The Nevilles were an ancient, noble family from Durham in the north of England. Richard Neville married Anne Beauchamp and through her secured the earldom of Salisbury and a substantial fortune. Luckier still Anne’s brother Henry died and so did his daughter, meaning Richard found himself Earl of Warwick.
Warwick emerged in the 1450s at the centre of English politics. Originally a supporter of King Henry VI, a territorial dispute with the Duke of Somerset led him to collaborate with Richard Duke of York in opposing the king. York was killed, but his son Edward, with Warwick’s assistance, went on to take the crown of England.
Edward’s decision to marry Elizabeth Woodville, and keep it a secret from Warwick for five months, changed their relationship forever. Warwick turned his allegiances to Edward’s brother George Duke of Clarence, marrying his eldest daughter Isabel to him. When the plot failed, Warwick instead supported Henry VI back on to the throne, and married his youngest daughter Anne to his son Edward of Lancaster. They triumphed until the Battle of Barnet when Edward IV won, killing Warwick. Edward IV went on to kill Edward of Lancaster at Tewkesbury, securing victory for the Yorks.
From The White Queen
This is not just a wedding; it is a celebration of my father’s power. Nobody seeing the court assembled here at my father’s invitation, bowing as low to him as if he were a king when he walks through the beautiful galleries of Calais Castle, set in the fortress town that he has held for England for years, can doubt for a moment that here is a power equal to the King of England, perhaps even greater than the King of England. If Edward chooses to ignore my father’s advice he can consider that there are many who think that my father is the better man; certainly he is a richer man with a bigger army. And now here is the king’s brother, forbidden to marry, but freely taking my sister’s hand in his own, smiling at her with his blond easy charm, and pledging himself.
Image: Richard Neville Earl of Warwick signature