Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers KG (1405 – 12 August 1469), also Wydeville, was the father of Elizabeth Woodville and father-in-law of Edward IV.
Born at Maidstone in Kent, Richard Woodville was the son of Richard Wydeville (Woodville), chamberlain to the Duke of Bedford, and Joan Bittlesgate (or Bedlisgate), the daughter of Thomas Bittlesgate of Knightstone    in the parish of Ottery St Mary in Devon. He was also a grandson of John Wydeville who was Sheriff of Northamptonshire (in 1380, 1385, 1390). 
Woodville followed his father into service with the Duke of Bedford. In 1433 the Duke had married the 17-year-old Jacquetta of Luxembourg; she was the Duke's second wife and he was significantly older and in ill health. When the Duke died in 1435, Jacquetta was left a childless and wealthy widow. She was required to seek permission from King Henry VI before she could remarry, but in March 1437 it was revealed that she had secretly married Richard Woodville who was far below her in rank and not considered a suitable husband for the lady still honoured as the king's aunt. The couple were fined £1000, but this was remitted in October of the same year.
Despite this inauspicious start, the married couple soon prospered, thanks mainly to Jacquetta's continuing prominence within the royal family. She retained her rank and dower as Duchess of Bedford, which initially provided an income of between £7000 and £8000 per year, though over the years this diminished as a result of territorial losses in France and collapsing royal finances in England. Richard Woodville was honoured with military ranks, in which he proved himself a capable soldier.
Further honours for both came when Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou, whose uncle was Jacquetta's brother-in-law (Jacquetta's sister Isabelle married Margaret of Anjou's paternal uncle Charles du Maine). The Woodvilles were among those chosen to escort the bride to England, and the family benefited further through this double connection to the royal family. Sir Richard was raised to the rank of Baron Rivers in 1448. Therefore their children would grow up enjoying considerable privilege and material comfort.
Woodville was a captain in 1429, served in France in 1433 and was a knight of the regent Duke of Bedford in 1435. He was at Gerberoy in 1435 and served under William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, in 1435–36. He then fought under Somerset and Shrewsbury in 1439 and the Duke of York in 1441–42, when he was made captain of Alençon and knight banneret.
Woodville was created Baron Rivers by Henry VI on 9 May 1448. Two years later, as Sir Richard, he was invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1450. He was appointed seneschal of Gascony in 1450 (but failed to reach it before its fall) then lieutenant of Calais in 1454–55. He was appointed Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1459 to defend Kent against invasion by the Yorkist earls (but was captured at Sandwich).
In the Wars of the Roses, he was initially a Lancastrian, but he became a Yorkist when he thought that the Lancastrian cause was lost. He reconciled himself to the victorious Edward IV, his future son-in-law. On 1 May 1464, Edward married Rivers' daughter Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Grey of Groby. Richard was created Earl Rivers in 1466, appointed Lord Treasurer in March 1466 and Constable of England on 24 August 1467.
The power of this new family was very distasteful to the old baronial party, and especially so to the Earl of Warwick. Rivers was regarded as a social upstart, and in an ironical episode, his future son-in-law in 1460, while accepting his submission, had rebuked him for daring, given his lowly birth, to fight against the House of York. The Privy Council, in its horrified response to the King's marriage, said bluntly that Richard Woodville's low social standing in itself meant that the King must surely know "that Elizabeth was not the wife for him". Early in 1468, the Rivers estates were plundered by Warwick's partisans, and the open war of the following year was aimed at destroying the Woodvilles. After the Yorkist defeat at the Battle of Edgecote on 26 July 1469, Rivers and his second son John were taken prisoners at Chepstow. Following a hasty show trial, they were beheaded at Kenilworth on 12 August 1469.
Richard Woodville's eldest son Anthony succeeded him in the earldom.
Lord Rivers had a large family. His third son, Lionel (d. 1484) became the Bishop of Salisbury. All his daughters made great marriages: Catherine Woodville, his eighth daughter, was the wife of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.
"Woodville" is the modern spelling of the name: in their own time "Wydeville", "Wydville" and other variants were used.
Richard and Jacquetta had 15 children: 
Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, noted another 'Richard' who would seem to have been born before Richard the 3rd Earl.  A 'Richard Woodville, esquire for the body' was present at the christening of Prince Arthur (son of Elizabeth and Henry VII) on 24 September 1486 in Winchester Cathedral; Arthur's grandmother, Elizabeth Woodville, served as his Godmother, and her younger brother Edward was also present at the ceremony.
The Visitation of Buckinghamshire of 1566 mentions the marriage of William Dormer of Wycombe (only later of Ascott House) to "Agnes, da. of Sir Richard Woodvyle, Erle Ryvers" but does not say whether the father was the first or the third earl, who the mother was or whether Agnes was legitimate. Considering though that she is thought to be born about 1458 the more likely candidate is the senior Richard Woodville.
Woodville is a primary character in Philippa Gregory's 2011 novel about Jacquetta of Luxembourg, The Lady of the Rivers . In The White Queen television series, he is portrayed by Robert Pugh.
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470, then again from 11 April 1471 until his death in 1483. He was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars in England fought between the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions between 1455 and 1487.
Elizabeth Woodville, later known as Dame Elizabeth Grey, was Queen of England from her marriage to King Edward IV on 1 May 1464 until Edward was deposed on 3 October 1470, and again from Edward's resumption of the throne on 11 April 1471 until his death on 9 April 1483.
Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, was the uncle of King Henry VII of England and a leading architect of his nephew's successful accession to the throne in 1485. He was from the noble Tudor family of Penmynydd in North Wales.
Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Dowager Duchess of Bedford and Countess Rivers 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, of which she was exonerated.
Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, was an English nobleman, courtier, bibliophile and writer. He was the brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville who married King Edward IV. He was one of the leading members of the Woodville family, which came to prominence during the reign of King Edward IV. After Edward's death, he was arrested and then executed by the Duke of Gloucester as part of a power struggle between Richard and the Woodvilles. His English translation of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers is one of the first books printed in England.
The peerage title Earl of Kent has been created eight times in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. In fiction, the Earl of Kent is also known as a prominent supporting character in William Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear.
Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers succeeded his brother, Anthony Woodville, as the third Earl Rivers. He was the son of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Richard was the brother of the English queen Elizabeth Woodville.
Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent, KB, English administrator, nobleman and magnate, was the son of Sir John Grey, KG and Constance Holland. His main residence was at Wrest near Silsoe, Bedfordshire.
Catherine Woodville was the Duchess of Buckingham and a medieval English noblewoman.
Sir Richard WingfieldKG of Kimbolton Castle was an influential courtier and diplomat in the early years of the Tudor dynasty of England.
William Herbert, 1st Earl of PembrokeKG, known as "Black William", was a Welsh nobleman, soldier, politician, and courtier.
Elizabeth Stafford, Countess of Sussex was an English noblewoman.
Sir John Grey, of Groby, Leicestershire was a Lancastrian knight, the first husband of Elizabeth Woodville who later married King Edward IV of England, and great-great-grandfather of Lady Jane Grey.
Events from the 1460s in England.
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Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier was an English noblewoman. She was a younger sister of Queen Consort Elizabeth Woodville to whom she served as a lady-in-waiting. Anne was married twice; first to William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier, and secondly to George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent. Anne was the grandmother of the disinherited adulteress Anne Bourchier, 7th Baroness Bourchier, and an ancestress of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.
William Haute (1390–1462) of Bishopsbourne, Kent, was an English politician.
Richard Wydeville was an English landowner, soldier, diplomat, administrator and politician. His son married an aunt of King Henry VI and they were the parents of the wife of the next king, Edward IV.
Knightstone is an historic manor in the parish of Ottery St Mary in Devon. The surviving mediaeval and Tudor grade I listed manor house is situated one mile south-east of St Mary's Church, Ottery St Mary. It was the seat of the Bittlesgate family, the heiress of which Joan Bittlesgate, daughter of Thomas Bittlesgate by his wife Joan Beauchamp, was the wife of Richard Woodville, grandfather of Elizabeth Woodville (c.1437-1492) Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV. In 1381 the Bittlesgate family obtained a licence from the Bishop of Exeter to build and operate a private chapel at their home, but no trace of the structure survives. The house has been much altered since the time of the Bittlesgate family. One Tudor-era fireplace survives in a bedroom.