12 JUNE 1492: THE BURIAL of Elizabeth Woodville

Tomb of Edward IV and consort queen Elizabeth at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Windsor, England.

Tomb of Edward IV and consort queen Elizabeth at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Windsor, England.

On Whit-Sunday, the queen-dowager’s corpse was conveyed by water to Windsor, and there privily, through the little park, conducted into the castle, without any ringing of bells or receiving of the dean … and so privily, about eleven of the clock, she was buried, without any solem dirge done for her obit. (Gristwood)
The body was only accompanied by the prior of Charter-house, and Dr. Brent, and Mr. Haute. (Strickland) The only gentlewoman to accompany the body was Grace, one of the illegitimate daughters of Edward IV. The only children to accompany their mother was Princesses Anne, Katherine, and Bridget. Also present was Woodville’s son and daughter-in-law, the Marquess and Marchioness of Dorset. Elizabeth of York and her sister Cecily were not present. (Gristwood) The priest of the college received the queen in the Castle.
On the morn thither came Audley, Bishop of Rochester, to do the office, but that day nothing was done solemnly for her saving; also a hearse, such as they use for the common people, with wooden candlesticks about it, and a black [pall] of cloth of gold on it, four candlesticks of silver gilt, every one having a taper of no great weight. (Strickland)
On the Tuesday hither came, by water, king Edward’s three daughters, the lady Anne, the lady Katherine, and the lady Bridget [the nun princess] from Dartford, accompanied by the marchioness of Dorset, daughter of the duke of Buckingham, the queen’s niece, the daughter of the marquis of Dorset; Lady Herbert, also niece to the queen; dame Katherine Grey; dame Guildford (governess to the children of Elizabeth of York); their gentlewomen walked behind the three daughters of the dead. Also that Tuesday came the marquis of Dorset, son to the queen; the of Essex, her brother-in-law and; the viscount Welles, her son-in-law. And that night began the dirge. But neither at the dirge were twelve poor men clad in black, but a dozen divers old men that old men dressed in the many coloured garments of poverty– “and held old torches and torches ends. And the next morning one the canons called master Vaughan sang Our Lady mass at which lord Dorset offered a piece of gold he kneeled at the hearse head ladies came not to the mass of requiem and the lords sat about in quire My lady Anne came to offer the mass penny and herofficers arms went before her she offered the penny at the head of the queen she had the carpet and the oushion And the viscount Welles his wife’s offering and dame Katherine Gray bare the lady Anne’s every one of the king’s daughters offered. The marquis of offered a piece of gold and all the lords at their pleasure the knights of Windsor dean canons yeomen and officers at arms
Twelve poor men neatly clad in black that custom would have dictated at the ceremony, there were only “a dozen divers old men, and they held old torches and torches’ ends.” (Gristwood)


Sarah Gristwood. Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the War of the Roses, Basic Books, Mar 4, 2014.

Agnes Strickland. Lives of the queens of England, from the Norman conquest, 1864.


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