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23 March – Margaret of Anjou is Born

20 Mar

As of late, my posting has been limited greatly, mostly due to medical reasons concerning my mother, whom injured her arm and thus needs my assistance, but I wanted to jump online to wish the English queen a happy yet slightly early birthday!

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On 23 March 1440, Margaret of Anjou was born to the French House of Valois to René of Anjou, King of Naples and his wife Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine.  She was influenced greatly by her mother, whom acted in her husband’s stead during his absences in war, and even led his army to free him after he was captured by the Duke of Burgundy.  Margaret was headstrong and ambitious, one of ten children, but despite her father’s many titles, he was “a king with no kingdoms” and the family was slightly poor compared to the majority of the aristocracy  At age fifteen, she was married to a young king named Henry VI of England, eight years her senior and son of England’s great warrior king Henry V, of Shakespearian fame.  However, despite the immense power she obtained through her marriage, her husband was definitely not suited for his high status; he was far too peaceful to govern a kingdom such as England and his frequent bouts with mental illness meant that the country was ruled primarily by his advisors.  Henry was the face of the monarchy, but ultimately, it was Margaret who was the power behind the throne.  She and her husband had a single child, Prince Edward of Lancaster, heir to the crown, but when the Wars of the Roses broke out and the Yorkist party put Henry’s strong and handsome cousin Edward IV on the throne, deposing him, Margaret led the Lancastrian army into battle and continued to battle Yorkist forces even after her husband’s capture and death, all to take the throne back for her son.  Finally, the Battle of Tewkesbury ended the war when the seventeen-year-old prince was slain on the battlefield, making Edward IV the ultimate victor and unchallenged King of England.  Broken in spirit by her son’s death, Margaret was captured and taken into custody until she was ransomed and returned to France, where she died in poverty on 25 August 1482 at the age of fifty-two.  She was buried without ceremony in Angers Cathedral in France, her reputation tarnished.

Veerle Baetens portrays Margaret in The White Queen

Veerle Baetens portrays Margaret in The White Queen

I plan to write a longer article on Margaret and the Lancastrian party when I have the chance, but for now, this will have to do. Until my mother is back on her feet, my posts here may be limited.  I apologise to my readers, but rest assured, there are many more articles to come.  In the meantime, I wish you all a good day and a happy birthday to Queen Margaret!

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