ABSTRACT

On 15th January, 1478, two little children were married in St. Stephen’s Chapel at Westminster. The bride was Anne Mowbray, aged six years, the bridegroom Richard, Duke of York, aged four, and their marriage was the result of two years of parental bargaining. Until now, as his negotiations with the kings of France and Scotland and with Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain plainly show, Edward had preferred to look for husbands and wives for his children among the princes and princesses of the reigning houses of Europe rather than among his own subjects, however noble or affluent. For this preference his reasons are obvious, as marriage alliances with other royal houses increased his influence and authority in Europe and, by so doing, tended to give added strength to his dynasty at home. They also served to gratify his personal ambition and that of his queen, which was perhaps greater than his own. Yet great wealth and vast estates in England had their attractions, too, and when, in January, 1476, John Mowbray III, Duke of Norfolk, was gathered to his fathers 1 and, for lack of male heirs, all his worldly goods passed to his little daughter Anne, Edward at once resolved to offer the hand of his second son to the young heiress. So eager was the king to lay hold of the Mowbray inheritance that, almost before the Duke of Norfolk had been laid in his grave, he delegated Sir John Say and other members of his council to open negotiations with the Duchess of Norfolk for the marriage he desired. 2