Daughter of Time: Research & History, Claim 2

Thomas Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby,
"served three kings, namely Henry VI,
Edward IV, and Richard III" according to
Wikipedia. He was wiser than many of
his peers and died of old age, not the axe.
After perusing the chronological, story schoolbook, Grant turns to a the "School History proper." Rather than divided by story, the book is divided by reigns. After reading the synopsis of Richard, Grant then reflects on the War of the Roses.

War of the Roses, short version: Henry IV (Lancaster) takes the throne from Richard II (York) and feels terribly, terribly bad about it (according to Shakespeare). Henry V succeeds and goes to fight wars in France. Nutty Henry VI succeeds and wafts about. Edward IV (York) takes the crown from Henry VI twice (the second time, Henry VI is disposed of rapidly, i.e. murdered); Edward IV is the father of the famous princes (who include, technically, Edward V). Richard III succeeds when Edward IV dies and the princes are declared illegitimate. Henry VII (Tudors) brings over troops from France, kills Richard in battle, and takes the throne.

Grant argues that the War of the Roses was "more of a blood feud than a war . . . a small concentrated war, almost a private party . . . No one was persecuted for being a Lancastrian or a Yorkist."

Eh. No. Here is where Tey, through Grant, is mostly wrong (with a little bit of right). In a country where kings were still perceived as ruling by divine right--and who stayed a king was a matter of continental politics--the switcheroos of British monarchs had long-ranging economic  impact, especially since the soldiers of any battle were often comprised of peasants who worked for a lord who had decided to back a particular side (Shakespeare does a fairly brilliant job explaining this in Henry IV, Part II).

Jane Seymour, wife #3, died giving
birth to Henry VIII's heir. At Henry III's death,
one uncle become Edward VI's protector and
was later beheaded. The other wanted to marry
Elizabeth (Mary would actually succeed first)
and was beheaded. This all took place before
Edward even died (within six years of
Henry VIII's death).
The little bit of right is that, as with Henry VIII's wives, while the messiness of brawling royal families hurt everyone from farmers to merchants (Tey needed to read the Cadfael mysteries), the short-term politics of the war had sudden and explosive ramifications for the aristocratic families involved--the ones who invested themselves in one dynasty or another by trying to marry their children into particular families or by backing a particular power-broker. 

Pick the wrong side in modern-day America, and you have to wait four more years to run. Pick the wrong side then and wave goodbye to your entire family.

Unless, of course, you are the clever Stanley, who arrived at the Battle of Bosworth and did absolutely nothing until it was all over . . .

No comments: