The Wars of the Roses/Margaret of Anjou/She Wolf or not?/Comments on the article of Mr Gareth Rusell about Margaret of Anjou

 

File:Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.jpg
RICHARD OF YORK, CLAIMANT TO THE ENGLISH THRONE
AND ONE OF THE MAIN LEADERS OF THE WAR OF ROSES

EDWARD PLANTAGENET, FOURTH DUKE OF YORK,
 SON OF RICHARD, THIRD DUKE OF
YORK, THE LATER KING EDWARD IV
[FICTION]

image

RICHARD NEVILLE, 16TH EARL OF WARWICK, THE KINGMAKER
COUSIN TO EDWARD IV, FIRST ALLY TO HIS FATHER, RICHARD,
DUKE OF YORK, THEN TO KING EDWARD IV
LATER THEY BECAME ADVERSARIES AND THE KINGMAKER TURNED
TO MARGARET OF ANJOU [BECOMING A ”LANCASTRIAN] TO RESTORE HENRY VI TO THE THRONE
HE FAILED AND LOST HIS LIFE IN THE BATTLE OF TEWKESBURY
HIS DAUGHTER, ANNE, LATER BECAME QUEEN OF ENGLAND,
MARRIED TO KING RICHARD III [BROTHER TO KING EDWARD IV]
[FICTION]
[WAR BETWEEN THE HOUSES OF LANCASTER AND YORK,
BOTH DESCENDANTS OF KING EDWARD III]
[HISTORICAL IMAGE]

WAR OF THE ROSES
SCENE AT THE TEMPLE GARDEN
RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK, WEARING A
WHITE ROSE, TO CONFRONT
HIS POLITICAL RIVAL AND ENEMY,
EDMUND, BEAUFORT, 2ND DUKE OF
SOMERSET, FORCING HIM TO
CHOOSE A RED ROSE
THE NOBLE LORDS TAKING SIDES
THIS IS A SHAKESPEARE SCENE [HENRY VI]
AND NOT BASED ON ANY HISTORICAL
EVIDENCE
KING HENRY VI OF ENGLAND
[HISTORICAL IMAGE]
MARGARET OF ANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND
[HISTORICAL IMAGE]

TWO IMAGES OF MARGARET OF ANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND
[FICTION]
 

13501173331

EDMUND BEAUFORT, 2ND DUKE OF SOMERSET, FAVOURITE
OF MARGARET OF ANJOU AND BITTER ENEMY OF RICHARD,
DUKE OF YORK
[FICTION]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WARS OF THE ROSES/MARGARET OF ANJOU/SHE WOLF

OR NOT?/COMMENTS ON

Dear Readers,
Recently I read a very interesting article of Mr Gareth Russell
on his Blog ”Confessions of a Ci-Devant”
The article is titled:
23th MARCH, 1430, THE BIRTH OF MARGUERITE OF
ANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND”
See for complete text of the Blog article below
 
Russel gives an interesting comment on Margaret of Anjou’s
historical and political role, challenging the villifying of
Margaret of Anjou.
I greatly agree with his view about Margaret of Anjou
, though he doesn’t emphasize 
clearly, that the Wars of the Roses was no struggle between
 ”ambitious claimants and magnates’ only, but had a legitimation
in it, since  Richard, Duke of York, had a better claim than the
Lancasters, as King Henry VI himself.
Understandable he wanted to fight for it, as understandable, that
Margaret of Anjou wanted to defend her son’s rights.
But fact stays, that York had more right to the throne.
Also it’s a pity that Russell doesn’t explain clearly
,in which way Margaret
of Anjou was villified and why it was villification at all.
In this comment I tell more over this villification and
give also my opinion on the question
Who was Margaret of Anjou
A She Wolf, A Saint or just a Brave Woman.
TRAVEL WITH ME TO THE PAST AGAIN
ENTER THE WORLD

 

VILLIFICATION OF MARGARET OF ANJOU
I agree with Russell’s view, that Margaret of Anjou has unjustly been
villified throughout the centuries, either by non proven stories or
unjust historical facts.
For example there is no proof whatsoever, that her son was not the child
of King Henry VI [but of the Duke of Somerset, as much was believed in that time,
due to propagandism of her enemies, probably Yorkists.]
MARGARET PRESENT AT WAKEFIELD? NONSENSE
Myths are hard to eradicate.
Common popular belief says, that
Margaret of Anjou was present at the battle of Wakefield and
responsible for the execution of Richard, Duke of York, as should
have ordered the execution of the York’s son, the Earl of
Rutland and possibly the execution of York’s brother in law, the 5th Earl of Salisbury.
First, at least the Duke of York himself was almost certainly slain
in the Battle of Wakefield.
Second:
Since Margaret of Anjou was in Scotland at the time of Wakefield,
it  was impossible, that she could have ordered those executions.
There were no smartphones in the Middle Ages! [1]
MARGARET SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTBREAK
THE WARS OF ROSES?/UTTER NONSENSE
Some writers suggest, that Margaret of Anjou in her own was
responsible for the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses.
Of course that’s nonsense.
It’s true, that due to unwise policy and a hard political
stand she provoked escalation,  but other key players
did as well.
Besides, the causes of the Wars of the Roses were that deep
rooted and complicated, that military confrontation
would have bursted out anyway, even when Margaret of
Anjou had been a saint and all forgiving. [2]
THE POLICY OF MARGARET OF ANJOU
HARD AND CONCILIATORY?
Certainly Margaret could be  hard and ruthless.
For instance, she ordered executions after the 2nd Battle of
St Albans [3]  and a more conciliatory person should have ordered
the removal of the heads of the Duke, his son and brother in law,
which were displayed at Micklegate.
And I think there were opportunities she could have shown
a milder face, but did not.
For example, although Helen Maurer challanges that
in her biography of Margaret of Anjou [4], I think Margaret
was one of the driving forces [I say, ”one”, of course
young Somerset and other Lancastrian leaders had their part too]
behind the attainting of York, Salisbury, Warwick, the wife of
Salisbury and many others in 1459 at the Coventry Parliament. [5]
And that’s what pushed York to the extremes to make an
ultimate attempt  to
seize the throne in 1460, which ended in the Act of Accord,
disinheriting King Henry VI’s son and securing the succession
to the throne [after the death of King Henry VI] into the hands
of York and his heirs. [6]
Of course Margaret was furious, but she provoked this,
by her probable influencing at the attainder of her adversaries. [7]
Because actually York was a not convicted [that was the mean
thing of attainder, that judicial proof of treachery was not necessary]
traitor with his life and estates forfeited.
The only chance to gedt his position and properties
back [and not being an outlaw]
was at that time, the claiming of the throne.
For him there was no way back, as for Margaret.
MARGARET’SAND THE KING’S UNWISE FAVOURITISM OF LORD
SOMERSET, ENEMY TO THE DUKE OF YORK
Travelling to the prelude to the Wars of the Roses, the obvious
favouritism, that the King and Margaret displayed in favour
of Somerset [a bitter enemy of York], was unwise and will have embittered
York further. [8]
However, to Margaret’s defence must be said, that her favouritism
stemmed also from the fact, that, as she and the King
had something important in common with Somerset.
Being of the  ”peace party”
concerning the Hundred Year’s War with France
 [negociations, buying a longer peace period
by giving the French some territories back], while the Duke of York,
as Humphrey of Gloucester, uncle to King Henry VI, were from
the war party, which meant  just hard and open war.
YORK’S CLAIM TO THE THRONE
The Wars of the Roses had various causes, one important
stemming from the fight for the throne
between Lancaster and York.
End although Margaret might have seen it otherwise [understandable]
York [from his mother’s side, who was a descendant from
Lionel of Antwerp, the second son of King Edward III] had a superior
claim to the throne than the Lancasters and [also from the House
of Lancaster] even King Henry VI, who was a descendant from John
of Gaunt, the third son of King Edward III.
And….smack to the past……the Kings grandfather Henry IV
was an usurper, since he  had deposed the rightful
and anointed King, Richard II, who by the way had made York’s maternal
grandfather, Roger Mortimer, presumptive heir to the throne….[9]
YORK’S ”RUN FOR THE THRONE”
FROM THE BEGINNING?
I don’t think York was ”after the throne from the beginning”,
[there is simply no proof for that]
but when the conflict escalated in the fifties, combined with
Somerset’smilitary  blunders in France at the second
half of the forties [by which all English territories
in France were lost, except Calais], as the constant favouritism
of Somerset, things get really out of hand.
I don’t say, York was not ambitious, but that’s something
other than go for the throne.
In fact, he didn’t need to in the beginning, since he was
already heir presumptive to the throne from 1447 [when the King”s
uncle, Humphrey Gloucester died under mysterious circumstances],
untill the birth of Edward of Westminster, the son of the King in 1453.
POLITICAL AND PERSONAL
PERSONAL DILEMMA’S IN A COMPLICATED
TIME IN ENGLAND’S HISTORY
Before sainting or demonizing Margaret of Anjou this:
The Wars of Roses is no story of angels or devils,
but of men [and sometimes women] who were faced with
nearly impossible dillemma’s.
That goes for Margaret of Anjou, as the other
major players.
What to do, when a King is gone mad?
Who has to succeeed the throne, the son of
a King, who is a baby, or the experienced Duke
of York, with a better claim to the throne.
When a woman [here Margaret] is to be regent for
her son, how stable the country will be.
Will the people accept this?
Will the rivalling Lancasters accept
Yorkist rule and be safe?
Will the rivalling Yorks accept the
rule of a Lancaster baby King and be safe?
Will the Duke of York get rid himself eventually  of a baby
King, resenting that his own superior
claim to the throne is not fulfilled and
wanting the throne for himself and his sons.
How will France [probably seeking for revenge
after the Hundred Year’s war]  react on
a politically unstable England?
How will this all effect the economy.
Will social unrest stem from this deadly York and
Lancaster show?
Yeah, it was not easy, either for Margaret of
Anjou [and her adherents]  or her adversary, the Duke of York
[and his adherents]
WAR OF THE ROSES
BITTERNESS OF THE FIGHT/
KILLING AND REVENGE
GOOD AND BAD?
As I said before, there are no villains or saints in this
story.
The only  ”bad” thing is, when one is
murderous and cruel, the ”good” thing, to stay honorouble
and human [of course, following the morals of
that time] in a situation of war hell.
And to be frankly:
Both parties were cruel.
Both parties committed cruelties, executed their
enemies in cold blood and of course, only saw the
crimes of the other party.
And then of course, the aspect of the blood feud, which
embittered the war, besides the mutual ambitions.
In the First Battle of St Albans in 1455  [beginning
of the Wars of the Roses, Yorkist victory], the Duke of
Somerset [enemy of York], the Earl of Northumberland
as Lord Clifford were killed.
So their sons wanted revenge.
At Wakefield in 1460, the Duke of York, his
son Edmund [Earl of Rutland] and York’s brother
in law, the Earl of Salisbury [father to
the Earl of Warwick, the ”Kingmaker”] were killed.
So Edward, son of the Duke of York [the later
King Edward IV] and the Earl of Warwick, wanted revenge.
And so on and on.
When the hell broke loose, there was no way back.
MARGARET OF ANJOU
SHE WOLF OR NOT
Who was Margaret of Anjou?
A she wolf, some sort of ”saint” or ”brave woman”,
who defended the rights of her husband and son till
the last moments [when her son was killed in the
Battle of Tewkesbury or thereafter]
That she was a saint nobody will believe, but a she wolf she was
either.
A brave woman, then?
I think she was and one can only
respect her decisiveness to defend her son’s rights,
although she was partly to blame for the events, that led to the Act of
Accord in 1460.
However:
Not seeing her as a monster, but a brave woman,
doesn’t mean the Duke
of York is the villain here, as is suggested, probably
as compensation to the villifying of Margaret, by some writers
like  novelist
Susan Higginbotham [without denial of the high level of her
impressive book ”Queen of Last Hopes”].
York was a hardcore military leader and as ambitious for his sons as
Margaret of Anjou for her’s, but that is all there is to say.
For years he served King Henry VI as a loyal servant, first two times
as Kings Lieutenant  in France, then as Lieutenant in Ireland.
Only later, when political tensions and personal enmities rose,
he felt threatened [not only Margaret of Anjou felt threatened]
gathered his adherents and it came to armed struggle.
And just that was the problem with Margaret of Anjou:
Margaret of Anjou was hard and sometimes cruel, but not
harder or more cruel then the men involved.
From the Duke of York a hard attitude was accepted, as of
the Duke of Somerset and co, but in a woman, it was considered
as ”unnatural” and ”evil”
Take Agincourt:
King Henry V was praised for his military succes in the Hundred Year’s
War with France, especially the victory at Agincourt.
Yet when the battle was done, Henry V gave orders to kill
the French prisoners of war [10], which is cruel, even in Medieval
warfare.
Because he was a man, he was considered as a great warrior King.
Margaret didn’t commit crimes of that level, but yet Henry V is a hero and
Margaret as a a villain and monster.
That’s the double standard between men and women.
But Medieval women were bound to strict moral codes. [11]
I am the least to justify the cruel measures Margaret sometimes took, but
first and foremost they were condemned because she was a woman.
I can’t blame Edward IV for hating and villifying Margaret,
 since his father and brother were killed in the battle of Wakefield,
as other sons, women, mothers and daughters from those, killed
in the struggle against the Lancastrians.
But the later historians don’t have that excuse and should have known better.
Conclusion
Margaret was brave, but her political decisions were clouded
by stubborness and favouritism, which blocked compromises
and let to ruthless decisions [as the attaintings of the Yorkists]
which embittered her adversaries and provoked violent
outbursts.
She certainly was an ”aggressive partisan” [which Rusell
mentioned justly] and could be ruthless and cruel.
No attractive characteristics, but so were  the men
in her political environment.
Margaret of Anjou should be judged after her deeds and not her
gender, with the same measures laid on the men around her.
It’s time she gets a fair judgement.
I am glad, that Rusell, as writers like Susan Higginbotham, contribute to that.
Thanks for travelling with me to the past again.
Astrid Essed
[1]
MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?
SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
” As Margaret was in Scotland at the time the battle had taken place, it was impossible that she issued the orders for their executions despite popular belief to the contrary.[
 
WIKIPEDIA
MARGARET OF ANJOU
THE WARS OF THE ROSES
 
 
SOURCE
WIKIPEDIA
MARGARET OF ANJOU
 
[2]
THE WARS OF THE ROSES/CAUSES OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES/
A TRAVEL TO THE PAST
ASTRID ESSED
[3]
MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?
SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
[4]
”In analysing ‘The Road to War’ which followed the failed reconciliation attempts, Maurer challenges the accuracy of the single source, Benet’s Chronicle, which claims Margaret advised a great council at Coventry to indict the Yorkist lords in the summer of 1459 – thereby highlighting the difficulties involved in judging Margaret’s actual role in events from the primarily Yorkist accounts that survive.”
MARGARET OF ANJOU
QUEENSHIP AND POWER IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
HELEN MAURER
REVIEWER: DR JOHANNA LAYNESMITH
[5]
”In December 1459 York, Warwick and Salisbury had suffered attainder. Their lives were forfeit, and their lands reverted to the king; their heirs would not inherit.”
WIKIPEDIA
RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE (1459-1460)
 
WIKIPEDIA
PARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
 
 
[1]
MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?
SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
” As Margaret was in Scotland at the time the battle had taken place, it was impossible that she issued the orders for their executions despite popular belief to the contrary.[
 
WIKIPEDIA
MARGARET OF ANJOU
THE WARS OF THE ROSES
 
 
SOURCE
WIKIPEDIA
MARGARET OF ANJOU
 
[2]
THE WARS OF THE ROSES/CAUSES OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES/
A TRAVEL TO THE PAST
ASTRID ESSED
[3]
MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?
SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
[4]
”In analysing ‘The Road to War’ which followed the failed reconciliation attempts, Maurer challenges the accuracy of the single source, Benet’s Chronicle, which claims Margaret advised a great council at Coventry to indict the Yorkist lords in the summer of 1459 – thereby highlighting the difficulties involved in judging Margaret’s actual role in events from the primarily Yorkist accounts that survive.”
MARGARET OF ANJOU
QUEENSHIP AND POWER IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
HELEN MAURER
REVIEWER: DR JOHANNA LAYNESMITH
[5]
”On this day in 1459 the ‘Wars of the Roses’ between the houses of Lancaster and York took on an increased ferocity. Parliament had not met for three and a half years, since March 1456, when it had been dissolved following the resignation of Richard, duke of York, as Protector and the nominal resumption of authority by the mentally-unstable Henry VI. That summer the seat of government was effectively removed to Coventry, in the Lancastrian heart-lands, and the chief offices of state were allotted to intimates of the queen, Margaret of Anjou.”
ON THIS DAY, 20 NOVEMBER 1459, THE ”PARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
ASSEMBLES AT COVENTRY
HISTORY OF PARLIAMENT ONLINE
 
WIKIPEDIA
PARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
 
”In December 1459 York, Warwick and Salisbury had suffered attainder. Their lives were forfeit, and their lands reverted to the king; their heirs would not inherit.”
WIKIPEDIA
RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE (1459-1460)
 
WIKIPEDIA
PARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
 
 
 
 
 
[6]
 
WIKIPEDIA
ACT OF ACCORD
 
 
 
[7]
 
”On this day in 1459 the ‘Wars of the Roses’ between the houses of Lancaster and York took on an increased ferocity. Parliament had not met for three and a half years, since March 1456, when it had been dissolved following the resignation of Richard, duke of York, as Protector and the nominal resumption of authority by the mentally-unstable Henry VI. That summer the seat of government was effectively removed to Coventry, in the Lancastrian heart-lands, and the chief offices of state were allotted to intimates of the queen, Margaret of Anjou.”
ON THIS DAY, 20 NOVEMBER 1459, THE ”PARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
ASSEMBLES AT COVENTRY
HISTORY OF PARLIAMENT ONLINE
 
[8]
 
WIKIPEDIA
HENRY VI OF ENGLAND
THE ASCENDANCY OF SUFFOLK AND SOMERSET
 
 
 
[9]
 
THE WARS OF THE ROSES/RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK/THE CLAIMS
TO THE THRONE OF LANCASTER AND YORK
OR
 
 
SHE WOLVES
JUDITH ARNOPP
 

LINK OF

BLOG OF MR GARETH RUSELL
23th MARCH, 1430, THE BIRTH OF MARGUERITE OF
ANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND

http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.nl/2011/03/march-23rd-1430-birth-of-marguerite-of.html

TEXT OF
BLOG OF MR GARETH RUSELL
23th MARCH, 1430, THE BIRTH OF MARGUERITE OF
ANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND

March 23rd, 1430: The Birth of Marguerite of Anjou, Queen of England

For a woman who lived a life packed with more than its fair share of melodrama, Marguerite of Anjou made a relatively quiet entry into the world. On the twenty-fourth day of March, her father René jotted a brief note in his Book of Hours to record the christening of his second daughter, Marguerite. She joined her five year-old brother Jean, three year-old Louis and two year-old Yolande as the fourth child of René of Anjou, current duc de Bar, comte de Provence and heir to the duchy of Anjou, as well as being the more controversial and disputed heir to the crowns of Aragon and the Naples.
Through her parents, young Marguerite, who was to acquire her historical fame thanks to her often savage defence of the House of Lancaster during England’s War of the Roses, was related to the ruling families not just of Aragon and the Naples, but also Hungary, Poland, Moldavia, France, Walmachia and Dalmatia. She was also, distantly, related to the House of Plantagenet, who had ruled England in its purest form from 1054 to 1399 and who, for the last forty-one years had been ruling it in the form of the cadet branch of the dynasty, the Lancasters.
Despite his many dynastic ambitions, Marguerite’s father was never ruthless enough to succeed in the cut-throat world of medieval politics which, by the fifteenth century, had entered one of its most amoral phases. Left to his own devices, René of Anjou would much rather have pursued his interests in literature and the arts – he himself was apparently quite a talented painter and poet.  (The most recent literary presentation of Marguerite’s life by the novelist Susan Higginbotham draws its rather lovely title from a reference in René’s poetry to Marguerite.) However, although René was not a great political operator, that is not to say he was an incompetent duke or, later, king and one Burgundian chronicle admiringly recorded of him, “No prince ever loved his subjects as he his, nor was in like manner better loved and well-wished than he was by them.” He was certainly an affectionate father and given the fact that Marguerite’s own future husband, King Henry VI, was also a personality much too gentle for realpolitik, it is interesting to speculate if her own protectiveness over her husband arose from similar childhood feelings for her father.
It seems likely that she did unconsciously emulate her own parents’ marital dynamic, although it’s important to stress that René had no history of mental illness, unlike Henry. One courtier wittily observed that all of the House of Lancaster’s problems would have been solved if gentle Henry had been the queen and gutsy Marguerite the king. It was from her mother, Isabella, that Marguerite acquired a “courage above the nature of her sex.” Isabella, twenty-nine at the time of her second daughter’s birth, was Duchess of Lorraine suo jure, meaning that she held that prestigious title in her own right and had not ceded her inheritance to her husband, as so many medieval heiresses did. Beautiful and determined, Isabella was also politically savvy and  she oversaw a regency government in Anjou when René was compelled to go abroad pursuing his claims to various counties and kingdoms. Despite their differences in personality, it seems that René and Isabella’s marriage was a happy one, albeit by the undemanding standards of the medieval nobility.
Marguerite of Anjou was born into a time of great political and cultural unrest throughout the European continent and she had the singular misfortune to marry into a country crippled by ambitious claimants and magnates, whilst being ruled over by mild mannered and eventually imbalanced introvert. In the academic version of the Wars of the Roses still played out on paper five hundred years after the event, Marguerite has not been given a kind reputation. It is necessary to vilify her in order to make what happened in 1461 and again in 1471 seem like anything  other than an outrageously opportunistic usurpation. She has all too often been dismissed as an adulterous schemer – a view recently resurrected in Philippa Gregory’s novel The White Queen. When allegations of adultery are not been flung at her, the idea that she herself was a vindictive harpy in the ilk of Edward II’s wife refuses to go away. More sober-minded academics like Lisa Hilton, Christine Carpenter, Philip Erlanger and novelists like Susan Higginbotham have attempted to level the playing field in Marguerite’s defence. As queen, she was certainly aggressively partisan, although given that she was married to the man who the War of the Roses was attempting to overthrow, that is perhaps understandable and in the final analysis, the assessment of Cambridge historian Professor Christine Carpenter, that Marguerite should be “given credit for taking on an impossible job” is perhaps the most kind.

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