Richard, Duke of York
York, 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, who was the third son of Edward III. Richard was brought up as a royal ward, having become duke of York on the death of his uncle Edward in 1415. He inherited (1425) the vast estates of another uncle, Edmund de Mortimer, 5th earl of March, which made him the richest landholder in England. He served in the retinue of Henry VIHenry VI,
1421–71, king of England (1422–61, 1470–71). Reign
The only son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, he became king of England when he was not yet nine months old.
..... Click the link for more information. in France (1431) and was lieutenant general of France and Normandy (1436–37). In 1438 he married Cecily Neville, daughter of the earl of Westmoreland. He served again as lieutenant general in France from 1441 to 1445 but became increasingly discontented with the English government, which diverted men and funds from his operations to those of John Beaufort, 1st duke of Somerset. The death of the king's uncle Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, in 1447 made York heir presumptive to the throne, and the government, to get him out of the way, promptly ordered him to Ireland as lieutenant. He did not go until 1449 and returned in 1450 to struggle against the growing power of Queen Margaret of AnjouMargaret of Anjou
, 1430?–1482, queen consort of King Henry VI 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 Pole, family).
..... Click the link for more information. 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
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1453 a son born to Henry VI displaced York as heir to the throne, but the onset of the king's insanity enabled York to secure control of the government as protector (1454). Dismissed when the king recovered, York resorted to arms (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.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and, with the help of his wife's relatives, most notably 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , won the first battle of St. Albans (1455), in which Somerset was killed. After this victory York once more became protector, but by 1456 the queen's faction had regained power. Forced to flee to Ireland in 1459, York returned after the victory of his supporters at Northampton (1460) and for the first time laid claim to the throne. A compromise was arranged by which York was recognized as protector and heir apparent to the throne, but Margaret (whose own son had thus been disinherited) gathered her forces and defeated the Yorkists at the battle of Wakefield, in which York was slain. His son, Edward of York, however, was to secure the throne as Edward IV.
See E. F. Jacob, The Fifteenth Century (1961).