Monday, May 14, 2012

A Parent’s Worst Nightmare

Anne Neville was the younger daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (aka The Kingmaker). Warwick was instrumental in aiding Edward IV accede the throne the first time in 1461 by defeating Henry VI. Warwick attempted to arrange political marriages for Edward IV, but Edward defied him and secretly married Elizabeth Woodville. After, Warwick arranged a marriage for Anne with Edward of Lancaster, Henry VI’s and Margaret of Anjou’s son, the former Prince of Wales. They were married December 1470. The years 1470-1471 were turbulent times as England’s crown went from Edward IV to Henry VI and then back to Edward IV through the battlefield. It was in those battles that Anne lost both her father and her husband. Margaret of Anjou, herself a feisty queen and capable politician through her husband’s aegis, lost her only son and then her husband (Henry VI died in the Tower while being held by Edward IV). In 1482, she died in France.

Since Warwick had no sons, his properties were left to his daughters, Anne and her older sister Isabel. Isabel was married to Richard’s older brother, George, Duke of Clarence (who it appeared, would sometimes align himself with his father-in-law or his brother, Edward IV depending on which one was winning). Richard petitioned his brother and re-crowned king, Edward IV to marry Anne. It seemed Clarence tried to block the marriage so that he could inherit all of Warwick’s property through his wife, Isabel. After some difficulty, Richard married Anne in 1472 (I will relate this story tomorrow). Anne and Richard had their only child, Edward—actual date unknown and could have been anytime between 1473 and 1476.

Image below is from the Rous Roll in the Herald’s College.
Left to right: Queen Anne Neville, King Richard III, Edward, Prince of Wales
Early in April, 1484, Richard and Anne received the devastating news that their only child, Edward had died. The chronicler at Croyland Abbey* recorded the following:
However, in a short time after, it was fully seen how vain are the thoughts of a man who desires to establish his interests without the aid of God. For, in the following month of April, on a day not very far distant from the anniversary of king Edward, this only son of his, in whom all the hopes of the royal succession, fortified with so many oaths, were centred, was seized with an illness of but short duration, and died at Middleham Castle, in the year of our Lord, 1484, being the first of the reign of the said king Richard. On hearing the news of this, at Nottingham, where they were then residing, you might have seen his father and mother in a state almost bordering on madness, by reason of their sudden grief.
* From the Third Contination of the Croyland Chronicle reproduced on the American Branch Richard III Society website (


  1. I cannot imagine the loss of a child. Heartbreaking in any age.

  2. can you believe the people of London said that it was fitting because ,in thier eyes, Richard had the princes done away with? Talk about insult to injury. Then to go and lose your wife, be blamed for it and then have the world activley hating you and have your throne placed in jepordy and the people who you thought were allies aide your enemies. it's unimagianable. How Richard even had the strength to fight at bosworth is beyond me.