The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

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The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

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The deal Henry Tudor made with the Edwardian loyalists was that in the event of victory, they would back him as king, and he would marry Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York. Jones begins his book with the horrific execution of the elderly Margaret Pole, the last white rose of York.

He did take a big risk fighting Richard III in 1485, but he had procured enough allies and Richard was killed in battle, and so he started a new dynasty. Richard II, having been deposed by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, was murdered in prison during the early days of 1400. When Henry became more insecure after his son and later his wife and newborn daughter died, he turned his eye on the de la Poles whose Yorkist came through their mother Elizabeth Plantagenet (second eldest daughter of Richard and Cecily Neville) and two of these who escaped were actively engaged in plots against the king whom they had previously served. They don’t think of the Wars of the Roses, the bloody, brutal conflict that preceded the Tudor Dynasty. locates the conflict not in the tedious familiarity of modern power plays, but in the fascinating strangeness of the attitudes and belief systems of that distant age: a world in which piety and politics converged, and where the outcome of war was nothing less than the manifestation of divine judgement.The princes likely were murdered by Richard, though not by himself, someone closest to him -as they began to be seen less and less to quote from contemporary sources after the summer of ’83 until they disappeared altogether in the autumn of that year.

I chose this book as I was stumbling through the history section of my library with this history of the Wars of the Roses in mind. In the Hollow Crown the portraits of the leading women are as richly painted as those of the men, and even those who appear only briefly are memorable. While Edward was accustomed to fighting on foot, Warwick was said by one chronicler to prefer to run with his men into battle before mounting on horseback, “and if he found victory inclined to his side, he charged boldly among them; if otherwise he took care of himself in time and provided for his escape. Then a far more grotesque and insulting marriage was arranged between the twenty-year-old John Woodville and Katherine Neville, Warwick’s aunt and the dowager duchess of Norfolk.But it does provide a cohesive overview that is essential for anyone looking to study either king in greater depth. It was the royal blood and who had the right to rule that was at the heart of the Wars of the Roses, as Jones goes on to explain. One of Henry VI’s earliest advisers, William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, was blamed for the loss of Normandy and ended his days on Dover beach, his head stuck on a pole next to its truncated corpse.

The crown of England changed hands five times as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. The Duke of York, the main antagonist in the conflict, was motivated in part by the fact that, because of his Royal blood, he felt he should be playing a greater role in government. Five years later, in 1420, the king was regent of France, heir to the French throne, and married to their princess, Catherine of Valois. York’s closest supporter, the Earl of Warwick, was a member of his family and the fiercest defenders of the status quo, Beauforts and Tudors, were close in blood to the King.This entry was posted in Book review, Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VI, Henry VII, Lancaster, Plantagenet, Richard II, Tudor, Wars of the Roses, York and tagged .

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