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 Warwick and Bona of Savoy

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Constantia

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PostSubject: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Sun May 04, 2014 12:08 pm

Funny what you learn when you start looking for sources for the "facts" on Richard and his family. I had always taken for granted that part of Warwick's less-than-pleased reaction to Edward's secret "marriage" to Elizabeth Woodville (quotation marks because of the previously contracted marriage with Eleanor) resulted from his humiliation at having been sent by Edward to negotiate with Louis XI for a marriage between Edward and Louis's sister-in-law, Bona of Savoy only to discover when he returned that Edward had secretly married EW during his absence. But it turns out that, although Louis definitely wanted a marriage between Edward and his sister-in-law, Warwick never got to France to negotiate it. Apparently, the story of Warwick's wrath at his humiliation began with the Lancastrian chronicler Warkworth (who didn't name the lady and got her relationship with Louis wrong) and was expanded and "corrected" by the Tudor chroniclers Vergil and Hall (whose propensity for expanding and fictionalizing we're all familiar with). So all the Ricardian novels showing Warwick exploding into rage in the solar in front of his daughters and Richard (who wasn't in Warwick's custody yet) are as historically inaccurate as the scenes in the same novels with Cecily and her children (or at least the two little boys) at the market cross during the sack of Ludlow (a story that traces directly to Paul Murray Kendall). It turns out that historians were questioning the Warwick and Bona of Savoy story even before Caroline Halsted (whose doubts started me on my search) wrote her biography of Richard in the nineteenth century, yet it keeps appearing as unquestioned fact all over the Internet. If anyone is interested, the best article I've found is Cora Scofield's "The Movements of the Earl of Warwick in the Summer of 1464," in the October 1906 edition of the English Historical Review.
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whitehound
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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Sun May 04, 2014 5:04 pm

Do we know whether Warwick favoured the Bona marriage or not? If he did then he might still have been pretty annoyed that Edward had gone behind his back.

Do we really have much evidence as to what Warwick was like as a person? Was he a co0tnrol freak who saw Edward as his proxy and was angry when he lost control of him, or someone genuinely devoted to the family's interests, or what? If he wasn't heavily invested in the Bona marriage, is it even possible that he knew or suspected that Edward was already married and had now committed bigamy? If not, what else would have caused him to defect to George? The desire to put his daughter Isobel on the throne? [Or was she already dead by then - I forget.]
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phaecilia

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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Sun May 04, 2014 5:54 pm

Isobel was still alive.  I believe she lived until 1476.  

I've never thought of Warwick as a control freak before.  I need to give that some thought.  

I've felt for years that Edward IV's secret marriages were irresponsible and hurt his whole familly as well as his kingdom, so I've been ambivalent about Warwick and Clarence's rebellion.  If Edward had followed the accepted practice of marrying a foreign princess for political reasons, his inevitable human shortcomings might seem more forgivable and his opponents less justified.  Even if Warwick didn't rebel because Edward humiliated him over marriage negotiations, Edward's other failings might explain, if not excuse, the 1469-1471 rebellions.  He'd aroused a lot of popular criticism by then.

(I dislike Edward for refusing to help his sister Margaret, widowed Duchess of Burgundy, when Louis XI attacked Burgundy in 1477-1478.  Public opinion expected Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Clarence to lead troops against Louis XI.  But Edward didn't want to give up Louis XI's semi-annual payments or the marriage between Elizabeth of York and Louis XI's son.  So he insisted on neutrality while Louis XI's troops burned about 50 of Margaret's villages.)

All this raises interesting questions about divided loyalties.  Richard was loyal to Edward IV.  But it seems to me that as time passed, he must have realized that Edward wasn't worthy of unquestioning admiration.  It's possible Richard and Lord Hastings evaded Edward's neutrality policy to send military aid to Margaret.

We'll never know what second thoughts Richard may have had about Warwick and Clarence's rebellion against Edward.  Maybe such doubts contributed to his grief over Clarence's execution.

phaecilia
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whitehound
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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Sun May 04, 2014 7:10 pm

Edward was thoroughly regrettable imo. He did have the common touch, and according to the Paxton letters according to Tey he was a very good elder brother to Richard and George when they were little, but that's about it as far as good points go.

He employed Tiptoft, who seems to have been widely regarded as a monster, even by 15th C standards. He broke sanctuary. He may or may not have had Henry VI murdered (his injuries were equally consistent with having been struck on the back of the head or with having slipped and fallen back against a stone stair), but there were certainly strong reasons to suspect that he had. Iirc Tey said he executed a random member of George's household just to bring George into line - although I don't know if that was right - and he certainly executed his own brother (admittedly with a lot of provocation). He tried to winkle Henry Tudor out of Brittany and kill him on spec at a time when I don't think Henry was actually doing anything very threatening that might deserve killing. And all the time he knew that he was stiffing either his son or his brother with the most appalling mess regarding the pre-contract, and yet he doesn't seem to have warned them - or to have taken the kingship seriously enough to not have made that mess in the first place.

I know that many years ago I also read a description of some contemporary London diaries which suggested that in the last few years of his life Edward had gone a bit crazy and started inventing cruel and bizarre ways of executing people. Unfortunately I can't remember where I read it, so I can't go back and check whether the author had got their facts right, but I remember something about a wood-cutter being slowly crushed to death under logs.

The thing is, I can perfectly well see why Henry Tudor's faction would think Richard was a tyrant, that their lives weren't safe while he was around and that they had a need and duty to overthrow him. *We* know that he was a thoughtful and, for the times, gentle man, nit-pickingly honest and honourable and devoted to justice and improving the lot of the poor because we've seen the records of his time in the north and of his kingship, but *they hadn't*.

As far as they knew, he was going to be Edward redux. Of course they would believe that he would be a bloody tyrant, that Henry's life was in danger while Richard lived even if Henry took no action against him, that he would kill close relatives to strengthen his own position, that he would depose the previous king and then murder him in the Tower, that he would seek to contract a secret and very unwise marriage without regard to the good of the kingdom, just to satisfy his ungovernable lust - because those were all things Edward had actually done or tried to do only a few years beforehand.

By the time they realised that Richard was a quite different quantity from his brother - if they ever did - it was too late, they were so deeply committed to rebellion that even Richard probably wouldn't have felt able to pardon them if they backed off. And all of that was Edward's bloody fault.
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phaecilia

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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Thu May 08, 2014 2:17 pm

whitehound wrote:
Do we know whether Warwick favoured the Bona marriage or not?  If he did then he might still have been pretty annoyed that Edward had gone behind his back.

Do we really have much evidence as to what Warwick was like as a person?  Was he a co0tnrol freak who saw Edward as his proxy and was angry when he lost control of him, or someone genuinely devoted to the family's interests, or what?   [Snip]  

If Warwick was a control freak, his decision to rebel against Edward IV backfired badly.  He gave up a lot of control to Louis XI and Margaret of Anjou.  He subordinated his daughter Isobel's and Clarence's interests to Edward of Lancaster's.  Eventually he lost his life.

I see Warwick's actions as the best evidence for what he was like as a person.  But his actions don't seem much different from many of his counterparts.  

In his alliance with Richard, duke of York, I think he may have been unreliable.  Before York came to London in fall 1460, he and Warwick spent 4 days together in Shrewsbury.  What did they discuss during those 4 days?   There's no record, no evidence.  But I get the impression that Warwick changed his mind about supporting York's claim.  Did York realize that before he marched to London with his sword carried before him as if he were king?

Many other European nobles backed out of alliances or failed to show up for battle.  John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, Francis, duke of Brittany, and Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, Louis XI, and Edward IV are 5 examples.    

Warwick suppressed a lot of Lancastrian opposition, while Edward failed to arrive at the battlefields in time to fight.  (Edward did something similar to Richard, duke of Gloucester during both campaigns against the Scots.)   Edward refused to allow appropriate marriages for Warwick's daughters with Clarence and Gloucester, while allowing profitable marriages for his Woodville in-laws.  Edward favored Burgundian/Breton alliances over French ones Warwick wanted.  Warwick's eventual reaction was rebellion.

Many English noblemen before Warwick had asserted that kings should listen to nobles' advice, distribute patronage equably, spend tax money responsibly, and respect inheritance rights.  Fourteenth and 15th century parliaments had deposed 3 kings--Edward II, Richard II, Henry VI--who failed to meet these standards.  By 1469, Edward IV had fallen short of these standards, too.  Public dissatisfaction with his reign was growing.  Warwick's rebellion had enough support to exile the Yorkists for 6 months.  (Richard spent his 18th birthday sailing towards exile in Burgundy).

What does Richard's loyalty to Edward tell us about Warwick?  I'm not sure.  Did Richard ever ask himself whether Edward was worthy of his loyalty?  We're unlikely to find out.  We know what Richard did, but there are many ways to disagree about his actions.

phaecilia
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khafara

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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Thu May 08, 2014 3:22 pm

I can't say whether Warwick was destined to rebel, but his wife Anne de Beauchamp seems to have exhibited signs of being friendly towards the Lancastrian side.
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Thu May 08, 2014 11:01 pm

I have just started "Warwick the Kingmaker" by Pollard. I didn't realise before that Salisbury and Warwick were Lancastrians initially (perhaps because of the descent from Joan Beaufort) and were only recent Yorkists.

In my mind, that explains a lot about Warwick's subsequent actions. I always had the view that his going over to Margaret of Anjou etc was a major event, when in fact, it was a return to his original allegiance.
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whitehound
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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Fri May 09, 2014 9:23 am

Oh, now that's very interesting. So after the Woodville marriage he would just have felt that his decision to switch to supporting Edward had been a mistake, and "Why am I wasting time on this idiot?"
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Thibault

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PostSubject: Re: Warwick and Bona of Savoy   Fri May 09, 2014 9:56 am

Perhaps it was more about seizing opportunities by backing York, then later, realising the opportunities had been stymied by the Woodville marriage.
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