On 30th August 1461, an Italian ambassador wrote to Fransceco Sforza to outline the situation in England at the time. He paints a picture of support for the House of Lancaster fading away. Indeed, he cites Lord Rivers, who was a recent convert to the Yorkist regime. Most telling is that he states that the cause of Henry VI is ‘lost irretrievably’. Such views being spread throughout Europe would have a damaging impact on Queen Margaret‘s ability to gain financial or military support for continued resistance to Edward’s rule.
Milanese view of the political situation in England, August 1461
Letter from Count Ludovico Dollugo to Fransceco Sforza.
“The lords’ adherent to King Henry are all quitting him, and come to tender obedience to this King, and at this present one of the chief of them has come, by name Lord de Rivers, with one of his sons, men of very great valour. I held several conversations with this Lord de Rivers about King Henry’s cause, and what he thought of it, and he answered me that the cause was lost irretrievably.
King Henry has withdrawn to a country called Wales, belonging to a brother of his by right of his mother. This country is on the borders of England towards Scotland, a sterile place and but little productive. Had it abounded in provisions, King Edward would have marched to drive him out, but he has now determined to wait until after the harvest, as it will supply him with victuals”.
That such news is being sent via ambassadorial memoranda shows that the situation in England was, by the end of August 1461, seen as a total Yorkist victory. The ambassador all but writes off the chances of a Lancastrian recovery and, interestingly, cites Earl Rivers as a source well before the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.
Milanese State Papers for 1475. British History Online.