Margaret of Anjou

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Margaret of Anjou

(ăn`jo͞o, Fr. äNzho͞o`), 1430?–1482, queen consort of King Henry VIHenry VI,
1421–71, king of England (1422–61, 1470–71). Reign
Early Years

The only son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, he became king of England when he was not yet nine months old.
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 of England, daughter of René of Anjou. Her marriage, which took place in 1445, was negotiated by William de la Pole, 4th earl (later 1st duke) of Suffolk (see under PolePole,
English noble family. The first member of importance was William de la Pole, d. 1366, a rich merchant who became the first mayor of Hull (1332) and a baron of the exchequer (1339).
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, family). Margaret soon asserted influence at the English court, allying herself with Suffolk and Edmund Beaufort, 2d duke of SomersetSomerset, Edmund Beaufort, 2d duke of,
d. 1455, English statesman and general. He fought in France in the Hundred Years War, receiving his first command in 1431, recapturing Harfleur in 1440, and relieving Calais in
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, in their rivalry with Richard, duke of YorkYork, Richard, duke of,
1411–60, English nobleman, claimant to the throne. He was descended from Edward III through his father, Richard, earl of Cambridge, grandson of that king, and also through his mother, Anne Mortimer, great-granddaughter of Lionel, duke of Clarence,
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, heir presumptive to the throne. When the king became temporarily insane in 1453, York was made protector, but the birth (1453) of Margaret's son, Edward (which destroyed Richard's chances of succession), and Henry's recovery of his faculties (1454), allowed Margaret to regain the ascendancy. With the clash between the followers of York (the Yorkists) and the supporters of the king (the Lancastrians) at St. Albans (1455), the Wars of the Roses began (see Roses, Wars of theRoses, Wars of the,
traditional name given to the intermittent struggle (1455–85) for the throne of England between the noble houses of York (whose badge was a white rose) and Lancaster (later associated with the red rose).

About the middle of the 15th cent.
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). Margaret was very active in the warfare; for 16 years she fought in defense of her son's claim to the throne. Richard of York was killed (1460), but Richard Neville, earl of WarwickWarwick, Richard Neville, earl of
, 1428–71, English nobleman, called the Kingmaker. Through his grandfather, Ralph Neville, 1st earl of Westmorland, he had connections with the house of Lancaster; he was also the nephew of Cecily Neville, wife of Richard, duke of York.
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, and Edward, the new duke of York (later Edward IVEdward IV,
1442–83, king of England (1461–70, 1471–83), son of Richard, duke of York. He succeeded to the leadership of the Yorkist party (see Roses, Wars of the) after the death of his father in Wakefield in 1460.
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), took up the Yorkist cause. After the Lancastrian defeat at Towton (1461), Margaret went to Scotland with her son and husband and thence to France, where she secured aid for an abortive invasion (1463) of England. Thereafter she was forced to bide her time until, following the quarrel between Warwick and Edward IV, she made common cause with Warwick to invade England and restore Henry VI to the throne (1470). The next year Edward IV triumphed at Tewkesbury, where Margaret was captured and her son killed. The payment of ransom by Louis XI enabled her to return to France (1476), where she spent her last years in poverty.

Bibliography

See biography by P. Erlanger (tr. 1970); E. F. Jacob, The Fifteenth Century (1961); J. H. Dahmus, Seven Medieval Queens (1972).

Margaret of Anjou

1430--82, queen of England. She married the mentally unstable Henry VI of England in 1445 to confirm the truce with France during the Hundred Years' War. She became a leader of the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses and was defeated at Tewkesbury (1471) by Edward IV