Saturday, 9 February 2013

Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth as Queen of England
Born in 1466 as the eldest child of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV, Elizabeth was royalty from the very beginning. When her father died, her brother became Edward V but soon afterwards he disappeared alongside with his brother - rumours began that they had been murdered. Elizabeth was declared a bastard after Richard III issued an act that made the marriage between her parents invalid.
But Elizabeth's mother - Elizabeth Woodville - made an alliance with Lady Margaret Beaufort who was the mother of the future Henry VII. Both women knew that the young Henry had a weak claim to the throne but if he married Elizabeth (of York) then his claim would be far greater. And so the plan was made.

In 1484 Elizabeth and her family rejoined the court of Richard III and there were rumours that the King intended to marry Elizabeth himself - his wife Anne Neville was dying. But less than a year later on August 7th 1485 the Battle of Bosworth was fought and Richard was killed. Henry now became Henry VII and kept to his promise of marrying Elizabeth of York.

The marriage seems to be a happy one and the couple was fond of each other. Though Elizabeth had no real political influence - due to the all-dominant Lady Margaret Beaufort - she is described as being gentle and kind with a generous heart towards her servants, benefactors etc. The couple had eight children but only four survived their infancy: Arthur (who died before his 16th birthday), Henry (VIII of England), Margaret (Queen of Scotland) and Mary (Queen of France).
When Arthur died, Henry VII grieved intensely at the loss of his eldest son but Elizabeth comforted him saying that God had still left him with two daughters and a son who could still have children.

Elizabeth became pregnant again and went to the Tower for her confinement (not a prison at the time). There she gave birth to a daughter - Katherine - who died shortly afterwards. Elizabeth herself had a post partum infection and died on 11th of February - her 37th birthday.

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