Elizabeth Woodville was queen in her own right….?

Elizabeth Woodville’s sanctuary at Cheyneygates, Westminster Abbey – from the Lost London article

According to this article (titled Vic Keegan’s Lost London 111: Elizabeth Woodville’s Westminster Abbey sanctuary) Elizabeth Woodville was “queen in her own right”. I think not. She was queen because she married King Edward IV. She was his consort.

Well, perhaps that too should be qualified, because Edward appears to have been careless enough to have entered into a precontract with someone else, Lady Eleanor Talbot. This awkward tangle meant that Elizabeth wasn’t really married to Edward at all, she was his mistress, and all their children were therefore illegitimate.

Anyway, the Lost London site is incorrect about her status. It’s also incorrect about Richard “almost certainly murdering” Elizabeth’s sons, the elder of whom would have become King Edward V had not his parents’ non-marriage got in the way. Richard certainly intended to have his nephew crowned, and was arranging the coronation, until this business with Lady Eleanor Talbot came to light. Once that happened, Richard himself was the rightful heir. And he had a son of his own who had a right in the succession

Yes, there’d been another brother —George, Duke of Clarence— between Richard and Edward IV, but he’d been executed for treason (by Edward IV please note, not Richard!)

Then Lost London goes on to say that Richard “was desperate to eliminate rival claimants to his throne”. Excuse me? Who, exactly, did he murder? His nephews are always waved before us as his victims, but there’s no proof that they died at all, let alone at his savage, bloodied hands. And then there were Clarence’s children of course. They were blighted by their father’s attainder, but they were legitimate and attainders could be revoked, so if Richard was indeed “desperate to eliminate rivals”, high on his list would be Clarence’s son and daughter. However, they survived his reign without harm, but they didn’t survive the House of Tudor, which did indeed set about eliminating any vaguely possible rival. The Tudors didn’t give a damn who or how many they slaughtered, just as long as they were slaughtered.

So the “facts” as presented by Lost London are iffy to say the least. But the site is entertaining.


  1. I get so fired up when I read these things. There are so many people who know no better, who have no reason not to believe them.
    I’ve actually left rather a long comment, just putting a few things right, on Mr Keegan’s page. Whether it will be printed or not remains to be seen, but I’d be interested in any reply he might have to make!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are my comments on the article:

    “Elizabeth was a queen in her own right as the wife of Edward IV.”

    She was a queen as the wife of Edward IV, NOT in her own right. The first woman to be crowned as ‘queen in her own right’ in England was Mary I, Elizabeth Woodville’s great-granddaughter.

    “What happened there then changed the course of history. William Shakespeare is our witness.”

    William Shakespeare is most definitely NOT our witness. He wasn’t born until over 1oo years after Elizabeth Woodville’s death. He didn’t witness any events which occurred during the fifteenth century. In any case he was a playwright, not an historian and didn’t let facts get in the way of his storytelling.

    “Edward V later became notorious as one of the Princes in the Tower who were – almost certainly – murdered on the orders of Richard III”

    We don’t even know if they were murdered or not.

    “Elizabeth was duped into letting her son leave the sanctuary during her second stay there, in order to join his brother in the Tower”

    She later let her daughters leave sanctuary, which was pretty stupid of her if she believed that her sons had been murdered by Richard III. Or maybe she knew that he hadn’t murdered them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is amazing that in this age of information technology there are still those who cannot get even the basic facts right. I wonder if sites as Lost London ever correct their mistakes. I suspect not. Prejudice runs deep in such places and the power of fiction often trumps reason.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Alisonprater2014. Your comments are exactly the same as those I wrote at the end of this article. It’s infuriating the way these same things still get trotted out, and I did ask Mr Keegan if he ever did any research for himself.
    It especially got to me when the first comment made, was someone thanking him as they loved hearing about history! This is why these myths are perpetually spouted. Everyone who reads them takes it as truth.
    As I said in my comments, and you’ve said also, Shakespeare was a playwright not a historian!
    I’d like to thing that maybe reading our comments Mr Keegan might just learn something, and it would be wonderful if some of these glaring errors were corrected, but like Richard Unwin says, I very much doubt it.

    Liked by 1 person

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