Richard Neville – Warwick the Kingmaker

Signature_of_Richard_Neville,_Earl_of_Warwick

The 16th Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville, was in no uncertain terms involved in the Wars of the Roses. Born on Richard_NevilleNovember 22nd 1428 he came to be one of the most powerful men of his period, and presumably far more wealthy than King Henry VI, in whose life he came to play an important role, something the latter – due to his illness – maybe wasn´t aware of at all times. Richard Neville was knighted in 1445, most likely at the coronation of Margaret of Anjou.

He came to be in the centre of power from the 1450´s and onwards, and was initially loyal to the reigning monarch, Henry VI. Due to a conflict with the Duke of Somerset, he however decided to pay allegiance to the Duke of Your, Richard Plantagenet, cousin to the King, father the three brothers Edward, George and Richard, as well as uncle by marriage to Warwick himself (who was thereby also cousin to the previously mentioned brothers).

When it became obvious that Henry VI wasn´t well, Richard of York was proclaimed protector with Warwick by his side. Henry, however, recovered and resumed power for a while, only to lose it again at the first battle of St Albans where he also was apprehended. This battle was, compared to what was to come, relatively bloodless, but is seen as the first outbursts of violence between the Houses of Lancaster and York, and thereby the start of the Wars of the Roses. The king was captured and the Duke of Somerset practically hacked to death. Under this second protectorate Warwick received the position as governor of Calais.

When the Duke of York died at the battle of Wakefield 1460, as did Warwick’s own father, the Duke of Salisbury, Warwick transferred his loyalty to Edward Plantagenet, the son of York and the man Warwick placed on the throne as Edward IV, the act that initiated his reputation as The Kingmaker.

484px-Earlwarwicksvow_large

The foreign policy of Edward, an maybe most of all, his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville – which resulted in an extensive influence on English politics for her large family, both through marriages and appointments – created a vast rift in the relationship between Warwick and the King The marriage as such was also a disappointment to Warwick as he had negotiated with France to bring about a wedding between Edward and Bona, daughter of the Duke of Savoy and sister in-law to the French King Louis XI. While this didn´t entirely alienate the Earl, it was most definitely the beginning of the end.

In 1466 Warwick was sent to France for negotiations with the French concerning a Coat_of_Arms_of_Sir_Richard_Neville,_16th_Earl_of_Warwick,_KGmarriage proposal for the Kings sister Margaret while the door to Burgundy was also kept open. What might have been the final straw was when it, behind Warwick´s beck was decided that the “choice” had fallen on the Duke of Burgundy. The following year rumours started that Warwick was beginning to show Lancasterian leanings, and when called to answer the charge, he refused to return to the court in London, but sent a letter denying all accusations, something that was accepted by Edward.

But this in combination with the kings refusal to let Warwick´s daughter Isabel marry George of Clarence further fuelled the conflict, and Warwick, his wife and daughters and Clarence soon found themselves in Calais where Clarence and Isabel were wed.

George of ClarenceThey returned to England and joined the Robin of Redesdale Rebellion which had ensued in Yorkshire, orchestrated by Warwick himself while in France, and at the battle of Edgecote the Kings forces was defeated, the King taken under arrest and Elisabeth Woodville´s father, Earl Rivers, and brother executed. It turned out, however, that it was impossible to rule England without the King, and Warwick had no choice but to release Edward and reinstate him as king in 1469.

A kind of deadlock ensued between Warwick and the King, and after yet another plot Warwick and Clarence once again fled the country. Calais was closed to them at this point, and they ended up at the French court, where a most unlikely collaboration unfolded.

With the aid of King Louis XI an agreement was reached between Warwick and Margaret of Anjou, which aimed to regaining the throne for Henry VI as well as ensured the marriage between Margaret of Anjou´s son Edward of Westminster and Warwick´s youngest daughter Anne.

Margaret of Anjou and Warwick staged yet another rebellion in the north, and this

time it was Edward who had to flee abroad. Warwick and Clarence landed at Plymouth and Dartmouth while Margaret and her troops were meant to arrive later. Henry VI was reinstated as King, but due to his mental illness Warwick ruled as in fact King.

Margaret and her son had tarried in France and Warwick waited in vain for their troops, while the Yorkist´s re-grouped. He died in the battle of Barnet on April 14th, 1471 at the age of 42.

 

Sources:

Neville, Richard (1424 – 1471) Dictionary of National Biography

The Wars of the Roses – A.J. Pollard

Warwick the Kingmaker – Michael Hicks

Henrik VIII´s sista porträtt

Kanske finns de det som undrar varför man intresserar sig för Tudor-eran, och ser det som bara en fixering vid en historisk period, om än nog så storslagen. Och visst, jag är intresserad av historia i allmänhet, älskar engelsk historia i synnerhet, och av detta vida spektra är det Tudor-eran som intresserar och fascinerar mig mest. Men det är inte bara vad som hände för länge sedan som är intressant, utan också de upptäckter i ämnet som fortfarande görs.

Den senaste i raden är det helt nyligen upptäckta porträttet av Henrik VIII, vilket man tror är det sista som målades under hans levnad. Henrik VIII satt bara modell för ett tiotal porträtt under sin levnad, och merparten av de som existerar är målade efter hans död som en del av den så kallade Tudor-propagandan vilken syftade till att befästa dynastin som de rättmätiga härskarna av England.

Det porträtt som nu ”upptäckts” har ingalunda varit gömt på en bortglömd vind någonstans, utan har hängt till allmän beskådan i på godset Longleat House i Wiltshire i longleat-houseEngland, sedan cirka 300 år tillbaka. Det man nu upptäckt och i början av 2014 offentliggjort är alltså inte tavlans existens, utan dess ålder och därmed betydelse.

Tavlan är målad av en i nuläget okänd konstnär på ekpaneler, och det är årsringarna på dessa paneler som man studerat för att komma fram till deras ålder, samt färgens ålder man analyserat, och därmed kunnat konstatera att tavlan är målad cirka 1543, tre år före Henrik VIII´s bortgång. Eken, från vilken panelen kommit, bedöms ha kommit från Polen, och det innebär, naturligtvis, att den är importerad. Den beräknas vara fälld runt 1529, och inte transporterad till England på en gång, utan bedöms ha blivit liggande under en period.

På tavlan finns en inskription som säger att tavlan är målad i det 36:e året av Kung Henrys regeringsperiod, och att han är 54 år gammal. Man har tidigare inte tagit detta som en indikation på att tavlan skulle ha varit samtida med Henry, då sådana inskriptioner ofta lades till i efterhand.

Målningen ägdes ursprungligen av William Herbert, gift med Cathrine Parr´s syster Ann, och därmed Henrik VIII´s svåger genom hans sista äktenskap.

Målningen såldes vidare 1680 och har fört en tillvaro i det fördolda sedan dess. Nu är den nedplockad från sin plats på väggen och förvaras i stället i en glasmonter, medan dess värde stigit från cirka 10 000 pund till uppskattningsvis en miljon.

1bacf2e87f43ca2ce5dd6ba7224b30b1