Monday, May 24, 2010

Richard of York Anticipates a Crown, 1460

Richard Plantagenet (1411-1460), duke of York and regal hopeful, son of the disgraced Richard of Conisbrough and grandson of Edmund of Langley, was also a lineal descendant of Lionel of Clarence through his mother, Anne Mortimer. He was the first to use "Plantaginet" as a surname.

Richard's multiple descents from Edward III guaranteed that no one, not even Henry VI, had a stronger claim to the throne. Despite Parliament's acknowledgement in November 1460 naming Richard as heir of Henry VI, the latter's Queen, Margaret (who could never agree to the disinheritance of her son, Edward), raised a rebellion that resulted in York's death outside his castle at Wakefield--only a few short weeks after his future kingship had been declared.

Few men have come as close to the throne as Richard of York, and yet he died not knowing that his son, Edward, would soon become king. Even to his contemporaries, his motives were the subject of debate: had he always sought the throne, or did Henry VI's poor judgment force his hand? All questions that are destined to remain unanswered. Neither his enemies, or his friends, left a memoir of Richard.


The Persian said...

I have just discovered the work done on Dorothy Stapleton Nelson and am overwhelmed by the amount of times she descends from Edward III and in seperate lines Edward I & II. My latest exiting discovery was her descent from the "sinister" Hugh Despenser the younger, probably the most despised Noble of his day, and he met his end in a horrific way, as did his supporter Edward II. My children have Thomas Nelson Jr as an ancestor via their mother.

Kevin said...

By the time one gets back to the 14th century, the interconnecting lines between families become quite complex. Via another line, I too descend from Hugh Jr. In fact, all of the principals in the sorry events leading to Edward II's deposition and murder are my ancestors (including Mortimer), right down to his gaolers, the Berkeleys. While I can't claim Piers Gaveston, I do however descend from his widow, Margaret de Clare.

Most of the accounts of Edward's death are fictional portrayals; it seems most likely that he died as a result of being strangled. It also seems most likely that, rather than being homosexual, he was bisexual. Proof of this fact is most telling in the evidence of his bastard son; as sovereign, he was obligated to produce heirs, but the choice of a female partner outside of marriage is a certain indication that his sexuality was a bit more complex than Edward's detractors might like to believe.