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Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

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Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

Post  Elena on Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:56 pm

From Susan Higginbotham on Facebook:


29 September 1464: Edward IV introduces his new queen, Elizabeth Woodville, to the people at Reading Abbey, where a great council was being held: "And on Michelmas Day at Reading the said Lady Elizabeth was admitted into the abbey church, led by the Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick, and honoured as queen by the lords and all the people." (The illustration is by Ernest Board and was done in 1923.)

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Re: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

Post  Elena on Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:17 pm

More from Susan Higginbotham:
http://susandhigginbotham.blogspot.com/2008/05/happy-anniversary-to-edward-iv-and.html
On May 1, 1464, twenty-two-year-old Edward IV, on his way north to deal with a Lancastrian threat, combined pleasure with business. He left his camp at Stony Stratford for the nearby town of Grafton, where he married Elizabeth Woodville, a widow several years his senior with two small sons and a very large family. The marriage remained secret until September, when Edward IV announced it to his dumbfounded council.

No one knows when Edward IV and Elizabeth met or when they began courting, although Elizabeth’s father, Richard Woodville, had been a member of the king’s council for some time. Chroniclers added various embellishments over the years—that Elizabeth, in difficulty about her dower lands, waited under a tree with her young sons, then threw herself at the king’s feet when he passed by; that Edward IV, at first planning to seduce Elizabeth rather than to marry her, placed a dagger at her throat; that Elizabeth herself put a dagger to her throat—but the couple themselves kept a demure silence on the matter. Even the May 1 date has been questioned by some; Elizabeth’s biographer David Baldwin suggests that it was assigned pursuant to romantic tradition and that the couple actually married later in the summer. What is clear, though, is that as late as April 13, 1464, Elizabeth herself seems to have no idea about the impending nuptials, for on that date she entered into a financial arrangement with her neighbor William Hastings, Edward IV’s boon companion. The arrangement, under which William promised to assist Elizabeth in recovering some of her lands in return for a share of profits, would have hardly been necessary had Elizabeth known she was shortly to be queen of England.

Only one source, Fabian’s Chronicle, details the wedding itself. According to Fabian, no one was present at the early-morning wedding but the spouses, Elizabeth’s mother, the priest, two gentlewomen, and a young man who helped the priest sing. “After which spousals ended, [Edward] went to bed, and so tarried there three or four hours, and after departed and rode again to Stony Stratford, and came as though he had been hunting, and there went to bed again.”

Elizabeth’s mother was later accused by a follower of the Earl of Warwick of having brought the match about by witchcraft. Although she was acquitted of the charge in 1470, it made a reappearance in 1484 in Titulus Regius, the document spelling out Richard III’s claim to the throne, where both mother and daughter are accused of using witchcraft to lure Edward into matrimony. The accusation has provided much fodder for historical novelists and for Ricardians, who have noted with delight that April 30 was St. Walpurga’s Eve and thus a fitting day for Jacquetta to work her black arts in preparation for the marriage the next morning. One Ricardian, W. E. Hampton, in “Witchcraft and the Sons of York” (The Ricardian, March 1980), even suggests that Edward IV’s fatigue at Stony Stratford can be attributed to “the orgiastic nature of the rites to which he may have been introduced.” (More generous minds might attribute his fatigue to three or four hours in the bridal bed, perhaps not sleeping the entire time, plus a journey on horseback to and from Grafton, or one could suppose he was feigning fatigue from his nonexistent hunting trip.) Generally not noted by the Woodvilles-as-witches contingent is the conventional Christian piety Elizabeth exhibited during her time as queen.

Once Edward IV himself made the marriage public, he treated his new bride in duly royal fashion, presenting her formally before his council at Michaelmas in 1464 and giving her a grand coronation the following May. Though little is known about the private relations of the couple, Elizabeth bore the king’s children regularly, a mark of his continuing interest in her even after she had produced the needed “heir and a spare,” and played an influential role in the bringing-up of their eldest son, Edward, a mark of the king’s trust in her.

Strangely, and sadly, it was nearly nineteen years later to the day that Elizabeth’s brother Anthony, also having stopped at Stony Stratford, would leave his lodgings there to meet Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who proceeded to make Anthony and Elizabeth’s son Richard Grey his prisoners on April 30. Fearful for her own safety after these arrests, Elizabeth Woodville, recently widowed, would spend her nineteenth anniversary of May 1, 1483, in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey.

More here:
http://onceiwasacleverboy.blogspot.com/2011/02/anne-boleyn-and-elizabeth-woodville.html To quote:
One thing which struck me was the similarity between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII's grandmother, Elizabeth Woodville, about whom there is a good introductory article here. Both women came from courtier families, yet were in many ways outsiders, unpopular as individuals and families for their spectacular rise to power and influence with a marriage to the King. Just as Anne Boleyn refused to be Henry VIII's mistress, so, it is claimed, Elizabeth, Lady Grey (as she then was) refused Edward IV's advances without the promise of marriage. Both marriages complicated (to put it mildly) foreign policy. Both families paid a terrible price for the ascent to the throne - Elizabeth lost her father, two brothers and three sons to violent deaths, whilst Anne and her brother lost their own lives. Both Elizabeth's mother and Anne were to be accused of witchcraft. Both their marriages to their regal husbands were to be declared invalid - Elizabeth's by Richard III, Anne's by Henry VIII - and their children consequently illegitimate.




Caxton_Showing_the_First_Specimen_of_His_Printing_to_King_Edward_IV_at_the_Almonry_Westminster

From author Nancy Bilyeau: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2012/04/inconvenient-woman.html
To Quote:
History has not been kind to the consort of Edward IV. She is seen as an icily beautiful conniver who ensnared a love-struck king into a mismatch. There is another side to Elizabeth Woodville, that of a pious and diligent queen who produced a bevy of heirs as she did her best to ignore her husband’s continual infidelities. But no one could deny her stubborn devotion to her own family, the Woodvilles, a myopia that cost her the trust of the kingdom’s nobility.


Edward IV

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Re: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

Post  Elena on Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:46 pm

Another great post from Susan Higginbotham on Queen Elizabeth:

http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/home-queen-guest-post-susan-higginbotham/#comment-832715
Elizabeth Woodville, queen to Edward IV, has acquired a reputation for pride and haughtiness, enshrined in many a historical novel. One incident in particular stands out as proof of the queen’s insufferable pride: a banquet where the queen dined in solitary splendor while her guests dined in utter silence.

Following childbirth, a medieval mother was expected to remain in her chamber for about a month, after which a purification/thanksgiving service known as a “churching” would mark her return to public life. For a medieval queen, a churching was a particularly grand event—in 1453, Elizabeth’s predecessor, Margaret of Anjou, had invited an impressive roster of duchesses, countesses, and other ladies to attend her own.

An observer from Nuremburg, Gabriel Tetzel, travelling in the suite of Leo of Rozmital, a Bohemian nobleman, visited England in 1466. Gallantly, he wrote that England bred “women and maidens of outstanding beauty,” whose dresses had trains longer than Tetzel had seen in any other country. Tetzel also found that the English were struck by the length of his hair, and he noted the English preference for kissing over handshakes: “[W]hen the guests first arrive at an inn the hostess comes out with her whole family to receive them, and they have to kiss her and all the others. For with them to offer a kiss is the same as to hold out the right hand; for they do not shake hands.”

Tetzel happened to be on hand in 1466 to witness Elizabeth’s churching, which took place a month or so after the birth of her first child by Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, on February 11, 1466. He reported:

“The Queen left her child-bed and went to church in stately order, accompanied by many priests bearing relics and by many scholars singing and carrying lights. There followed a great company of ladies and maidens from the country and from London, who had been summoned. Then came a great company of trumpeters, pipers and players of stringed instruments. The king’s choir followed, forty-two of them, who sang excellently. Then came twenty-four heralds and pursuivants, followed by sixty counts and knights. At last came the Queen escorted by two dukes. Above her was a canopy. Behind her were her mother and maidens and ladies to the number of sixty. Then the Queen heard the singing of an Office, and, having left the church, she returned to her palace in procession as before. Then all who had joined the procession remained to eat. They sat down, women and men, ecclesiastical and lay, each according to rank, and filled four great rooms.”

Rozmital and Tetzel went into a separate hall with England’s noblest lords “at the table where the King and his court are accustomed to dine.” There an unnamed earl, quite possibly Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, sat in the king’s place and was shown all of the honor customarily shown to the king. The breathless Tetzel reported, “Everything was supplied for the Earl, as representing the King, and for my lord [Rozmital] in such costly measure that it is unbelievable that it could be provided.”

medieval mealHaving finished dining, the earl conducted Rozmital and his attendants “to an unbelievably costly apartment where the Queen was preparing to eat.” There, Tetzel, watching from an alcove so that his lord “could observe the great splendour,” noted:

“The Queen sat alone at table on a costly golden chair. The Queen’s mother and the King’s sister had to stand some distance away. When the Queen spoke with her mother or the King’s sister, they knelt down before her until she had drunk water. Not until the first dish was set before the Queen could the Queen’s mother and the King’s sister be seated. The ladies and maidens and all who served the Queen at table were all of noble birth and had to kneel so long as the Queen was eating. The meal lasted for three hours. The food which was served to the Queen, the Queen’s mother, the King’s sister and the others was most costly. Much might be written of it. Everyone was silent and not a word was spoken. My lord and his attendants stood the whole time in the alcove and looked on.

After the banquet they commenced to dance. The Queen remained seated in her chair. Her mother knelt before her, but at times the Queen bade her rise. The King’s sister danced a stately dance with two dukes, and this, and the courtly reverence they paid to the Queen, was such as I have never seen elsewhere, nor have I ever seen such exceedingly beautiful maidens. Among them were eight duchesses and thirty countesses and the others were all daughters of influential men.”

For the Woodvilles’ modern detractors, this grand, silent meal, where even the queen’s mother and the king’s sister were obliged to kneel, epitomizes the queen’s vanity and the social climber’s insecurity. Tetzel’s editor, even while acknowledging that silence at meals at the time was not unusual, commented that Elizabeth’s “head must have been turned by her sudden elevation in rank.” This, however, was no ordinary family dinner but a grand occasion for the royal family, marking Elizabeth’s safe delivery of the king’s first legitimate child. Notably, nothing in Tetzel’s account suggests that he found Elizabeth’s conduct repellent; he seems to have been merely a fascinated observer, just as he was when he witnessed the unnamed earl dining in royal state. Most likely, Tetzel, who described Edward’s court as “the most splendid court that could be found in all Christendom,” regarded the meal as just another example of its magnificence.

Read more: http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/home-queen-guest-post-susan-higginbotham/#ixzz2i7hJDckp
Another fabulous article by Dr. Sarah Peverley:
http://sarahpeverley.com/2013/06/18/picturing-the-white-queen-medieval-depictions-of-elizabeth-woodville/
The BBC’s new drama series The White Queen began on Sunday. Based on the Cousins’ War novels by Philippa Gregory, the series focuses on Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s queen, who rose to power during a turbulent period of civil war in England known as The Wars of the Roses.

As a medievalist who specialises in this period, I’m delighted that the real life ‘Game of Thrones’ is finally taking attention away from the ever-popular Tudors. Sure, the TV series takes liberties with characterisation and plot – it isn’t for purists who want to learn the facts of the period, see historically accurate clothing, or discover how real medieval people spoke and thought – but it’s a way into some of the complex power relations, family ties and events that typified late fifteenth-century England.

This post is for those wanting to know more about what the real White Queen might have looked like and what she wore in contemporary, or near contemporary, images.

The image of Elizabeth most commonly seen in books and online is...one of the three painted panels of her at Queen’s College Cambridge. In the painting, Elizabeth wears a black gown with patterned gold collar and cuffs. The style of her gown is typical of English dresses circa 1475-85. Commonly referred to as a ‘transitional’ dress, it bridges the gap between the V neck Burgundian gowns of the mid to late fifteenth-century and the square-necked early Tudor gowns. The shape of the wide collar is rounded, and it fits over a tight bodice. Her sleeves are tight-fitting with turned back cuffs. Elizabeth has a fashionably high forehead (thought to be beautiful in the Middle Ages) and her hair is pulled back and covered by a truncated henin and cointoise (veil). What looks like an extension of the veil beyond the back of the henin perhaps suggests that it is a butterfly henin, which had structured wires extending from either side to lift the veil higher.
(Read more: http://sarahpeverley.com/2013/06/18/picturing-the-white-queen-medieval-depictions-of-elizabeth-woodville/.)
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-real-elizabeth-woodville.html

Dr. Peverley also has a post on some historical documents pertaining to Elizabeth Woodville, including the Queen's Last Will and Testament, written at Bermondsey Abbey where she lived out her days. Elizabeth asked to be buried beside her late husband "the most victoroiuse Prince of blessed memorie, Edward the Fourth."

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-real-elizabeth-woodville.html



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Re: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

Post  Elena on Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:54 pm

Some assessment of The White Queen series. http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2013/06/elizabeth-woodville-on-bbc.html

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