1st May 1464. ‘Falsely Perjur’d Clarence’.
Welcome to the Merry Month of May.
Today in 1464 Edward IV secretly married Elizabeth Woodville a young widow of Grafton Manor, Northants.(1)
Edward had ten children and as many illegitimate, and being unusually tall for a Yorkist, at 6ft 4in, it seemed to confirm that he was not the son of Richard 3rd Duke of York.
Then Henry VI in 1470 said that Edward’s brother George Duke of Clarence should inherit as Edward had been attainted, so even if his sons were legitimate and there doubts, they would in any case, be debarred from the throne.(2)
Then the other brother who followed as Richard III, said that Edward’s marriage was invalid and his children illegitimate, and as his younger brother Clarence was descended from John of Gaunt, so heir to Henry VI and the House of Lancaster, he had a greater claim to the throne.
In terms of legitimacy it was thought then as now the line of descent should have descended through Clarence then via his first son Edward, then his daughter Margaret, Countess of Salisbury who married Richard Pole.
Their son Henry Pole was the maternal grandparent of the 3rd Earl Huntingdon, ancestor of the Hastings Family of Loudon, once castle owners in Ashby-de-Zouch, Leicestershire.(3)
Now we come to the twist of genealogy in that the present 15th Earl of Loudon is the son of republican Michael Abney-Hastings, 14th Earl, who emigrated to Australia in 1960 and who died in 2012.
Living in Jerilderie in a modest bungalow with a gnome in the front garden, the truck driver, who might have been king, and his wife Jolleen have many grandchildren ‘princesses’ including Zac, Caleb, Jet.
Another case of the ‘ifs’ of history. However despite acts of attainder or claims of illegitimacy Edward IV claimed the crown by right of conquest of Henry VI.
(1) Elizabeth Woodville, the first ‘commoner queen’ since the Conquest, would see her husband deposed and reinstated, her father and brother beheaded, her mother Jacquetta tried for witchcraft, and her two sons the Princes in the Tower probably murdered by their uncle later Richard III.
(2) Much has been made that Edward was fighting the French near Paris whilst his wife was at Rouen suggests problems of conception.
Edward’s baptism was a quiet hushed up affair compared with that of his younger brother George, Duke of Clarence.
Shakespeare’s Richard III scene VII: when Glocester (sic) asks Buckingham: ‘Touch’d you the bastardy of Edward’s children? Buckingham: ‘I did’ he replies then goes on to talk about Edward’s bastardy, ‘as being got, your father then in France, And his resemblance, being not like the duke’.
(3) Margaret ten when Edward IV died, was executed in 1541 one of the few Plantagenets to have survived the Wars of Roses.
Ref: Channel 4 TV January 2004 reviewed available evidence.
Ref: r3,org/tewkesbury/ Pic of tomb.
Ref: onceiwasacleverboy.blogspot/edward-iv/ Pic of tomb.
Ref: historyfiles.co.uk/Edward IV.