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Thanks to the contemporaneous accounts given by Croyland (1) and the Acts of Court (2) we have a good insight into the events that followed, almost immediately, the death of Queen Anne i.e. the rumours that Richard, in his eagerness to marry his niece, hastened the death of his wife with the aid of poison – his denial, made publically, ‘in a loud and distinct voice’ (3) in the Great Hall of the Priory of the Knights Hospitaller of St John, Clerkenwell – pushed to it by Sir Richard Ratcliffe and William Catesby, although Croyland adds, rather slyly, it was not what he really wished himself..and there is no need to go into all the detail here as it is well known.


The Gate House of the Priory of the Knights Hospitaller of St John at Clerkenwell.


I would have thought, hopefully , that nowadays, the idea that Richard could have poisoned Anne is now perceived as ridiculous, a complete and utter nonsense.  However, not entirely so.  Indeed Prof Hicks in his biography of Anne –  Anne Neville Queen to Richard lll (“The first time in ages that a publisher has sent me a book that I actually want to read” opines David Starkey – well he would wouldn’t he?)  wrote, in a chapter headed ‘Past her Sell By Date’ that ‘she was unwell, languishing and died, unattended and indeed unregretted by her husband”(4).  What?  Anne the Queen, dying a lonely death, cruelly neglected by her uncaring husband? – its a Scandal!.  And where was Richard at that desperately sad time?  One way to find out..check Rhoda Edwards wonderful little book – The Itinerary of King Richard lll 1483 – 1485(5).  And there we have it..the truth of the matter.  From the onset of Anne’s fatal illness, not long after Christmas 1484 to her death on Wednesday 16 March 1485, Richard never left the Palace of Westminster, where she lay dying, except for a total of ll days when he was at Windsor.

I would say that there could be no stronger indication than this, that, yes, Richard did love his wife and was loyal to her to the end.  He could have gone elsewhere, made his excuses, got away from it all but he didn’t.  He stayed with her until the day she died – finally leaving Westminster on Thursday 12 April – never to return.  Five months later, he too was dead.  Clearly he gave to Anne the loyalty that he was to find so disastrously lacking in others to himself.  But then again, this was a man whose motto was Loyaltie me Lie.

  1. Croyland p.499
  2. Richard lll The Road to Bosworth, P W Hammond & Anne F Sutton, Acts of Court pp 173-4.
  3. Croyland p.499
  4. Anne Neville Queen to Richard lll, Michael Hicks, Chaper 7, Past Her Sell by Date, p.212.
  5. Itinerary of King Richard lll  1483-1485, pp29, 30, 31, 32, 33.  Rhoda Edwards.









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25 thoughts on “DID RICHARD LOVE ANNE?

  1. Iris on said:

    “Unregretted”? Hicks must have been on heavy drugs when he wrote that book, Richard’s own words on 31st March 1485 when he disputed the accusations that he had poisoned Anne to marry his niece were that he was “as sorry and in heart as heavy as man can be”, something that Hicks himself some pages later in the same book says that we have no reason to doubt. But then again, when building up smoke to confuse the layman, he must have inhaled too much himself, and not of the wood driven kind

    Liked by 6 people

  2. sparkypus on said:

    Prof Hicks certainly didnt let facts get in the way of a good story did he? I wonder how many people actually believed this drivel..?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. skiinglady on said:

    …..and what about the weeping beside her grave and also the three days he shut himself away in his chambers. I think some historians are frankly unbalanced when it comes to Richard. Is this the same professor Hicks who believes the car park remains are not Richard but chides ricardians for disbelieving the Westminster bones are definitely Edward V!!!!

    Liked by 6 people

    • hoodedman1 on said:

      Yes, the same ‘authority’ who said (paraphrasing here) ‘Everyone knows Richard had black hair and brown eyes’ when his dna showed a lighter phenotype. Putting aside the variables in the production of melanin in hair, Richard’s portraits clearly showed light eyes….
      But back to Richard and Anne, I believe from the time her illness became critical to her death, there were no or few official documents signed by Richard…so it certainly wasn’t ‘business as usual’ in his household.

      Liked by 4 people

      • sparkypus on said:

        He was probably deeply depressed especially after losing his son a short time before. I wonder if this led to his decisions at Bosworth which seemed to me a kind of do or die attitude?

        Liked by 3 people

  4. sparkypus on said:

    Yes it is the same gentleman..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MattW on said:

    Of course, no evidence from Hicks, just what he came up with. And certainly, all those “absolutely certain” R wanted to poison her (again, 0 evidence) then turn around and ignore or forgive H8 for his treatment of his many wives.

    Hicks=junk. Starkey=indescribably ignorant.

    Clearly, Richard loved Anne.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. sparkypus on said:

    Yep..he just made it up as he went along..very naughty for a historian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How many books, really about Richard III, has the Hicksosaurus written, since Barrie Williams’ March 1983 revelation on the Portuguese marriage plans, but without citing them? After all, he has written for the Ricardian on occasion so he must have heard of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. sighthound6 on said:

    There is just one little thing here. If Anne had TB – as is often suggested – then arsenic might have been administered in an attempt to cure her. Believe it or not, arsenic was still given for TB up until the early 20th Century!

    But of course we don’t actually know what caused Anne’s death. TB is one of those ‘assumptions’ that have grown up over the years, without much in the way of evidence.

    Liked by 4 people

    • hoodedman1 on said:

      Yes, it’s quite possible that the treatments given to her did in fact cause poisoning symptoms. Some well known ‘remedies’ had horrific toxins in them. As you say, TB is only a guess, but it was endemic and can make a sudden apprearance in a person who has appeared relatively healthy and kill within a few months. Cancer of course is another possibility. I think the fact the physicians implied Anne’s illness was infectious is what has given rise to the belief it was TB.

      Liked by 5 people

      • sparkypus on said:

        Yes..we dont really know do we? I recall reading somewhere that TB could be triggered off by shock…possibly through her little son’s death in Anne’s case maybe.

        Liked by 4 people

      • halfwit36 on said:

        TB was not all that rare, even in the 20th century. The mother of a friend of mine died in a TB sanitarium in the 50s, and her father remarried not long afterward. No question of poison.
        Also, even if Anne were ‘unregretted,’ she certainly wasn’t ‘unattended.’ Kings and Queens were never unattended.

        Liked by 5 people

  8. sparkypus on said:

    Yes. Good grief the treatment must have made you feel worse than the actual illness! Although if this is what happened in Anne’s case, it wasnt the arsenic being administered as a treatment that Richard’s detractors were referring to..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. viscountessw on said:

    Yes, in my opinion Richard loved Anne. His reason for fighting to have her cannot be put down to simply a desire for half the Warwick fortune. Richard knew her from childhood, and loved her. The fact that so little is heard of her is, again in my opinion, because she was a gentle soul. Richard wasn’t a hellraiser, and would probably be drawn to her because she was quiet too. They could be happy and loving together, just enjoying their marriage. It was a mighty blow to lose their only son, and yes, the shock might well have triggered some illness or other that took her rapidly and without mercy. Richard was left alone. He must have been bitter. He didn’t want the throne, but had no choice (my opinion again) because Edward’s children were illegitimate. How Richard must have longed for the life he and Anne had shared in the north. The actions of others robbed them both of happiness.

    Did he throw caution to the winds at Bosworth? Sometimes I think yes, for there was a magnificent heroism about that last charge. A wild and exhilarating hurling of caution to the winds. At other times I think he planned the charge very carefully, and it would have succeeded, but failed, again because of the actions of others.

    Richard III was a victim, and paid a terrible price for the vile ambitions of his worthless enemies.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. sparkypus on said:

    Have you ever wondered what would have become of Anne if she been alive after Bosworth?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. skiinglady on said:

    I am not so certain that they married for love as very few marriages were in those days and there is some evidence they would not have seen each other in childhood that often. However this does not rule out the possibility that it did become a close union as they were similar in age
    They did spend a lot of time in each others company. I do actually agree that Richard did not want the throne. Buckingham saying that he may refuse and even Shakespeare making an issue of it has led me to believe there was some belief in reluctance

    Liked by 4 people

  12. MattW on said:

    Very well put. Agree totally. Richard’s behavior during the time of Anne’s illness shows a devoted husband doing all he could to allieviate his wife’s suffering.

    Naturally, Hicks nor Starkey dont understand such things, especially where Richard is concerned. To them, Richard has already been labeled as “bad” and all his actions suspect. One rather gets the idea that when Richard used the privy Hicks and Starkey find something nefarious about it…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. sparkypus on said:

    Thank you Matt.


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  16. tonylovellphone on said:

    Well researched.Thanks.


  17. Suzanne on said:

    Thank you for a neat slice of history.

    Liked by 1 person

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