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#OnThisDay in 1460: Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, defeated the king’s Lancastrian forces and took King Henry VI prisoner

Richard Neville, also known as “Warwick the Kingmaker” was born on the 22nd of November in 1428. He was the eldest son of Richard Neville (hence his name), 5th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Alice; only daughter and the heiress of Thomas, the last Montacute Earl of Salisbury.  Little is known about Richard’s childhood but at the age as early as six, it is not surprising that he’s already been betrothed to the daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and his wife Isabel Despenser, Anne de Beauchamp.

This engagement of the two parties will not just make Richard an heir to the earldom after of his father which is Salisbury, but he will also partake the titles of his betrothed, Beauchamp and Despenser.

Luck was on Richard’s side by the reason of Henry’s death, son of Richard de Beauchamp. Henry was the husband of Neville’s sister, Cecily and another death followed, Anne, Henry’s daughter. In relation to this, since Henry was the supposed heir apparent to the earldom of Warwick followed by Anne, their sudden death granted Richard Neville jure uxoris or the Latin term  by the right of (his) wife. 

Richard assumed the same title of his wife, Anne de Beauchamp thus making him the 16th Earl of Warwick. However, when Richard was placed Earl of Warwick, Edmund Beaufort, the 1st Earl of Somerset seemed quite upset with the decision. He was married to one of the daughters of Richard de Beauchamp and he desired the Warwick earldom but he never gained it due to the exclusion of succession to all the ladies in Beauchamp line.

In 1445, Richard became a knight through Margaret of Anjou’s coronation on 22nd of April. Historical records show that he participated in the military together with his father in a war against Scotland and he was of service to King Henry VI in 1449.

When Richard, the 3rd Duke of York, a nobleman and Lord Protector rose up against the king (Henry VI) due to the king’s incompetence and weak rule which piqued Richard’s interest to claim the English throne that created a major upheaval during the fifteenth-century erupted, a big conflict ensued which was very popular by the term Wars of the Roses with Richard of York leading the royal house of York and Henry Tudor, 3rd Earl of Richmond leading the house of Lancaster.

In this dispute for the English throne, Richard Neville sided with King Henry VI’s party but due to a territorial dissension with the Duke of Somerset, he collaborated with Richard of York in the opposing side and won over by taking King Henry VI as prisoner.

The Lancastrian forces won the throne of England while the Yorks were slain, but with the Warwick’s assistance, the York’s son was successful in gaining the throne, in which the Yorkist son was crowned King Edward IV.