Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameElizabeth WOODVILLE , 4275
FatherRichard WOODVILLE, 1ST EARL RIVERS , 4271 (1405-1469)
MotherJacqettta de LUXEMBOURG , 4274 (1416-1472)
ChildrenThomas , 12257 (1455-1501)
 Richard , 4279 (1459-1483)
FatherRichard PLANTAGANET 3rd Duke of York , 6967 (1411-1460)
MotherCecily NEVILLE Duchess of York , 11985 (1415-1495)
ChildrenElizabeth , 4280 (1466-1503)
 Edward , 13044
 Richard , 13045
Notes for Elizabeth WOODVILLE
Elizabeth Woodville (also spelled Wydeville or Widvile;[nb 1] c. 1437[1] – 8 June 1492) was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Her family, at the time of her birth, was insignificant amongst the English aristocracy, and her first marriage was to a minor Lancastrian partisan, Sir John Grey of Groby, who died at the Second Battle of St Albans, leaving Elizabeth a widowed mother of two sons. Her second marriage, to Edward IV, was a cause celebre of the day, thanks both to Elizabeth's great beauty and her humble status as one of the King's subjects, and would make her a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses.

Edward was only the second King of England since the Norman Conquest to have married one of his subjects, and Elizabeth was the first such consort to be crowned Queen. Her marriage greatly enriched her family, and their advancement incurred the hostility of the established aristocracy towards Elizabeth and her relatives in future years. The marriage is viewed as a major cause of the subsequent discord between Edward and Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, leading to a battle of wills that finally resulted in Warwick changing sides and switching his allegiance to that of Lancaster. She remained politically influential even after her elder son, briefly proclaimed King Edward V of England, was deposed by her brother-in-law, Richard III, and she would play an important role in securing Henry VII's accession to the throne in 1485 which ended the Wars of the Roses; however, following 1485 she was forced to yield pre-eminence to Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and her influence on events in these years, and her eventual departure from court into retirement, remains obscure

Woodville's children included the Princes in the Tower and Elizabeth of York; by the latter she was maternal grandmother of Henry VIII and great-grandmother of King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. Through her daughter, Elizabeth of York, she is the ancestress of every monarch since Henry VIII.

Early life and first marriage

Elizabeth was born about 1437, possibly in October [nb 3] [4] at Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire. She was the first-born child of a socially unequal marriage that had briefly scandalised the English court. Her father, Richard Woodville, was at the time of his daughter's birth merely a Knight, and the Woodvilles, though an old and respectable family, were knightly rather than noble, a reasonably landed and wealthy family that had previously produced Commissioners of the Peace, Sheriffs, and MPs rather than peers of the realm. Richard's own father had made a good career in royal service, rising to be Chamberlain to John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford; Richard followed his father into service with the Duke, and so first met Jacquetta of Luxembourg. The daughter of Peter of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol and Margaret de Baux, she had been married off to the Duke of Bedford in 1433 at the age of 17; he was significantly older than Jacquetta, his second wife, and in ill-health, and he died in 1435, leaving Jacquetta a childless, wealthy widow. She was required to seek permission from the King before remarrying; but in March 1437, it was revealed that she had secretly married Woodville, who was far below her in rank and not considered a suitable husband for the lady still honoured as the King's aunt. The couple were fined £1000, but this would be remitted in October of the same year.

Despite this inauspicious start, the married couple soon prospered, thanks mainly to Jacquetta's continuing prominence in the royal family. She retained her rank and dower as Duchess of Bedford, the latter initially providing an income of between £7000 and £8000 per year (it would diminish over the years due to territorial losses in France and collapsing royal finances in England); Richard was honoured with military ranks, in which he proved himself a capable soldier. Further honours for both came when Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou, whose uncle was Jacquetta's brother-in-law: the Woodvilles were amongst those chosen to escort the bride back to England, and the family benefitted further through this double connection to the royal family, Richard being raised to the rank of Baron Rivers in 1448. Their children therefore would have grown up enjoying privilege and material comfort.

Thomas More claimed that Elizabeth was synonymous with "Isabel Grey", a maid of honour to Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI, in 1445; modern historians (such as A.R. Myers, George Smith, and David Baldwin) have noted that there are several more likely candidates to be this lady, including Lady Isabella Grey, who accompanied Margaret to England from France in 1445, or an Elizabeth Grey who was a widowed mother by 1445.

In about 1452, Elizabeth Woodville married Sir John Grey of Groby, who was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans in 1461, fighting for the Lancastrian cause, which would become a source of irony as Edward IV was the Yorkist claimant to the throne. Elizabeth's two sons from this first marriage were Thomas (later Marquess of Dorset) and Richard.

Elizabeth was called "the most beautiful woman in the Island of Britain" with "heavy-lidded eyes like those of a dragon",[6] suggesting a perhaps unusual criterion by which beauty in late medieval England was judged.
Queen consort

Edward IV had many mistresses, the most notorious being Jane Shore, and did not have a reputation for fidelity. His marriage to the widowed Lady Grey took place secretly and though the date is not accepted as exactly accurate is traditionally said to have taken place (with only the bride's mother and two ladies in attendance) at her family home in Northamptonshire on 1 May 1464,[7] just over three years after he had taken the English throne subsequent to leading the Yorkists in an overwhelming victory over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton. Elizabeth was crowned Queen on Ascension Day, 26 May 1465.

In the early years of his reign, Edward's governance of England was dependent upon a small circle of supporters, most notably his cousin, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. At around the time of Edward's secret marriage, Warwick was negotiating an alliance with France in an effort to thwart a similar arrangement being made by his sworn enemy Margaret of Anjou, wife of the deposed Henry VI. The plan was that Edward should marry a French Princess. When his marriage to Elizabeth, who was both a commoner and from a family of Lancastrian supporters, became public, Warwick was both embarrassed and offended, and his relationship with Edward never recovered. The match was also badly received by the Privy Council, who according to Jean de Waurin told Edward with great frankness that "he must know she was no wife for a prince such as himself."

With the arrival on the scene of the new queen came a host of siblings who soon married into some of the most notable families in England.[8] The marriages of her sisters to the sons of the earls of Kent, Essex and Pembroke have left no sign of unhappiness on the parts of the parties involved, nor does that of her sister, Catherine Woodville, to the queen's 11-year-old ward Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, though the duke stood with the duke of Gloucester in opposition to the Woodvilles after the death of Edward IV. The one marriage which may be considered shocking was that of her 20-year-old brother John Woodville to Katherine, Duchess of Norfolk, daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, by Joan Beaufort, and widow of John Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. The wealthy Katherine had been widowed three times and was probably in her sixties.

Elizabeth Woodville's arms as queen consort, the royal arms of England impaling Woodville (Quartlerly, first argent, a lion rampant double queued gules, crowned or (Luxemburg, her mother’s family), second quarterly, I and IV, gules a star of eight points argent; II and III, azure, semée of fleurs de lys or; third, barry argent and azure, overall a lion rampant gules; fourth, gules, three bendlets argent, on a chief of the first, charged with a fillet in base or, a rose of the second (here shown in inverse: the rose should be argent on a chief gules); fifth, three pallets vairy, on a chief or a label of five points azure, and sixth, argent a fess and a canton conjoined gules (Woodville))

When Elizabeth's relatives, especially her brother, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, began to challenge Warwick's pre-eminence in English political society, Warwick conspired with his son-in-law, the Duke of Clarence, the king's younger brother. One of his followers accused Elizabeth's mother, the Duchess of Bedford, of practising witchcraft. Jacquetta was acquitted the following year.[11] Warwick and Clarence twice rose in revolt and then fled to France. Warwick formed an uneasy alliance with the Lancastrian Queen Margaret of Anjou and restored her husband Henry VI to the throne in 1470, but, the following year, Edward IV returned from exile and defeated Warwick at the Battle of Barnet and the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Henry VI was murdered soon afterwards.

Following her husband's temporary fall from power, Elizabeth had sought sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, where she gave birth to a son, Edward (later Edward V of England). Her marriage to Edward IV produced a total of ten children, including another son, Richard, Duke of York, who would later join his brother as one of the Princes in the Tower.[4] Five daughters also lived to adulthood.

Queen Elizabeth engaged in acts of Christian piety, which was in keeping with what was expected of a medieval queen consort. Her acts included making pilgrimages, obtaining a papal indulgence for those who knelt and said the Angelus three times per day, and founding the chapel of St. Erasmus in Westminster Abbey.[12]
Queen Mother[edit]

Following Edward's sudden death, possibly from pneumonia, in April 1483, Elizabeth briefly became Queen Mother as her son, Edward became king, with his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, acting as Lord Protector. Fearing the Woodvilles would attempt to monopolise power, Richard quickly moved to take control of the young king and had Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, and Richard Grey, brother and son to Queen Elizabeth, arrested. The young king was transferred to the Tower of London to await the Coronation. With her younger son and daughters, Elizabeth again sought sanctuary. Baron Hastings, the late king's leading supporter in London, initially endorsed Richard's actions, but Richard then accused him of conspiring with Elizabeth against him. Hastings was summarily executed. Whether any such conspiracy really occurred is not known.[13] Richard accused Elizabeth of plotting to "murder and utterly destroy" him.[14]

Richard now moved to take the throne himself and on 25 June 1483 he had Elizabeth's son and brother executed in Pontefract Castle. In an act of Parliament, the Titulus Regius (1 Ric. 3), he declared Edward's and Elizabeth's children illegitimate on the grounds that Edward had made a previous promise (known as a precontract) to marry Lady Eleanor Butler, which was considered a legally binding contract that rendered any other marriage contract invalid. One source, the Burgundian chronicler Philippe de Commines, says that Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, claimed to have carried out the ceremony between Edward and Eleanor.[15] The act also contained charges of witchcraft against Elizabeth, but gave no details and had no further repercussions. As a consequence, the Duke of Gloucester became King Richard III. Young Edward and his brother Richard, Duke of York, remained in the Tower of London. They were never seen again after mid-1483.

Life under Richard III[edit]

Elizabeth, now referred to as Dame Elizabeth Grey,[4] conspired to free her sons and restore her eldest to the throne. However, when the Duke of Buckingham, one of Richard III's closest allies, entered the conspiracy, he told her that the princes had been murdered. Elizabeth and Buckingham now allied themselves with Lady Margaret Beaufort and espoused the cause of Margaret's son Henry Tudor, a great-great-great-grandson of King Edward III,[16] the closest male heir of the Lancastrian claim to the throne with any degree of validity.[nb 4] To strengthen his claim and unite the two feuding noble houses, Elizabeth and Margaret agreed that Henry should marry Edward IV and Elizabeth's oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, who upon the death of her brothers became the Yorkist heiress. Henry agreed to this plan and in December publicly swore an oath to that effect in the cathedral in Rennes, France. A month earlier, an uprising in his favour, led by Buckingham, had been crushed.

On 1 March 1484, she and her daughters came out of sanctuary after Richard publicly swore an oath that her daughters would not be harmed or molested and that they would not be imprisoned in the Tower of London or in any other prison. He also promised to provide them with marriage portions and to marry them to "gentlemen born". The family returned to Court, apparently reconciled to King Richard. After the death of Richard's Queen Anne Neville in 1485, rumours arose that the now-widowed King was going to marry his beautiful teenaged niece Elizabeth of York.[17] Richard issued a denial; though according to the Crowland Chronicle he was pressured to do this by the Woodvilles' enemies who feared, among other things, that they would have to return the lands they had confiscated from the Woodvilles.

Life under Henry VII

In 1485, Henry Tudor invaded England and defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. As King, he married Elizabeth of York and had the Titulus Regius revoked. Elizabeth was accorded the title and honours of a queen dowager.

Scholars differ about why Dowager Queen Elizabeth spent her last five years living at Bermondsey Abbey. Among her modern biographers, David Baldwin believes that Henry VII forced her retreat from the Court, while Arlene Okerlund presents evidence that indicates she was planning a religious, contemplative life as early as July 1486.[18] At the Abbey, Elizabeth was treated with all the respect due to a queen dowager, lived a regal life, and received a pension of £400 and small gifts from the King. She was present at the birth of her second grandchild, Margaret, at Westminster Palace in November 1489. The Queen rarely visited her, although Elizabeth's daughter Viscountess Welles is known to have done so more often.

Henry VII briefly contemplated marrying his mother-in-law off to King James III of Scotland, when James' wife, Margaret of Denmark, died in 1486.[19] However, James was killed in battle in 1488, rendering the plans of Henry VII moot.

Elizabeth died at Bermondsey Abbey on 8 June 1492.[4] With the exception of the Queen, who was awaiting the birth of her fourth child, and Cecily (Viscountess Welles), her daughters attended the funeral at Windsor Castle: Anne (the future Lady Anne Howard), Catherine (the future Countess of Devon) and Bridget (a sister at Dartford Priory). Her will specified a simple ceremony.[20] The surviving accounts of her funeral on 12 June 1492 suggest that at least one source "clearly felt that a queen's funeral should have been more splendid" and may have objected that "Henry VII had not seen fit to arrange a more queenly funeral for his mother-in-law", despite the fact that the simplicity was the queen's own wish.[20] Elizabeth was laid to rest in the same chantry as her husband King Edward IV in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

Issue of Elizabeth Woodville

By Sir John Grey

Thomas Grey, Earl of Huntingdon, Marquess of Dorset and Lord Ferrers de Groby (1457 – 20 September 1501), married firstly Anne Holland, but she died young without issue; he married secondly on 18 July 1474, Cecily Bonville, suo jure Baroness Harington and Bonville, by whom he had fourteen children. The disputed queen Lady Jane Grey is a direct descendant from this line.
Richard Grey (1458 – 25 June 1483)

By King Edward IV

Elizabeth of York (1466–1503), Queen Consort of England
Mary of York (1467–1482), buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Cecily of York (1469–1507), Viscountess Welles
Edward V of England (1470–1483/5), one of the Princes in the Tower
Margaret of York (Apr. 1472-Dec. 1472), buried in Westminster Abbey
Richard, Duke of York (1473–1483/5), one of the Princes in the Tower
Anne of York, Lady Howard (1475–1511)
George Plantagenet (1477–1479), Duke of Bedford; buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Catherine of York (1479–1527), Countess of Devon
Bridget of York (1480–1517), nun at Dartford Priory, Kent
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