Friday 3 June 2011

The Mysterious Death of Henry VI

Novelist Susan Higginbotham, whose most recent book The Queen of Last Hopes was inspired by the life of Henry VI's controversial queen, Marguerite of Anjou, takes a look at the mysterious death of Marguerite's husband, Henry VI, when the Yorkist family deposed him for a second time in May 1471.

"Even if the evidence from the exhumation does not conclusively prove that Henry VI died a violent death, it still seems likely that he did. Henry had suffered many reversals over the years before his death, and had personally witnessed the Lancastrian defeat at Barnet, having been dragged along to the site with Edward IV's army. While the news of his son's death at Tewkesbury and his wife's being taken captive must have been shattering for Henry VI to hear, it is hard to believe that it was such an unexpected shock that it would have caused his death. And with Edward of Lancaster dead, it would have been foolish for Edward IV to keep the Lancastrian cause alive in the shape of his father. 

If Henry was murdered, as seems most likely, the identity of his murderer or murderers is one of the best-kept secrets in English history. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, has been credited with the deed in popular legend, but there is no evidence that he was the murderer or that he carried the deed out alone if he was. He was present at the Tower the night of Henry's death, but so were many others."

For the full article, click here to go to Susan's blog.

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