Guest Post: The Paternity of King Edward IV by Carolina Casas

King Edward IV’s Paternity and The Duchess of York’s Reputation

(Intro and editing by Meg McGath)

The Duchess is accosted by Lady Rivers about her supposed affair in 'The White Queen'.

The Duchess is accosted by Lady Rivers about her supposed affair in ‘The White Queen’.


Intro

Edward IV was born on April 28th, 1442 in Rouen, France. He was the eldest surviving son of Lord Richard, Duke of York and Lady Cecily (Neville), later known as “Queen by Right”. Edward became the first York monarch after his father was killed in battle. His father had planned on being crowned as soon as possible, but his untimely death left his son and heir the new King of England. Edward was King from 1460 to 1470 then again in 1471 until his death in 1483. Edward was cousin to queen Katherine Parr’s paternal great-grandmother, Lady Alice FitzHugh (born Neville). The relationship between Katherine Parr’s paternal grandfather, Lord Parr of Kendal, and Edward IV has been well documented as the two were close due to his marriage to Edward’s cousin, Elizabeth FitzHugh. The FitzHugh’s were closely affiliated with the Earl of Salisbury (Katherine Parr’s great-great-grandfather) and the Earl of Warwick (Parr’s great-granduncle). The FitzHugh and the Earl of Warwick’s properties were in close proximity so Elizabeth grew up next to her cousins Ladies Isabel (later Duchess of Clarence) and Anne (later queen).

King Edward IV’s Paternity and The Duchess of York’s Reputation by Carolina Casas

The ‘White Queen‘ (BBC) popularized the myth that Edward IV was the son of a Welsh archer called Blaybourne; a result of an affair Blaybourne had with Edward’s mother Cecily while she and the Duke of York were in Rouen. Several historians have given credence to this myth arguing that Cecily conceived while her husband was away fighting at Pontoise. While the fact that York fought in Pontoise in August is true – it is in no way proof that Edward was the product of an illicit union. What none of these historians and novelists factored in however, is the time between conception and giving birth. Nowadays with modern science it is easier to predict when one conceives and one gives birth, but it is not an exact science yet. There will be mistakes. There will be factors that determine whether a pregnancy comes to term or not, whether the baby arrives at the exact date the doctor or midwife foresees is 50/50. Now imagine yourself in the first half of the fifteenth century with no modern medicine and only midwives and religious superstition to tell you whether you were pregnant or not, if the child you expected was a boy or girl, or if you were closer to term according to the fullness of your belly. Doesn’t sound like it would give us much accuracy, does it?


This is the world that medieval women lived in. They had to rely on the science of the day which was religion and they had no other experts to go on to give them advice except for midwives and they had to believe in (outrageous to us now) methods of conception such as potions made of different ingredients like rabbit’s blood, sheep urine, mare’s milk, quale’s testicles, etc. Edward was Cecily’s third pregnancy. She and the Duke were married by October 1429 (some put their marriage two years before when she had reached the age of majority that was required of girls to marry at twelve); he would have been eighteen and she fourteen. They didn’t have their first child until 1439, more than eight years after their marriage. If Cecily and Richard were eager to conceive why wait so long? Like with most arranged marriages, there was bound to be some shyness. Richard and Cecily were by no means strangers to each other. Before Cecily’s father died, he passed on Richard’s custody to his wife Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (only daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Swynford Roet). Cecily was the youngest of Lady Joan’s children and being so close in age, Cecily and Richard grew up under the same roof and it is highly likely that when Lady Joan took Richard to London, she brought along her daughter. But being so young, they could have been hesitant to consummate the marriage and waited until they knew each other better. There is no indicator that the couple was unhappy, it soon became known that Cecily was an excellent mistress of the Duke’s household and tried in every way to imitate the royal court by ordering expensive fabrics and arranging for extravagant banquets, especially after he became Lord Lieutenant in Normandy and moved to Rouen. The reason as to why the couple might not have had children is because before moving to Normandy, Richard was often away. This was the reality many wives had to face. Husbands were often gone for long periods of time due to war or business. Another possibility could be that because during this period miscarriages and births were not often recorded, she could have been pregnant but suffered several other miscarriages that we simply do not know about.

Either way, the fact remains that when Edward was born there was not a lot of fanfare for his christening. This could have been due to him being conceived after Richard, Duke of York returned from Pontoise which would make Edward premature and make his parents alarmed since this was an age where infant mortality was very high. Newborns that were too small or too weak were christened immediately to save them from the eternal damnation of limbo. This makes even more sense when we take into account that the year before Cecily had given birth to a boy who lived less than a week. It was vital at the time for the two to have a male heir to continue the York line.

During his lifetime, Richard, Duke of York never showed any indication that he suspected Edward was not his. In fact during their last years at Rouen before they were recalled to England, he was negotiating a marriage between his son and the King of France (Charles) daughter, Marie, who was born in 1444. Had Edward not been his son, he would not have shown this much favor or invested so much in his education and military training. As for the silly rumors of his appearance that he was fair while his father and brother (Richard III) were dark, we must remember that Edward III (from where both his parents descended) was fair and tall so he could have gotten his looks either from their ancestor or his mother.

The theories that still surround his parentage are nothing but wild rumors and conjectures based on propaganda and history is filled with this. History is made by the winner but I would also add, by conspiracy and fantasy and very often these get mixed up with the truth that in the end we lose track of what is fact and what is fantasy.
The fact of the matter is, the name Blaybourne did not come up until 1460 which was the year let us all remember that England was in open war with itself, two rivaling Houses –Lancaster and York- competing for the English throne. York had used years before the same device against the Lancastrian Queen, Marguerite of Anjou to strengthen his own claim, now it was only fair that her side shot back by saying the same thing about his wife. It was a way to discredit Richard and discredit his son who was the Earl of March at this time. That was what was often done to opponents of the king when they wanted to take his crown, they spread rumors surrounding their rival’s parentage or their families, and the targets would always be women.

Duchess Cecily played by Caroline Goddall in 'The White Queen'

Duchess Cecily played by Caroline Goddall in ‘The White Queen’

Cecily Neville is known today by many names –“proud Cis” “Queen by Rights” “Rose of Raby” –etc. She’s been portrayed countless of times in fiction, sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, but all of these portrayals miss the real woman behind the myth. The real truth about Cecily lies buried in the pages of her religious books, in her sons, her actions, her words and her religion which she always held dear. As a noble woman, she held to the standards of the time by giving opulent parties and indulging in the fashions of the time, she was known to be one of the best dressed women in England, as a woman she was a mother and peacemaker, she always tried to bring her sons together when she sensed there was trouble. And as a Duchess, she was her husband’s equal. Richard relied on her for everything. Whenever he returned he always asked for her to accompany him, after his short-lived triumph in 1460, he sent for his wife to London to join him in his triumphant moment when he attempted to take the throne. After he had been recognized as the King’s legal heir years back, Cecily began using the moniker “Queen by Rights”; after he died she became her son’s advisor and the first woman in the fifteenth century to use the title “my lady the King’s mother”, and until her son married in 1464, she was the top woman in England. After years of fighting however, Cecily retired and chose to lead an ascetic life. Like her mother, she was very religious and aware of her lineage. While there were cases of spousal infidelity, a woman like Cecily was unlikely to risk everything she had for an affair.

Sources:

Amy Licence. ‘Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings

Amy Licence. ‘On Bed with the Tudors’

Sarah Gristwood. ‘Blood Sisters

Claire Ridgeway. ‘On This Day in Tudor History

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The White Queen: The REAL Duchess of York

Lady Cecily, Duchess of York portrayed by Caroline Goodall.

Lady Cecily, Duchess of York portrayed by Caroline Goodall.

Scene RE-DONE the way it should have been done! You bow twice to the King’s mother and she doesn’t back down!

After the first episode of ‘The White Queen’, I was quite upset at the representation of the King’s mother, the Duchess of York [I even wrote a blog I was SO upset]. As a royal Duchess who would have become Queen if her husband had not died — she was in fact practically queen in all but name; Queen Mother. Her husband, Richard, Duke of York, was granted the title of Prince of Wales and Lord Protector so Cecily was technically Princess of Wales before her husband died.

“But for an accident of fate would have been queen”. (‘At the King’s Pleasure’: The Testament of Cecily Neville by Alison Spedding)

Born Lady Cecily Neville, she was part of the powerful Neville family which would help bring her son to the throne. Cecily was the youngest daughter of Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, herself the daughter of one of the most powerful royal Princes and noblemen in history, Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. As such, Lady Cecily was a niece of King Henry IV of England, cousin of King Henry V, and cousin, once removed of King Henry VI. And by the marriages the children of the Duke of Lancaster made, Cecily was kin to several royal houses on the continent, i.e, Portugal, Castile, and Burgundy. She was of royal blood being the great-granddaughter of King Edward III and his consort Philippa of Hainault.

Her husband, the Duke of York, was the leading contender for the House of York’s claim to the throne of England. York was made Lord Protector of England in 1453 and 1455, however he did not press his claim to the throne during these two periods.[1] In 1460, York was named Prince of Wales and again Lord Protector of the Realm.[2] With King Henry VI in custody, the Duke of York became the de facto ruler of England. However, before York could claim his crown, he was defeated in December 1460 at the Battle of Wakefield with his son, Edmund of York, and his brother-in-law the Earl of Salisbury.[3] The Duchess of York narrowly missed becoming queen of England and her eldest son, Edward, Earl of March, was crowned Edward IV of England in March of 1461.[3]

However, in 1477, following the marriage of her grandson Richard of York, the Duchess was accorded the title ‘Queen of right‘ after using the title of ‘Cecily, the king’s mother and late wife unto Richard in right king of England and of France and lord of Ireland’ since 1464.[4]

Titles

Princess of Wales[2]
Duchess of Cornwall[2]
Duchess of York
Countess of March
Countess of Cambridge
Countess of Ulster
Countess of Chester[2]

“Warwick rose toweringly. His rose-dappled mantle swirled; black hair curled on his brow. Everything of him was puissant and challenging and might have said: Behold us! We of the royal blood, of Edward the Third…” — ‘The King’s Grey Mare’ pg 53. [Warwick was Cecily’s powerful nephew who helped Edward to his throne].

The first episode as dictated by Gregory and her writer — was a travesty towards the Duchess.

“It was in the exchange with Duchess Cecily (Caroline Goodall) however, that Jacquetta, as her daughter’s mouthpiece, really overstepped the historical mark. The disapproving Duchess, who was known in real life as “proud Cis,” is too easily overcome by her social inferiors when they whip out her apparent “secret” affair with a French archer. Lost for words, she is silenced within minutes, almost cowed by them. While contemporary notions of “courtesy” dictated extreme forms of submission to the queen, this is a Cecily straight from the pages of a novel rather than the actual proud aristocrat who asserted her own right to rule.” — Amy Licence

cecily1

“You can lower you eyes all you want — I shall laugh and thank you for your visit…I AM the King’s mother and Duchess of York; queen of right!” — Lady Cecily, Duchess of York.

Sources

  1. DK Publishing. History of Britain & Ireland, Penguin, May 2, 2011. pg 122. Google eBooks
  2. Davies, John S. An English Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI, folios 208-211 (Google ebooks, retrieved 15 July  2013)
  3. Alison J Spedding. ‘At the King’s Pleasure’: The Testament of Cecily Neville, University of Birmingham. Midland History, Vol 35, No 2, 2010. pg 256-72.
  4. Joanna Laynesmith. ‘The Kings’ Mother,’ History today. 56, no. 3, (2006): 38.

STARZ ‘The White Queen’: The Family Tree

After watching several episodes of ‘The White Queen’, I have stopped at episode 8 feeling disgusted with the pace, inaccuracy, and portrayal of the historical figures who were indeed people who lived over 500 years ago.

However, I am trying to dispell the many inaccurate facts that have popped up. Hence the family tree on STARZ.com — you can find the page X

Issues:

Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury portrayed by James Frain

Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury portrayed by James Frain

  • Warwick, the Kingmaker: Born Richard Neville, he was the son of the Earl [grandson of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster via his daughter Lady Joan Beaufort] and Countess of Salisbury [Lady Alice Montacute, a Countess in her own right was a great-granddaughter of Lady Joan, Countess of Kent and Princess of Wales]. His grandfather, the Earl of Westmorland, had wardship over Richard, Duke of York [father of Edward IV]. Westmorland married the Duke of York to his daughter Lady Cecily; his daughter by his second wife Lady Joan Beaufort. Warwick grew up with Edward and his other brothers as his father was the brother of the Duchess of York. The Neville family was the most powerful noble family in England at the time. Richard’s marriage to the heiress Lady Anne Beauchamp was a powerful match. When Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, she brought her whole family to court. With all those family members, they were married off to most of the nobility at court — his family. The first marriage of a Woodville was Elizabeth’s brother, John, to the widowed aunt of Warwick, Lady Katherine who was a wealthy heiress 40 years his senior. This not only outraged Warwick, but most to all of the court! The marriages of the common Woodville family would continue — sweeping up whatever wealthy noble they could.
Image

Richard III portrayed by Aneurin Barnard

  • Richard, Duke of Gloucester: Richard is NOT an ancestor to the American President George Washington! He is not an ancestor to anyone! He had one legitimate son who predeceased him. Richard was the youngest surviving son of eight. The last male standing of the Duke and Duchess of York. His mother, Lady Cecily, would outlive him.
George and Isabel portrayed by David Oakes and Eleanor Tomlinson

George and Isabel portrayed by David Oakes and Eleanor Tomlinson

  • George, Duke of Clarence: was NOT the second son of the Duke and Duchess of York, but the third surviving son of eight sons. He had an elder brother who died with his father and uncle [father of Lord Warwick]. In the video on George, Philippa claims that there is no evidence that George and Isabel cared for each other; there was no love. On the contrary. See X
Richard and his queen, Anne portrayed by Faye Marsay

Richard and his queen, Anne portrayed by Faye Marsay

  • Lady Anne Neville: later queen, is a pawn — enough, that is not a politically correct term — in those days women who were wealthy heiresses married to whomever their family chose. So the King’s mother, Lady Cecily, was a pawn as well? Hardly! The King’s mother was a very strong, influential, and pious woman. Lady Anne as Duchess of Gloucester would share the piety with her grandaunt/mother-in-law; the two would discuss religious works.
Lady Warwick portrayed by Juliet Aubrey

Lady Warwick portrayed by Juliet Aubrey

  • The Countess of Warwick: born Lady Anne de Beauchamp, was the heiress to her father and eventually her brother, the Duke of Warwick. Her father, the 13th Earl of Warwick, was a grandson of Thomas, 11th Earl and Katherine Mortimer [listed on the tree]. The 13th Earl had been previously married and had three daughters by his first wife. Lady Warwick’s half-sister, Lady Eleanor, became Duchess of Somerset and through her daughter a grandmother of Humphrey Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham [see below]. Lady Warwick’s husband, Richard Neville, became Earl of Warwick through her. More info on that X. Lady Warwick was of royal descent and shared Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York as a common ancestor with King Edward, George of Clarence, and Richard III [they were 2nd cousins]. So her daughters were close cousins to their husbands [George of Clarence and Richard of Gloucester] by both father and mother. They both required a dispensation from Rome to marry; the show acts as if Lady Anne did not get one. On the contrary, Lady Anne and Lord Richard did; they were lawfully married.
Lord Stafford and Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Michael Maloney and Amanda Hale

Lord Stafford and Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Michael Maloney and Amanda Hale

  • Edmund Stafford: son of Hugh, Lord Stafford and Lady Philippa Beauchamp married to Anne of Gloucester, a granddaughter of Edward III via his youngest son, Thomas of Woodstock. Stafford’s son became Duke of Buckingham and married to Lady Anne Neville, a sister of Lady Cecily, Duchess of York [mother of King Edward IV]. His eldest son, Humphrey married to the half-sister of Lady Warwick [above] but predeceased his father. The Dukedom went to his son. Lord Henry Stafford, husband of Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a cousin of King Edward IV and Lord Warwick.
"Lady Beauchamp" portrayed by Frances Tomelty

Lady Beauchamp” portrayed by Frances Tomelty

  • Lady Beauchamp: born Margaret Beauchamp, she was not a noblewoman by birth. Her title of “Lady Beauchamp” is incorrect in that she was never married to a Beauchamp [of Knight status or above]. From March 1461-1482 [her death] she was known as the Dowager Lady Welles being the widow of Lionel Welles, Lord Welles. Her son by Lord Welles was John Welles, 1st Viscount — she never had a son named Richard. The historical Viscount Welles was married to Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.
Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale.

Lady Margaret Beaufort portrayed by Amanda Hale.

  • Lady Margaret Beaufort: a distant cousin of King Henry VI via an illegitimate line, the Beauforts. Lady Margaret’s grandfather was a half-brother to King Henry IV. The two shared John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster as a great-grandfather thus making them 2nd cousins. Lady Margaret descended from the third marriage of John of Gaunt — the King descended from the Duke’s first marriage to Lady Blanche of Lancaster. Lady Margaret is buried in Westminster Abbey — but not next to Mary, Queen of Scots. The tombs are in the same vicinity, but Queen Mary was moved there under her son’s reign [about a hundred years after the death of Lady Margaret].
King Henry VI portrayed by David Shelley

King Henry VI portrayed by David Shelley

  • King Henry VI: the King who had a mental breakdown. According to the tree, he was an ancestor of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Uh, I think they mean Henry VII Tudor?
Edward of Lancaster and Margaret of Anjou portrayed by Joey Batey and Veerle Baetens

Edward of Lancaster and Margaret of Anjou portrayed by Joey Batey and Veerle Baetens

  • Edward of Lancaster: portrayed in the tree as a bastard child of Margaret of Anjou and one of her loyalists. True? Doubtful. Why would she fight so hard for a bastard son?
Jacquetta Rivers and Elizabeth Grey [later Queen Elizabeth]  portrayed by Janet McTeer and Rebecca Ferguson

Jacquetta Rivers and Elizabeth Grey [later Queen Elizabeth] portrayed by Janet McTeer and Rebecca Ferguson

  • Jacquetta Rivers and Elizabeth Grey: born Jacquetta of Luxembourg, she was married to the Duke of Bedford, son of the Lancastrian King Henry IV. After his death she married without consent to the Duke’s squire, Richard Woodville. They were of course heavily fined and suffered consequences. Jacquetta’s daughter, Elizabeth, would marry the Lancastrian Sir Thomas Grey who would die in battle. As a widow of a traitor [the House of York defeated Lancaster by the time Elizabeth met Edward], she sought out to have her inheritance reinstated for her two sons. The two, and the rest of the Woodville family, come to court and everything was/is turned upside down when Edward marries Elizabeth and makes her queen. As Philippa Gregory clearly states, she loves Jacquetta and of course her daughter. The series is heavily pro-Woodville and makes anyone who goes against them seem evil or “the enemy“. There is a huge sense of bias through out this show. From insulting the King’s mother, cursing everyone who doesn’t like her or her family [and not even thinking about karma in the process], treating Edward’s family horribly, and whining when she doesn’t get her way — the portrayal of “fictional” Elizabeth is horrid and would make the real queen probably role in her grave. The other two women get demonized and Lady Anne is constantly being attacked by Elizabeth who verbally abuses and eventually curses her, her husband, and child. Honestly the two remind you of a 15th century version of “Mean Girls“. It has gotten so bad that they now have team Woodville vs team Neville! A complete insult to the actual historical figures. For more on that — see X.

Did George Clarence poison Isobel Nevill?

George attends Isabel .

George attends Isabel.

Did he or didn’t he? Well people have been searching for the answer…

A Nevill Feast

It’s come up a few times in my search list since episode 7 of The White Queen aired.

Did George, duke of Clarence, poison Isobel, duchess of Clarence?

George certainly thought someone poisoned her and reacted swiftly, to his ultimate detriment. He accused one of the duchess’s serving women, Ankarette Twynho, essentially abducted her and took her to Warwick, where she was tried and, not surprisingly, found guilty. She was immediately hanged. So far as I’m aware, the Queen, Elizabeth Wydeville, wasn’t implicated in this plot, nor did George hire a ‘sorcerer’ to determine the date of Edward IV’s death. George did a couple of other things that weren’t particularly helpful and was arrested and charged, initially, with bringing the law of England into disrepute. This was later changed to treason. In TWQ, the document that implicates him is a horoscope of Edward IV. Casting the king’s horoscope was certainly…

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The White Queen, episode 7

Richard, episode 7. Richard, episode 7.

Countess of Warwick: Anne, I’m going to tell you something that makes it clear that whoever wrote this didn’t read the primary sources very well.

Anne: It’s episode 7, Mother. Tell me something I don’t know!

A Nevill Feast

Edward: I’m a shagger.
Elizabeth: I’m a breeder.
Stanley: I’m a schemer.
Margaret Beaufort: To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be.
Clarence: Let’s go to France!
Edward: I’d rather shag. But why the hell not?
Gloucester: I’ve not forgotten you’re a derp, George.
Clarence: And I’ve not forgotten that you’ve got Warwick Castle, despite the fact that you live at Middleham.
Gloucester: It’s just this pesky truth thing, George. It’s so utterly boring.
Margaret Beaufort: That’s right! I’m a prayer. Oh, and I need another sign.
Woman: Destiny calls!
Margaret Beaufort: Good one, God!
Elizabeth: It’s a boy!
Margaret Beaufort: Here, let me save his life so I can have an attack of conscience when I decide to kill him and his brother in, let’s say, episode 9, just before I send him off to be Perkin Warbeck. Oh, look, he’s breathing.
Elizabeth: I’ll…

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The White Queen: The REAL ending of Isabel and George

The death of Lady Isabel, episode 7.

The death of Lady Isabel, episode 7.

So in tonight’s episode — they decided to kill TWO major characters off. And if you don’t feel a tad bit sorry for either one — remember these were actual people. Although the series is LOOSELY based off of historical events and people — these people DID die during one of the most dangerous periods of time in England.

Episode 7

Episode 7

X

On 22 December 1476 Isabel Neville, Duchess of Clarence died at Warwick at the age of twenty-five. Her body was removed for burial to Tewkesbury Abbey, the mausoleum of her Despenser ancestors. It was received there on 4 January 1477 by Abbot Strensham and other prelates. A service of nine lessons was conducted by suffragans of the Bishops of Worcester and Lincoln with the assistance of the dean and chaplains of Clarence’s chapel. Members of his houseshold stood vigil for a whole night. On the morrow the bishops and the abbot conducted three masses, one in honour of the Virgin Mary, a second for the Holy Trinity and a Requiem mass. At the latter a Franciscan friar, Dr Peter Webb, made an oration. The duchess’s body lay in state in the middle of the choir until 25 January 1477, when it was placed in a vault newly constructed behind the high altar, where probably Clarence himself was laid to rest. In the meantime masses were celebrated daily for the duchess’s soul.
MA Hicks, False Fleeting Perjur’d Clarence, p 114.

Clarence quite probably kept vigil with his household. He was from all accounts deeply grieved by his wife’s death. Their marriage was a happy one and it does seem that he was faithful to her. Her funeral itself points to a widower who wished his wife to be remembered and honoured in death. Their children, Margaret and Edward, were 3 and 1 respectively.

Barely a month after Isobel’s death, Margaret duchess of Burgundy, newly widowed, suggested Clarence (her favourite brother) as a husband for her stepdaughter Mary. Edward opposed the idea. Around the same time, an idea was put to Edward that Clarence marry the sister of James III. This, too, Edward declined. Despite Clarence’s no doubt real sense of grief at Isobel’s death, and there’s no way of knowing if he would have married either party had the decision been left up to him, Edward’s disapproval of both matches greatly upset him and relations between the brothers, already shaky, began to deteriorate further.

In May 1477, two men associated with Clarence were executed for treason at Tyburn. There is no evidence that Clarence was involved, or that Edward believed Clarence to be involved. However, after their deaths, he went with a Dr William Goddard to a session of council where Goddard read out a declaration of the men’s innocence. Also in May, Ankarette Twynho, one of Isabel’s servants, along with two others, was arrested, tried, convicted and executed on a charge of poisoning the duchess. The conduct of the trial, which included the kidnapping and forced removal of Twynho to Warwick, was highly irregular.  Edward arrested his brother, not on accusations of treason but for bringing the laws of England and the justice of the king into question. This was not a charge that carried the death penalty. Some time before November, however, Edward changed his mind and Clarence was charged with treason.

The Death of George, Duke of Clarence via "The White Queen"

The Death of George, Duke of Clarence via “The White Queen”

Clarence was tried in parliament on 16 January, condemned as a traitor and sentenced to death, which sentence was carried out in the Tower on 18 February. Edward honoured his brother’s wishes and allowed him to be buried with his duchess at Tewkesbury. Several contemporary and near contemporary sources speak of Edward’s almost immediate regret at Clarence’s death and his part in it. Cecily Nevill pleaded for her son’s life, and as a result of her appeal the sentence was commuted from the traditional traitor’s death. Though this has been called into doubt in recent times, it also seems that both Gloucester and Hastings made some attempt to see Clarence spared. This doesn’t quite tie in with the fact that, of everyone, Gloucester stood to gain most from Clarence’s death. He and Hastings were certainly not as closely involved in the process and proceedings as the earls Rivers and Dorset. However, neither of them, both influential with the king, spoke up quite loudly or clearly enough to save Clarence’s life. Both men, at the time, enjoyed friendly relations with the queen and her kin. The Wydevilles were four square behind both the changes to the charges against Clarence, his conviction and the carrying out of the sentence.

[Karen Clark. Nevill Feast, “Marriage and the Nevills – Isobel Nevill and George Duke of Clarence“, 15 June 2010]

The White Queen: Medieval Birth for a Royal Baby

"The White Queen", episode 6 shows Elizabeth giving birth. Unlike real life, no men would have been present and the windows would have been covered.

“The White Queen”, episode 6 shows Elizabeth giving birth. In reality, no men would have been present and the windows, floors, and walls would have been covered.

Elizabeth Woodville’s marriage to Edward IV produced ten babies in fourteen years. Edward’s own mother, Lady Cecily [Neville], had thirteen children of whom only seven survived to adulthood. Lord Warwick [father of Queen Anne Neville] and Lady Alice FitzHugh’s [great-grandmother to Queen Katherine Parr] mother, Lady Alice, Countess of Salisbury [sister-in-law to Lady Cecily], also gave birth to no less than twelve children herself. So how dangerous was it to have a royal baby in the 15th Century? Historian Dr. Jeremy Goldberg assesses what childbirth would have been like for the White Queen [and other women].

The White Queen and medieval birth for a royal baby

More info on childbirth in Tudor times: Childbearing: Queen Katherine of Aragon and Lady Maud Parr