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Anne Neville
Queen consort of England
Tenure 26 June 1483 – 16 March 1485
Coronation 6 July 1483
Spouse Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales
m. 1470; dec. 1471
Richard III of England
m. 1472; wid. 1485
Issue
Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales
Father Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Mother Anne Neville, 16th Countess of Warwick
Born 11 June 1456(1456-06-11)
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
Died 16 March 1485 (aged 28)
Westminster Abbey, London
Burial Westminster Abbey, London

Anne Neville (11 June 1456 – 16 March 1485) was Princess of Wales as spouse of Edward of Westminster and Queen of England as spouse of King Richard III.

Contents

Early life

Anne was born on 11 June 1456, at Warwick Castle, the younger daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Anne Beauchamp. Throughout her short life, she would be used as a political pawn. Much of her childhood was spent at Middleham Castle, one of her father's properties, where she and her elder sister, Isabella Neville, came into contact with the younger sons of Richard, Duke of York. These boys would play a major role in the destiny of both sisters.

Princess of Wales

At fourteen, Anne was betrothed (engaged) by her father to Edward, Prince of Wales, heir to Henry VI of England. Anne's father, dissatisfied with the rewards he had received for helping King Edward IV of England gain the throne, compared with the favours lavished on the Woodvilles, changed sides and allied himself with Margaret of Anjou, Queen consort of Henry VI. Margaret harboured suspicions about Warwick's motives, particularly since Anne's sister, Isabel, was married to the reigning king's brother, George, Duke of Clarence.

As part of the formal agreement, Anne was formally betrothed to the seventeen-year-old Edward at the Chateau d'Amboise in France, and married in Angers Cathedral probably on 13 December 1470.

The Earl of Warwick, who had been dispatched by Margaret to England to restore King Henry to the throne, succeeded in this task but was defeated and killed in battle a few months later. Anne arrived back in England with her new husband and mother-in-law to find herself fatherless.

With the death of Edward at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471, she was taken prisoner along with Queen Margaret. She was taken first to Coventry and then to the Duke of Clarence's house in London where she became the subject of some dispute between Clarence and Richard. There are various accounts of what happened subsequently.

Clarence, married to Anne's sister and anxious to secure the whole Neville inheritance, treated her as his ward. His brother, Richard, is said to have tracked her down and escorted her to sanctuary at the Church of St Martin le Grand. They were married early next year and left for Middleham Castle.

Duchess of Gloucester

The marriage of Anne Neville and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, took place on 12 July 1472, at Westminster Abbey, and they made their marital home in the familiar surroundings of Middleham Castle, Richard having been appointed Governor of the North on the king's behalf. They had only one child, Edward, born at Middleham in around 1473.

Queen consort of England

Anne Neville's arms as Queen consort[1]

On 9 April 1483, Edward IV died. Richard was named Lord Protector for his 12-year-old nephew Edward of London. But on 25 June 1483, Edward and his siblings were declared illegitimate, and Richard inherited the throne as King Richard III. Anne was crowned on 6 July 1483 by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, and her son was created Prince of Wales. However, Edward of Middleham died suddenly on 9 April 1484, at Sheriff Hutton, while his parents were absent. He was then eleven years old.

After the death of his son and heir, rumours arose that Richard planned to divorce Anne and marry his niece, Elizabeth of York. But there is little evidence for this and none at all for the later rumour that he had poisoned Anne.

After the death of her son, Anne effectively adopted Richard's nephew, Edward, Earl of Warwick the nine-year-old son of George of Clarence. Richard made the boy his heir, probably in deference to Anne's wishes. (Edward of Warwick was described as "simple-minded", and after Anne died, Richard promptly named another heir.)

Anne died of tuberculosis (consumption) on 16 March 1485, at Westminster. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, in an unmarked grave to the right of the High Altar, next to the door to the Confessor's Chapel. Richard openly wept at her funeral. There was no memorial to her until the late 20th century, when a bronze tablet was erected on a wall near her grave by the Richard III Society in 1960.

Depictions in fiction

Anne is portrayed by Rose Hobart in the 1939 film Tower of London, and by Joan Camden in the 1962 remake. The story of Anne and Richard is portrayed in the 1982 novel The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, which presents a strongly sympathetic portrayal of Richard. Anne Neville's relationship with Richard is also depicted in the award-winning The Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth (2003). The early lives of Anne and Richard are dramatized in parallel fashion in Rhoda Edwards' Fortune's Wheel and their marriage and last years in The Broken Sword (alternately Some Touch of Pity), both published in the 1970s. Desire the Kingdom: A Story of the Last Plantagenets (2002), by Paula Simonds Zabka, features Anne as the protagonist in a story set towards the end of the Wars of the Roses. The book The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of York is by Jean Plaidy. In Jan Westcott's Set Her on a Throne (1972), Anne is portrayed as self-willed and independent, Edward Prince of Wales is the romantic hero, and Richard III is an ambiguous figure.

Anne features only fleetingly in William Shakespeare's Richard III, in the early scenes when she is persuaded to consider Richard as a husband, in one brief scene just before Richard's coronation, and towards the end of the play as a ghost. She is portrayed by Claire Bloom in Laurence Olivier's Richard III, Kristin Scott Thomas in Ian McKellen's 1995 adaptation of the play and by Winona Ryder in the 1996 movie Looking for Richard.

Anne is also portrayed in the novel The King's Daughter (2008) by Sandra Worth. And there is a Biography about her life called Anne Neville: Queen of Richard III (2007) by Michael Hicks.

Ancestry

Sources

  1. ^ Boutell, Charles (1863), A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular, London: Winsor & Newton, pp. 277 

References

  • Michael Hicks, Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III, Tempus 2006.
English royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Elizabeth Woodville
Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland

26 June 1483–16 March 1485
Vacant
Title next held by
Elizabeth of York







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