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The Wars of the Roses/Margaret of Anjou/She wolf or not?

The Wars of the Roses/Margaret of Anjou/She wolf or not?

zondag 8 februari 2015 06:05
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THE WARS OF THE ROSES/MARGARET OF ANJOU/SHE WOLFOR NOT?
SEE ALSO
http://www.astridessed.nl/the-wars-of-the-rosesmargaret-of-anjoushe-wolf-or-notcomments-on-the-article-of-mr-gareth-rusell-about-margaret-of-anjou/

Recently I read a very interesting article of Mr Gareth Russellon his Blog ”Confessions of a Ci-Devant”Article is titled:23th MARCH, 1430, THE BIRTH OF MARGUERITE OFANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND”
http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.nl/2011/03/march-23rd-1430-birth-of-marguerite-of.html
See for complete text of the Blog article below

Russel gives an interesting comment on Margaret of Anjou’shistorical and political role, challenging the villifying ofMargaret of Anjou.
I greatly agree with his view about Margaret of Anjou, though he doesn’t emphasize clearly, that the Wars of the Roses was no struggle between ”ambitious claimants and magnates’ only, but had a legitimationin it, since  Richard, Duke of York, had a better claim than theLancasters, as King Henry VI himself.Understandable he wanted to fight for it, as understandable, thatMargaret of Anjou wanted to defend her son’s rights.But fact stays, that York had more right to the throne.
Also it’s a pity that Russell doesn’t explain clearly,in which way Margaretof Anjou was villified and why it was villification at all.In this comment I tell more over this villification andgive also my opinion on the questionWho was Margaret of AnjouA She Wolf, A Saint or just a Brave Woman.
TRAVEL WITH ME TO THE PAST AGAINENTER THE WORLD

VILLIFICATION OF MARGARET OF ANJOU
I agree with Russell’s view, that Margaret of Anjou has unjustly been villified throughout the centuries, either by non proven stories or unjust historical facts.For example there is no proof whatsoever, that her son was not the childof King Henry VI [but of the Duke of Somerset, as much was believed in that time,due to propagandism of her enemies, probably Yorkists.]
MARGARET PRESENT AT WAKEFIELD? NONSENSE
Myths are hard to eradicate.Common popular belief says, that Margaret of Anjou was present at the battle of Wakefield and
responsible for the execution of Richard, Duke of York, as shouldhave ordered the execution of the York’s son, the Earl ofRutland and possibly the execution of York’s brother in law, the 5th Earl of Salisbury.
First, at least the Duke of York himself was almost certainly slainin the Battle of Wakefield.Second:Since Margaret of Anjou was in Scotland at the time of Wakefield,it  was impossible, that she could have ordered those executions.There were no smartphones in the Middle Ages! [1]
MARGARET SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTBREAKTHE WARS OF ROSES?/UTTER NONSENSE
Some writers suggest, that Margaret of Anjou in her own was responsible for the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses.Of course that’s nonsense.It’s true, that due to unwise policy and a hard politicalstand she provoked escalation,  but other key playersdid as well.Besides, the causes of the Wars of the Roses were that deeprooted and complicated, that military confrontationwould have bursted out anyway, even when Margaret ofAnjou had been a saint and all forgiving. [2]
THE POLICY OF MARGARET OF ANJOUHARD AND CONCILIATORY?
Certainly Margaret could be  hard and ruthless.For instance, she ordered executions after the 2nd Battle ofSt Albans [3]  and a more conciliatory person should have orderedthe removal of the heads of the Duke, his son and brother in law,which were displayed at Micklegate.And I think there were opportunities she could have showna milder face, but did not.For example, although Helen Maurer challanges thatin her biography of Margaret of Anjou [4], I think Margaretwas one of the driving forces [I say, ”one”, of courseyoung Somerset and other Lancastrian leaders had their part too]behind the attainting of York, Salisbury, Warwick, the wife ofSalisbury and many others in 1459 at the Coventry Parliament. [5]
And that’s what pushed York to the extremes to make an ultimate attempt  toseize the throne in 1460, which ended in the Act of Accord,disinheriting King Henry VI’s son and securing the successionto the throne [after the death of King Henry VI] into the hands of York and his heirs. [6]
Of course Margaret was furious, but she provoked this,by her probable influencing at the attainder of her adversaries. [7]Because actually York was a not convicted [that was the meanthing of attainder, that judicial proof of treachery was not necessary]traitor with his life and estates forfeited.The only chance to gedt his position and propertiesback [and not being an outlaw]was at that time, the claiming of the throne.For him there was no way back, as for Margaret.
MARGARET’SAND THE KING’S UNWISE FAVOURITISM OF LORDSOMERSET, ENEMY TO THE DUKE OF YORK
Travelling to the prelude to the Wars of the Roses, the obviousfavouritism, that the King and Margaret displayed in favourof Somerset [a bitter enemy of York], was unwise and will have embitteredYork further. [8]However, to Margaret’s defence must be said, that her favouritismstemmed also from the fact, that, as she and the Kinghad something important in common with Somerset.Being of the  ”peace party”concerning the Hundred Year’s War with France [negociations, buying a longer peace periodby giving the French some territories back], while the Duke of York,as Humphrey of Gloucester, uncle to King Henry VI, were fromthe war party, which meant  just hard and open war.
YORK’S CLAIM TO THE THRONE
The Wars of the Roses had various causes, one importantstemming from the fight for the thronebetween Lancaster and York.
End although Margaret might have seen it otherwise [understandable]York [from his mother’s side, who was a descendant fromLionel of Antwerp, the second son of King Edward III] had a superiorclaim to the throne than the Lancasters and [also from the Houseof Lancaster] even King Henry VI, who was a descendant from Johnof Gaunt, the third son of King Edward III.And….smack to the past……the Kings grandfather Henry IVwas an usurper, since he  had deposed the rightfuland anointed King, Richard II, who by the way had made York’s maternalgrandfather, Roger Mortimer, presumptive heir to the throne….[9]
YORK’S ”RUN FOR THE THRONE”FROM THE BEGINNING?
I don’t think York was ”after the throne from the beginning”,[there is simply no proof for that]but when the conflict escalated in the fifties, combined withSomerset’smilitary  blunders in France at the secondhalf of the forties [by which all English territoriesin France were lost, except Calais], as the constant favouritismof Somerset, things get really out of hand.I don’t say, York was not ambitious, but that’s somethingother than go for the throne.In fact, he didn’t need to in the beginning, since he wasalready heir presumptive to the throne from 1447 [when the King”suncle, Humphrey Gloucester died under mysterious circumstances],untill the birth of Edward of Westminster, the son of the King in 1453.

POLITICAL AND PERSONALPERSONAL DILEMMA’S IN A COMPLICATEDTIME IN ENGLAND’S HISTORY
Before sainting or demonizing Margaret of Anjou this:
The Wars of Roses is no story of angels or devils,but of men [and sometimes women] who were faced with nearly impossible dillemma’s.That goes for Margaret of Anjou, as the othermajor players.

What to do, when a King is gone mad?
Who has to succeeed the throne, the son ofa King, who is a baby, or the experienced Dukeof York, with a better claim to the throne.
When a woman [here Margaret] is to be regent forher son, how stable the country will be.Will the people accept this?
Will the rivalling Lancasters accept Yorkist rule and be safe?
Will the rivalling Yorks accept therule of a Lancaster baby King and be safe?
Will the Duke of York get rid himself eventually  of a babyKing, resenting that his own superiorclaim to the throne is not fulfilled andwanting the throne for himself and his sons.
How will France [probably seeking for revengeafter the Hundred Year’s war]  react ona politically unstable England?
How will this all effect the economy.
Will social unrest stem from this deadly York andLancaster show?
Yeah, it was not easy, either for Margaret ofAnjou [and her adherents]  or her adversary, the Duke of York[and his adherents]

WAR OF THE ROSESBITTERNESS OF THE FIGHT/KILLING AND REVENGEGOOD AND BAD?

As I said before, there are no villains or saints in thisstory.The only  ”bad” thing is, when one is murderous and cruel, the ”good” thing, to stay honoroubleand human [of course, following the morals ofthat time] in a situation of war hell.
And to be frankly:
Both parties were cruel.Both parties committed cruelties, executed theirenemies in cold blood and of course, only saw thecrimes of the other party.
And then of course, the aspect of the blood feud, whichembittered the war, besides the mutual ambitions.
In the First Battle of St Albans in 1455  [beginningof the Wars of the Roses, Yorkist victory], the Duke ofSomerset [enemy of York], the Earl of Northumberland as Lord Clifford were killed.So their sons wanted revenge.
At Wakefield in 1460, the Duke of York, hisson Edmund [Earl of Rutland] and York’s brotherin law, the Earl of Salisbury [father tothe Earl of Warwick, the ”Kingmaker”] were killed.
So Edward, son of the Duke of York [the laterKing Edward IV] and the Earl of Warwick, wanted revenge.
And so on and on.
When the hell broke loose, there was no way back.

MARGARET OF ANJOUSHE WOLF OR NOT

Who was Margaret of Anjou?
A she wolf, some sort of ”saint” or ”brave woman”,who defended the rights of her husband and son tillthe last moments [when her son was killed in theBattle of Tewkesbury or thereafter]
That she was a saint nobody will believe, but a she wolf she was either.
A brave woman, then?I think she was and one can only respect her decisiveness to defend her son’s rights,although she was partly to blame for the events, that led to the Act ofAccord in 1460.
However:Not seeing her as a monster, but a brave woman,doesn’t mean the Dukeof York is the villain here, as is suggested, probablyas compensation to the villifying of Margaret, by some writerslike  novelist Susan Higginbotham [without denial of the high level of herimpressive book ”Queen of Last Hopes”].
York was a hardcore military leader and as ambitious for his sons asMargaret of Anjou for her’s, but that is all there is to say.For years he served King Henry VI as a loyal servant, first two timesas Kings Lieutenant  in France, then as Lieutenant in Ireland.
Only later, when political tensions and personal enmities rose,he felt threatened [not only Margaret of Anjou felt threatened]gathered his adherents and it came to armed struggle.
And just that was the problem with Margaret of Anjou:
Margaret of Anjou was hard and sometimes cruel, but notharder or more cruel then the men involved.From the Duke of York a hard attitude was accepted, as ofthe Duke of Somerset and co, but in a woman, it was consideredas ”unnatural” and ”evil”
Take Agincourt:King Henry V was praised for his military succes in the Hundred Year’sWar with France, especially the victory at Agincourt.Yet when the battle was done, Henry V gave orders to killthe French prisoners of war [10], which is cruel, even in Medievalwarfare. 
Because he was a man, he was considered as a great warrior King.Margaret didn’t commit crimes of that level, but yet Henry V is a hero and Margaret as a a villain and monster.That’s the double standard between men and women.But Medieval women were bound to strict moral codes. [11]
I am the least to justify the cruel measures Margaret sometimes took, butfirst and foremost they were condemned because she was a woman.
I can’t blame Edward IV for hating and villifying Margaret, since his father and brother were killed in the battle of Wakefield,as other sons, women, mothers and daughters from those, killedin the struggle against the Lancastrians.
But the later historians don’t have that excuse and should have known better.
Conclusion
Margaret was brave, but her political decisions were cloudedby stubborness and favouritism, which blocked compromisesand let to ruthless decisions [as the attaintings of the Yorkists]which embittered her adversaries and provoked violentoutbursts.She certainly was an ”aggressive partisan” [which youmentioned justly] and could be ruthless and cruel.No attractive characteristics, but so were  the menin her political environment.
Margaret of Anjou should be judged after her deeds and not her gender, with the same measures laid on the men around her.
It’s time she gets a fair judgement.I am glad, that Rusell, as writers like Susan Higginbotham, contribute to that.
Thanks for travelling with me to the past again.
Astrid Essed

[1]

MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/subpages/shewolf.html
” As Margaret was in Scotland at the time the battle had taken place, it was impossible that she issued the orders for their executions despite popular belief to the contrary.[
WIKIPEDIAMARGARET OF ANJOUTHE WARS OF THE ROSES
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Anjou#The_Wars_of_the_Roses

SOURCEWIKIPEDIAMARGARET OF ANJOU
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Anjou

[2]
THE WARS OF THE ROSES/CAUSES OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES/A TRAVEL TO THE PASTASTRID ESSED
http://www.astridessed.nl/the-wars-of-the-rosescauses-of-the-wars-of-the-rosesa-travel-to-the-past/

[3]
MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/subpages/shewolf.html

[4]

”In analysing ‘The Road to War’ which followed the failed reconciliation attempts, Maurer challenges the accuracy of the single source, Benet’s Chronicle, which claims Margaret advised a great council at Coventry to indict the Yorkist lords in the summer of 1459 – thereby highlighting the difficulties involved in judging Margaret’s actual role in events from the primarily Yorkist accounts that survive.”

MARGARET OF ANJOUQUEENSHIP AND POWER IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLANDHELEN MAURERREVIEWER: DR JOHANNA LAYNESMITH
http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/355

[5]
”In December 1459 York, Warwick and Salisbury had suffered attainder. Their lives were forfeit, and their lands reverted to the king; their heirs would not inherit.”
WIKIPEDIARICHARD, DUKE OF YORKTHE WHEEL OF FORTUNE (1459-1460)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_of_York,_3rd_Duke_of_York#The_wheel_of_fortune_.281459.E2.80.931460.29

WIKIPEDIAPARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_Devils

”[1]

MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/subpages/shewolf.html
” As Margaret was in Scotland at the time the battle had taken place, it was impossible that she issued the orders for their executions despite popular belief to the contrary.[
WIKIPEDIAMARGARET OF ANJOUTHE WARS OF THE ROSES
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Anjou#The_Wars_of_the_Roses

SOURCEWIKIPEDIAMARGARET OF ANJOU
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Anjou

[2]
THE WARS OF THE ROSES/CAUSES OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES/A TRAVEL TO THE PASTASTRID ESSED
http://www.astridessed.nl/the-wars-of-the-rosescauses-of-the-wars-of-the-rosesa-travel-to-the-past/

[3]
MARGARET THE SHE WOLF?SUSAN HIGGINBOTHAM
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/subpages/shewolf.html

[4]

”In analysing ‘The Road to War’ which followed the failed reconciliation attempts, Maurer challenges the accuracy of the single source, Benet’s Chronicle, which claims Margaret advised a great council at Coventry to indict the Yorkist lords in the summer of 1459 – thereby highlighting the difficulties involved in judging Margaret’s actual role in events from the primarily Yorkist accounts that survive.”

MARGARET OF ANJOUQUEENSHIP AND POWER IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLANDHELEN MAURERREVIEWER: DR JOHANNA LAYNESMITH
http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/355

[5]
”On this day in 1459 the ‘Wars of the Roses’ between the houses of Lancaster and York took on an increased ferocity. Parliament had not met for three and a half years, since March 1456, when it had been dissolved following the resignation of Richard, duke of York, as Protector and the nominal resumption of authority by the mentally-unstable Henry VI. That summer the seat of government was effectively removed to Coventry, in the Lancastrian heart-lands, and the chief offices of state were allotted to intimates of the queen, Margaret of Anjou.”
ON THIS DAY, 20 NOVEMBER 1459, THE ”PARLIAMENT OF DEVILSASSEMBLES AT COVENTRYHISTORY OF PARLIAMENT ONLINE
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/periods/medieval/day-20-november-1459-parliament-devils-assembles-coventry

WIKIPEDIAPARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_Devils
”In December 1459 York, Warwick and Salisbury had suffered attainder. Their lives were forfeit, and their lands reverted to the king; their heirs would not inherit.”
WIKIPEDIARICHARD, DUKE OF YORKTHE WHEEL OF FORTUNE (1459-1460)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_of_York,_3rd_Duke_of_York#The_wheel_of_fortune_.281459.E2.80.931460.29

WIKIPEDIAPARLIAMENT OF DEVILS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_Devils

[6]
WIKIPEDIAACT OF ACCORD
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Accord

[7]
”On this day in 1459 the ‘Wars of the Roses’ between the houses of Lancaster and York took on an increased ferocity. Parliament had not met for three and a half years, since March 1456, when it had been dissolved following the resignation of Richard, duke of York, as Protector and the nominal resumption of authority by the mentally-unstable Henry VI. That summer the seat of government was effectively removed to Coventry, in the Lancastrian heart-lands, and the chief offices of state were allotted to intimates of the queen, Margaret of Anjou.”
ON THIS DAY, 20 NOVEMBER 1459, THE ”PARLIAMENT OF DEVILSASSEMBLES AT COVENTRYHISTORY OF PARLIAMENT ONLINE
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/periods/medieval/day-20-november-1459-parliament-devils-assembles-coventry
[8]
WIKIPEDIAHENRY VI OF ENGLANDTHE ASCENDANCY OF SUFFOLK AND SOMERSET
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VI_of_England#The_ascendancy_of_Suffolk_and_Somerset

[9]
THE WARS OF THE ROSES/RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK/THE CLAIMSTO THE THRONE OF LANCASTER AND YORK

http://www.astridessed.nl/the- wars-of-the-rosesrichard-duke- of-yorkthe-claims-to-the-thron e-of-lancaster-and-york/

OR
http://community.dewereldmorge n.be/blog/astridessed/2015/01/ 22/the-wars-of-the- rosesrichard-duke-of-yorkthe- claims-to-the-throne-of- lancaster-and-york

[10]
WIKIPEDIABATTLE OF AGINCOURTAFTERMATH

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt#Aftermath

[11]

SHE WOLVESJUDITH ARNOPP
http://www.juditharnopp.com/shewolves.htm

LINK OF

BLOG OF MR GARETH RUSELL23th MARCH, 1430, THE BIRTH OF MARGUERITE OFANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLANDhttp://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.nl/2011/03/march-23rd-1430-birth-of-marguerite-of.html

TEXT OFBLOG OF MR GARETH RUSELL23th MARCH, 1430, THE BIRTH OF MARGUERITE OFANJOU, QUEEN OF ENGLAND

March 23rd, 1430: The Birth of Marguerite of Anjou, Queen of England

DeWereldMorgen.beFor a woman who lived a life packed with more than its fair share of melodrama, Marguerite of Anjou made a relatively quiet entry into the world. On the twenty-fourth day of March, her father René jotted a brief note in his Book of Hours to record the christening of his second daughter, Marguerite. She joined her five year-old brother Jean, three year-old Louis and two year-old Yolande as the fourth child of René of Anjou, current duc de Bar, comte de Provence and heir to the duchy of Anjou, as well as being the more controversial and disputed heir to the crowns of Aragon and the Naples.Through her parents, young Marguerite, who was to acquire her historical fame thanks to her often savage defence of the House of Lancaster during England’s War of the Roses, was related to the ruling families not just of Aragon and the Naples, but also Hungary, Poland, Moldavia, France, Walmachia and Dalmatia. She was also, distantly, related to the House of Plantagenet, who had ruled England in its purest form from 1054 to 1399 and who, for the last forty-one years had been ruling it in the form of the cadet branch of the dynasty, the Lancasters.Despite his many dynastic ambitions, Marguerite’s father was never ruthless enough to succeed in the cut-throat world of medieval politics which, by the fifteenth century, had entered one of its most amoral phases. Left to his own devices, René of Anjou would much rather have pursued his interests in literature and the arts – he himself was apparently quite a talented painter and poet.  (The most recent literary presentation of Marguerite’s life by the novelist Susan Higginbotham draws its rather lovely title from a reference in René’s poetry to Marguerite.) However, although René was not a great political operator, that is not to say he was an incompetent duke or, later, king and one Burgundian chronicle admiringly recorded of him, “No prince ever loved his subjects as he his, nor was in like manner better loved and well-wished than he was by them.” He was certainly an affectionate father and given the fact that Marguerite’s own future husband, King Henry VI, was also a personality much too gentle for realpolitik, it is interesting to speculate if her own protectiveness over her husband arose from similar childhood feelings for her father.It seems likely that she did unconsciously emulate her own parents’ marital dynamic, although it’s important to stress that René had no history of mental illness, unlike Henry. One courtier wittily observed that all of the House of Lancaster’s problems would have been solved if gentle Henry had been the queen and gutsy Marguerite the king. It was from her mother, Isabella, that Marguerite acquired a “courage above the nature of her sex.” Isabella, twenty-nine at the time of her second daughter’s birth, was Duchess of Lorraine suo jure, meaning that she held that prestigious title in her own right and had not ceded her inheritance to her husband, as so many medieval heiresses did. Beautiful and determined, Isabella was also politically savvy and  she oversaw a regency government in Anjou when René was compelled to go abroad pursuing his claims to various counties and kingdoms. Despite their differences in personality, it seems that René and Isabella’s marriage was a happy one, albeit by the undemanding standards of the medieval nobility.Marguerite of Anjou was born into a time of great political and cultural unrest throughout the European continent and she had the singular misfortune to marry into a country crippled by ambitious claimants and magnates, whilst being ruled over by mild mannered and eventually imbalanced introvert. In the academic version of the Wars of the Roses still played out on paper five hundred years after the event, Marguerite has not been given a kind reputation. It is necessary to vilify her in order to make what happened in 1461 and again in 1471 seem like anything  other than an outrageously opportunistic usurpation. She has all too often been dismissed as an adulterous schemer – a view recently resurrected in Philippa Gregory’s novel The White Queen. When allegations of adultery are not been flung at her, the idea that she herself was a vindictive harpy in the ilk of Edward II’s wife refuses to go away. More sober-minded academics like Lisa Hilton, Christine Carpenter, Philip Erlanger and novelists like Susan Higginbotham have attempted to level the playing field in Marguerite’s defence. As queen, she was certainly aggressively partisan, although given that she was married to the man who the War of the Roses was attempting to overthrow, that is perhaps understandable and in the final analysis, the assessment of Cambridge historian Professor Christine Carpenter, that Marguerite should be “given credit for taking on an impossible job” is perhaps the most kind.

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