Readeption

(1470–1471)
   Upon HENRY VI’s restoration to the throne, all letters, writs, and official records began styling the king’s regnal year as “the 49th year of the reign of Henry VI and the first of his readeption to royal power” (Weir, p. 177). Because of this formula, historians refer simply to “the Readeption” when describing the period of restored Lancastrian government between October 1470 and April 1471.
   In August 1470, the conclusion of the ANGERS AGREEMENT between Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU and Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, created an alliance between the house of LANCASTER and supporters of the NEVILLE FAMILY that drove EDWARD IV and the house of YORK from the throne in October (see Edward IV, Overthrow of). Upon entering LONDON, Warwick and his ally, Edward IV’s brother, George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, removed Henry VI from captivity in the TOWER OF LONDON and installed him with great ceremony in the bishop’s palace, where he remained for the next six months as the inert figurehead of a government controlled by Warwick. Taking the offices of 220 RATCLIFFE, SIR RICHARD king’s lieutenant, chamberlain of England, and captain of CALAIS, Warwick appointed or reappointed all royal officials in Henry’s name and issued summonses for a PARLIAMENT, which met in November.
   The composition and acts of the Readeption Parliament are largely unknown because its records were destroyed by the Yorkists upon their return to power. However, the assembly attainted Edward IV and his brother, Richard, duke of Gloucester (see Richard III, King of England), and reversed ATTAINDERS of Lancastrians passed under Edward. Parliament also authorized the negotiation of peace with FRANCE, and Warwick, in accordance with his compact with LOUIS XI, raised forces to support Louis against Duke CHARLES of BURGUNDY, actions that convinced the duke to support Edward, who had fled to Burgundy in October 1470.
   Distrusted by many Lancastrians, Warwick was hampered by the failure of Queen Margaret and her son to leave France. Young and vigorous, Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER might have given the Lancastrian cause greater energy and purpose. The Readeption government was also weakened by the anomalous position of Clarence. Although the duke was appointed lord lieutenant of IRELAND,Clarence’s loyalty to Warwick was effectively undermined by his mother, Cecily NEVILLE, duchess of York, and his sisters. When Edward returned in March, Clarence abandoned the earl. The Readeption collapsed when Edward IV defeated and killed Warwick at the Battle of BARNET on 14 April 1471, the very day Queen Margaret and the prince landed in England. Raising an army in the West Country, Margaret was defeated and her son was slain at the Battle of TEWKESBURY on 4 May (see Edward IV, Restoration of).With the prince dead, Edward had Henry VI quietly murdered in the Tower on 21 May, thus extinguishing the male line of Lancaster (see Henry VI, Murder of). Queen Margaret remained a prisoner until 1475, when she was ransomed and returned to France by Louis XI.
   Further Reading: Gillingham, John, The Wars of the Roses (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981); Goodman, Anthony, The Wars of the Roses (New York: Dorset Press, 1981); Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Hicks, Michael,Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998); Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998); Weir, Alison, The Wars of the Roses (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995);Wolffe, Bertram, Henry VI (London: Eyre Methuen, 1981).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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