Edward IV deposes Henry VI

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Edward IV deposes Henry VI

The 4th of March 1461 AD

English history has arguably thrown up no king less capable than Henry VI . Coming to the throne as a child his reign was seen in stark contrast to that of his father, the bold and bellicose Henry V . The early years of Henry’s reign sowed the seeds of discontent, with powerful nobles ruling in his stead, a situation always destined to give the great of the land a taste for real power. And Henry, though pious and learned, founding Eton College and King’s College Cambridge, was beset by mental instability. The historian John Harvey suggests that without the interventions of Henry’s wife, the far more aggressive Margaret of Anjou, some accommodation between Henry and his Yorkist rivals would have been possible. In the event rather than giving the throne away, Henry had it taken from him.
The defeat and death of the Duke of York outside Wakefield in December 1460 might have allowed a stronger leader to assert control over England. But Henry was not such a king. York’s son, the Earl of March, though still not 20, took over from his father with great vigour, sallying forth from Gloucester and winning the battle of Mortimer’s Cross on February 2 1461; defeat for his ally Warwick at St Albans two weeks later was a mere setback, London receiving the Yorkist leader on February 26. On March 4 1461 Edward Earl of March became Edward IV . At the end of that month the situation was cemented by Warwick’s crushing victory at Towton . Henry and Margaret fled to Scotland. For the time being Edward IV was unchallenged.

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