the tenth of my wars of the roses collections.
margaret was the daughter of richard, duke of york and his wife, cecily neville. she was also the sister of two english kings, edward iv and richard iii. throughout her childhood, her father was engaged in bitter conflicts with the lancastrian monarchs, henry vi and margaret of anjou. as henry vi was deemed insane, the duke of york desired to be the king's lord protector, meaning the person who would act as king for the true king. however, henry vi's wife also desired to play this role, and it was she who succeeded.
the duke of york and margaret of anjou had fought before. york had been involved in land disputes with the queen's favorite, the duke of somerset. their argument had escalated to an actual battle, in which somerset had been killed. now, the queen's fury would be unleashed.
the queen's forces marched towards the the residence of the duke of york, and, at the battle of wakefield, margaret of york lost her father, her older brother, edmund, her uncle, and her cousin, leaving the city in which she and the remainder of her family were staying unguarded.
margaret's troops forced their way into the city and lay waste to it. margaret's mother, cecily neville, knew the only way to save her children and herself would be to beg the queen for their lives. cecily marched her three youngest children, margaret, george, and richard, to the queen, who did spare them their lives, but forced them to watch their city burn.
later, cecily neville sent her sons to safety in burgundy, a duchy near france. she kept her daughter with her in england, and shortly thereafter, margaret's older brother edward defeated the lancastrian army and made his way to london to be crowned king.
margaret of of york was then an extremely valuable member of the family, as she was the new king's only unmarried sister. by the age of twenty, margaret was still unmarried, though her brother was considering the duke of burgundy, charles the bold. planes for margaret's marriage with charles had been thought of since before her father's death, because charles' mother desired an english wife for her son. however, as the mere daughter of a duke, margaret was not a worthy bride for charles. when margaret's brother became king, margaret's hand became more desirable.
margaret of york was sent to burgundy to be married to its duke around the time her brother was falling out with her powerful cousin, the kingmaker. when her brother was thrown into exile, he fled to burgundy, where his sister begged her husband to support him against lancastrian rule in england. charles ignored her pleas, and only agreed to help edward regain his throne when he decided it was in his best interests.
as years went by, chalres became increasingly tyrannical. he was constantly fighting with neighboring duchies, desperately trying to create an empire to stretch from the north sea to the mediterranean. he struggled with france bitterly, causing trade to be severely disrupted in burgundy. by the time of his death, he was hated by his people.
when charles the bold died, he had no son; only a daughter from a previous marriage named mary. margaret had always been known to be intelligent and politically astute, and the guidance she gave to mary was invaluable to burgundy. mary chose the son of the holy roman emperor to be her husband, maximilian of hapsburg. he was not very popular with the burgundians, but he and mary were very much in love. unfortunately, mary died, leaving her son, philip, to rule burgundy, with the aid of his father, and his step-grandmother, margaret.
for margaret, more tragedies were to be had. the deaths of her brothers all occurred within a few years. margaret attempted to raise a rebellion against henry tudor, the man who had defeated her brother, richard iii, and she later supported a yorkist pretender against him.
margaret died at the age of fifty-seven in burgundy. she is the subject of anne easter smith's "daughter of york," which is an excellent book, if it is not historically accurate.