edward was arrested and taken as a prisoner by Archbishop Neville brother of Richard Neville. Later he was imprisoned at Warwick. Again he was taken to the cell in Middleham Castle. Fortunately, the new administration who tried to rule in Edwards name failed to earn the trust of the Nobles who preferred Edward to be a better king and lots of chaos and confusion prevailed. Sir Humphrey Neville became a Lancastrian uprising in the north. The Warwick's failed to create an army to defeat them. Edward was released by the demand of the Nobles and made king again. He defeated the rebels and restored peace. Later Humphrey Neville was executed in front of the king.
Edward IV gets surrounded by Richard Nevillie's men
After many failed attempts to get rid of Edward, Richard Neville and George fled from England to Calais only to be banned from entering the territory due to the bad reputation. They both went to Louis XI of France to get support. Neville began by saying “Oh king you are so wise and fair in making choices. Edward IV dares to go against my better judgments. He even questions my daughter’s marriage to his brother. The prominent families of England are still faithful to their former king Henry VI. We Neville's gave the needed support to Edward to occupy the throne. Please help us to find justice against Edward's discriminant attitude." Louis XI took advantage of the situation and asked Margaret of Anjou (Wife of insane Henry VI) to marry her son Edward of Lancaster to Richard Neville daughter Anne. This arrangement will make Henry VI regain the throne of England again.
Richard Neville and George performed all sort of threat to King Edward’s administration. They defeated Edward IV again with the help of Richard Neville brother John Neville who was once loyal to Edward, surrounded him with his men. The King fled to Burgundy along with his brother Richard. On 30 October 1470, Henry VI becomes the king of England only to be a puppet with strings attached to the hands of powerful Warwick’s. Edward was stripped of his titles and land. George became Duchy of York.
Richard Neville dies
King Louis XI declared war on Burgundy. Duke Charles of Burgundy angered by the king’s action gave military support to Edward so that he can reclaim his throne back. Richard Neville waited for Queen Margaret and his son in law Edward of Lancaster to join him and provide forces from France to defeat Edward IV, but due to bad weather, they are not able to make their journey. Edward’s Brother George had a change of heart and realized he was supporting the war with Lancaster for all the wrong reason and understood Richard Neville is least interested in making him king. He decided to stay by the side of his brother. Richard Neville came to know that George has abandoned them but still, he continued the war at the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471. The battlefield was filled with fog and mist causing confusion within the already weakened army. Richard Neville fled to avoid being captured by his enemies but he fell from his horse and broke his neck. Edward put his sword over Richard Neville forehead and said: “you wreak havoc on my life just because of my love for a woman.” Neville writhing in pain and unable to move said “it’s all over for me. I had been a fool, blinded by anger. Forgive me for the trouble I have caused. Let God shower mercy upon everyone.” With these words, Neville closed his eyes.
Henry VI is imprisoned
Sick Henry VI is imprisoned in the Tower of London. Margaret of Anjou only hope is to defeat Edward IV by her son Edward and take the throne of England. On 4 May 1471, a final battle took place between Edward IV and inexperienced Edward of Lancaster at the Battle of Tewkesbury. A single thrust into the chest of young Edward by the sword of Edward IV makes him fall from the horse. Edward IV holds Edward by his arms and says “Forgive me, I have no intention of ending your life but you gave me no option.” Edward being only 17 smiled a bit then struggled to breathe until he stopped breathing at all. Soon his father Henry VI too was executed on 21 May 1471, thus putting an end to Lancaster’s race. Anne weeps upon hearing the news of her husband’s death. After a victorious battle, Edward IV returns home to reunite with his family who was under the care of his mother Cecily Neville at her quarters.
Elizabeth soon grew into a pretty girl and she was six years old. She was playing hide and seek in the royal garden unaware of gruesome situation happening around. She was blindfolded, with her hands spread out she was touching every possible thing around her, to guess the hiding place of other girls. She ended up hugging her teacher. She opened her blindfold and got embarrassed. The teacher smiled and said, “I still have a little bit of energy left to play with you.” Elizabeth smiled and ran away to join the other girls. Later the girls were playing the game of who will be the queen and who will be the peasant to obey orders. They played endlessly with laughter and excitement till it became dark enough to join dinner at the palace.
Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville having dinner
At the table while having food. She looked at the flickering candle lights and looked at her grandma and said: “what kind of bedtime story you are going to tell me tonight.” Her grandmother thought for a moment and said: “well I have this beautiful story about a poor girl who always dreamed of marrying a prince and her dream comes true one day.” Edward looked at his wife and said she seems to be having the fun of her life. Elizabeth Woodville now holding her seven months old son Edward V in her arms said “I am no daughter of a duke or an earl but a humble knight’s daughter. I never dreamed of marrying a prince.” Edward answered, “Dear love I refused the offer to marry the daughter of Louis XI of France to be with you and fought with Warwick’s and Lancaster’s including my own brother George to prove my love for you.” Elizabeth Woodville becomes serious with tears in her eyes said: “I will never doubt your love for me and love you dearly till my last breath.”
On 17 August 1473, Elizabeth Woodville delivers another son. Edward IV said” ah, you kept your promise to give me a son. Now I have two proud son’s to look after me. Elizabeth of York asked her father “can I touch his hand”. Her father smiled and said, “go on, hold his baby hand.” She touched his little fingers with delight and said “I will teach him to be a very good boy. Soon my brother will grow big enough to play with me.” The second son becomes Prince Richard and earns the title Duke of York on May 1474.
Richard falls in love with Anne Neville
Richard the brother of Edwards IV falls in love with Anne Neville widow of Edward of Lancaster. He says” Dear Anne you are so beautiful like the red roses filled with fragrance. My heart cares for you and I am willing to surrender my whole life in your gentle hands.” Anne returned her affection to him by saying “Your words are so true. I can see how much you care for me.” George his brother was against this marriage because it means Richard will gain more rights over the vast estates and properties of the Warwick’s. Richard gave most of the Warwick’s land and property they gained after the death of Richard Neville to his brother George to marry Anne without any opposition. Anne gives birth to a male child and they name him Edward, who become the Prince of Wales.
George of Clarence wife died due to serious illness. He under the belief that Isabel poisoned by one of the women in waiting suspected Ankarette Twynyho to be the reason and got her executed by hanging. By now George mental stability was deteriorating rapidly and was getting less stable day by day. He started revolting against his brother Edward again. This time Edward lost his trust and patience on him. He put him as a prisoner in the Tower of London and accused him of treason against Edward IV. On 18 Feb 1478, he ordered the execution of George. Edward asked him one last time “Brother Will you change your ways and support my administration wisely. He answered back “you are no brother of mine. My death will bring you only pain and grief. I can only curse you from my heart.” Edward felt very bitter to hear these words and he left his brother to be executed at the Tower.
Elizabeth of York turned 12. She understood nothing about the games the royal family plays. No one cared for anyone except for power and wealth. Her father lied to her that Uncle George whom she knows very well has left the country to take a voyage around the world and will not return for a long time. He played with her brothers and loved them very much. Edward IV was never able to forget the curse of his brother George before his death. It haunted him so much that he believed he saw his ghost at night.
Edward IV health started deteriorating
Edward IV health started deteriorating steadily for few years. Many sicknesses almost claimed his life. He soon decided to write a will in which he named his brother Richard as the protector and his elder son Edward V to be the rightful heir to the throne. The day was 9 April 1483. This will be the last day for Edward IV. He called all of his family and said “Now I am just a sick person incapable of taking care of my own family. He looked at his children and smiled. Then he was holding Elizabeth Woodville hand. He struggled to say something but no words came out of his mouth and then he slowly died.
Now Richard wanted to be the crowned king of England. He wanted to see that Edward IV son’s to be out of the picture. As days passed Elizabeth Woodville increasingly became suspicious of Richards activities. She felt he will harm her young children to earn glory and power. She even dreamed of Richard adding poison into the food of her son’s. Later putting their bodies inside a sealed wooden box and throw it into a river. She started getting nervous about the safety of her children. On the other end, Richard believed that the Queen Elizabeth Woodville plotting to assassinate him. A lot of distrust grew between them.
Under the order of Richard, the two young princes Edward V and Richard Duke of York were put in the Tower of London. Since Edward V who is only 12 years old will be crowned as the new king of England, It is a tradition that he must stay in the Tower of London while awaiting coronation. This event supposed to happen on 22 June 1483. A clergyman soon informed Richard that his brother Edward IV was already married to another woman called Eleanor Butler thus denying the sons of Edward to have any legal rights to occupy the throne. Richard became the final contender for the throne with the support of all leading nobles and people of London.
Richard becomes the King
On 6 July 1483, Richard was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Soon after the coronation, the sons of Edward IV disappeared mysteriously without a trace. Elizabeth Woodville accused Richard of having hand in their disappearance. But he denied any wrongdoing and maintained his innocence. Elizabeth of York grew pale over the loss of her dear brothers and never trusted anyone.
On 9 April 1484 Richard’s only son Edward dies due to illness. This causes great grief to Richard and Anne. Again on 16 March 1485 less than a year after the death of his son, Anne Neville also dies after a long period of illness. On her deathbed, she said to Richard “I will always love you and never forget your love for me. He kissed her lips with tears in his eyes and wished he will soon join her in heaven. An eclipse followed that day. Many took it as a bad omen for Richard. During these painful times, he was accused of poisoning Anne in order to marry his niece Elizabeth of York. Richard was already in a sad state didn’t care much about these rumors. Nevertheless, he was forced to make a public statement announcing that his grief for the Queen’s passing is genuine and he can’t even dream of harming her in any way. This silenced everyone from hurting him further.
Richard as a king ruled England wisely and just. For the first two years, he didn’t face any sort of threat he able to control those who dared to oppose him until Henry Tudor came into the picture. Henry escaped with other Lancaster’s and lived in Brittany as an exile for 14 years under the protection of Francis II, Duke of Brittany when Edward IV regained the throne in 1471. Now under the encouragement of his mother Margaret Beaufort, he challenged Richard the third to fight for the throne. Henry also promised Elizabeth Woodville that he will marry her elder daughter Elizabeth if he defeats Richard.
Richard prepares for his last battle
On the day of the war, Richard was very worried and prayed for peace. Soon a battle took place at Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. Initially, he was able to defeat the army of Henry Tudor since his army was more in strength compared to Henry’s army. Richard rode on a white horse and fought bravely. He was making his way towards Henry Tudor to get rid of him. Suddenly Richard horse was stuck in a marshy ground and the horse was unable to move easily. The horse lifted its front legs violently in the air to free itself causing Richard to fall. He even lost his grip on the sword he was carrying. He was completely surrounded by his enemies. Richard’s own trusted Lieutenant Rhys ap Thomas switching sides with Henry Tudor for power struck Richard hard on his head smashing his skull with a sword. A soldier shot an arrow towards his spine. He suffered many wounds all over his body. While bleeding to death Richard saw the spirit of Anne waiting for Him.
Henry Tudor and his men shouted in victory. Then they started marching to the palace to claim the throne. Henry saw Elizabeth Woodville receiving him warmly. He got down from the horse went towards her daughter Elizabeth of York and kissed her hand. Then he bent on his knees and asked her “will you marry me.” Her mother looked sternly at her. She was only nineteen years old and very young. She plainly said “Yes.” Everyone cheered aloud. On 30 October 1485, he was crowned as the King of England.
Elizabeth cares for the red rose
On 18 January 1486, in Westminster Abbey, they got married. In reality, Henry Tudor who became Henry VII now married Elizabeth only to create stability and acceptance among nobles but still, he boasted that he claimed the throne by right of conquest and not by marriage. He was a tough person and kept Elizabeth strictly under his control like a bird inside a cage. Elizabeth felt he was not the right man for her. Soon she became pregnant with his child and gave birth to a boy on 20 September 1486. The boy was christened as Arthur. She became a crowned queen on 25 November 1487.Henry has never been kind to Elizabeth in spite of her being good to him. He was ill-tempered and always rude. He only saw that she did the duty of a good wife. She always longed for real love in her life which she never got. She bore three more children to him Margaret, Henry, and Mary. She found meaning in her life by raising children. She always looked at a red rose through her bedroom window and cared for it every day.
Elizabeth became pregnant once again. She was taken to the Tower of London during her confinement period. This time a girl was born to her on 2 February 1503. She was named Katherine, but she died a few days later. By now Elizabeth has become weak and sick. She never saw the real world as an independent woman. All the battles and lust for power meant nothing for her. Finally, she died on her birthday 11 Feb 1503 at the age of 37. Henry first time in his life showed some emotion in his face and wept. He said “I never had the time to be with you; I never had the chance to understand you but you were there for me always. The precious rose she cared for withered away in the air.
A withered rose
© 2017 MICKEY MOUSE