ENMITY BETWEEN MARGARET OF ANJOU AND RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK/
AFTER THE BATTLE OF WAKEFIELD/MANIFESTO OF MARGARET OF
ANJOU TO THE CITIZENS OF LONDON IN 1461
”When you play the game of thrones, you win or
you die. There is no middle ground”
I proudly present one of the rare documents I found in which Queen Margaret
of Anjou refers to her great enemy, Richard, Duke of York.
It is to be read in a Manifesto she proclaimed to the citizens
of London concerning her military campaigns after
the Battle of Wakefield.
See the text of the Manifesto below
I invite you to travel with me to the past again, this time to the
Wars of the Roses period
after the Battle of Wakefield in which Richard, Duke of
York, the great enemy of Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife to the
pious and gentle King Henry VI, was killed, which was a
great blow to the Yorkist cause.
Not only York died, his second surviving son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland,
likely was killed after the battle by Lord Clifford as York’s
brother in law, the 5th Earl of Salisbury,who was
executed after the battle.
He was the father to the 16th Earl of Warwick
the Kingmaker, was executed after the battle.
In contrary to popular belief, Margaret of Anjou did not order their executions
after the Battle of Wakefield, since she was in Scotland at that moment.
But after all, it IS possible, that before her departure
to Scotland, Margaret ordered that if York and his main supporters
were captured alive, they should be killed.
However, she was NOT at the battlefield giving those orders.
There are strange stories anyway:
One source mentions Margaret of Anjou outside the Sandal Castle
[where the Duke of York stayed before he rashly left the safety
of his Castle to meet the Lancatrian army at
Wakefield], raving and screaming to the Duke of York to come out
and fight with her.
To give you a good laugh I quote this ridiculous story:
”The queen advanced with a much superior force to
The two armies came together near the town of Wakefield, and there,
after some delay, during which the queen continually challenged the
duke to come out from his walls and foryifications to meet her, and defied
and derided him with many taunts and reproaches, a great battle was finally
Now it’s nonsense, since Margaret was not at Wakefield at all, but
even if she were, it’s my
belief, that no Medieval Queen would forget her dignity like that.
About Margaret’s enmity with the Duke of York.
Assuming there was really such a big hatred amongst them,
I have always wondered, what the real cause was.
Of course I know the historical facts, stemming directly from
the causes of the Wars of the Roses, but I refuse to believe
that as the only explanation of such a bitterness.
I will refer to that in a later article.
Anyway, when York was slain, Margaret came back from Scotland with
fresh troops, supplied by Queen Regent Mary of Guelders, which
soon built a reputation of raping and looting through England.
Although they did, they were not the only ones.
Fictional novel author Susan Higginbotham shows convincingly,
that looting and plundering was also done by the Yorkist troops.
However, by personal experience and popular belief, the people
feared those Scottish soldiers, as Margaret progressed through England.
At first she was succesful and defeated [I mean, her commanders] the Earl
of Warwick [the Kingmaker, son of the 5th Earl of Salisbury, who had
been executed after the Battle of Wakefield], in the Second Battle
of St Albans.
Edward of March, the eldest son of the late Duke of York, turning out
to be a great military commander, was occupied elsewhere, defeating
the King’s half brother, Jasper Tudor [paternal uncle to
the later King Henry VII] at St Mortimer’s Cross.
Anyway, Margaret marched to London, trying to get in the capital.
However, the Londoners were hesitant, fearing looting and plundering.
Therefore she proclaimed a Manifesto, assuring them that no one
would be harmed.
I find it that interesting, since she refers to the death of the
Duke of York.
Of course it is highly propagandistic, not mentioning the attainder,
of York and his allies, on Margaret’s instigation, which actually drove York to take the step to the Act of Accord ,disinheriting Margaret”s son
Edward of Westminster, the prince of Wales.
We know the aftermath
The citizens of London shut the gates from Margaret and her troops,
Edward, the 7th Earl of March, son of the late Duke of York, reunited with
the Earl of Warwick, came with a vengeance and after having succesfull
beaten the Lancastrians at St Mortimer’s Cross and Towton
became King of England.
Margaret eventually fled to exile in France and when Warwick
broke with Edward IV after several conflicts, he and Margaret joined forces.
However, Warwick was slain at the Battle of Barnet in 1471 and
Margaret’s son, the prince of Wales, was slain at the battle of
The tragic King Henry VI, who probably never had wanted to
be a king, died in the night of 21 may 1471, probably murdered
at the orders of King Edward IV.
After a five years captivity, Margaret was ransomed by King Louis
XI of France and died in poverty in 1482.
A tragic life.
The Manifesto of Margaret of Anjou to the citizens of London is a very interesting document
casting a glance on the strong-willed, courageous and hard personality
of Margaret of Anjou, who was, by the way, not the she wolf,
Shakespeare and old historians made of her.
She was hard and merciless, but not harder than the men, who
crossed her path.
See the document below
Thanks for travelling with me to the past again
MANIFESTO OF MARGARET OF ANJOU
TO THE CITIZENS OF LONDON
LETTER XXXVIII. Margaret of Anjou^ Queen of Henry F/., to the Citizens of London, a. d. 146 1 . [haul. MS, NO. 543, FOL. 147.] %* Hie following letter, or manifesto, needs UtOe comment ; it is one of the few productions of the high-spirited Margaret of Anjou now in existence. It was penned early in 1461 ; when, after the battle of Wakefield, which cost the Duke of York his life, the queen advanced towards London to secure the capitAl. It was addressed to^ the citizens of London, where the king was then residing, and its object was to secure, by fair promises, their fiivourable reception of hbrself and her troops, which 'were composed of an odd medley of EnglJsh» Scotch, Iri8h» and Welah» into^ the city. The eloquence of the queen proved unsuccessful, however. Hie Londoners, fearing the presence of such tumultuous, guests, chose to reinforce the army of the Barl of Warwick, and throw their powerful influence into the scale of Digitized by VjOOQ IC 96 LETTERS OF ROYAL AND iht Yorkists. Their determined enmity kept the queen at bay till the Earl of March (afterwards Edward IV.) joined his troops to those of the Earl of Warwick, and rendered her entrance into London impos- sible. The unfortunate Queen Margaret was destined never again to enter the capital of that kingdom which she had long ruled with so despotic a sway. Right trusty and well-beloved, we greet you heartily well. And whereas the late Duke of N. [York] of extreme malice, long hid under colours, imagined by divers and many ways and means the de- struction of my lord's good grace, whom God of his mercy ever preserve, hath now late, upon an untrue pretence, feigned a title to my lord's crown, and royal estate, and pre-eminence, contrary to his allegiance and divers solemn oaths of his own offer made, uncompelled or constrained, and fully pro- posed to have deposed him of his regality, ne had been (had it not been for) the sad (&rm)y unchangeable and true dispositions of you and others, his true liegemen, for the which your worshipful dispositions we thank you as heartily as we can. And howbeit, that the same untrue, unsad, and unadvised person, of very pure malice, disposed to continue in his cruelness, to the utterest undoing, if he might, of us, and of my lord's son and ours the prince, which, with God's mercy, he shall not be of power to perform, by the help of you and all other my lord's faithful disposed subjects, hath thrown among you, as we be certainly informed, divers untrue and Digitized by VjOOQ IC
feigned matters and surmises ; and in especial, that Yfe and my Iord*s said son and ours should newly draw toward you with an unseen power of strangers, disposed to rob and to despoil you of your goods and havings (property) ; we will that you know for certain that, at such time as we or our said son shall be disposed to see my lord, as our duty is and so binds us to do, you, nor none of you, shall be robbed, despoiled, nor wronged by any person that at that time we or our said son shall be accompanied with, or any other sent in our or his name, praying you, in our most hearty and desirous wise, that [above] all earthly things you will diligently intend (attend) to the surety of my lord's royal person in the mean time; so that through malice of his said enemy he be no more troubled, vexed, nor jeoparded. And, so doing, we shall be unto you such lady as of reason you shall be largely content. Given under our signet, &c.