Margaret of Anjou’s final will.

Margaret of Anjou made her final will on 2 August 1482. Margaret of Anjou had been Queen consort of England. A woman used to life in court and a role of significance. Even in her childhood, she had become accustomed to riches. Her final years, though, were pitiful by comparison.

Margaret of Anjou’s fall

Following her surrender to Edward IV in the aftermath of the Battle of Tewkesbury, she had lost all the ranks, grants and splendour. She spent several years under house arrest in the care of her former lady-in-waiting, Alice, Duchess of Suffolk.

When Edward IV agreed on terms with the French in 1475, he insisted that the French pay a ransom for Margaret’s return. The French had little choice to accept, and Margaret was transferred into French custody the same year.

Margaret of Anjou’s final will, August 1482

She was not taken into the French court though. Nor was she given a warm welcome by her father. Her final years were spent with several loyal ladies living on a modest pension. Her will reflects this change in fortunes.

“…My will is the few goods which God and he [King Louis XI] have given and lent to me be used for this purpose and for the paying of my debts as much to my poor servants to other creditors to whom I am indebted… And should my goods be insufficient to do this, as I believe they are, I implore unto the King to meet and pay my outstanding debts…”

Image details

Called Queen Margaret of Anjou

After Unknown artist. Hand-coloured line and stipple engraving, probably late 18th century. NPG D9415.

© National Portrait Gallery, London. Creative Commons Licence

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