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Royalty and Daughters: The Lives of Isobel and Anne Neville (page 2)

by Wendy Zollo

I believe that he used his daughters in a more merciless manner than was commonly done, for he did not marry them off for the customary reasons: attaining wealth or acquiring lands to augment and protect those he already held. He chose to exploit them to gratify his hankering for supremacy and clout, proving in the end that the only loyalty he held was to himself. It makes one ponder what other avenues would have been opened to him had he even one more daughter to enmesh in his pursuit for power.

The Earl began to lose his influence over Edward IV (if he in actuality ever had any or was only provided a mirage of such by the young king for whom he was instrumental in assisting to depose the daft and excessively pious Henry VI and his Queen, Margaret de Anjou), during the futile marital alliance he attempted to create with France. The King announced his marriage to Elizabeth Wydville at a tremendously impolitic point in the Earl's negotiations, causing him to suffer grave political embarrassment. For a man of his ego, the blow to his narcissism must have been of immense proportions. This event combined with an earlier refusal by Edward to sanction a marriage between his brother George (now Duke of Clarence) and Isobel strained the affiliation between the two men, setting the stage for Warwick's rebellions.

In 1469, Isobel made her initial appearance of importance by marrying the Duke of Clarence in Calais where her father was Governor. A dispensation had been clandestinely obtained and the ceremony was officiated by Isobel's uncle George Neville, Archbishop of York.

This marriage proved to be the first step in Warwick's campaign to topple Edward from the throne he had helped to place him on, substituting him with the more compliant Clarence. George, with his well-documented unstable behavior, was in all probability enamored by the brilliance of a crown of his own. Isobel, as a dutiful daughter, did her father's bidding. Nonetheless, Isobel, not having a voice in the matter, may very well have found marriage to a royal duke appealing. Not only was she marrying a man she almost certainly had developed a sincere affection for; there was the promise of a coronet for her as well.

With her father and husband in open rebellion against her King and now brother-in-law, Isobel was left in Calais with her mother and sister. All three ladies would have certainly been uneasy. Being sisters, Isobel and Anne were likely to have turned to each other during times of anxiety and adversity. It could have resulted in a great bond between them. Still, one cannot be sure that this was really the case.

The first revolt of Warwick and Clarence was a measure in failure and in time they made their way back across the Channel, heedless of Isobel's advanced pregnancy. In the course of the crossing, Isobel was delivered of her first child, a stillborn daughter, Anne Plantagenet.

Upon landing in Dieppe, the Earl, now conniving under the guidance and pleasure of the King of France, joined forces with his former nemesis, Margaret de Anjou, the deposed queen of England. Warwick, without hesitation, used his youngest daughter Anne to seal this fated coalition by marrying her to the son of Margaret and Henry, Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales.


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