Spotlight: Margaret of Anjou


Name: Margaret of Anjou

Title/s: Queen of England / Princess of Naples / Queen of France

Birth / Death: 23 March 1430 – 25 August 1482

Spouse: Henry VI of England 1421 – 1471

Children: Edward of Lancaster 1453 – 1471

Parents: Rene, King of Naples 1409 – 1480 & Isabella of Lorraine 1400 – 1453

Siblings: John II Duke of Lorraine 1425 – 1470 / Rene 1426 – ? / Louis of Anjou 1427 – 1443 / Nicolas 1428 – ? / Yolande Duchess of Lorraine and Bar 1428 – 1483 / Charles Count of Guise 1431 – 1432 / Louise 1436 – ? / Anne 1437 – ?

Noble Connections: Margaret’s sister, Yolande, married the Count of Vaudemont. Her cousin was the French King, Louis XI, who paid the ransom to the Yorkist king, Edward IV, which allowed her to return to France.

Events of their Lifetime: Wars of the Roses, including the First Battle of St Alban’s (1455), the Battle of Wakefield (1460), the Battle of Towton (1461), the Battle of Barnet (1471) and the Battle of Tewkesbury (1471). Her husband, Henry VI lost his throne to Edward IV in 1461 after Towton, but regained it in 1470 with the help of Richard ‘Kingmaker’ Neville between 1470 and 1471.

Controversy: There is a lot of controversy surrounding Margaret of Anjou and her handling of the times when her husband was unwell. To what extent did she take over the running of the country and how successful was it? Was it her provocation of the Duke of York that caused the Wars of the Roses? Did she get her own son killed at Tewkesbury?

Works of Fiction:
Gregory, Philippa, The Lady of the Rivers (2011)
Higginbotham, Susan, The Queen of Last Hopes (2011)
Iggulden, Conn, The Wars of the Roses: Bloodline (2015)
Iggulden, Conn, The Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (2013)
Iggulden, Conn, The Wars of the Roses: Trinity (2014)
King, Betty, Margaret of Anjou (1974)
Michael, Livi, Succession (2014)
Penman, Sharon K., The Sunne in Splendour (1982)
Perot, Ruth S., The Red Queen (2000)
Plaidy, Jean, The Red Rose of Anjou (1982)
Ross, Barnaby, The Passionate Queen (1966)
Savage, Alan, Queen of Lions (1994)
Shakespeare, William, Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 (1623)

Portrayals on Screen:
Peggy Ashcroft, The Wars of the Roses, 1965, 3 episodes
Veerle Baet, The White Queen, 2013, 2 episodes
Mary Morris, An Age of Kings, 1960, 6 episodes
Sophie Okonedo, The Hollow Crown, 2016, 3 episodes

Further Reading:
Abbott, Jacob, History of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI of England (2004)
Bagley, J.J., Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England (1948)
Castor, Helen, She-Wolves: the Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth (2011)
Costain, Thomas B., The Last Plantagenets (1962)
Gristwood, Sarah, Blood Sisters: the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses (2013)
Hookham, Mary Ann, The Life and Times of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England and France (1872)
Laynesmith, J.L., The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503 (2004)
Maurer, Helen E., Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England (2004)

Arms:

Arms of Margaret of Anjou as Queen of England
Arms of Margaret of Anjou as Queen of England

Portraits:

Margaret of Anjou from an illuminated manuscript c. 1445 by Talbot Master
Margaret of Anjou from an illuminated manuscript c. 1445 by Talbot Master
Margaret of Anjou Portrait Medallion by Piero da Milano 1463
Margaret of Anjou Portrait Medallion by Piero da Milano 1463
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