By early 1461 all pretence about loyalty to etc Henry VI was off. Nobles had not just been nobly slew(ed) in the battle at Wakefield but ungallantly executed. Thus, Richard (The late, York Duke of,)’s eldest surviving son Edward was going about saying he should be king. As he was in London with HIS army he convinced parliament to be in Accord with this and pass an Act. Since Henry VI had now taken to laughing and singing for no good reason many folk could see Edward’s point.
Margaret vs Warwick and Edward
At this stage, The Yorkist’s had a problem on 17th Feb 1461. A battle was fought between Warwick’s Yorkist forces and Margaret (Anjou & Queen) ‘s Lancastrians over (A) Who should have Henry (Warwick did at the time), (B) The road to London (Warwick also held that) and (C) St Albans, which no one really cared about but happened to be where they met. Margaret’s forces won by manoeuvre, treacheries and having lots of plundering scots; she had Henry back, (still The VI, laughing and singing). Having taught her son Edward (Prince Wales of) about Yorkists he had prisoners’ heads chopped off. Edward (Duke York of,) should have been there but he was delayed on the welsh border by loyal Lancastrian Tudors and was obliged to fight a battle on the land of someone called Mortimer who was naturally very cross at the damage done. Aware that Edward was on the loose Margaret decided not to go south (to London) but north nearer her scot’s allies and also nab York which would make The Yorkist look all kinds of silly.
Eventually the two large armies met at Towton (which is quite near York) on the 29th March 1461, as Edward said the people wanted him as King and as Margaret and her supporters had Henry VI (who was really not sure about anything) and said he was King, this was going to be a decider. It is recorded as the largest, bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil and was a Yorkist victory for the weather was against The Lancastrians. Some historians claim it didn’t really matter in the scheme of things; had they been in the ranks they might have had a different opinion.
In the aftermath, Margaret, Edward (her son), Henry VI (King of ?) and a few surviving Lancastrian nobles fled to Scotland. Margaret realising the Scots had lost some of their enthusiasm went, with many adventures back to France with her son (Edward, of course). As for Henry since he had already been classified as being in Two Parts (Young King. Vague King) was made into a Third Part and hidden in Scotland, Yorkshire and Northumberland, although this was not a very good plan as he was captured again in 1465!
Edward Officially The IV
On the 4th March 1461, with much celebration and a few accidental deaths due to said celebrations Edward was officially, legally (sort of) and generally made King of England.
Although 6 foot 4 inches tall, a tried and tested warrior, popular with The Nevilles (Northern, Large Retinue, Experienced at dirty tricks, Warwick’s family etc) and the ordinary people, many nobles families grumbled or said they had no opinion. This did not bother Edward as he was large, jovial and given to appetites, particularly in the areas of food and women.
Edward Annoys People He Shouldn’t Have Annoyed
The latter caused great consternation when he fell in love with one very common Elizabeth Woodville, who said she ‘wouldn’t’ unless they were married. Edward besotted (and IV) married her in secret, then told his council afterwards, who were even more cross than Mortimer and they said so. Warwick who had been busy making much of trying to arrange Edward’s marriage to a French (possibly) princess was made to look a complete fool in the eyes of the French, this didn’t take much encouragement and thus was even more cross than the Council (or Mortimer- but not an Edmund)
The Rise of The Woodvilles. Warwick Plots-Lots.
Whereas the Woodvilles were grasping, self-serving, conniving and rapacious in the usual ways, they were Commoners which did not suit the nobility at all, particularly Warwick who was losing his grip on Edward and in consequence took to plotting. In this, he was assisted by his son-in-law George, brother to Edward (IV, King, appetites etc), who was another younger son unhappy with just being a Duke ruling over everyone called Clarence and felt he deserved better. (see Thomas Brother of Henry the V)
Initially, this involved orchestrating a small rebellion in 1469 by a minor noble masquerading as Robin Throw-The-Woodvilles- Out, with a view to making George king, and they were victorious at Edgecot on 26th July. Although Warwick and the rebels had captured Edward (IV) the Robin was killed, so Warwick had to find another one. In the meantime, Warwick realised he could not rule without an Edward (IV), so was obliged to let Edward (IV) go. Edward accepting that this was ‘how things went’ was nearly willing to accept Warwick in a lesser role, but Warwick tried to capture him again, this plot was discovered and by tradition Warwick was obliged to flee the country and go to France.
Louis XI- Good at Plots.
Although Charles VII(of France) had been quite successful in the Roses Wars Of, by getting more of France off of The English, during his latter years he suffered from ill-health and his son Louis who reckoned it was his time and so became king by coincidence also in 1461, Louis (now XIth) didn’t have that many appetites, but was very good at plotting (and kept a universally large collection of spiders). So good were his plots that he managed to get Warwick (and possible George) to meet with Margaret (Still of Anjou and believing herself to be Queen) and organise a really good plot. After the traditional icy greetings and veiled insults had been exchanged Warwick, Edward and Margaret agreed to Louis’ way of doing things.
This was indeed a truly good plot. A sort of rebellion was raised in the north of England, Edward (VI) marched (with an army) to deal with it, Warwick and George (of Clarence) landed on the 13th September 1470 at both Dartmouth and Plymouth, the people were so impressed they rallied to this cause. Edward was nearly surrounded and fled to the Netherlands. Someone found Henry (VI-sort of) and Lancastrian rule was re-established. George was made Duke of York and Warwick ‘advised’ Henry (VI) who really had lost complete track of who was who.
International Politics Intervenes
In 1471 Louis (XI) and the impressively named Charles The Bold (Of Burgundy) went to war over something or other. Burgundy was so powerful Charles was able to finance Edward (IV) to land in England, and thus annoy Louis. On 14th March 1471, Edward (IV, intending to be) naturally landed on the Yorkshire coast. Due to subsequent bad weather Margaret (Anjou and still tough with it), Edward (her son, might be Prince of Wales) and a lot of French reinforcements couldn’t arrive, and George decided he would be happier just ruling all the Clarences after all. Thus, Warwick was obliged to fight with who he had on the 14th April at Barnet, once more the weather was bad, so bad the Lancastrians got lost and fought each other, Warwick was captured and killed, and Edward was THE IV again.
The End of Lancaster (House of)
Margaret still determined eventually landed with son in tow, but on the 4th May at Tewkesbury was defeated by Edward who getting really fed up of the whole business had this other Edward who was old enough, executed. As a result, Margaret understandably was quite despondent and was captured and eventually put in the Tower of London, where Henry (no longer officially a VI) was too. In order to tie up, any loose ends Edward VI arranged for Henry to die of remorse. Since under the rules of Chivalry he was not able to execute Margaret he kept her locked up, in the Tower, with a lot of Guards, doors triple locked. He needn’t have bothered.
Feeling quite secure and wishing to repay a favour Edward invaded France in 1475 in support of Charles The Bold (Burgundy), who didn’t turn up. As any further fighting was pointless Edward sold Margaret back to Louis who would know what to do with her and accepted a large bribe to go away from France which was what the original Peace Party had been banging on about in the 1420s!
George of York and Clarences started to grumble a lot between 1477 and 1478, hire men to make questionable horoscopes concerning Edward and tried to encompass him with them. Everyone apart from Clarence was tortured and executed, but he hired someone to rush into Parliament and say they were all innocent. Naturally, he was arrested, tried for treason (and probably Gross Stupidity) and of course found guilty.
At this stage, the writer wishes to clarify for American readers that he was not punished by having his butt stuck in a large barrel of wine. At his own request, he was drown in a said barrel, this may have been a cunning ploy to drink his way out and thus escape. He miscalculated, and his last words may have been ‘blub, blub’.
Edward and the Scots resumed invading in the 1470s each other on a small basis, but since the scots were involved in fighting over which James should be king, if at all, Edward decided to keep out of it and concentrate on appetites.
Eventually, he died of said appetites on the 9th April 1483.
Legacy of Two Kings
Although Henry was technically a king longer, he was essentially a tragic figure who was used and so had his name in the titles of three plays written by Shakespeare. Edward was robust, larger than Life but suffered from appetites and Woodvilles; thus, only qualified for minor play which is only attributed, but not performed.
They both lost The Hundred Years’ War.
All this left The Woodvilles and his Edward’s Younger Brother Richard to scrap over who controlled Edward’s two young sons and more importantly England….. It was going to be messy