The 23rd of November marked the death dates of two of the prominent York family, eight years apart.
The first, Margaret of Burgundy died in 1503, to the relief of her great enemy, Henry VII.
She was sister to King Richard III whom Henry Tudor had killed in order to take the English throne, she had aimed to be as big a pain in the ass to the Tudors from then on !!
When the attempted coup began in England with a young boy at the head, who claimed to be the Earl of Warwick, son of Margaret’s other brother George of Clarence, her opportunity to try and wreck revenge on Henry Tudor came. She sent money to the rebels, encouraging them onwards in their travails.
Unfortunately, Tudor had the said Earl in imprisonment in the Tower of London, so brought him out to show to the nobles and disprove the young boy’s claims. The boy was found to be a young man called Lambert Simnel, who had been chosen to head the coup as he bore a slight similarity to the late Duke.
As both Clarence and his brother Edward IV were well known for their whoring, there is a slim chance that this boy was a son of one of them, but a baseborn one.
Tudor was fair on the boy, who had been pushed into performing the role, and gave him a job in the royal kitchens. Maybe he also suspected a royal bastard and preferred to keep him close, rather than loose in the country!
So Margaret had been beaten this time, she must have been seething. It was not too long before another opportunity came along, in the shape of a boy who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, the younger of the famous ‘princes in the tower’.
There is debate over whether he could have been the true prince. The only surviving drawing of him does bear a striking similarity to Edward IV, and the Scottish King believed in him enough to allow a wedding between him and James’ niece.
Margaret declared this was truly her nephew and sent messages to the nobles and monarchs on the continent and in Ireland, where she gained much support for him. He travelled to Ireland and was crowned as Richard IV, though support in England was still weak at this time.
This claimant to the crown obviously worried Tudor more, as we are told that noone knew what had actually happened to the two boys of Edward IV. That is a story for another time !!
Eventually the boy came to England and was beaten by Tudor and his supporters. I do feel it worth saying though, that Tudor would not allow his wife to meet with the boy. Surely as his sister, she could have disproved his claim immediately upon meeting him. Or did Tudor think this truly was his brother in law??
The boy was claimed to be a french born person called Perkin Warbeck, who was later executed by Tudor on what some think are trumped up claims, along with the Earl of Warwick, who had spent most of his life imprisoned in the Tower.
Her other life, as the Duchess of Burgundy was equally as interesting. She was married to Charles of Burgundy, essentially for the good of her brother Edward, but unfotunately he died before they had any children. There was a daughter from his first marriage, Mary, who became his heir and Margaret as the Duchess became her guardian.
They are said to have been very close, and Margaret helped her step daughter to make a good marriage. She is said to have been an intelligent woman and a capable guardian and Duchess.
She died in 1503.
Eight years later, her niece Anne would follow her to the grave on the same day.
She had a much less exciting life than her aunt.
Born as the fifth daughter of King Edward IV, she was always destined to be married off to some Duke or Earl that would benefit the crown.
Her marriage was agreed during the reign of Edward’s brother Richard III, but did not actually happen until his sucessor had taken the throne. The Howards were a prominent family in the realm, and she was married to one Thomas Howard who would later become Earl of Surrey and Duke of Norfolk.
There were two known issue from the marriage, a Thomas Howard and a stillborn child, with the possibility of more unrecorded pregnancies. Unfortunately this young Thomas Howard did not outlive his parents.
She died at the tender age of only 36, possibly from pregnancy complications. Before her death, she served her sister Elizabeth of York as Lady in waiting when she became Queen to Henry Tudor. She is also known to have taken part in the christenings of both Prince Arthur and Princess Margaret.
It is merely a coincidence that these two women of the York family both died on 23rd November, though some members of the family may have thought of it as a cruel twist of fate, especially after all of the losses that this family faced in their time in the spotlight.
There is no record of how close this aunt and niece were in their lifetimes, but I always like to think that when a person dies, a member of their family welcome them to whatever afterlife there is. I wonder if Margaret welcomed her niece?