Neville, Anne, Queen of England
- (c. 1453–1485)Anne Neville was the younger daughter of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, and the wife and queen of RICHARD III. In 1470, her father married her to Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER to seal an alliance with the house of LANCASTER and continue the civil wars; after about 1472, her second husband, Richard, duke of Gloucester, used her name and estates to build a position of political dominance in the north of England. In July 1470, Anne was with her father in FRANCE, where she was betrothed to Edward, Prince of Wales. The union finalized Warwick’s agreement with MARGARET OF ANJOU, the prince’s mother, to abandon EDWARD IV and support the restoration to the throne of HENRY VI, the prince’s father (see Angers Agreement; Readeption). Warwick left for England in September, but Anne stayed in France with her new husband and mother-inlaw until April 1471. After her father’s death at the Battle of BARNET on 14 April, and her husband’s death three weeks later at the Battle of TEWKESBURY, Anne came into the custody of her elder sister, Isabel NEVILLE, and her sister’s husband, George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, the brother of Edward IV. By the end of 1471, Anne was at the center of a bitter quarrel between Clarence and his younger brother, Richard, duke of Gloucester. The NEVILLE INHERITANCE DISPUTE involved Gloucester’s desire to marry Anne and lay claim to her half of Warwick’s vast landholdings as well as to the extensive influence traditionally exercised by the NEVILLE FAMILY in northern England (see North of England and the Wars of the Roses).Unwilling to surrender any of the Neville lands, Clarence supposedly disguised Anne as a LONDON serving girl and hid her in the city. Gloucester discovered her whereabouts and, likely with Anne’s connivance, carried her off to SANCTUARY in a London church. Despite the claims of later writers that a long-standing romantic attachment existed between the couple, Gloucester’s primary interest in Anne almost certainly involved control of her estates, while Anne’s interest in Gloucester probably centered mainly on the protection he could afford her against Clarence. Although the exact date of their marriage is uncertain— some time in 1472 is likely—it was conducted with some haste, since the couple did not even wait for the papal dispensation that was required for cousins to marry (besides the relationship created by their siblings’ marriage, Gloucester’s mother, Cecily NEVILLE, was Anne’s great-aunt).Anne spent most of the next decade in the north, where Gloucester, thanks in large part to his marriage, became heir to Warwick’s lands and political influence (see Richard III, Northern Affinity of). Living mainly at Middleham Castle, the Neville stronghold in Yorkshire where her son Edward was born about 1476, Anne took little part in politics until her husband became king as Richard III in 1483. She was crowned with her husband at Westminster on 6 July, but little is known about her life as queen. Deeply affected by the death of her son in April 1484, Anne fell ill herself early in 1485. The likely outcome of her illness must soon have been clear, because rumors of her husband’s desire to marry his eldest niece,ELIZABETH OFYORK, began circulating weeks before the queen’s death on 16 March 1485. Afterward, rumor claimed that Richard had murdered his wife to make way for his niece, whose intended replacement of Anne was supposedly signaled by the two women wearing identical gowns at the COURT Christmas festivities. Although later Tudor writers proclaimed Richard’s murder of his wife as a fact—William Shakespeare certainly implied it in RICHARD III—no real evidence exists to support the charge.See also all other entries under NevilleFurther Reading: Hicks, Michael,Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998); Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).
Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. John A.Wagner. 2001.
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