Series in which historian and author Helen Castor explores how the people of the Middle Ages handled the most fundamental moments of transition in life - birth, marriage and death.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death - Elizabeth Woodville - Netflix
Elizabeth Woodville (also spelled Wydville, Wydeville, or Widvile) (c. 1437 – 8 June 1492) was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. At the time of her birth, her family was mid-ranked in the English aristocracy. Her first marriage was to a minor supporter of the House of Lancaster, Sir John Grey of Groby; he died at the Second Battle of St Albans, leaving Elizabeth a widowed mother of two sons. Her second marriage, to Edward IV, was a cause célèbre of the day, thanks to Elizabeth's great beauty and lack of great estates. Edward was the first king of England since the Norman Conquest to marry one of his subjects, and Elizabeth was the first such consort to be crowned queen. Her marriage greatly enriched her siblings and children, but their advancement incurred the hostility of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, 'The Kingmaker', and his various alliances with the most senior figures in the increasingly divided royal family. This hostility turned into open discord between King Edward and Warwick, leading to a battle of wills that finally resulted in Warwick switching allegiance to the Lancastrian cause. Elizabeth remained politically influential even after her son, briefly proclaimed King Edward V of England, was deposed by her brother-in-law, Richard III, and she would play an important role in securing the accession of Henry VII to the throne in 1485, which ended the Wars of the Roses. After 1485, however, she was forced to yield pre-eminence to Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and her influence on events in these years, and her eventual departure from court into retirement, remains obscure.
Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death - Early life and first marriage - Netflix
Elizabeth Woodville was born about 1437, possibly in October, at Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire. She was the first-born child of a socially unequal marriage between Sir Richard Woodville and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, which briefly scandalised the English court. The Woodvilles, though an old and respectable family, were genteel rather than noble, a landed and wealthy family that had previously produced commissioners of the peace, sheriffs, and MPs rather than peers of the realm; Elizabeth's mother, on the other hand, was the widow of the Duke of Bedford, uncle of King Henry VI of England. In about 1452, Elizabeth Woodville married Sir John Grey of Groby, the heir to the Barony Ferrers of Groby. He was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans in 1461, fighting for the Lancastrian cause. This would become a source of irony, since Elizabeth's future husband Edward IV was the Yorkist claimant to the throne. Elizabeth Woodville's two sons from this first marriage were Thomas (later Marquess of Dorset) and Richard. Elizabeth Woodville was called “the most beautiful woman in the Island of Britain” with “heavy-lidded eyes like those of a dragon.”
Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death - References - Netflix