Elizabeth of York

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Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York from Kings and Queens of England.jpg
16th century copy of a 15th century portrait
Queen consort of England
Tenure18 January 1486 – 11 February 1503
Coronation 25 November 1487
Born11 February 1466
Westminster Palace, London, England
Died11 February 1503(1503-02-11) (aged 37)
Tower of London, London, England
Burial24 February 1503
Westminster Abbey, London, England
Spouse
Issue
more...
Arthur, Prince of Wales
Margaret, Queen of Scots
Henry VIII, King of England
Mary, Queen of France
House York
Father Edward IV of England
Mother Elizabeth Woodville
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Signature Elizabeth of York.jpg
English Royalty
House of York
Coat of Arms of Edward IV of England (1461-1483).svg
Edward IV
Elizabeth of York's arms Arms of Elizabeth of York.svg
Elizabeth of York's arms

Elizabeth of York (11 February 1466 – 11 February 1503) was the wife of Henry VII, and thus the first Tudor queen. She was the daughter of Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville, and niece of Richard III. She married Henry VII in 1486, after being detained by him the previous year following the latter's victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field, which started the last phase of the Wars of the Roses. Together, Elizabeth and Henry had a total of four sons, three of whom died before their father, leaving their brother, Henry VIII, to succeed his father as king.

Henry VII of England King of England, 1485–1509

Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death on 21 April 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.

Edward IV of England 15th-century King of England

Edward IV was the King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England. The first half of his rule was marred by the violence associated with the Wars of the Roses, but he overcame the Lancastrian challenge to the throne at Tewkesbury in 1471 to reign in peace until his sudden death. Before becoming king, he was Duke of York, Earl of March, Earl of Cambridge and Earl of Ulster.

Elizabeth Woodville Queen consort of England

Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483.

Contents

The period of Henry VI's Readeption from October 1470 until April 1471 and the period between her father's death in 1483, when she was 17, and the making of peace between her mother and her uncle Richard, were violent and anxious interludes in what was mostly a peaceful life. Her two brothers, the so-called "Princes in the Tower", disappeared, their fate uncertain. Although declared illegitimate by an act of Parliament, Titulus Regius in 1484, she was subsequently welcomed back to court by her uncle Richard III, along with all of her sisters. As a Yorkist princess, the final victory of the Lancastrian faction in the War of the Roses may have seemed a further disaster, but Henry Tudor knew the importance of Yorkist support for his invasion and promised to marry her before he arrived in England; this was an important move; one which may well have contributed to the hemorrhaging of Yorkist adherence to Richard III. [3]

Readeption of Henry VI

The Readeption was the restoration of Henry VI of England to the throne of England in 1470. Edward, Duke of York, had taken the throne as Edward IV in 1461. Henry had fled with some Lancastrian supporters and spent much of the next few years in hiding in the north of England or in Scotland, where there was still some Lancastrian support. Henry was captured in 1465 and was held as a prisoner in the Tower of London. Following dissent with his former key supporter, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, Edward was forced to flee in 1470. Henry was then restored to the throne.

Princes in the Tower sibling duo

"The Princes in the Tower" is an expression frequently used to refer to Edward V, King of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville surviving at the time of their father's death in 1483. When they were 12 and 9 years old, respectively, they were lodged in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them, their uncle, the Lord Protector: Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This was supposedly in preparation for Edward's forthcoming coronation as king. However, Richard took the throne for himself and the boys disappeared.

<i>Titulus Regius</i> a statute of the Parliament of England

Titulus Regius is a statute of the Parliament of England, issued in 1484, by which the title of King of England was given to Richard III.

Elizabeth of York was the queen consort of England from 1486 until her death in 1503, but seems to have played little part in politics. Her marriage seems to have been successful. Her eldest son Arthur, Prince of Wales, died at age 15 in 1502, and three other children died young. Her surviving son became king of England and her daughters Mary and Margaret became queen of France and queen of Scotland, respectively; many modern royals, including Elizabeth II, trace their line through Margaret.

Arthur, Prince of Wales Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall

Arthur Tudor was Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall. As the eldest son and heir apparent of Henry VII of England, Arthur was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor. His mother, Elizabeth of York, was the daughter of Edward IV, and his birth cemented the union between the House of Tudor and the House of York.

Mary Tudor, Queen of France Queen of France

Mary Tudor was an English princess who was briefly Queen of France and later progenitor of a family that claimed the English throne. The younger surviving daughter of Henry VII, King of England and Elizabeth of York, Mary became the third wife of Louis XII of France, more than 30 years her senior. Following his death, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The marriage, which was performed secretly in France, took place during the reign of her brother Henry VIII and without his consent. This necessitated the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, and although Henry eventually pardoned the couple, they were forced to pay a large fine.

Margaret Tudor Scottish Queen consort

Margaret Tudor was Queen of Scots from 1503 until 1513 by marriage to James IV of Scotland and then, after her husband died fighting the English, she became regent for their son James V of Scotland from 1513 until 1515. She was born at Westminster Palace as the eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and granddaughter of Margaret Beaufort, Edward IV of England and Queen Elizabeth Woodville. Margaret Tudor had several pregnancies, but most of her children died young or were stillborn. As queen dowager she married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Through her first and second marriages, respectively, Margaret was the grandmother of both Mary, Queen of Scots, and Mary's second husband, Lord Darnley. Margaret's marriage in 1503 to James IV linked the royal houses of England and Scotland, which a century later resulted in the Union of the Crowns. Upon his ascent to the English throne, Margaret's great-grandson, James VI and I, was the first person to be monarch of both Scotland and England.

Daughter of the king

King Edward IV.jpg
ElizabethWoodville.JPG
Elizabeth's parents: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth of York was born at the Palace of Westminster as the eldest child of King Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville. Her christening was celebrated at Westminster Abbey, sponsored by her grandmothers Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. Her third sponsor was her cousin Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. [4]

Palace of Westminster meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in London, England

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

Westminster Abbey Church in London

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.

Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers was the eldest daughter of Peter I of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, Conversano and Brienne, and his wife Margaret of Baux. She was a prominent, though often overlooked, figure in the Wars of the Roses. Through her short-lived first marriage to the Duke of Bedford, brother of King Henry V, she was firmly allied to the House of Lancaster. However, following the emphatic Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Towton, she and her second husband Richard Woodville sided closely with the House of York. Three years after the battle and the accession of Edward IV of England, Jacquetta's eldest daughter Elizabeth Woodville married him and became Queen consort of England. Jacquetta bore Woodville 14 children and stood trial on charges of witchcraft, for which she was exonerated.

At three, she was briefly betrothed to George Neville in 1469. His father John later supported George's uncle, the Earl of Warwick, in rebellion against King Edward IV, and the betrothal was called off. In 1475, Louis XI agreed to the marriage of 9-year-old Elizabeth of York and his son Charles, the Dauphin of France. In 1482, however, Louis XI reneged on his promise. At age 11, she was named a Lady of the Garter in 1477, along with her mother and her paternal aunt Elizabeth of York, Duchess of Suffolk.

John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu Yorkist leader in the Wars of the Roses

John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu was a major magnate of fifteenth-century England. He was a younger son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, and the younger brother of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the 'Kingmaker'.

Louis XI of France king

Louis XI, called "Louis the Prudent", was King of France from 1461 to 1483, the sixth from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Charles VII.

Charles VIII of France King of France

Charles VIII, called the Affable, French: l'Affable, was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498, the seventh from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne of France acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.

Sister of the king

On 9 April 1483, Elizabeth's father, King Edward IV, unexpectedly died and her younger brother, Edward V, ascended to the throne; her uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was appointed regent and protector of his nephews. [5] Her mother, Elizabeth Woodville, tried to deny Gloucester his right to be Lord Protector in order to keep power within her family, and so Gloucester opted to take steps to isolate his nephews from their Woodville relations.

Edward V of England 15th-century King of England and one of the Princes in the Tower

Edward V succeeded his father, Edward IV, as King of England and Lord of Ireland upon the latter's death on 9 April 1483. He was never crowned, and his brief reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle and Lord Protector, the Duke of Gloucester, who deposed him to reign as Richard III on 26 June 1483; this was confirmed by the Act entitled Titulus Regius, which denounced any further claims through his father's heirs.

Richard III of England 15th-century King of England

Richard III was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the protagonist of Richard III, one of William Shakespeare's history plays.

He intercepted Edward V while the latter was travelling from Ludlow, where he had been living as Prince of Wales, to London to be crowned king. Edward V was placed in the royal residence of the Tower of London, ostensibly for his protection. Elizabeth Woodville fled with her younger son Richard and her daughters, taking sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. Gloucester asked Archbishop Bourchier to take Richard with him, so the boy could reside in the Tower and keep his brother Edward company. Elizabeth Woodville, under duress, eventually agreed.

Two months later, on 22 June 1483, Edward IV's marriage was declared invalid. It was claimed that Edward IV had, at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, already been betrothed to Lady Eleanor Butler. Parliament issued a bill, Titulus Regius ("The Title of the King"), in support of this position. This measure legally bastardised the children of Edward IV, made them ineligible for the succession, and declared Gloucester the rightful king, with the right of succession reverting to children of George, 1st Duke of Clarence, another late brother of Gloucester, who had been attainted in 1478. Gloucester ascended to the throne as Richard III on 6 July 1483, with Edward and Richard disappearing shortly afterwards. Rumours began to spread that they had been murdered, and these appear to have been increasingly widely credited, even though some undoubtedly emanated from overseas. [6]

Niece of the king

Elizabeth's mother made an alliance with Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII, who had the closest claim to the throne of those in the Lancastrian party. Although Henry Tudor was descended from King Edward III, [7] his claim to the throne was weak, owing to an act of parliament passed during the reign of Richard II in the 1390s, that barred accession to the throne to any heirs of the legitimised offspring of Henry's great-great grandparents, John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Whether such an unprecedented act had force of law is, however, disputed. Whatever the merits of Henry's claim, his mother and Elizabeth Woodville agreed he should move to claim the throne and, once he had taken it, marry Elizabeth of York to unite the two rival houses. In December 1483, in the cathedral of Rennes, Henry Tudor swore an oath promising to marry her and began planning an invasion.

In 1484, Elizabeth of York and her sisters left Westminster Abbey and returned to court when Elizabeth Woodville was apparently reconciled with Richard III, which may – or may not – suggest that Elizabeth Woodville believed Richard III to be innocent of any possible role in the murder of her two sons (although this is unlikely owing to her involvement in Henry Tudor's failed invasion of October 1483). It was rumoured that Richard III intended to marry Elizabeth of York because his wife, Anne Neville, was dying and they had no surviving children. The Crowland Chronicle claimed that Richard III was forced to deny this unsavoury rumour. Soon after Anne Neville's death, Richard III sent Elizabeth away from court to the castle of Sheriff Hutton and opened negotiations with King John II of Portugal to marry his sister, Joan, Princess of Portugal, and to have Elizabeth marry their cousin, the future King Manuel I of Portugal. [8]

On 7 August 1485, Henry Tudor and his army landed in Wales and began marching inland. On 22 August 1485, Henry Tudor and Richard III fought the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard III, despite having the larger army, was betrayed by one of his most powerful retainers, William Stanley, and died in battle. Henry Tudor took the crown by right of conquest as Henry VII. [9]

Wife of the king

An 18th-century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen: She holds the white rose of the House of York. Elizabeth of York, right facing portrait.jpg
An 18th-century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen: She holds the white rose of the House of York.

As the eldest daughter of Edward IV with no surviving brothers, Elizabeth of York had a strong claim to the throne in her own right, but she did not assume the throne as queen regnant. Such a precedent would not truly come to England for another 67 years, when her granddaughter, Mary I, acceded to the throne. Though initially slow to keep his promise [10] Henry VII acknowledged the necessity of marrying Elizabeth of York to ensure the stability of his rule and weaken the claims of other surviving members of the House of York, but he ruled in his own right and claimed the throne by right of conquest and not by his marriage to the heir of the House of York. He had no intention of sharing power. [11] He consequently chose to be crowned on 30 October 1485 before his marriage.

Henry VII had the Act of Titulus Regius repealed, thereby legitimising anew the children of Edward IV, and acknowledging Edward V as his predecessor – though Richard III was regarded as a usurper, his reign was not ignored. After procuring papal dispensation, Cardinal Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated at the wedding of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York on 18 January 1486 in Westminster Abbey. Their first son, Arthur, was born on 20 September 1486. Elizabeth of York was crowned queen on 25 November 1487. Following her coronation, she gave birth to seven more children, but only four survived infancy: Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary.

Despite being a political arrangement at first, the marriage proved successful and both partners appear to have grown to love each other. [12] Elizabeth of York did not exercise much political influence as queen due to her strong-minded mother-in-law Lady Margaret Beaufort, but she was reported to be gentle, kind, and generous to her relations, servants, and benefactors. When not at official gatherings, she lived a quiet life largely away from politics with three of her children at Eltham Palace. Elizabeth of York enjoyed music and dancing as well as dicing. She also kept greyhounds. [13]

On 14 November 1501, Elizabeth of York's 15-year-old son Arthur married Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. The pair were sent to Ludlow Castle, the traditional residence of the Prince of Wales. Arthur died in April 1502. The news of Arthur's death caused Henry VII to break down in grief, as much in fear for his dynasty as in mourning for his son. Elizabeth comforted him, telling him that he was the only child of his mother but had survived to become king, that God had left him with a son and two daughters, and that they were both young enough to have more children. [14] [15]

Death and aftermath

Elizabeth's painted wood funeral effigy (without clothes), 1503, Westminster Abbey Elizabeth of york - funeral effigy.jpg
Elizabeth's painted wood funeral effigy (without clothes), 1503, Westminster Abbey

In 1502, Elizabeth of York became pregnant once more and spent her confinement period in the Tower of London. On 2 February 1503, she gave birth to a daughter, Katherine, but the child died a few days afterwards. Succumbing to a post partum infection, Elizabeth of York died on 11 February, her 37th birthday. Her husband and children appear to have mourned her death deeply. According to one account, Henry Tudor "privily departed to a solitary place and would no man should resort unto him." [16] This is notable considering that, shortly after Elizabeth's death, records show he became extremely ill himself and would not allow any except his mother Margaret Beaufort near him. For Henry Tudor to show his emotions, let alone any sign of infirmity, was highly unusual and alarming to members of his court.

Presentation miniature from the Vaux Passional Henry VII in Mourning.jpg
Presentation miniature from the Vaux Passional

In 2012, the Vaux Passional , an illuminated manuscript that was once the property of Henry VII, was rediscovered in the National Library of Wales. It depicts the aftermath of Elizabeth's death vividly. Henry VII is shown receiving the book containing the manuscript in mourning robes with a doleful expression on his face. In the background, behind their father, are the late queen's daughters, Mary and Margaret, in black veils. An 11-year-old King Henry VIII's red head is shown weeping into the sheets of his mother's empty bed.

Henry VII entertained thoughts of remarriage to renew the alliance with Spain — Joanna, Dowager Queen of Naples (niece of Ferdinand II of Aragon), Joanna, Queen of Castile (daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella), and Margaret, Dowager Duchess of Savoy (sister-in-law of Joanna of Castile), were all considered — but he died a widower in 1509. Annually on her death day, he decreed a requiem mass be sung, the bells be tolled, and 100 candles be lit in her honour.

The Tower of London was abandoned as a royal residence, as evinced by the lack of records of its being used by the royal family after 1503. All future births in the reign of Elizabeth's son, Henry VIII, took place in various palaces. [17]

Henry VII's reputation for miserliness became worse after the death of Elizabeth of York, as suggested in the tax collection rolls of the time; however, again, a connection between his avarice and her death is not supported by the evidence. The tax revolts in Yorkshire 1489 and in Cornwall 1497 bear witness to that. [18] It is possible his reputation for miserliness was enhanced by the diminution of the crown's charity work after the queen's death. He was buried with Elizabeth of York under their effigies in his Westminster Abbey chapel. Her tomb was opened in the 19th century and the wood casing of her lead coffin was found to have been removed to create space for the interment of her great-great-grandson James VI and I. [19]

Children

Legacy

According to folklore, the "queen ... in the parlour" in the children's nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is Elizabeth of York, while her husband is the king counting his money. The symbol of the Tudor dynasty is the Tudor rose, which became a royal symbol for England upon Elizabeth's marriage to Henry VII in 1486. Her White Rose of York is most commonly proper to her husband's Red Rose of Lancaster and today, uncrowned, is still the floral emblem of England.

Elizabeth of York was a renowned beauty, inheriting her parents' fair hair and complexion. All other Tudor monarchs inherited her reddish gold hair and the trait became synonymous with the dynasty.

Ancestry

Effigies of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York on their tomb in Westminster Abbey Henry VII Elizabeth of York Westminster.jpg
Effigies of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York on their tomb in Westminster Abbey
Biography
Theatre, television and film
Fiction

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References

  1. Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999). Line of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. London: Little, Brown & Co. p. 22. ISBN   1-85605-469-1.
  2. Her husband's arms (the royal arms of England) are impaled with her own paternal arms: Femme: quarterly, first: Royal arms of England (Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence), second and third: Or, a cross gules (de Burgh), fourth (Mortimer).The House of York Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine . These arms were also borne by her half-brother Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, KG, and emphasised the descent of the House of York from Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, on which relationship its claim to the throne was founded.
  3. Carson, Annette. "Richard III. The Maligned King."
  4. "The House of Tudor" . Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  5. "Richard III – King – Biography.com". Biography.com. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  6. "BBC – History – Historic Figures: The Princes in the Tower". bbc.co.uk.
  7. Genealogical Tables in Morgan, (1988), p.709
  8. Barrie Williams, "The Portuguese Connection and the Significance of the 'Holy Princess'", The Ricardian, Vol. 6, No. 90, March 1983.
  9. "Henry VII". tudorhistory.org.
  10. Williamson, Audrey. The Mysteries of the Princes.
  11. Blackstone, W. (1765). Commentaries on the Laws of England . Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  12. Arlene Okerlund: Elizabeth of York (2009), pp. 99–118, 185–186, 203–204; Williams (1977), p. 143.
  13. Routh, Charles Richard Nairne; Holmes, Peter (1990). Who's Who in Tudor England. London: Shepheard-Walwyn. ISBN   0-85683-093-3 . Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  14. Arlene Okerlund: Elizabeth of York, (2009), pp. 203–211; Agnes Strickland, Elizabeth Strickland: Lives of the Queens of England (1852)
  15. Winter King, Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England, Thomas Penn , p. 114
  16. Ambrosius, Lloyd E. (2004). Writing Biography: Historians & Their Craft. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 65–. ISBN   0-8032-1066-3.
  17. "» Elizabeth of York and her Kings – Henry VII". Nerdalicious.
  18. Chrimes, Stanley. Henry VII.
  19. Stanley, Arthur (1886). Westminster Abbey. London: John Murray. p. 499.
  20. "Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey" by Arthur Penryn Stanley (page 281-282): "His infant daughter Elizabeth, aged three years and two months, was buried, with great pomp, in a small tomb at the feet of Henry III. His infant son, Edward, who died four years afterward (1499), was also buried in the Abbey. The first grave in the new Chapel was that of his wife, Elizabeth of York. She died in giving birth to a child who survived but a short time."
  21. Harvey, Nancy Lenz (15 November 1973). Elizabeth of York: Tudor Queen. ISBN   978-0-213-16454-6.

Sources

Elizabeth of York
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
Born: 11 February 1466  Died: 11 February 1503
English royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Anne Neville
Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland

18 January 1486 – 11 February 1503
Vacant
Title next held by
Catherine of Aragon