Anne Neville

Anne_Neville_portrait

Anne Neville,

wife of King Richard III

1456-1483

Born:

11 June 1456, daughter of Richard Neville, 6th Earl of Salisbury and 16th Earl of Warwick, and Anne Beauchamp, heiress of Warwick

Married:

  1. 13 December 1470, Edward of Lancaster, at Amboise, France
  2. 12 July 1472 (traditional date), Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Crowned:

6 July 1483 at Westminster Abbey, London

Died:

16 March 1485 at Westminster Palace, London

Buried:

Westminster Abbey

nne Neville and her older sister Isabel were heiresses to enormous estates and England’s greatest “marriage prizes.” They were also the daughters of the Earl of Warwick, the “Kingmaker,” who had overthrown the Lancastrian King Henry VI and brought Yorkist Edward IV to the throne.

Warwick became disenchanted with Edward IV and rebelled. The family, including Anne, was forced to flee to Normandy. Louis XI of France brokered an arrangement whereby Warwick would invade England on behalf of Henry VI. In turn, Henry VI’s son Edward of Lancaster would marry Warwick’s daughter Anne. The invasion resulted in the deaths of Warwick and young Edward.

Edward IV’s brother, George, had married Anne’s sister, Isabel. He now took custody of his young widowed sister-in-law. George was determined to retain Anne’s property. He tried to prevent her marriage to the youngest York brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Richard wanted Anne’s property himself, but there may have been a personal attraction as well. Richard had spent his early teens with Anne in the Warwick’s household.

Once married, Richard and Anne lived away from court in the north of England. There they raised their son, Edward. After Edward IV’s death, they returned to London. Following their coronation, they travelled to York for their son’s investiture as Prince of Wales.

Anne’s name occurs rarely in the records with only vague descriptions – beautiful, amiable, virtuous and gracious. She had a separate household but did not control her own inheritance. She was perhaps ailing by 1483.

In a devastating blow, Anne and Richard’s only son, Edward, died in 1484 at age 10.

By that Christmas, Anne was visibly declining. Her appearance with her niece Elizabeth of York, both dressed alike, caused gossip as to Richard’s intentions. Richard, however, continued to be a faithful husband until Anne’s death.

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