If you don’t think history is the best story ever, you haven’t read about: The Wars of the Roses.
I would explain the whole debacle from a military standpoint, but this video does it pretty well.
It’s like the ultimate soap opera. The thing about the Wars of the Roses though is that it ISN’T just a series of battles- it’s like Mean Girls times 1,485. Good job those of you who got that joke.
The whole story really starts waaay back in 1377, and let me tell you, folks, take notes, because there’s a helluva lot of Edwards and Richards and Henrys oh my.
In 1377, Edward III, who had gotten England through the Plague (and started the Hundred Years’ War, but we don’t talk about that), died. He had had four sons of importance (he had a few more children, but they don’t get to be part of the story)- Edward the Black Prince (practically perfect in every way!), Lionel of Antwerp, Edmund of Langley, and John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (who everyone ended up hating). Usually titles aren’t that important, but they are here.
When Edward III died in 1377, his son Edward Woodstock (The Black Prince) had already been dead a year. So, HIS son, Richard, became Richard II at the age of ten. Because a ten year old can’t really run a kingdom, a series of councils was instituted to run the kingdom (as opposed to a regency by John). Uncle John Lancaster was only too happy, however, to effectively run the country during his nephew’s minority by exerting influence over said councils. Richard naturally began to resent this when he was older, and so in 1397 banished from court or killed preeeetty much EVERYONE who had so much questioned the lack of point on his poulaines. When John died two years later on 3 February, 1399, he banished John’s son, Henry Bolingbroke, to France, and seized his father’s lands, effectively disinheriting Henry.
Henry was naturally a little displeased with this, and wasted very little time doing what most pissed off people do when their fathers’ estates are taken from their inheritance- in June of 1399, after gathering an army, he marched himself right on back to Richard and plucked the crown from off his head with what must be admitted was very little effort.
This was for a few reasons- France let him leave because Louis, Duke of Orleans, who had recently taken over the court of the insane Charles VI, found it politically beneficial (which is kind of funny, because Henry’s son would later thoroughly kick France’s ass at Agincourt). When Henry arrived on the shores of England with only a few men, all those lords whom Richard had banished were only too pleased to join him. He used the excuse to his opponents that he was not planning to overthrow the king, but only to take back his old lands. To make matters even better, Richard was holding court in Ireland at the time. He hurried back, but was eventually met by Henry at Flint Castle in Wales and surrendered, promising to abdicate if Henry spared his life. Nobody particularly opposed this, as Richard, unlike his grandfather, focused his court not on military prowess and the camaraderie of his men, but on the arts and, well, himself. Richard was one of those big believers that he was the king of his castle, and held the kind of attitude that probably would have started a third Baron’s War eventually had Henry not had done with it.
This seemed like a pretty great deal for everyone, and Richard was duly imprisoned (and, because his being alive was too risky due to threats of uprising, probably allowed to starve to death in prison. Whoops). There were some small objections that Edmund Mortimer, Lionel’s of Antwerp’s son, ought to be king- he was, after all, the actual heir. Henry was able to persuade the necessary people that he should be king because while Edmund’s claim was originally through the female line, his was through the male line. Also, Richard supposedly backed Henry over Edmund. Which totally makes sense. Listen to the guy you want OFF the throne to decide who you want on it.
Henry Bolingbroke became Henry IV, and his son became Henry V, the guy who kicked major French ass at Agincourt. HIS son, Henry VI, is where the Wars of the Roses FINALLY begins, but all of that stuff above is relevant, I promise. :P
Henry VI was a liiiittle bit mad. There were a lot of mad kings, it’s something one gets used to. People said Richard II was mad as well, but it’s probably not true. Anyways.
On the periods where Henry VI (who, one must remember, was of the Lancaster branch of Plantagenets) was mad, Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (of the York branch of the Plantagenets), who was the great grandson of Edward III, again through his son Lionel of Antwerp, became the Lord Protector of England. Richard several times went to battle with Henry VI to take his crown, but these battles were often interrupted, ironically by Henry’s relapses into madness, during which time Richard had to rule the country anyways. Oops.
The Church eventually got so fed up with this that they literally declared a thing called “Loveday”, during which Lancastrians and Yorkists danced through the streets holding hands and throwing white and red roses (the respective standards of the York and Lancaster houses, and the reason for the name of the Wars). You can’t make this shit up.
...oooof course they went back to killing each other anyways, but I just love that that actually happened.
Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, was one of those women who, for lack of a better phrase, got shit done. Rather like Edith Wilson (the wife of US President Wilson) after her husband’s stroke in 1919, Margaret of Anjou made most of the decisions for the nation whilst her husband was ill, and tried to influence him greatly, something which obviously threw her into conflict with Richard, whose life held the same purpose. Realizing that it was Richard’s intent to take the throne, Margaret skipped up to Scotland and got an army to fight Richard. An agreement was made that if someone stopped this nonsense, Richard would be allowed to succeed Henry when he died.
…but then Richard was killed in battle.
So naturally the next logical step was for Richard’s son, Edward, to take up daddy’s fight, which he promptly won in 1461 with the help of his cousin, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, who would later be known as The Kingmaker for his political prowess in helping kings become kings during the Wars. With Warwick’s help, Edward was crowned Edward IV. All was rosy in Edward’s garden until, in defiance of Warwick’s wishes that he marry a French princess, he married Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner and a Lancastrian supporter, in 1464. In fairness, she WAS technically of the gentry (her mother had been Henry VI’s uncle’s wife before she had secretly remarried Elizabeth’s father, a chamberlain-made-military-man-made-baron-made-earl), but when one is the SIXTEENTH Earl of Warwick, one is I suppose able to look down one’s nose at the FIRST Earl of Rivers. Pft. New money. Letting bad blood in, I say!
So Warwick was naturally a little peeved at the fact that the man who he had basically put on the throne was ignoring him in favor of making some new money ninny Lord Treasurer and marrying his daughters off to all the dukes Warwick wanted HIS daughters to marry and I mean UGH PEASANTS, THE NERVE!
…soooo in 1469 Warwick was like, “Hey George, you’re Edward’s disenchanted younger brother who will never be king, wanna be king? I’m a kingmaker, let’s make you king. You can marry my daughter Isabel and you will be king and she will be the king’s wife and you will have a son to be the next king. Come be king. King king king king king!” That didn’t really turn out like everyone wanted, because when Edward WAS captured, the council wasn’t down with having George (or Warwick, who naturally also put his name forth) as king. Warwick’s kingmakin’ game must have been a little off that year, because he was forced to let Edward go. Edward, apparently not understanding the concept that when someone TRIES TO DEPOSE YOU you KILL THEM, welcomed both Warwick and George back with open arms, hoping that rewarding them would give them a greater stake in his being king. He must not have gotten the part where Warwick owned like half of England already which is what made him feel like he could PICK THE FREAKING KING. So, Warwick, remembering how Edward had failed to be grateful to him, decided to do the same to Edward, demanding that his new son-in-law follow him in turning to his old enemy Margaret ‘Get Shit Done’ of Anjou. George agreed, which kind of sucked for Isabel, because she was SO pregnant and ended up giving birth on the ship to Calais to go see Margaret. Had there been an actual midwife present, the baby might have survived, but alas. It was all sort of worth it though, because once they got there, Warwick promised Margaret that if his younger daughter Anne could marry her son Edward of Westminster, he would put Henry VI back on the throne. This was a nice compromise- Henry, being, as we said before, absolutely off his rocker let alone the throne of England, meant that Warwick and Margaret could rule in his stead. When Henry died, Edward and Anne would become king and queen. George was a little miffed at not becoming king, but Henry, in a rare moment of knowing where the hell he was, told George that he was impressed by his loyalty and that he would make George second in line for the throne. Warwick somehow convinced his brother to join in this melee, making Edward’s position impossible from a military standpoint. Ah, feudalism. One is only as good as one’s lords!
Edward fled to Burgundy, which was ruled by his sister Margaret of York and her husband Charles. At first Charles was like “yeah sorry NO”, but then France was like “oh hey bro if you’re gonna help him we’re going to war with your ass,” so Charles was like “ORLY? ORLY? YOU WANNA GO THERE? FINE! Eddie, you’re my bro, bro, of course I’ll help you out. YEAH FRANCE I JUST WENT THERE.”
Just like that.
So Edward did a little recuperating in Burgundy. And by ‘recuperating’ I mean ‘raising an army’. So he went back to England and headed straight for York, pulling the classic ‘uprising what uprising naw I’m just going back to my dukedom’ that Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV) had pulled a seventy years earlier. Just like the aforementioned king, nobles still loyal to him (and sick of King Cray Cray) joined him, and (because yay heartwarming family stories) his brother George left Warwick to fight for him after realizing that being the king’s brother was better than being Warwick’s puppet. That would have made things suuuuper awkward for Isabel, with her husband a Yorkist and her father a now-Lancastrian.
It would have. But Warwick was killed at the Battle of Barnet, and the remainder of his forces defeated at the Battle of Tewksbury, in 1471. To make a clean cut of it, Edward of Westminster (Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI’s son and Warwick’s daughter Anne’s husband) was killed on the battlefield. Edward was able to march to London and take Henry VI prisoner before both these battles, and after them, on his re-entry of London, Henry VI conveniently died, leaving no loose Lancastrian ends.
But let’s be real, he was totally executed to tie up said loose ends.A contemporary source says that Henry died of melancholy. Yeah, melancholy at seeing a sword being swung at your neck.
Apparently though, Eddie hadn’t learned his lesson, because he proceeded to marry Anne Neville, who was obliged to hate him on about six different levels, to his brother Richard. I guess he was thinking, “she’ll have to like me now!”, but I feel like after having one brother marry a Neville and betray him, he shouldn’t really have been thinking that. But anyhow.
The rest of Edward’s reign was pretty peaceful, since the point of a Lancastrian resurgence was rather moot, all the possible Lancastrian heirs being dead, or, in the case of this one guy named Henry Tudor, in exile. George was eventually found guilty of treason, and executed. William Shakespeare has popularized the legend that he was drowned in a butt of wine
and if you say that that didn’t give you a really weird image in your head, you’re lying, I don’t care if you know that a butt is also a cask.
Edward’s son Edward succeeded him as Edward V at the age of twelve, whereupon Uncle Richard (Edward IV’s brother, married to Anne Neville) became his lord protector according to his father’s will. Edward, who had been raised by his mother’s brother Anthony, was taken by his guardian and stepbrother Richard Grey to meet the lord protector.
Because we all knew this was coming, Richard ordered the two men sent off to be executed, much to the shock of poor Edward, whose entire entourage was cutrly dismissed. He was sent to the Tower of London, closely followed by his brother Richard (I told you, everyone was Edward, Richard, or Henry), giving rise to the legend of the Princes in the Tower. Richard quickly influenced the council to pass an act declaring Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodeville’s marriage invalid (and all their children therefore illegitimate), putting himself on the throne and accomplishing several things: making his dead father in law roll about in his grave for joy, making Edward V one of the four monarchs in English history (since the Norman invasion) not to have reigned long enough to be officially crowned (along with Matilda, Jane Grey, and Edward VIII), and, upon Edward V’s and his brother’s execution shortly thereafter, making Edward V the shortest-lived monarch in English history, his great-grand nephew Edward VI (son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour) having died at the age of sixteen.
Richard III ruled for two years (1483-1485), and was rebelled against twice in those two years. Classy, Rich. Classy.
The first one was by supporters of his brother Edward IV, which was swiftly put out. The second one was by that one guy we talked about who was exiled, Henry Tudor. Remember him? Not a very memorable fellow, I know.
Henry Tudor’s story is a tale in and of itself. His (very iffy) claim to the throne was through his mother’s family, the Beauforts, who were descendent of that one guy we talked about way back at the beginning, John of Gaunt. You don’t even have to wait a few generations for the legitimacy to get weird- John’s wife, Katherine Swynford, had been his mistress for over twenty years (and four children) before they married. The Beauforts were descended from one of said four children, who were legitimized by parliament but through stipulation that none of their issue were eligible to inherit the throne. Whoops.
Henry’s mother Margaret was married to her guardian’s son 1-3 years after she was born, but never acknowledge the marriage after it was dissolved by then-king Henry VI, as she was under the age of twelve when it was formed. Henry VI placed Margaret under the guardianship of his own half brothers, Jasper and Edmund Tudor, and act for which Margaret would be forever loyal to the Lancastrian king. Jasper and Edmund were the sons of Owen Tudor, who had secretly married Henry V’s widow Catherine of Valois after his death. Henry VI eventually decided that Margaret should marry Edmund, and on the first of November, 1455, twelve year old Margaret wed twenty-four year old Edmund. I’m all for age difference relationships working out, and there are a lot of really cute ones in history, but even I will admit that that must have been a SUPER awkward wedding night for at least one person involved.
The Wars of the Roses had just begun, and Edmund was captured and died of plague two months before his wife gave birth to their son (named, of course, after the king). She was entrusted to the care of her husband’s brother Jasper, and at the age of thirteen, on the 28th of January 1457, gave birth to Henry. Both Margaret and her son almost died due to her young age and subsequent small frame, and Margaret was never able to have any more children thereafter, which even by period standards is totally forgivable when the one son you DO have becomes THE KING.
Completely contrary to what SOMEONE *glares at Philippa Gregory* might say, Henry was not raised by Jasper, whose lands were taken from him in 1461 with the ascension of Edward IV, whereafter the new earl, William Herbert, took over the guardianship of mother and child. Henry was sent to his father’s family in Wales, occasionally returning to Herbert’s care, and Margaret married Henry Stafford in 1462, only communicating with her son by letters and infrequent visits. Margaret probably never fell in love with Jasper as Gregory purports- he fled into exile when his lands were confiscated, and would have been perfectly capable of bringing Margaret and Henry with him had he wished to, Margaret being unmarried at the time and any guardianship being issued by a deposed king. Again in 1471, Margaret was widowed, and, with Henry VI back on the throne, Jasper returned to take Henry to court. When Edward IV was put back on the throne that same year, Edward fled with Jasper and other Lancastrians back to Brittany and were not accompanied by Margaret, who married a Yorkist of all people, Thomas Stanley, a year later. If they did love each other, they sure had a funny way of showing it.
Margaret is hugely responsible for what is, quite honestly, the miracle of her son’s coronation, turning out to be quite the Kingmaker herself. Having married a Yorkist, Stanley (and never considering herself a part of the family, despite a relatively harmonious marriage), she convinced him to change loyalties enough to stay aloof during the Battle of Bosworth Field at which Henry defeated Richard III, despite his son being Richard’s hostage as assurance that Stanley would show up. By the beginning of Richard III’s reign, Margaret was all but campaigning for her son’s eligibility as the Lancastrian candidate. Ironically, it was the woman she had vowed to hate, the queen dowager Elizabeth Woodeville, who secured her son’s future for her. United in their hatred of Richard III, Elizabeth and Margaret agreed that Henry should marry Elizabeth of York, the first daughter of Elizabeth Woodeville and Edward IV, securing Henry’s claim to the throne on all sides. Having vowed to do so at Rennes Cathedral on Christmas Day 1483, Henry became the center of the Lancastrian cause. Though not a Plantagenet himself, he would be wed to one, and was the closest relative of one. IT’S ALL SO MEAN GIRLS.
During his stay with Jasper in Brittany, Henry learned enough about strategy to save his hide when he faced Richard. By 1485 they had amassed support from various of his Welsh Tudor relations (as Wales was traditionally Lancastrian in loyalty), as well as the Woodevilles. Henry arrived for battle with an army of about 5,000 men, vastly outnumbered even though Richard’s troupes from Leicester and Nottingham had not yet arrived. This also meant that all Richard had to do to keep his throne was survive the battle.
Naturally, he did not, becoming the last king to die in battle (and making Henry the last to win his crown in battle) and the only king to die in battle on English soil since Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
After the defeat, Margaret Beaufort’s husband Stanley placed the crown on his stepson’s head. The War of the Roses was officially over with the Battle of Bosworth Field, though it would not be Henry’s last.
Jasper Tudor was restored his lands. Margaret Beaufort, still outranked in court by Elizabeth Woodeville (being the King’s Lady Mother to Elizabeth’s Dowager Queen), was allowed to wear the same robes as she and to only walk half a step behind her. Margaret, who had from the 1460s signed her name “M. Richmond,” thereafter signed her name “Margaret R.” (in the style of “Margaret Regina”, or “Margaret the Queen”) and, though everyone knew what she was doing, nobody said a word because it wasn’t technically different. :P
King Henry VII was wed to Elizabeth of York on 18 January, 1486. A final resolution to the Wars, he created the Tudor Rose, a combination of the Yorkist white rose inside the Lancastrian red rose.
They had seven children, four of whom lived to maturity. The seventh, Katherine, died along with her mother in childbirth, a blow from which Henry never really recovered, having truly loved Elizabeth despite their marriage being one of diplomacy. It is said that he locked himself away and refused to be seen for weeks after her death- “he privily departed to a solitary place, and would that no man should resort unto him.”
Henry VII’ eldest son Arthur would marry Catherine of Aragon and die soon after, leaving his brother Prince Henry both his place in line for the throne and his wife. It is a little known fact that Henry VII asked the Pope not only for a dispensation for his son to marry Catherine, but also for himself. Despite entertaining several other offers for marriage, they were only half-hearted, and Henry VII did not remarry (or see his son’s marriage to Catherine).
Henry VII died in the 21st of April, 1509, having begun a new dynasty of English monarchs that would span three centuries and last 118 years until his granddaughter Elizabeth I’s death in 1603.
To top off the story, because of the manner of Richard III’s ascension and deposition, his body was never honored with a royal burial. In 2012, a body was discovered underneath a parking lot and confirmed to be Richard’s, making this all the more hilarious:
HISTORIAN JOKES ARE THE BEST KIND OF JOKES BECAUSE DAMN IT, YOU BETTER GET SOMETHING REALLY REWARDING FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AFTER READING ALL OF THAT, AM I RIGHT?
But seriously if you actually read it all good for you A+ now you can join the Jolly Historians Club where we make fun of Richard III puns and people throwing other people out of windows.
We’re only halfway through 2014, and state legislators have already introduced a whopping 468 restrictions intended to limit, control or otherwise regulate women’s reproductive rights.
How many comparable bills have been introduced to regulate men’s reproductive health care during this period? Zero.
Something’s very wrong with this picture.
[Image Description: Background is several triangles in a circle like a pie alternating from true red, scarlet and black. A robin is sitting on his perch looking to the right.
Top Text: “SEXIST.”
Bottom Text: “CUSTOMERS.”]
I work at a movie/music store and we also buy and sell used merchandise. We have this one regular male customer who is extremely sexist and just a plain a-hole. He absolutely refuses to work with or even talk to a female associate. Unfortunately for him, the majority of our employees are female.
First, he calls. I answer the phone with the usual, ” Thank you for calling, this is -insert store-, how may I help you?” To which he replies “I don’t care” and hangs up.
Uhh okay then.
Then he calls back and demands to speak to a manager. Our assistant manager, who is a woman, answers the phone since the store manager isn’t there yet. When she tells him this he says “I don’t want to speak to a stupid woman.”
I was outraged. The nerve of some people. I have no idea what to do about this. I want to keep my job, but at the same time I feel disgusting even talking to this guy. He isn’t an employee so I can’t file a complaint or anything. Sometimes just having to smile and be polite in the retail field really kills me.
In Mississippi, there is only one clinic where a woman can go if she needs an abortion. The state is trying to close it down. At that clinic, there is a doctor who tends to the needs of these women, and he has to fly in from out of state to do it. There i
This article made me cry. This man is a hero.
Tom Hiddleston Sent An Amazing Email To Director Joss Whedon After Reading 'The Avengers' Script For The First Time - Business Insider
According to “Joss Whedon: The Biography,” in stores August 1, Hiddleston, who plays antihero Loki in the film, wrote Whedon a heartfelt email after reading Whedon’s draft for the first time.
We’ve published Hiddleston’s letter in full along with Whedon’s response with permission from Chicago Review Press below.
I am so excited I can hardly speak.
The first time I read it I grabbed at it like Charlie Bucket snatching for a golden ticket somewhere behind the chocolate in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar. I didn’t know where to start. Like a classic actor I jumped in looking for LOKI on every page, jumping back and forth, reading words in no particular order, utterances imprinting themselves like flash-cuts of newspaper headlines in my mind: “real menace”; “field of obeisance”; “discontented, nothing is enough”; “his smile is nothing but a glimpse of his skull“; “Puny god” …
… Thank you for writing me my Hans Gruber. But a Hans Gruber with super-magic powers. As played by James Mason … It’s high operatic villainy alongside detached throwaway tongue-in-cheek; plus the “real menace” and his closely guarded suitcase of pain. It’s grand and epic and majestic and poetic and lyrical and wicked and rich and badass and might possibly be the most gloriously fun part I’ve ever stared down the barrel of playing. It is just so juicy.
I love how throughout you continue to put Loki on some kind of pedestal of regal magnificence and then consistently tear him down. He gets battered, punched, blasted, side-swiped, roared at, sent tumbling on his back, and every time he gets back up smiling, wickedly, never for a second losing his eloquence, style, wit, self-aggrandisement or grandeur, and you never send him up or deny him his real intelligence…. That he loves to make an entrance; that he has a taste for the grand gesture, the big speech, the spectacle. I might be biased, but I do feel as though you have written me the coolest part.
… But really I’m just sending you a transatlantic shout-out and fist-bump, things that traditionally British actors probably don’t do. It’s epic.
Whedon wrote back with a simplistic response:
Tom, this is one of those emails you keep forever. Thanks so much. It’s more articulate (and possibly longer) than the script. I couldn’t be more pleased at your reaction, but I’ll also tell you I’m still working on it … Thank you again. I’m so glad you’re pleased. Absurd fun to ensue.
Best, (including uncharacteristic fist bump), joss.
Oh hey! That’s from my book! And Tom Hiddleston truly is as delightful as you’d think.