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  1. Margaret of Anjou (French: Marguerite; 23 March 1430 – 25 August 1482) was the Queen of England and nominally Queen of France by marriage to King Henry VI from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471. Born in the Duchy of Lorraine into the House of Valois-Anjou, Margaret was the second eldest daughter of René, King of Naples, and Isabella ...

    • Early Life
    • Marriage to Henry Vi
    • Birth of An Heir
    • Wars of The Roses Begin
    • Defeat and Death
    • Legacy
    • Sources

    Margaret of Anjou was born on March 23, 1429, probably in Pont-à-Mousson, France, in the Lorraine region. She was raised in the chaos of a family feud between her father and her father's uncle in which her father, René I, Count of Anjou and King of Naples and Sicily, was imprisoned for some years. Her mother Isabella, duchess of Lorraine in her own right, was well educated for her time. Because Margaret spent much of her childhood in the company of her mother and her father's mother, Yolande of Aragon, Margaret was well educated as well.

    On April 23, 1445, Margaret married Henry VI of England. Her marriage to Henry was arranged by William de la Pole, later duke of Suffolk, part of the Lancastrian party in the Wars of the Roses. The marriage defeated plans by the House of York, the opposing side, to find a bride for Henry. The wars were named many years afterward from the symbols of the contending parties: the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster. The king of France negotiated Margaret's marriage as part of the Truce of Tours, which gave control of Anjou back to France and provided for peace between England and France, temporarily suspending the fighting known later as the Hundred Years' War. Margaret was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Henry had inherited his crown when he was an infant, becoming king of England and claiming kingship of France. The French dauphin Charles was crowned as Charles VII with the aid of Joan of Arcin 1429, and Henry had lost most of France by 1453. During Henry's youth, he had been ed...

    In 1453, Henry was taken ill with what has usually been described as a bout of insanity; Richard, duke of York, again became protector. But Margaret of Anjou gave birth to a son, Edward, on Oct. 13, 1451, and the duke of York was no longer heir to the throne. Rumors later surfaced—useful to the Yorkists—that Henry was unable to father a child and that Margaret's son must be illegitimate.

    After Henry recovered in 1454, Margaret became involved in Lancastrian politics, defending her son's claim as the rightful heir. Between different claims to succession and the scandal of Margaret's active role in leadership, the Wars of the Roses began at the battle of St. Albans in 1455. Margaret took an active role in the struggle. She outlawed the Yorkist leaders in 1459, refusing recognition of York as Henry's heir. In 1460, York was killed. His son Edward, then duke of York and later Edward IV, allied with Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, as leaders of the Yorkist party. In 1461, the Lancastrians were defeated at Towton. Edward, son of the late duke of York, became king. Margaret, Henry, and their son went to Scotland; Margaret then went to France and helped arrange French support for an invasion of England, but the forces failed in 1463. Henry was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1465. Warwick, called "Kingmaker," helped Edward IV in his initial victory over...

    Margaret returned to England on April 14, 1471, and on the same day, Warwick was killed at Barnet. In May 1471, Margaret and her supporters were defeated at the battle of Tewkesbury, where Margaret was taken prisoner and her son Edward was killed. Soon afterward her husband, Henry VI, died in the Tower of London, presumably murdered. Margaret was imprisoned in England for five years. In 1476, the king of France paid a ransom to England for her, and she returned to France, where she lived in poverty until her death on Aug. 25, 1482, in Anjou.

    As Margaret and later Queen Margaret, Margaret of Anjou has played major roles in various fictional accounts of the tumultuous era. She is a character in four of William Shakespeare's plays, all three "Henry VI" plays and "Richard III." Shakespeare compressed and changed events, either because his sources were incorrect or for the sake of the literary plot, so Margaret's representations in Shakespeare are more iconic than historical. The queen, a fierce fighter for her son, her husband, and the House of Lancaster, was described as such in Shakespeare's "The Third Part of King Henry VI": Always strong-willed and ambitious, Margaret was relentless in her efforts to secure the crown for her son, but she ultimately failed. Her fierce partisanship embittered her enemies, and the Yorkists didn't hesitate to allege that her son was a bastard.

    "Margaret of Anjou."
    "Margaret of Anjou: Queen of England." Encyclopedia Britannica.
    "Margaret of Anjou." New World Encyclopedia.
    "10 Facts About Margaret of Anjou."
    • Jone Johnson Lewis
    • Women's History Writer
  2. Margaret of Anjou, queen consort of England’s King Henry VI and a leader of the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses (1455–85) between the houses of York and Lancaster. Strong-willed and ambitious, she made a relentless, but ultimately unsuccessful, effort to obtain the crown for her son, Prince

    • Early Life and Marriage
    • Beginnings of The Dynastic Civil Wars
    • The Wars of The Roses
    • Death
    • Margaret's Letters
    • Depictions in Fiction
    • Notes
    • References

    Margaret was born on 23 March 1430 at Pont-à-Mousson in the Duchy of Lorraine, an imperial fief east of France that was ruled by the cadet branch of the French kings, the House of Valois-Anjou. Margaret was the second eldest daughter of René of Anjou and Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. She had five brothers and four sisters, as well as three half-siblings from her father's relationships with mistresses. Her father, popularly known as "Good King René" was Duke of Anjou and titular King of Naples, Sicily and Jerusalem; he has been described as "a man of many crowns but no kingdoms". Margaret was baptised at Toul in Lorraine and, in the care of her father's old nurse Theophanie la Magine, she spent her early years at the castle of Tarascon on the River Rhône in southern France and the old royal palace at Capua in Naples. Her mother took care of her education and may have arranged for her to have lessons with the scholar Antoine de la Sale, who taught her brothers. In childhood Margaret...

    Enmity between Margaret and the Duke of York

    After retiring from London to live in lavish state at Greenwich, Margaret was occupied with the care of her young son and did not display any signs of overt belligerence until she believed her husband was threatened with deposition by the ambitious Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, who, to her consternation, had been appointed regent while Henry was mentally incapacitated from 1453 to 1454. The duke was a credible claimant to the English throne and by the end of his regency there were ma...

    Leader of Lancastrian faction

    Hostilities between the rival Yorkist and Lancastrian factions soon flared into armed conflict. In May 1455, just over five months after Henry VI recovered from a bout of mental illness and Richard of York's regency had ended, Margaret called for a Great Council from which the Yorkists were excluded. The Council called for an assemblage of the peers at Leicester to protect the king "against his enemies". York apparently was prepared for conflict and soon was marching south to meet the Lancast...

    Military campaigns

    While she was attempting to raise further support for the Lancastrian cause in Scotland, her principal commander, Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, gained a major victory for her at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460 by defeating the combined armies of the Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury. Both men were beheaded and their heads displayed on the gates of the city of York. As Margaret was in Scotland at the time the battle had taken place, it was impossible that she issued th...

    Defeat at Tewkesbury

    By the time Margaret, her son and daughter-in-law were ready to follow Warwick back to England, the tables had again turned in favour of the Yorkists, and the Earl was defeated and killed by the returning King Edward IV in the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471. Margaret was forced to lead her own army at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471, at which the Lancastrian forces were defeated and her seventeen-year old son was killed. The circumstances of Edward's death have never been made clear...

    Margaret lived in France for the next seven years as a poor relation of the king. She died in Anjou on 25 August 1482 at the age of 52. She was entombed next to her parents in Angers Cathedral, but her remains were removed and scattered by revolutionaries who ransacked the cathedral during the French Revolution.

    There are many letters extant written by Margaret during her tenure as queen consort. One was written to the Corporation of London regarding injuries done to her tenants at the manor of Enfield, which comprised part of her dower lands. There is another letter which she wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The letters are compiled in a book edited by Cecil Monro, which was published for the Camden Society in 1863.Margaret typically headed her letters with the words "By the Quene".

    Margaret is a major character in William Shakespeare's 1st Tetrology of History plays. Henry VI, Part 1, Part 2,Part 3 and Richard III. Shakespeare portrays Margaret as an intelligent, ruthless woman who easily dominates her husband and fiercely vies for power with her enemies. In Henry VI, Part 2 Margaret has an affair with the Duke of Suffolk and mourns his death by carrying around his severed head. In Henry VI, Part 3 she personally stabs the Duke of York on the battlefield (after humiliatingly taunting him) and becomes suicidal when her son Edward is killed in front of her. Despite the fact that Margaret spent the rest of her life outside of England after the death of her husband and son, Shakespeare has her return to the court in Richard III. Margaret serves as a Cassandra-like prophetess; in her first appearance she dramatically curses the majority of the nobles for their roles in the downfall of the House of Lancaster. All of her curses come to pass as the noblemen are betray...

    Abbott, Jacob (2004). History of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI of England. Reproduction of 1871 text by Kessinger Press.
    Bagley, J.J. (1948). Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England. Herbert Jenkins.
    Brooke, C.N.L.; Ortenberg, V. (June 1988). "The Birth of Margaret of Anjou". pp. 357–58.
    Boutell, Charles (1863). A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular. Winsor & Newton.
    • Emma Irving
    • Her marriage to Henry VI had an unusual requirement. Born in the French Duchy of Lorraine, Margaret of Anjou grew up in France before her marriage to Henry VI in 1445.
    • She was fierce, passionate and strong-willed. Margaret was fifteen years old when she was crowned queen consort at Westminster Abbey. She was described as beautiful, passionate, proud and strong-willed.
    • She was a great lover of learning. Margaret spent her early youth in at a castle in the Rhone Valley and at a palace in Naples. She received a good education and was probably tutored by Antoine de la Salle, a famous writer and tournament judge of the era.
    • Her husband’s rule was unpopular. A breakdown in law and order, corruption, the distribution of royal land to the king’s court favourites and the continued loss of land in France meant Henry and his French queen’s rule became unpopular.
    • Her Parents Were Rich. Though she eventually became one of the most powerful women on Earth, everyone has to start somewhere. Margaret was the second daughter of Rene, the disgraced King of Naples, and Isabella, the Duchess of Lorraine.
    • Her Dad Was A Screw-Up. Margaret of Anjou eventually became a ruthless and effective ruler, but she sure didn’t learn it from her father. People called King Rene “a man of many crowns but no kingdoms” because he lucked into not one, not two, but three separate crowns: He was the King of Naples, the King of Sicily, and the King of Jerusalem.
    • Her Dad Liked To Cheat. Life in the Good King Rene’s household was…awkward, to say the least. Margaret grew up not only with her five brothers and four sisters—but also with her three half-siblings.
    • She Had A Cute Nickname. Margaret’s parents took to calling her la petite creature. She was a ravenous learner and an obsessive with hobbies that ranged from romantic literature to more manly pursuits like hunting.
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