(The following is a slightly revised blog post I did on Margaret of Anjou, the subject of my novel in progress,
The Queen of Last Hopes. For more pieces about her and a picture gallery, see the links at the bottom of the page.)
Margaret of Anjou, queen to the unfortunate Henry VI, has surely been one of the most maligned English queens. She’s regularly portrayed as an adulteress and a vengeful harpy. One historical novel even has her repeatedly trying to murder her daughter-in-law, Anne Neville, though I never quite figured out why. (I’m not sure the author knew either.)
A set piece in many a Wars of the Roses novel, even some recent ones where the authors should have known better, involves cruel Margaret ordering immediately after the Battle of Wakefield that the severed heads of the Duke of York and his teenage son, the Earl of Rutland, be displayed and the Duke’s head be garnished with a
paper crown. In fact, Margaret was not at the Battle of Wakefield; she was in Scotland at the time. There’s even been considerable doubt cast as to the extent of the atrocities supposedly committed by her troops.