Back to characters-

Richard Ist Earl of Rivers

1405 - 1469

Richard Woodville (1st Earl of Rivers)

Richard's father spent his days working as a chamberlain to the Duke of Bedford. When the duke died, Richard, who was famously good-looking, secretly married the widow of the duke, Jacquetta of Luxembourg. We know it was a secret marriage as when their marriage finally came to public notice, Jacquetta had to appeal to the king.

Richard was loyal to Henry VI in the early part of his reign, and was rewarded with a knighthood and then the title of Baron Rivers. Richard initially fought on the Lancastrian side during the Wars of the Roses. However, later he changed his allegiance to the Yorkist King Edward IV in 1464. Richard's switch to the Yorkists was consolidated when King Edward IV elevated him to Earl Rivers and assigned him to the position of Lord Treasurer. 

Following the marriage of Elizabeth to Edward IV, the power of the Woodville family increased dramatically to the frustration of the rest of the noble families of England.  As the wars of the roses unfolded, Richard was executed with his son John without charge after a battle led by Warwick at Edgecote Moor in 1469. 

From The White Queen 

My father is Sir Richard Woodville, Baron Rivers, an English nobleman, a landholder and a supporter of the true Kings of England, the Lancastrian line. 

I think of my father putting me on my first pony and telling me to lift up my chin and keep my hands down, to keep tight hold of the reins, to tell the pony who is master. I think of his cupping my mother's cheek in his hand and telling her that she is the cleverest woman in England and he will be guided by none but her; and then going his own way. I think of him falling in love with her when he was her first husband's squire and she should never have even looked at him. I think of him marrying her the moment she was widowed, in defiance of all the rules and them being called the handsomest couple in England, married for love which nobody but the two of them would have dared to do. 

Image: coat of arms, via Wikimedia Commons

Character features in: