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Joan Neville and her husband William Fitzalan Earl of Arundel lie together to this day in their beautiful tomb in the chapel at Arundel Castle.
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury (d. 1460) and his wife Alice Montacute had 10 children, including two sons, Richard Earl of Warwick and John Marquis of Montagu whose stories have become very familiar to us through the roles they played in the madness that was to become known as the Wars of the Roses. These brothers had six sisters who are slightly less well known but in some cases who went on to marry men that played significant parts in the wars and thus created a complicated tangle of allegiances. Whether the sisters would have had any input in matters can only be speculated upon. The sisters lives spanned a period of an amazing 80 years – and was an extraordinary mix of splendour, wealth, indulgence, ceremony, hopefully some love, extreme anxiety and tragedy.
Joan married William Fitzalan d.1487 Earl of Arundel about 1438 when she would have been about 14. Marriages would not have been consummated until the bride reached maturity and thus their first child was not born until 1450. The marriage produced five children one of whom, Thomas married Margaret sister to Queen Elizabeth Wydeville/Woodville. Fitzalan fought for Warwick his brother in law at the 2nd Battle of St Albans in 1461. Joan predeceased him dying about 9 September 1462 after a marriage that had endured for 24 years. We have no way of knowing whether it was happy or otherwise but it is a fact that William never married again and seems thereafter to have steered well clear of politics. This ensured he attained the age of 70 years, a good age for the times.
Joan Neville Duchess of Norfolk’s effigy, Arundel Castle chapel.
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