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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 293



QTJKEN OF HENRY THE SIXTH. Hollow reconciliation of the two parties—Their quarrel—Battle of Blorehealh— Margaret raises another army—Marches to Ludlow—Flight and attainder of the Yorkists, HE death of Talbot γί — a - Pevere blow to the Queen and the court, and by the people mourned as a national calamity— was followed by an event which further raised the hopes of York and his friends. The King had long been in a declining state of health, the infirmities pX.b.QiL. weakened his mind, and, at length, whilst confined to the chamber of sickness at Clarendon, his reason fled, and left him in a state of helpless idiotcy. Henry was in this hapless condition when, to the joy of the Lancasterians, the Queen gave birth to " that child of sorrow and infelicity," Prince Edward. The Prince was born on St. Edward's day, October the thirteenth, 1453, and baptized with the usual' ceremony by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Winchester. The Queen's enemies attempted to throw doubts on the legitimacy of the young Prince. By some it was pretended that the King was not his father, whilst others asserted that the real Prince had been born dead, and the present infant was a spurious child, who had beentsubstituted for him. The unanimous voice of the nation, however, silenced these suspicions; but whilst the friends of tranquillity hailed the event with joy, others, with deeper penetration, regarded it as the precursor of a sanguine succession war. The committee appointed to visit the unTortuuate King^ then at AVindsor, -SiB^iSjp^f?^ Tus insanity to parliament, and"7 on the "twenty-seventh of March, .Uóiqlie Me of York was appointed Protector during the royal pleasure, or until tuo King's son, who had already been created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Was of age. No political power was invested in Margaret, ηοχο!ΐΐ sîiè grasp at the reins of government^ The duties of a wife and the cares of a mother engrossed her serious attention, whilst, as a relaxation, she, as Queen Consort, gave audiences, and occasionally held courts. The first act of the York council was to arrest Somerset in the Queen's presence chamber, confine him in the Tower, deprive him of the government of Calais, and confer that important post on the Protector. Margaret was greatly enraged at the disgrace of her friend and minister, but it was out of her power to prevent his fall. b.ojlyL JIoVKCver, the King recovered the use of his.reason about Christmas, when^Jiy 31argarct!s. inlacnce, Somerset was re-, leased, from his.xonlincjnerit,.aniL^ork deprived of the Protectorate. The King's first interview with his wife and child on his recovery is thus quaintly narrated in the Paston Letters : 1 1 On the Monday afternoon the Quene cam to hym and brought my lord Prince with her, and when he asked her what the Prince's name was, and the Quene told him Edwarde, he held up his hands and thanked God thereof ; and lie sayde lie never knew till that time, nor wist not what was sayde to him, nor wist not where he had been whiles he was syke till now ; and he asked who was the godfathers, and the Quene told him, and she told him that Cardinal Kemp was dede; and he seyde oon of the wysest lords in this land was dedc ; and he seyth, he is in charity with all the world, and so he wolde all the lordes were." The Queen and Ηοτη^ι-κ^ qgfl,i" rufcd as heretofore ; but the triumph of the Lancasterians was short-lived. Tòri retired in disgust fb" 'thé marches of Wales, raised an army, and with Norfolk, Salisbury and Warwick marched towards London. By the advice of the Queen, Henry, at the head of two thousand men—all he could muster in the time—hastened to oppose him. On the twenty-second of May, 1455, the hostile forces met at St. Alban's. Being by nature humane, Henry endeavoured to avoid a battle ; but as York demanded, and the King refused, the surrender of Somerset and his associates, an appeal to arms was inevitable. The Koyalista


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