Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville, the eldest daughter of Sir Richard Woodville, Ist Earl of Rivers, in about 1437. She married Sir John Grey, who was killed at St Albans in 1461.

Elizabeth married Edward IV in 1464. Edward had difficulty keeping the support of his nobles. They were particularly upset by his decision to marry Elizabeth without first seeking their advice. The nobles objected to Elizabeth because she did not have royal blood and was the widow of a Lancastrian knight.

In 1470 the Earl of Warwick forced Edward IV into exile and put Henry VI back on the throne. The following year Edward returned and in April, Edward defeated and killed the Earl of Warwick at Barnet. He destroyed the remaining Lancastrian forces at Tewkesbury in May, 1471.

When Edward IV died in 1483, his son Edward, was only a child. It was therefore decided that Richard, Edward IV's brother, should became Protector of England, until Edward was old enough to become king. Elizabeth did not trust Richard and called for a Regency Council to run the country. Richard reacted by persuading Parliament that Edward IV had not been legally married to Elizabeth , and therefore Prince Edward was not the true heir to the throne. As Edward IV's only surviving brother, Richard claimed the throne for himself.

Richard had Edward and his younger brother, Richard, taken into custody. Soon rumours began to circulate that Richard had arranged for his two nephews to be murdered.

After Richard III was killed, Elizabeth had her rights as dowager queen restored. Her daughter, Elizabeth of York married Henry VII in 1486.

Elizabeth Woodville retired to the Abbey of Bermonsey and died there in 1492.