Angers Agreement

(1470)
   By forging an alliance between Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, and Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU, the Angers Agreement of July 1470 made possible the overthrow of EDWARD IV and the restoration of HENRY VI and the house of LANCASTER.
   In April 1470, after the failure of their attempt to dethrone Edward IV, Warwick and his ally, George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, Edward’s younger brother, took ship with their wives for CALAIS, where Warwick was captain. Denied entrance to the town by a garrison loyal to Edward, Warwick turned to piracy, preying on Burgundian shipping with a squadron of vessels that had defected from the royal NAVY under the command of the earl’s kinsman, Thomas NEVILLE, the Bastard of Fauconberg.
   In May, Warwick’s booty-laden flotilla anchored in the Seine, providing LOUIS XI with an ideal opportunity to strike at both England and BURGUNDY. If Warwick and Queen Margaret could be persuaded to bury their considerable differences, they might, with Louis’s aid, overthrow Edward and establish a Lancastrian regime that would gratefully support the French king against Burgundy. For both Warwick and Margaret, Louis’s plan, though personally distasteful, was their only political option. Having failed to control Edward IV in 1469, and to replace him with Clarence in 1470, Warwick’s only hope for power in England was the restoration, under his auspices, of Henry VI. For Margaret, alliance with Warwick and his supporters represented her only hope of ever seeing her son on the English throne.
   After conferring privately with both parties, and paying for Margaret to come to Angers, Louis brought the two principals together in that town on 22 July.Although the basic outline of the agreement had probably already been accepted by all parties, Margaret, upon meeting Warwick, made a show of rejecting the earl and supposedly kept him on his knees in supplication for twenty minutes before granting him pardon for his Yorkist past. The settlement that followed called for Warwick to lead an invasion of England, financed by Louis, to overthrow the house of YORK and restore Henry VI. In return, Margaret agreed to the marriage of her son, Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER, to Anne NEVILLE, Warwick’s younger daughter. The betrothal was formalized in Angers Cathedral on 25 July and the wedding was celebrated in the following December. For Louis, the centerpiece of the agreement was the new allies’ promise to bring a restored Lancastrian regime into an offensive alliance with FRANCE against Burgundy. The odd man out was Clarence. Although honorably treated, for Warwick needed his support, he was obliged to renounce his claim to the throne in return for the lands and title of duke of York and a promise of the succession should the house of Lancaster fail of heirs.
   Although she accepted the marriage, Margaret refused to allow her son to return to England until Warwick had recovered the kingdom for Henry VI, a decision that was to cost Warwick dearly in terms of Lancastrian support. The earl and Clarence issued a proclamation, which was widely distributed in England, promising to end Edward’s “tyranny.” Warwick was probably also responsible for the production of a PROPAGANDA tract entitled the MANNER AND GUIDING OF THE EARL OF WARWICK AT ANGERS, a document, written by someone privy to the Angers discussions, that describes the agreement and the reasons for its conclusion. Fortified by the French and Lancastrian aid acquired under the Angers Agreement,Warwick returned to England in September; by early October, he was master of the kingdom and leader of the newly established READEPTION government of Henry VI.
   Further Reading: Hicks, Michael,Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998); Kendall, Paul Murray, Louis XI (New York:W.W. Norton, 1971).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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