Born on 3 May 1415, Cecily Neville was to become the wife of Richard 3rd Duke of York. She lived throughout the whole course of the Wars of the Roses, into the Tudor regime.
Royal lineage of Cecily Neville
Cecily’s lineage was significant. She was a great-granddaughter of King Edward III, being John of Gaunt’s granddaughter through both maternal and paternal lines. This tied her through blood to the royal House of Lancaster.
Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother of Yorkist and Tudor Kings and Queens
Cecily was to become the mother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III, grandmother to Edward V and Elizabeth of York and great grandmother of King Henry VIII.
Cecily spent much of her married life overseas, moving to occupied France during Richard’s posting there as Lieutenant and later to Dublin when Richard was the Lieutenant of Ireland. During the Wars of the Roses Cecily Neville firstly remained at Ludlow Castle, including periods when her husband and kin were forced to flee to Ireland or Calais. During the reign if her son, Edward IV, Cecily Neville moved to Baynard Castle in London, which then became the de facto headquarters of the Yorkist establishment.
Treatment of Cecily, Ducheds of York, as the tide of war changed
Her life and how she was treated by the various monarchs as the wars of the roses ebbed and flowed provide an insight into how women of noble birth were viewed at court. When her husband was killed at Wakefield and posthumously attained, she was awarded an income of 1000 marks a year.
As would be expected, her sons provided for her upkeep once they were in power, with Edward granting her lands and income worth 5000 marks as early as June of 1461. Henry Tudor too provided for the Yorkist matriarch quite handsomely, ensuring that arrears of monies due to her were paid and extending licences for her to export wool.
Cecily Neville: Image Credits
Featured image: Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, as imagined by Edward Harding in 1792. National Portrait Gallery via Wikipedia.
Detail from the 15th century Neville Book of Hours showing Cecily Neville, Duchess of York; the rest of the image shows her mother, Joan Beaufort, along with her family. Via Wikpedia.