The intended marriage of Richard duke of Gloucester to Anne Neville was far from straightforward. Anne had been married to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales and heir to the Lancastrian throne. She was also a daughter of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick who had rebelled against Edward IV. That rebellion had led to the Angers Agreement which saw Anne and the Lancastrian prince marry. At that time the duke of Clarence had been in concert with the Earl of Warwick and was complicit in the readeption of Henry VI. Additionally, George was married to the other daughter of the Earl of Warwick, Isabel Neville.
The death of the Earl of Warwick left the largest non Royal estates in England subject to inheritance. With the Countess still alive they could, in theory, remain in her charge. This could lead to some of the lands being settled upon a new husband at a future date. King Edward IV could also proceed with a posthumous attainder on the Earl. This was problematic as it would raise questions about the marriage of George duke of Clarence and any children from that marriage.
The proposed marriage of Richard duke of Gloucester to Anne Neville added another layer of complexity to the matter. And it angered George duke of Clarence. Clarence was eager to ensure that he inherited the Warwick estates. It would be hugely beneficial for him to do so, making him by far the richest person other than the king in the land. George attempted to control the situation. He arranged for Anne to be hidden from Richard duke of Gloucester. She was kept disguised as a cook in the bustling City of London.
When Richard discovered where his brother was hiding Anne Neville he rescued her and placed her into the safety of Sanctuary at St. Martin’s. The arguments that followed between the royal dukes required the intervention of King Edward IV. It saw a division of the deceased Earl’s lands between his two daughters. This frustrated George but made both of the dukes incredibly wealthy. In order to achieve this settlement, the Countess was treated as though she was dead.
Other relevant pages: Edward IV, Flight of Clarence and Warwick, Clarence becomes disillusioned, Battle of Empingham/ Losecote Field, Contemporary view on the readeption, Clarence, Gloucester and the marriage to Anne, Attainder of George Duke of Clarence, Trial and execution of George duke of Clarence.
Anne Neville, brief biography from another of my websites.
The Marriage of Richard duke of Gloucester and Anne Neville, from TudorBlogger.
Richard duke of Gloucester and Anne Neville
It is my intention here to insert an account of the dissentions which arose during this Michaelmas Term between the two brothers of the king already mentioned, and which were with difficulty quieted. After, as already stated, the son of king Henry, to whom the lady Anne, the youngest daughter of the earl of Warwick, had been married, was slain at the battle of Tewkesbury, Richard, duke of Gloucester sought the said Anne in marriage. This proposal, however, did not suit the views of his brother, the duke of Clarence, who had previously married the eldest daughter of the same earl. Such being the case, he caused the damsel to be concealed, in order that it might not be known by his brother where she was; as he was afraid of a division of the earls property, which he wished to come to himself alone in right of his wife, and not to be obliged to share it with any other person. Still however, the craftiness of the duke of Gloucester so far prevailed, that he discovered the young lady in the city of London disguised in the habit of a cookmaid; upon which he had her removed to the sanctuary of Saint Martin’s. In consequence of this, such violent dissensions arose between the brothers, and so many arguments were, with the greatest acuteness, put forward on either side, in the king’s presence, who sat in judgment in the council-chamber, that all present, and the lawyers even, were quite surprised that these princes should find arguments in such abundance by means of which to support their respective causes. In fact, these three brothers, the king and the two dukes, were possessed of such surpassing talents, that, if they had been able to live without dissensions, such a threefold cord could never have been broken without the utmost difficulty. At last, their most loving brother, king Edward, agreed to act as mediator between them; and in order that the discord between princes of such high Tark might not cause any hindrance to the carrying out of his royal intentions in relation to the affairs of France, the whole misunderstanding was at last set at rest, upon the following terms; the marriage of the duke of Gloucester with Anne before-named was to take place, and he was to have such and so much of the earl’s lands as should be agreed upon between them through the mediation of arbitrators; while all the rest were to remain in the possession of the duke of Clarence. The consequence was, that little or nothing was left at the disposal of the real lady and heiress, the countess of Warwick, to whom for the whole of her life the most noble inheritance of the Warwicks and the Despenser’s properly belonged. However I readily pass over a matter so incurable as this, without attempting to find a cause for it, and so leave these strong-willed men to the impulse of their own wills; thinking it better to set forth the remaining portion of this narrative, so far as it occurs to my memory, with unbiased words, and, so far as I am aware, without any admixture of falsehood therewith.
Drawing of Anne and her two husbands from the Beauchamp Pageant, c. 1483-1494. Via Wikimedia, Public Domain stated.