On 7th June 1467, Richard Neville Earl of Warwick was received like royalty by the French King. The occasion was the Earl leading an embassy from England. The purpose of the embassy was to negotiate with France with a view to securing a permanent peace. It had scope to include trade agreements, and the earl would be able to use political marriages as leverage. It was not the first visit the Earl had made to France. He had established a bond with King Louis XI and was very hopeful that a deal may be struck.
Factions and the hand of marriage of the King’s Sister
In 1467 the court of King Edward IV had opposing factions within it. On one hand, those who sided with the Queen’s family, the Woodville’s. On the other, the Earl of Warwick and his supporters. At this time, the King was eager to negotiate a suitable marriage treaty for Margaret of York. As a member of the English Royal family, she would attract suitors of high status. And this meant that the rival factions stood to gain, or lose, from the final decisions made.
Embassy of the Earl of Warwick to France, 1467
Warwick arrived in France on 7th June. King Louis, fully aware of the political situation in England, set about causing potential problems. The greeting that Warwick got was not that of an ambassador, no matter how high ranked. Instead, Louis ensured that it was at a level reserved for the most favoured of Kings. He personally greeted Warwick, the Queen was in attendance, lavish banquets and formal boat processions were laid on. Warwick was housed in comfort, next door to Louis.
Negotiations. Proposal of war against Burgundy
Louis made numerous visits to Warwick at all times of day and night. He ensured that observers would know precisely when he was holding talks and through the extravagance of reception, hopefully making King Edward jealous. Despite the charade that Louis was playing, Warwick did reach a tentative agreement with the French. The proposal was for an alliance between England and France. It would tackle the Burgundians on the field of battle and destroy the empire that they were creating. The spoils of war would include a large amount of territory. Burgundy itself, and lands in the Low Countries. These lands would be split between France and England. Through this agreement, England stood to gain lands in modern day Holland. These would help to improve English trade with the continent, which would also be boosted through the restoration of trading ties with France.
The Earl’s tentative agreement with the French came to nothing. Whilst he was negotiating in France, the Burgundians were being openly courted at a Tournament in Smithfield. The negotiations led by Earl Rivers were also successful, and included a marriage union of the king’s sister, Margaret of York, to Charles, heir to the Duchy of Burgundy.
Richard Neville (Warwick the Kingmaker) – from my education website. Detailed biography.
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick – biography and index of our content about the Earl of Warwick.