16 MARCH 1485: THE DEATH of Queen Anne

Anne Neville from Cardiff Castle.

Anne Neville from Cardiff Castle.

Today, 16 March, in 1485, the death of Lady Anne Neville at Westminster Palace at the age of 28. Anne was Queen consort to Richard III from 26 June 1483 until her death. Anne was a younger daughter of Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury, known in history as ”the Kingmaker”, and Lady Anne Beauchamp, suo jure 16th Countess of Warwick.

Anne was betrothed to King Henry VI and Queen Margaret’s son, Prince Edward as a truce between the Lancastrians and Warwick and Clarence, when being exiled in Brittany.

Shortly after Warwick’s defeat at Barnet, on Easterday 1471 Queen Margaret and Prince Edward returned from France and were decisively defeated. Prince Edward was killed in the battle of Tewkesbury, and King Henry VI was executed soon after, making Anne widow at the age of just 15.

St Katherine by the Tower, Middlesex, England – Queen Anne (Neville) consort of King Richard III from 1483 France modern quartering England; impaling: Quarterly of eight, 1: Checky or and azure a chevron ermine (Newburgh); 2: Gules a fess between six crosscrosslets or (Beuachamp); 3: Argent three fusils conjoined in fess gules (Montague); 4: Or an eagle displayed vert (Monthermer); 5: Gules a saltire argent and a label of five points or (Neville) [label should be compony argent and azure]; 7: Or three chevronels gules (Clare); r three chevronels gules (Clare); 8: Quarterly argent and gules a fret or a bendlet sable (Despenser).

Luckily, Anne’s sister Isabel and her husband Clarence agreed to take in Anne and by 1474, Anne was married to Richard Duke of Gloucester. After the death of his brother, Edward, Richard became Lord Protector of the Realm for the young King Edward V. Edward V and his brother, Richard, the Duke of York, were taken to the Tower as was custom before a Kings coronation. Things unfortunately did not go as planned. The two boys were declared illegitimate under an Act of Parliament by the Lord Protector in 1483. With the Act now in place, the Lord Protector took the throne and crowned himself King Richard III of England. Lady Anne was crowned Queen of England with him in Westminster Abbey on 6 July in a joint coronation. Richard and Anne had one son; Edward, Prince of Wales. The young prince died on 9 April 1484.

The Eclipse as portrayed in the the BBC TV Series 'The White Queen'

The Eclipse as portrayed in the the BBC TV Series, ‘The White Queen’.

Soon after Christmas of 1483, queen Anne became ill. By early 1485, Anne was spending less time at court functions. These absences lead to speculation that the queen was already dead. After the death of her son, Anne’s mental health, no doubt, suffered which could have contributed to the slow decline in health. There were also rumors that Richard was going to kill Anne with poison so that he could marry his niece, Elizabeth of York. This of course, has only been speculation and there are no contemporary sources to prove this. However, the symptoms of Tuberculosis were present in Anne’s last few months; fever, breathlessness, night sweats, coughing up blood, weakness, weight loss and anorexia. Another possibility was cancer. Physicians during this time did not understand illness. There was always some remedy invented that in some cases just made patients worse. The doctors, perhaps, may have tried to prescribe garlic and the poisons Mercury and arsenic. To any modern reader, we know today that Mercury and arsenic are toxic and can kill you. Never the less, Anne died on 16 March 1485. Some sources record that she passed away during an eclipse of the sun. The York dynasty used the brilliant sun as one of their motifs — in all its splendor. The eclipse was seen as prophecy for the future of Richard’s reign.

'The White Queen' [BBC]

‘The White Queen’ [BBC]

Few tributes to Queen Anne remain. Her reign was one of the shortest in English history, lasting only twenty-two months. According to Fabyan, she was a woman of ‘gracious fame, upon whose soul … Jesus have mercy’. Agostino Barbarigo, future Doge of Venice, wrote to Richard III, regretting the loss of his ‘beloved’ consort and exhorting him, ‘endowed with consummate equanimity and marvellous virtues, of your wisdom and grandeur of mind to bear the disaster calmly and resign yourself to the divine will’. According to the Italian, who had never met Anne, she lived a ‘religious and catholic life, and was so adorned with goodness, prudence, and excellent morality, as to leave a name immortal’. In the intervening centuries, though, it was Anne’s mortal name that was often overlooked. Her life has been overshadowed by the controversies of Richard’s reign and his death in battle. (Amy Licence p 203)

Queen Anne lying in state as portrayed by the TV series, 'The White Queen'.

Queen Anne lying in state as portrayed by the TV series, ‘The White Queen’.

Anne had a magnificent funeral and was buried on the southern side of the Abbey near the altar. No stone or monument marked her grave, possibly because Richard was killed that year at Bosworth.

Detail of an illuminated initial 'H'(ere) with the arms of Anne Neville, wife of Richard III, at the beginning of book 3.

Detail of an illuminated initial ‘H'(ere) with the arms of Anne Neville, wife of Richard III, at the beginning of book 3. The British Library, all rights reserved [Royal 18 A XII]

A brass plate and coat of arms, designed by J.S.Comper, was erected in 1960 on the wall of the south ambulatory with the inscription:
ANNE NEVILL 1456-1485 QUEEN OF ENGLAND YOUNGER DAUGHTER OF RICHARD EARL OF WARWICK CALLED THE KINGMAKER WIFE TO THE LAST PLANTAGENET KING RICHARD III. In person she was seemly, amiable and beauteous … And according to the interpretation of her name Anne full gracious. Requiescat in pace.

Plaque of Queen Anne [Neville], consort to the last York King, Richard III


  • Vegetius, translation attributed to John Walton. De re militari (the Book of Vegecye of Dedes of Knyghthode), England, 1483/85. The British Library [Online]
  • Amy Licence. Anne Neville: Richard III’s Tragic Queen, Amberley Publishing, United Kingdom, 2013. pg 200-05.

See also — The Coronation of King Richard III and Queen Anne

BBC ‘THE WHITE QUEEN’: Queen Katherine Parr Family Relations

The White Queen covers to promote the series by Philippa Gregory.

The White Queen covers to promote the series by Philippa Gregory.

The 3 cousins are coming to tv soon in the BBC Series “The White Queen”; which features Lady Anne Neville (daughter of Warwick, the Kingmaker and later Queen to Richard III), Elizabeth Woodville (mother of Elizabeth of York), and Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII Tudor). All three women were cousins to Katherine Parr. The series will air on STARZ in the US in August.

The White Queen

The White Queen

The White Queen Elizabeth Woodville.

The White Queen Elizabeth Woodville.

Based on the The Cousin’s War series of novels by Phillipa Gregory and developed for TV by Emma Frost, The White Queen is set in 1464, during the height of the War of the Roses, and tells the story of the women caught up in the ongoing conflict for the throne. The House of York’s young and devilishly handsome Edward IV is crowned King of England with the help of the master manipulator Lord Warwick “The Kingmaker.” But when Edward falls in love and secretly marries a beautiful young widow, the commoner Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick’s plan for control over the English throne comes crashing down around him. Frustrated by the new Queen’s influence he will stop at nothing to maintain his grip on the King. The ten-part drama series stars Max Irons, James Frain, Rebecca Ferguson, Janet McTeer, Amanda Hale, Faye Marsay, Aneurin Bernard, David Oakes, Juliet Aubrey, Eleanor Tomlinson, Frances Tomelty, Michael Maloney, Ben Lamb, Hugh Mitchell, Simon Ginty, Eve Ponsenby and Robert Pugh. Company Pictures is producing with John Griffin, George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Eurydice Gysel and Polly Hill serving as executive producers. — (Patrick Munn)

Lord and Lady Warwick, Sir Richard Neville (James Frain) and Lady Anne Beauchamp (Juliet Aubrey). STARZ "The White Queen" (2013)

Lord and Lady Warwick, Sir Richard Neville, “Warwick, the Kingmaker” (James Frain) and Lady Anne Beauchamp, suo jure 16th Countess of Warwick (Juliet Aubrey). STARZ “The White Queen” (2013)

Lady Anne Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (“Warwick, the Kingmaker”) was a first cousin of Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, Lady Parr/Vaux [so she would have been Queen Katherine’s first cousin, twice removed].

Lady Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Lady Anne (Faye Marsay); daughters of Lord and Lady Warwick.

Lady Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Lady Anne (Faye Marsay); daughters of Lord and Lady Warwick.

Elizabeth and her mother, Lady Alice [sister of Warwick], were appointed personally by Queen Anne to be ladies when she became queen and participated in the coronation, receiving gifts from Richard III himself. They were close.[1]

Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale.

Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale.

Sir Thomas Parr’s father, William, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal, had once been Lady Margaret Beaufort’s revisionary heir to her substantial lands in Westmoreland, known as the “Richmond fee.” Lord Parr married to Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Henry, 5th Baron FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville (sister of Warwick). Lady Margaret Beaufort was a double second cousin to Elizabeth FitzHugh, Lady Parr [so she would have been a double second cousin, thrice removed of Katherine]. After the death of Lord Parr, his widow made a marriage with the Lancastrian family, the Vauxs’ of Harrowden. The Vaux family was close to Margaret, enjoying a long-term relationship with her. The previous Lady Vaux, mother of Thomas Parr’s step-father Nicholas, had been lady and friend to the Lancastrian queen Margaret of Anjou. Katherine, Lady Vaux served the queen during her exile. Nicholas Vaux (later 1st Baron Vaux) was a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort. The young Thomas Parr [Katherine’s father and Margaret’s cousin] most likely studied under Maurice Westbury of Oxford who had been installed as a teacher by Lady Margaret Beaufort at her estate of Colyweston. It was at Colyweston that certain gentlemen, including the son of the Earl of Westmoreland [cousin of Sir Thomas], not only received an education but also gained political connections that would prove useful in their future careers.[1][2]

The "White Queen," Elizabeth Woodville.

The “White Queen,” Elizabeth Woodville.

Elizabeth Woodville was the niece of Queen Katherine’s maternal great-great-grandmother Joan Wydeville [Katherine would have been a first cousin, thrice removed of Queen Elizabeth by her mother, Maud Green]. Joan Wydeville married Sir William Haute/Hawte. Their daughter, Alice, married Sir John Fogge. The Haute family which Joan married into was quite prominent during the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. Fogge had originally been a supporter of the Lancastrian king, but in 1460 Fogge joined the Yorkist earls in Kent. It is obvious however that he was a Yorkist by the families which he married into; Alice Kyriel (daughter of Yorkist Sir Thomas) and Alice Haute c. 1465 who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. The previous year, Elizabeth Woodville had married Edward. Queen Elizabeth brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her.[2] Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) would be one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin, queen consort Elizabeth Woodville during the 1460s.[2] The other ladies included her sister Lady Anne (wife of William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent) and her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Scales (wife of Sir Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers).[2]


The White Queen BBC one commercial – Directors cut from Jamie Childs on Vimeo.


STARZ ‘The White Queen’: Elizabeth Woodville

STARZ ‘The White Queen’: The Kingmaker’s Daughters

STARZ ‘The White Queen’: Lady Margaret Beaufort


  1. Linda Porter. “Katherine the Queen; The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII.” Macmillan, 2010.
  2. Barbara J. Harris. “English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 : Marriage and Family, Property and Careers: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers,” Oxford University Press, Jul 26, 2002. pg 218.