Author: Jone Lewis

Isabel Neville

Known for: her dynastic role in the Wars of the Roses, and the fates of her children, grandchildren and other descendants. As with many medieval women, she’s known mainly for her heritage, her marriage and her descendants. She was heiress to a fortune and title, and for her father’s arrangement of her marriage to a possible heir to the English crown. Her father later arranged the marriage of Isabel’s younger sister, Anne Neville, first to the Lancastrian heir presumptive to the throne, then to another likely heir, a Yorkist. Title: Duchess of Clarence (by marriage) Dates: September 5, 1451 – December 22, 1476 Also known as: Isabella Neville Family of Isabel Neville Mother: Anne Beauchamp (1426-1492?). Countess of Warwick in her own right as the surviving daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and his second wife, Isabel le Despenser, and inheritor of his estate after the death of Anne de Beauchamp’s brother Henry Neville and his daughter, also named Anne Beauchamp. Father: Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428-1471). He was known as the Kingmaker for his successful support first of Richard, Duke of York, in his unsuccessful conflict for the crown against Henry VI, then of Richard’s son Edward IV’s successful campaign, then turning to the imprisoned and dethroned Henry VI and his son, Edward, the Prince of Wales, briefly supporting the kingship of his son-in-law George,...

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Anne Beauchamp

Known for: heiress who was the wife of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and the mother of Anne Neville, queen consort of Richard III of England Title: 16th Countess of Warwick (in her own right) Dates: July 13, 1426 – September 20, 1492 Also known as: Anne Neville, Anne de Beauchamp Background, Family: Mother: Isabel Dispenser. Isabel Dispenser’s father was Thomas le Despenser, descended from Hugh Despenser the Younger (and the Elder). Hugh Despenser the Younger was infamous during the reign of King Edward II as a favorite of the king. Isabel’s mother was Constance of York, whose mother was Isabella of Castile, a daughter of King Peter of Castile by his mistress Maria de Padilla. Constance of York’s father, thus Isabel’s maternal grandfather, was Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, a son of Edward III. Father: Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick. He was a godson of Richard II and was knighted at the coronation of Henry IV. Among his many noble ancestors was Roger Mortimer. Siblings: full brother: Henry Beauchamp (1425 – 1446), 14th Earl of Warwick, 1st Duke of Warwick. He married Cecily Neville, a granddaughter of Ralph Neville and Joan Beaufort. Joan Beaufort was the daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Cecily was named for her paternal aunt, also Cecily Neville. half-sister, shared mother: Elizabeth de Beauchamp (1415 – 1448). She married Edward Neville, a son of Ralph...

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Margaret of Austria

Known for: governor of Habsburg Netherlands 1507-1515 and 1519-1530, not as a mother or wife. Her life is marked with connections with three generations of complicated political intermarriages. Titles: Princess of Asturias (first marriage); Duchess of Savoy (second marriage) Dates: January 10, 1480 – December 1, 1530 Background, Family: Mother: Mary of Burgundy, daughter of wealthy heiress Isabella of Bourbon and of Charles, Duke of Burgundy. Mary of Burgundy was, in her own right, Duchess of Burgundy from 1477 until her death in 1482. Father: Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death in 1519. He was the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal, daughter of Eleanor of Aragon and Edward, King of Portugal. Edward’s mother, Philippa of Lancaster, was a daughter of John of Gaunt who was a son of Edward III of England. Siblings: Margaret’s brother was Philip I of Castile, who extended the Habsburg empire to include Spain by marrying Joanna of Castle (called Juana the Mad), a daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand V of Aragon. Margaret had relatives in most of the royal families of Europe: Spain, France, England, Portugal, Germany and others. Marriage, Children: betrothed to: the future Charles VIII of France husband: John, Prince of Asturias (married April 3, 1497; heir-apparent to Castile and Aragon) one stillborn daughter husband: Philibert II, Duke of...

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Margaret of Burgundy

Yorkist Partisan Known for: partisan of the Yorkist cause in the Wars of the Roses and the later Tudor monarchy Occupation: Duchess of Burgundy Dates: May 3, 1446 – November 23, 1503 Also known as: Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, Margaret of Burgundy Family Mother: Cecily Neville (1411 – 1495). Cecily’s mother was Joan Beaufort, second wife of Ralph, earl of Westmoreland, Cecily’s father. Joan Beaufort was a daughter of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. John of Gaunt was a son of King Edward III of England.  John married Katherine after their children were born and had them legitimized. Isabel Neville and Anne Neville, each married to a brother of Margaret, were first cousins once removed to Margaret and her brothers. Father: Richard, third duke of York (1411 – 1460). Richard of York’s ancestry went back to Edward III through both his mother and his father. Richard of York’s mother, Anne Mortimer, was the great granddaughter of Lionel of Antwerp. Lionel of Antwerp was the second son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. Richard of York’s father was Richard of Conisbrough, son of Edmund of Langley, the first duke of York. Edmund of Langley was the fourth son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. In 1460, Richard of York, tried to claim the throne of England from Henry VI, as part of the Wars of the...

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Bride Gift: Payment to the Bride’s Family

What Was a Bride Gift? How Is It Different From a Dowry? In some cultures, when a woman was married, the groom or his family made a payment to the bride’s family.  In some others, the payment by the groom or his family was to the bride, and the bride price was hers to control.  Such a payment to the bride or her family called a bride gift, or sometimes bride price or bride token. Related: Dower, Dowry and Curtesy Occasionally, the term “dowry” is used for a gift from a groom or his family to the bride, but dowry more usually means a gift given by the bride’s family to the groom or his family at time of marriage, or the goods that a woman brings to marriage and has some legal control over during the marriage. Presumably, this evolved as a custom as compensation to the bride’s family for the loss of the bride’s contribution to her birth family’s welfare, whether in actual labor or in fertility. It may have also been meant to assure the bride’s family that her husband had sufficient resources to support her, if he could pay her family a bride gift..  In those traditions where the bride gift was paid not to her family but to herself, it was financial protection in case the woman became a widow or was divorced. The custom...

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The White Princess: Historical Fiction vs. Fact

Philippa Gregory’s book The White Princess has come to the screen via Starz in April, 2017.  As with The White Queen, figures in the series are taken from history, with considerable fictionalizing. Here are some of the biographies of the real women behind Gregory’s characters, women in the life of Elizabeth of York, all important parts of the history of the Wars of the Roses and then the early Tudor dynasty. You’re invited to compare and contrast their stories on-screen and in the books. Women Characters in The White Princess Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville. The Princess Elizabeth married Henry VII, the first Tudor king, and was mother of Henry VIII, his older brother Arthur, and his sisters Margaret Tudor and Mary Tudor. Elizabeth Woodville, the Queen’s mother, whose marriage to Edward IV was opposed by the Earl of Warwick and whose marriage was questioned by Richard III. She was the daughter of Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Margaret Beaufort, the King’s mother, the “Red Queen” to Elizabeth Woodville’s White Queen.  Margaret Beaufort, married to Edmund Tudor when she was 12, gave birth to Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII. She supported her son in the Wars of the Roses. Cecily, Duchess of York, or Cecily Woodville, the Queen’s grandmother. Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, the Queen’s paternal aunt. This sister of Edward IV was a friend of Elizabeth...

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Lucy Colman: Abolitionist, Feminist, Freethinker

Known for: a freethinker who worked for racial justice and for the education of African Americans; she accompanied Sojourner Truth on a visit to President Abraham Lincoln Occupation: reformer, activist, educator, writer Dates: July 26, 1817 – January 18, 1906 Also known as: Lucy Newhall Colman, Lucy Coleman, Lucy Davis, Lucy Newhall Danforth Colman Lucy N. Colman Biography: Lucy Newhall Danforth was born in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in 1817. In her autobiography, she reported that from an early age, about six, she was horrified to learn of the existence of slavery, and bothered her mother with many questions about it. In 1824, Lucy’s...

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Natalie Woods Quotes

The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he’s a baby. Nick, they called me a goddamn juvenile delinquent, now do I get the part? (quoted in Gavin Lampert’s 2004 biography of Natalie Wood) In so many ways I think it’s a bore to be sorry you were a child actor – so many people feel sorry for you automatically. At the time I wasn’t aware of the things I missed so why should I think of them in retrospect? Everybody misses something or other. You get tough in this business, until you get big enough to hire people to get tough for you. Then you can sit back and be a...

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