Richard Plantagenet 3rd Duke of York
- Born: 21 Sep 1411
- Marriage: Cecilia Neville
- Died: 30 Dec 1460 at age 49
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, was the son of Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, a noble who had been executed for treason by King Henry V in 1415, and of Anne de Mortimer, who, like her husband, was a direct descendant of King Edward III. Richard thus had an excellent claim on the throne of England, which he began to press in 1448 by assuming the long-disused surname of Plantagenet. In doing so, he made a direct challenge to the weak King Henry VI. In about 1424, he married Cecily Neville, a descendant of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Having had the attainder against his father reversed in 1425, he resumed the title Duke of York inherited from his uncle Edward of Norwich, having already become Earl of March through the death of his uncle, Edmund de Mortimer, 5th Earl of March.
With King Henry's insanity in 1453, York was made Lord Protector, but had to give up this position with the King's recovery and the birth of an heir, Edward of Westminster, the next year. York gradually gathered together his forces, however, and the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses eventually broke out in 1455. The forces loyal to the King were led by the ambitious Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, but the Yorkists had the first victory at the First Battle of St Albans on 22 May 1455, at which Somerset was killed. York was soon forced to back down and come to terms with the King and four years passed in uneasy peace. Conflict was resumed in 1459, and York and his followers were attainted as traitors on 20 November 1459. York himself was forced into exile in Ireland, while his eldest son Edward fled to Calais with York's most powerful ally, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. York became all the more determined to achieve the throne for the House of York, and he was victorious over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Northampton. At this battle, he captured the King, who was subsequently forced to recognize York as his heir (disinheriting his own son) under the Act of Accord. York had been intending to seize the throne for himself, but there was limited support for this kind of usurpation even among such staunch Yorkists as the Earl of Warwick. However, Parliament did agree to the compromise of making York heir to the throne, in effect recognising the Yorkist claim to the throne as superior to the Lancastrian one.
The Lancastrians, meanwhile, led by Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, refused to accept this, and continued the war. York headed north and he was killed fighting the Lancastrians at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460, along with his second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland. He was buried at Pontefract, but his head was put on a pike by the victorious Lancastrian armies. His remains were later moved to Fotheringhay Church.
Richard's eldest son finally succeeded in putting his dynasty on the throne in 1461 as King Edward IV. King Edward V was York's grandson, and King Richard III was another of his sons. The Tudor King Henry VIII was his great-grandson.
His children with Cecily Neville include:
1. Joan of York (1438).
2. Anne of York (August 10, 1439 - January 14, 1476), consort to Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter.
3. Henry of York (b. February 10, 1441).
4. Edward IV of England (April 28, 1442 - April 9, 1483).
5. Edmund, Earl of Rutland (May 17, 1443 - December 31, 1460).
6. Elizabeth of York (April 22, 1444 - after January, 1503), consort to John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk.
7. Margaret of Burgundy (May 3, 1446 - November 23, 1503).
8. William of York (b. July 7, 1447).
9. John of York (b. November 7, 1448).
10. George, Duke of Clarence (October 21, 1449 - February 18, 1478).
11. Thomas of York (born c. 1451).
12. Richard III of England (October 2, 1452 - August 22, 1485).
13. Ursula of York (born c. 1454).
Richard married Cecilia Neville, daughter of Ralph Neville and Joan de Beaufort. (Cecilia Neville was born in 1415 and died in 1495.)