The Real White Queen and Her Rivals (2013) s01e01 Episode Script

Part 1

July 6th, 1483, and Westminster Abbey was packed tight for the coronation of one of England's most controversial kings, Richard III.
His name and the battles of his violent era are familiar parts of our history.
Towton, Bosworth, the Wars of the Roses when the rivalry between two great dynasties tore the nobility apart.
But my story is not about kings and their great power struggles, it's about the remarkable women whose stories have been hidden by these tales of conflicts and alliances.
Almost by accident, I have spent my working life researching and writing the secret histories of virtually unknown women who appear as the wife or mother of a more famous man.
Three of them in particular have fascinated me for years.
They are at the heart of our story.
And on the day that Richard was crowned, they could all be found here in Westminster.
The first is Anne Neville.
At this extravagant ceremony, she was transformed into the leading woman in the realm.
As Richard's wife, she was the new queen.
She brought with her the love and loyalty of the north of England.
She was so important that Richard honoured her with a joint coronation.
As the daughter of the most powerful noble in the realm, Anne was destined for greatness from birth.
And by her side was another extraordinary woman.
Dressed in scarlet, carrying the queen's train was Margaret Beaufort, the second most important woman in the country.
She had deliberately placed herself at the heart of this new court.
Margaret's ambitions were bound up with her only son, Henry Tudor.
Never far from the centre of power, the Margaret I know was a skilled politician who believed herself guided by God.
And out of sight at this great occasion was the third woman.
Hidden in the sanctuary of the abbey in fear of her life was Elizabeth Woodville the former Queen of England and Richard's declared enemy.
She had risen the furthest and fallen the hardest.
Elizabeth was the commoner queen.
An English beauty who enchanted a king.
This is my chronicle of these three women.
The former queen, the new queen and the woman who planned to be greater than them both.
We call this conflict the Wars of the Roses, but they called it the Cousins' War.
A war between kin, not countries.
And that is why the women really matter.
They had to survive a violent family feud and utterly ruthless men.
But women were actors on their own account, capable of fierce loyalty and shocking treachery.
Living in a world where women's roles were strictly limited and their behaviour judged as good or bad by a misogynistic church, they had to exercise their power in hiding.
In a time of bloodshed, these three tenacious women would become canny allies and grow into calculating adversaries.
Here in windswept Wales, 30 years before the Cousins' War met its bloody climax, a fragile 12-year-old girl was facing a new life, a new home and a new husband.
A man twice her age who she barely knew.
Margaret Beaufort was an heiress to valuable lands, but that gave her no power over her own life.
Margaret would have known that as a young woman from a noble family, she would never have had any choice over her husband.
She probably would not even have been consulted.
The medieval marriage was to forge family alliances.
It was nothing to do with love.
With no control over her own destiny, Margaret turned to God at a young age.
Later in her life, this devotion would earn her respect and status.
But as a child, Margaret's fate had been decided by no less than the King of England, Henry VI.
He had given her in marriage to his half-brother, Edmund Tudor.
The aristocracy in the late Middle Ages were a social and political elite.
And they were always seeking to increase their landholdings and increase their status.
So they did this by securing desirable marriages to other aristocratic families.
Margaret Beaufort was a very desirable commodity in the late medieval marriage market.
Margaret and all her possessions were transferred to Edmund Tudor and she was brought here, to his estates in Wales.
At 12 years old, Margaret was old enough to marry, but she was small for her age and still a little girl.
Even her contemporaries would have thought that she was too young and too physically undeveloped for the marriage to be consummated.
Her 24-year-old husband had different ideas.
He wanted a son to inherit his property and title and would not delay.
He took young Margaret into the marital bed and just months after marrying Edmund Tudor, Margaret was pregnant.
Even by the standard of the time, this was a selfish, brutal act.
But Edmund was so determined to secure Margaret's estates and the all-important heir, that he risked both her life and that of the unborn child.
Margaret might have been forgiven for cursing the man who had ordered her into this frightening life, but she didn't.
She remained fiercely loyal to Henry VI, the King, who was now her brother-in-law.
Henry VI had reigned for over 30 years.
He sat on the throne alongside his wife, the formidable Margaret of Anjou, not only as ruler of England, but as head of a great dynasty, the House of Lancaster.
But Henry's reign was troubled.
His nobles thought him feeble and unstable.
His weakness encouraged disagreement at the highest levels of English society.
And strengthened the ambitions of another English noble line, the House of York.
Lancaster against York would scar England for decades to follow.
And overshadow the lives of our three young women, Margaret Beaufort, Anne Neville and Elizabeth Woodville.
Safely distant from the troubled royal court, leading the quiet life of an English country lady, was the beautiful wife of a mid-ranking English knight.
Elizabeth Woodville was a mother of two boys living in rural Leicestershire, but her family was extraordinarily well connected.
Elizabeth's parents were leading lights at the court of Henry VI because her mother, Jacquetta, was born into the Royal House of Luxembourg, an ancient European family who could trace their lineage back through recorded history into myth.
The family seat was a fairytale castle that dominated the roads and rivers between France, Germany and the Low Countries.
And as a child, Elizabeth must have heard the whole family story from her mother, Jacquetta.
A story wrapped in magic and mystery.
Jacquetta's ancestor, Count Siegfried, was said to have married a water goddess, Melusina, a being half-woman, half-fish, rather like a mermaid.
She made the family castle of Luxembourg magically appear on her wedding night.
And their marriage was a happy one, until the count broke his vow of giving her absolute privacy once a month, and she flew away with her daughters and was never seen again.
This was an age when people believed in the power of the supernatural.
Their connection with the water witch would have given the Woodville women a strange and mysterious allure.
But more vital than their European heritage were their English allegiances.
Known as the Rivers Family, they were Lancastrian loyalists, steadfast followers of the king, Henry VI.
So when the tension between the houses of Lancaster and York broke into open conflict, they were quick to rally to Henry's cause.
The men in Elizabeth's family all readied themselves for war against the Yorkist rebels.
The House of York had a new young champion and claimant to the throne, Edward of York.
His family had long coveted the kingdom, and in 1461, he was ready to fight for the prize.
The noble families of England were divided behind the banners of York and Lancaster.
But one family would matter more than any other in this great struggle.
The family of Anne Neville.
Her childhood was one of opulence and privilege beyond the dreams of anyone else in the country.
She was the youngest daughter of Richard Neville, the wealthiest noble in England, with a fortune that put him at the centre of English power politics.
Anne was born here, in Warwick Castle, the main powerbase of her spectacular father, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick.
He was, without question, the supreme noble in England, and starting to be thought of as greater than the king himself.
Warwick controlled lands from the south of England all the way up to the border with Scotland.
Mostly concentrated in the north and the Midlands, but there were some quite powerful estates down in the south, too.
So, effectively, you could draw a line from London to Berwick, which would always go through lands owned by him.
Warwick's standard, the bear and ragged staff, would have been known to almost everyone in the country.
A symbol of his unrivalled power and influence.
Effectively, the Neville family were princes in their own kingdom.
They could raise armies, they could fight their own private wars.
They effectively owned the lives of the men who lived and worked on their lands.
So they had enormous influence, and especially in the north country, which was outside of the diaspora of royal power, they were the rulers.
For young Anne, it all meant a gilded life, but there was a price to be paid for luxury and security.
She may have been his daughter, but for Warwick, she was also a valuable piece to be played in the complex game of aristocratic alliance.
Anne had no brothers.
She and her sister would inherit everything.
Even when they were tiny, the entire nobility could see their unequalled marriage potential and eyed them up as valuable wives for their sons.
Anne was one of the two most desirable heiresses in England.
And making a good marriage alliance for her was one of the principal political decisions for Warwick.
He had aspirations to be as close as possible to the throne.
And in an age when all politics was family politics, dynastic politics, it was clear that his two young daughters were going to be very important parts of that strategy.
But right now, the Earl of Warwick was engaged in a different strategy, how to topple a king.
His sympathies and ties were with the House of York.
And he threw his considerable powerbase behind Edward, backing his challenge against the Lancastrian King Henry VI.
War was now inescapable.
And taking sides, as the violence escalated, were our three young women.
Anne Neville, daughter of the mighty Earl of Warwick and Elizabeth Woodville, the beautiful young wife of a Lancastrian knight, each had a life-changing stake in the outcome of these troubles.
For Margaret Beaufort, the pious child bride, life had taken a menacing turn.
A long way from family and friends and with war looming, Margaret Beaufort had endured terrible suffering.
The husband who had forced her into pregnancy was dead.
A victim of the plague.
And she had another great burden.
Aged 13, she was now a mother.
In the cold gloom of Pembroke Castle, Margaret had faced the most dangerous moment of any medieval woman's life, the ordeal of childbirth.
Childbirth was much more dangerous in the 15th century than it is now.
We estimate that about one in ten women died in childbirth.
There was nothing they could do about very common complications like eclampsia and haemorrhaging.
If you haemorrhaged, you died.
If the baby got stuck in the birth canal or was a breech presentation, there was almost nothing they could do.
They could do a caesarean, but only after the mother had died because they understood that it would be fatal.
So if you think about the number of things we've got an answer to now, and think about the fact that they didn't have any answer to them then, you can understand what a dreadfully frightening experience it would have been for women.
Margaret would have been acutely aware of the fatal dangers facing her as she went into labour.
And because of her size, she was greatly at risk.
The birth was long and difficult.
Both she and the baby were expected to die.
Margaret, small, still a child herself, was probably permanently physically damaged.
She would never bear another child.
Against all the odds, Margaret survived this agonising childbirth and delivered a son.
Unusually, she didn't christen him for his father, but chose instead a royal name.
She called him Henry, after the child's uncle, the king, who Margaret revered as a saint.
Perhaps she felt as she emerged from the ordeal of childbirth, that this baby who had caused her so much pain was destined for greatness.
Why did this vulnerable young woman have such a determined belief that she and her child could rise so far? Her background was noble, but tainted.
Just like the king, she was descended from Edward III through his third surviving son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
But there was one major difference between her and Henry VI.
The Beaufort line was a bastard line.
Like many men of the time, John of Gaunt fathered illegitimate children.
Unusually, he later married his mistress and had his bastards legitimised by an Act of Parliament.
But it was clearly agreed, the Beaufort line could never take the throne.
So the Beauforts were of the Royal Family, but also not of the Royal Family.
And from a Beaufort point of view, I think that must have really rankled.
They would have seen that as a considerable injustice.
That we've been legitimated, we're part of the Royal Family, we're very, very close to the Royal Family, so why are we being excluded from succession to the throne? Bastards or not, Margaret knew she was close to the throne.
But she saved her greatest ambitions, however unlikely, for the son that she insisted would carry the royal name, Henry.
As the war between the cousins started, our women stood on different sides of the conflict.
For the House of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort remained devoted to Henry VI.
The family of Elizabeth Woodville were also aligned with King Henry as he stood against the Yorkist Edward's forces.
But on the other side of the conflict was Anne Neville.
Her father, the Earl of Warwick was Edward of York's main ally.
All three women had to watch anxiously as the war that was going to determine the rest of their lives escalated from early skirmishes to its pivotal moment.
Edward quickly gathered all his forces together and they met on the battlefield of Towton in South Yorkshire.
And Towton was the bloodiest battle of the civil wars, of the whole of the Wars of the Roses.
The Lancastrians and Yorkists probably put between 20,000 and 30,000 men in the field.
Significantly, most of the English nobility was present at Towton.
That's what really singles out Towton as a very special battle.
This was the battle that was going to decide the Wars of the Roses.
The Earl of Warwick had attracted the best soldiers and gunners to the Yorkist banner, greatly boosting their chances of success.
Edward, who had been Warwick's military pupil, fought, as always, in the middle of his men.
And he was a fantastic symbolic figure.
Tall, very good looking.
And he fought with an axe, with his standard behind him.
A really inspiring figure to his troops.
There was a high death rate, although no-one knows exactly what the death rate was, but the word went round 25,000 people died in the battle.
Almost every great northern family lost a son.
It was said that all the fields from Tadcaster to Towton, a distance of more than two miles, were filled with the bodies of dead men.
It was a bloody, but decisive victory for Edward.
Towton was the moment, the battle that secured Edward on the throne.
It established the House of York.
The slaughter at Towton toppled the House of Lancaster and King Henry.
He fled into exile with his wife and son.
But England had not heard the last of him or his cause.
Young Edward of York was triumphantly crowned Edward VI.
And our three young women experienced dramatic upheaval.
Anne Neville's status rose with that of her powerful father, Warwick.
He had made Edward's victory possible and people now called him the Kingmaker.
Anne's good fortune was in sharp contrast to the new life facing Elizabeth Woodville.
Her side had lost and her husband had died fighting for the Lancastrian cause.
It was a terrible blow for Elizabeth.
She had lost her husband and she was now a widow with two little boys.
To make matters worse, her mother-in-law was refusing to pay her the allowance that she was owed under her marriage contract.
With no source of income, Elizabeth's future looked bleak.
Also facing anxious times was the 17-year-old Margaret Beaufort.
The king she worshipped almost as a saint had been deposed.
Many of her family and allies were dead.
Even worse, the future for the son she adored looked uncertain.
The new king would control the destiny of wealthy, young, fatherless heirs.
And Henry Tudor was a valuable prize.
If a boy's father was dead, then care and custody of him, guardianship if you like, wardship, could be given or sold, because again, this was big business, to another noble.
The noble would then be able to administer the boy's lands and also to dispose of him in marriage, which could be an advantageous business.
In return, he was supposed to protect the boy's interests and teach him everything he should know.
See that he was taught a certain amount of book learning, perhaps, everything to do with the estate, but also, and most importantly, the art of war.
Margaret Beaufort was powerless to prevent her son Henry from being moved into the home of one of the York King Edward's strongest supporters, the experienced soldier, William, Lord Herbert.
In Herbert's household, Henry would have been given a basic military training.
And we know that certainly from the age of nine, if not earlier, there was a regular exercise routine where these children were drilled, first of all with wooden toy replica, umspears, swords, shields, and then the real thing.
From now on, if Margaret wanted to see Henry, she would have to make the long journey to Raglan Lord Herbert's magnificent castle in Wales.
And she would have to accept hospitality from a Yorkist.
Although wardship was a normal part of medieval aristocratic life, Margaret must have found it very hard to bear.
Her son had been taken from her and placed with her enemy and there was nothing she could do about it.
But in taking Henry out of Margaret's hands and putting him with one of his favourites, the king had merely underlined how important he was.
We know that Margaret visited Henry at least once.
She stayed with her son in Raglan Castle for about a week before she had to face the pain of separation once again.
I think it did affect her very strongly.
He was her only child, she was not able to have another one.
And their relationship had been forged in this time of terrible danger.
First of all, she'd learned that her husband had succumbed to the plague, she was alone and vulnerable, and that gave an intensity to their relationship.
And I think when they were separated, it impacted on her a lot.
It must have been terribly hard for Margaret to leave her son in the hands of the enemy, even if she knew that he was being raised as a nobleman in the house of a favourite of the king.
Worse for her must have been the fear that the Yorks would be turning him to their side, That the boy she had named for the Lancastrian king was becoming a Yorkist.
Margaret had dreams for her son that could only be realised through years of patient scheming.
But immediate action was needed to save the children of the widow Elizabeth Woodville.
Her husband was dead, she had no source of income and she and her boys were facing ruin.
To save her family, she was forced to turn to the man who had brought this misery on them.
Edward, the newly-crowned king.
According to the traditional story, Elizabeth waited for Edward under an oak tree with her two fatherless boys.
When the king appeared, she stepped forward and begged him to help her.
Edward, a notorious womaniser, was so struck by Elizabeth's beauty that he fell for her at once.
Edward did just fall hard for Elizabeth.
It was love or lust, whichever way you care to look at it.
She was beautiful, all reports say, and in the way that the age most admired.
I mean, the age admired a willowy figure, golden hair, white skin, perhaps grey or blue eyes.
Apparently powerless, without friends or family who could help her, Elizabeth's situation had seemed hopeless.
But she still had one powerful tool available to her.
In many ways, Elizabeth was trading her beauty, her sexual appeal, for great position.
And good on her, really.
Because a women didn't necessary have very many weapons in the 15th century.
And if she was going to try and carve her own place in the world, her looks and her allure were really one of the strongest tools she had.
The young king may have assumed that he could have a secret affair.
He'd had many lovers.
Other women were happy to be his mistress.
It was said that he went for women of all sorts.
Noble, lowly, married, unmarried.
I mean, the Chronicler does say, rather nicely, with, you know, some admiration, that nonetheless, he overcame none by force.
He did all by, you know, money and promises.
But that having won them, he then dismissed them.
Elizabeth resisted Edward's advances.
Chroniclers at the time reported that she was so determined, she held him off with his own dagger.
There's stories that he held a knife to her throat, that she held a knife to his throat, but that either way, she said if she was too low to be his wife, she was too high to be his concubine.
And that might have appealed to Edward.
In Elizabeth, he'd met a woman who was not prepared to be dismissed.
Elizabeth left the completely love-struck king with only one option.
One morning, he rode to the Rivers' home for a secret ceremony that would change the fortunes of the House of York and of the nation.
According to chroniclers, Jacquetta was the only family member present when Edward and Elizabeth were married on May Day.
A day for lust, for love and for the celebration of life.
The marriage was consummated immediately.
For the next few weeks, the handsome young king of the House of York was creeping every night into a staunchly Lancastrian home to be with his bride.
Elizabeth's mother must have encouraged this secret passion because she knew that their marriage could reap enormous benefits for the Woodville family and pave the way to Elizabeth's role as the first woman of England.
If Edward could keep his throne, she would be queen.
But Elizabeth's new husband, the king, had underestimated the outrage his marriage would cause.
Especially amongst powerful nobles like the Earl of Warwick.
When the news escaped, when Edward told the council, they and his family were absolutely horrified.
Kings were supposed to make a big public marriage with a foreign princess for the advantage of the country, not make a love match.
And indeed, it was even said that Edward was proving himself to be no true monarch in doing something so undignified and extraordinary.
In the eyes of the English nobility, she was wrong on practically every count.
The fact she was a widow really meant she was tarnished by this previous relationship.
They did call her a bigamist.
And the fact that she had children by this previous marriage made it considerably worse.
She was so much the wrong person for him to have married.
Edward's choice of bride was not just scandalous, it was deeply offensive to the man who had made him king, Warwick the Kingmaker.
For a start, Elizabeth Woodville's family had been traditional Lancastrians, so what was a Yorkist king doing marrying her? For another, Warwick was in the middle of negotiating a diplomatic, advantageous, continental alliance for Edward.
So he looked a fool when he was suddenly told, no, no, Edward was married already.
Edward had forgotten his duties as king and recklessly chosen his own bride for no other reason than blind love.
Or was it even worse than love? No other English king had married for love before.
Was young Edward in the grip of intemperate lust? Suspicious rumours began to circulate that would have dangerous repercussions.
Perhaps some malign influence was at work.
Some people even suggested Edward had been seduced by witchcraft.
Belief in witchcraft was universal in the 15th century.
In the power of spells, incantations, charms and herbs.
What's more, it was one of the few accusations from which even royal rank couldn't protect a woman.
There'd already been, in that century, two royal women imprisoned for it.
But the enchanted Edward was sure of his choice.
And Elizabeth's transformation was complete.
From obscure country lady, she had emerged as the new Queen of England.
And in May 1465, Edward officially confirmed her status with a highly glamorous and lavish ceremony in Westminster Abbey.
Elizabeth entered the abbey barefoot, dressed in purple, followed by the lords and ladies of the court.
She passed through the choir, knelt and prostrated herself before the high altar while the archbishop conducted the service, anointing her on her forehead and her breast.
Then, after receiving the coronation ring on her finger and the crown on her head, she was solemnly led to the throne itself.
In the magnificent abbey, Edward paraded his new queen in a dazzling show attended by the most important nobles of Europe.
The public spectacle of her coronation could not have been more unlike the secret wedding at the Rivers' family home.
That had been a private, personal affair.
This was a matter of international politics.
As Queen of England, Elizabeth Woodville was the first of our women to win the highest position in the realm.
Margaret Beaufort seemed further from achieving her aspirations than ever before.
And Anne Neville had seen her father the Kingmaker sidelined by the new king.
But he wouldn't take this treatment lightly.
He was still the richest noble in the land.
And he set out to prove it, with flamboyant demonstrations of his wealth.
Entertaining, giving large banquets and parties was a way of showing off your wealth, your power and also of networking.
So, Warwick, yes, he did entertain lavishly, he did give very large parties and even as he moved about the countryside, he would have a large retinue of men at arms, he would have his banners, his emblems with him, so that every stage of his life was a carefully choreographed ballet to manifest his power upon the world.
When his brother was promoted to Archbishop of York, the second most powerful position in the church, Warwick the Kingmaker threw an enormous feast.
We have the menu of the feast and it shows that the Nevilles would go to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate their wealth.
The feast lasted several days and 2,000 guests drank their way through 25,000 gallons of wine and ate, among other things, 4,000 mallard and 500 buck and stag.
One table at this great Neville dinner was reserved for the young people, the royal kinsmen and women of the House of York.
Seated together, with some ladies of the royal court, were Anne Neville and Richard of Gloucester, the king's younger brother.
She was nine and he was thirteen.
And he was invited to the feast because he was her father's ward.
So Anne and Richard were growing up in the same household.
It was a mark of Anne's high status that she was living under the same roof as the king of England's own brother.
The boy who would become Richard III.
Anne Neville was brought up, if not to think of herself quite as a princess, then certainly something close to it.
She knew that her father had great wealth, great influence and very important political connections and I think this must have informed her sense of self, of who she was and what her expectations of her life might be.
Anne's father, Warwick the Kingmaker, was becoming more and more resentful of the new Queen of England, the former loyal Lancastrian and commoner Elizabeth Woodville.
As Queen, Elizabeth could use pillow talk to influence her husband the king.
And this was of huge benefit to her family.
She had five brothers and seven sisters who were found excellent marriages and great positions in the realm.
The Woodvilles were a large, extensive, enthusiastic and some said rapacious family, who very quickly began snapping up the available positions, awards, heirs to marry.
It did look to their enemies as though the Woodvilles were staging a takeover of the country.
But not even the Earl of Warwick could deny that in her most important duty to king and country, Elizabeth exceeded expectations.
As Queen, Elizabeth's main job was to produce heirs.
Making the dynasty secure and proving that it was blessed by God.
Elizabeth was expected to be fertile, and she didn't disappoint.
Within the first five years of her marriage to Edward, she gave birth to three daughters.
The birth of royal heirs was attended by much ritual and superstition.
Each time Elizabeth had a baby, she had to follow a strict protocol.
When the queen was expecting to give birth, she would effectively retire from the court.
There would be a ceremonial mass that was attended by a lot of people as a farewell, and then she retired into a suite of rooms that had been specially prepared for her.
At this point, women of her household would take on roles that had previously been fulfilled by men, and deliver what was needed.
The queen passed the last few weeks of her pregnancy served exclusively by women.
There's a wonderful description of the inner sanctum, the room where she was actually going to give birth.
It's very dark and warm.
There's got to be carpets on the floor, on the ceiling and the walls, it's got to be blue with fleur-de-lis.
Blue, of course was the colour of the Virgin Mary and so, fleur-de-lis was her symbol, so it's connecting in with this.
There's a sumptuous main bed, which the bedspread would be edged in velvet and ermine, but then, there was a pallet bed, which had a big canopy over it in crimson with gold crowns all over it.
After giving birth, the Queen was expected to rest for two months before she ceremoniously re-entered public life.
There was a long procession to the chapel and that's where she would be churched, the ceremony of purifying, which had a bishop putting holy water over her and then, after that, they went in for mass.
All of this ritual was designed to celebrate the arrival of what might be the future king.
For Edward, a usurper of the throne, these customs were a very public way to reaffirm his dynasty.
This contemporary image of Elizabeth with her three daughters is not just a reminder of her fertility.
It demonstrates how unusual she was as a royal, medieval mother.
She has her children by her side.
She didn't farm them out to aristocratic connections, as other high-status mothers did.
She kept them by her.
She was a devoted mother in a way that we can understand today.
But she had failed in one key duty - Elizabeth hadn't yet produced the all-important son and heir.
And as each daughter arrived, the Earl of Warwick's resentment grew.
Eight years after putting Edward on the throne, Warwick the Kingmaker could no longer tolerate the grasping Rivers family and his relationship with Edward collapsed completely.
Warwick was deeply resentful that he had been replaced in the central councils of the King, indeed as the most principal supporter and subjectminister of the crown, by, in particular, Earl Rivers, Queen Elizabeth Woodville's father.
The Kingmaker began to enact his rebellion.
Against the King's wishes, he married his eldest daughter to the King's brother, George, Duke of Clarence, cementing a dangerous alliance in opposition to Edward.
Together, Warwick and George issued a proclamation against certain "seditious persons" in court.
Warwick the Kingmaker declared that the King was being misled by these evil ministers, the government of the kingdom was falling into rack and ruin and he, Warwick the Kingmaker, was going to put it right.
After eight peaceful years in England, war was looming once more.
Having installed Edward on the throne, Anne Neville's all-powerful father now set out to remove him and seize control.
When the Kingmaker took up arms against the King at Edgecote Moor, England was pitched into the most unstable time in its history.
Once again, the families of these three women went to war.
Anne Neville saw her father boldly turn against the King he'd once served.
Elizabeth Woodville was about to pay an awful price for her meteoric rise to power.
And Margaret Beaufort's adored son, who had been growing up in the house of a Yorkist noble, was about to come under terrible threat.
On the eve of battle, Margaret would have been at her home, praying for a York defeat.
But her loyalties would have been divided, because fighting for the enemy was her 12-year-old son Henry.
He'd been led into his first battle by his guardian, the Yorkist commander William Herbert.
Margaret must have been beside herself, praying for a York defeat, hoping for the safety of her son.
The battle was a disaster for York.
Henry's protector, William Herbert, suffered an awful fate.
He was overwhelmed by rebels, dragged away and executed by Warwick the Kingmaker.
The boy, Henry, who must have seen all this happen, was abandoned on the battlefield.
Margaret sent out frantic messages to try and find out what had happened to her son.
She must have feared he was captured or dead.
But the boy had been escorted from the battlefield in a state of terror.
He and Herbert's widow had found safety in a house nearby.
Margaret sent a party of trusted servants to find him and generously rewarded those who had saved her son.
For Henry himself, she sent a gift, a reminder of his inescapable destiny - a bow and arrows.
Without her son, Margaret's ambitions would come to nothing and this battle had come close to taking him from her.
But Elizabeth Woodville would suffer devastating, permanent loss with Warwick the Kingmaker's victory.
Warwick's triumph meant that he became England's ruler.
He captured Elizabeth's husband, the King, and imprisoned him in his castle.
But his treatment of the Woodville family was much more savage.
He seized the Queen's father and brother and, without trial or charge, had them beheaded.
This was an act of pure revenge, driven by hatred and jealousy.
Having dealt with the men of the family, Warwick turned his attention to the matriarch - Jacquetta.
He sent an armed guard to snatch her from her home and imprisoned her here, in Warwick Castle.
Grief-stricken, having just lost her husband and her son, Jacquetta now faced their murderer as he accused her of a crime punishable by death.
Capitalising on rumours circulating from the marriage of King Edward and Elizabeth, Warwick claimed that Jacquetta had used magic to bewitch the King into marrying her daughter.
Witchcraft in the 15th century is the ability to influence what happens to another person either by making them sick, making them love you or hate you, making them lucky or unlucky by cursing them.
Fear of the power of the witch tapped into fear of woman's power in general.
I mean, a witch could be this old crone over a cauldron, but she could also be young and beautiful, wielding a dangerous sexual magic and, of course, that very much ties in all too neatly with the story of Elizabeth Woodville's marriage and how it was made.
Jacquetta's fate was in the hands of her sworn enemy and the murderer of her husband and son.
As she waited in this castle, the odds were stacked against her.
One word from the Earl of Warwick was enough to condemn her to death by strangulation.
Warwick didn't just want Jacquetta dead, he wanted to prove her malign influence on the young King and he staged a full show trial with witnesses.
He even produced two little figures - one representing the King and one the Queen, which he claimed Jacquetta had bound together "with witchcraft and sorcery.
" But, incredibly, Jacquetta escaped her punishment.
The Kingmaker realised he had over-reached himself.
He didn't have the support of England's political elite and he was forced to set the King free.
Edward intervened and cleared his mother-in-law's name, but the Kingmaker's accusations would have permanent consequences.
Jacquetta was publicly named as a witch, the royal wedding condemned as the product of witchcraft.
A slur was laid on Jacquetta, and on her daughter Elizabeth, that would follow them throughout their lives, even to the grave and beyond - into the records of history.
After a brief period of imprisonment, Edward IV was back in power.
In March 1470, he forced Warwick the Kingmaker and his own brother, George, Duke of Clarence, into exile as traitors.
The rebels took their wives and children and fled across the Channel.
Unable to find a safe port, they were nearly wrecked in stormy seas.
The Kingmaker's thirst for power had brought his family into terrible danger.
This was a far cry from Anne Neville's life of luxury in England.
They're really fleeing for their lives, and as this is happening, as if that wasn't traumatic enough, her sister Isabel has gone into premature labour with her first child.
There's no-one on the ship to help them, they've got no medicine, there is certainly no question of a doctor so the only people who would have been able to help Isabel were her mother, her sister, Anne, and their very few maids.
This must have been a terrifying experience for Anne, and a very traumatic one because Isabel, although she survived, lost her baby.
Anne's life of privilege was completely torn from her.
Her father, who had seemed invincible, had been defeated.
Her sister had lost the heir, they were in exile from their castles and lands, and there was no way of knowing how they would ever get back to England.
Having dragged his family into this situation, Warwick needed a drastic plan to save them.
And he found it.
He would switch sides and forge an alliance with his enemies in the House of Lancaster.
Warwick went to Margaret of Anjou - wife of the deposed Lancastrian king Henry VI - with an astounding proposal.
Warwick's strength was always as a diplomat.
He was brilliant at manipulating people, he was brilliant at making implausible alliances cement.
And the idea he came up with in France was absolutely preposterous! He planned to marry his younger daughter, Anne Neville, to Prince Edward, the son and heir of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou.
Warwick managed to convince Margaret that the only future for the Lancastrian cause lay in this marriage.
She didn't let him off lightly.
He had to grovel on his knees for a good 15 minutes, but Warwick pulls it off, this incredible, improbable alliance, and his daughter is betrothed to the Prince of Wales, which means, potentially, that she will be Queen of England.
It was an extraordinary turn of events.
Warwick was prepared to trade a lifetime of loyalty to York to see his daughter, Anne, on the Lancaster throne.
Of course, nobody thought to ask Anne's opinion of this plan.
It was not her choice.
Her marriage was the key to reversing her family's fortunes and saving the House of Lancaster.
The betrothal made, Anne's father left her in Normandy and returned to England, raising a huge army to destroy King Edward.
Edward is completely caught unawares.
It's one of those rare moments in Edward's career where he has been unable to second-guess his opponent.
Luck has run out for him, and faced with his inability to put an army together in a short period of time, he and his closest advisors decide that flight is really the only option.
Edward IV was forced to abandon his throne and the Yorkist cause, and flee England.
The Lancastrian king Henry VI was restored in his place.
With her husband on the run, Elizabeth Woodville, the former Queen of England, was now in grave danger.
Anne Neville's life had returned to its former glory.
Her father, the Kingmaker, was once again the most powerful noble in England.
For Margaret Beaufort, seeing her hero restored to the throne was reward for years of patient scheming.
When her husband Edward escaped abroad, Elizabeth Woodville was left powerless, with nowhere to turn.
Pregnant once again, she sought sanctuary with her mother and daughters in Westminster Abbey.
The concept of sanctuary was a kind of right of asylum, whereby if a fugitive won their way to a church or monastery or a place of sanctuary, they could claim that right and, for as long as they stayed there, the law couldn't touch them.
The authorities could not come in and haul them out by force so it gave, at the very least, a breathing space.
As a devout man, Henry VI would not breach Elizabeth's right to protection.
This must have been a terrible time for Elizabeth.
Her husband was far away, perhaps never to return, and she was entirely reliant on the kindness and generosity of the Abbey's staff.
Her only contact with the outside world were messages smuggled in by loyal Londoners.
And, in stark contrast to her previous royal births, she faced delivering this new baby in cramped, cold surroundings.
On November 2nd, 1470, in the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, with her mother and three young daughters present, Elizabeth Woodville gave birth to a boy - Edward IV's all-important male heir.
Elizabeth named him Edward, for his father, and had him baptised in the Abbey like a poor man's son, not like a future king for the House of York at all.
What should have been a moment of great rejoicing was actually a time of great anxiety.
What would the future hold for this little boy? But Elizabeth Woodville's anxiety for her child, the exiled King's son, was in stark opposition to the opportunities Margaret Beaufort now saw for her boy.
The child's uncle, the ailing king Henry VI, was back on the throne, and Margaret immediately arranged for the two to meet.
It was an encounter that would have lasting significance for the young mother.
Henry Tudor's official historian later reported that the frail king had met the boy and said, "This is he unto whom both we and our adversaryes must yeald "and geave of over the dominion.
"Yt woold come to passe that Henry Showld in time enjoy the kingdom.
" We know that they met, but this premonition was probably claimed by Margaret after the event.
She believed that her son was the Lancastrian king's rightful heir, and that one day, Henry Tudor would sit on the throne of England.
This was not yet Margaret's moment.
Her ambitions for her son could wait.
Her side, the House of Lancaster, was strengthened by a new alliance - the marriage between Anne Neville, the Kingmaker's daughter, and the king's son and heir, Edward Prince of Wales.
At this moment, it was Anne who seemed to have it all.
Her father's plan to put his daughter on the throne of England was coming together.
She was Princess of Wales, married to Henry VI's son, and if the king could just hold onto his crown, one day she would be queen of England.
Next time, Anne Neville emerges from the shadow of her Kingmaker father.
Elizabeth Woodville fights for survival.
And Margaret Beaufort sees her way clear to power.