Lancaster and York Queens

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House of Lancaster and House of York

Richard II surrendering crown in 1399
Richard II surrendering crown in 1399, forced to abdicate by his cousin, the future Henry IV. From the Chronicles of Jean Froissart. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Richard II (son of Edward, the Black Prince, who was in turn the eldest son of Edward III) ruled until he was deposed in 1399, childless.  Two branches of what became known as the House of Plantagenet then contended for the crown of England. 

The House of Lancaster claimed legitimacy through male descent from Edward III's third eldest son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The House of York claimed legitimacy through male descent from Edward III's fourth eldest son, Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, as well as descent through a daughter of Edward III's second eldest son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence.

Women married to the Lancaster and York kings of England came from quite different backgrounds and had quite different lives.  Here's a list of these English queens, with basic information about each, and some linked to a more detailed biography.

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Mary de Bohun (~1368 - June 4, 1394)

Coronation of Henry IV, 1399
Coronation of Henry IV, 1399. Artist: Master of the Harley Froissart. The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

Mother: Joan Fitzalen
Father: Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford
Married to: Henry Bolingbroke, the future Henry IV (1366-1413, ruled 1399-1413), who was the son of John of Gaunt
Married: July 27, 1380
Coronation: never a queen
Children: six: Henry V; Thomas, Duke of Clarence; John, Duke of Bedford; Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester; Blanche, married Louis III, Elector of Palatine; Philippa of England, married Eric, king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Mary was descended through her mother from Llywelyn the Great of Wales. She died in childbirth before her husband became king, and thus was never a queen though her son became king of England.

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Joan of Navarre (~1370 - June 10, 1437)

Joan of Navarre, Queen Consort of Henry IV of England
Joan of Navarre, Queen Consort of Henry IV of England. © 2011

Also known as: Joanna of Navarre
Mother: Joan of France
Father: Charles II of Navarre
Queen consort to: Henry IV (Bolingbroke) (1366-1413, ruled 1399-1413), son of John of Gaunt
Married: February 7, 1403
Coronation: February 26, 1403
Children: no children

Also married to: John V, Duke of Brittany (1339-1399)
Married: October 2, 1386
Children: nine children

Joan was accused and convicted of trying to poison her stepson, Henry V.

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Catherine of Valois (October 27, 1401 - January 3, 1437)

Catherine of Valois, Queen Consort of Henry V of England
Catherine of Valois, Queen Consort of Henry V of England. © 2011

Mother: Isabelle of Bavaria
Father: Charles VI of France
Queen consort to: Henry V (1386 or 1387-1422, ruled 1413-1422)
Married: 1420 Coronation: February 23, 1421
Children: Henry VI

Also married to: Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudur of Wales (~1400-1461)
Married: unknown date
Children: Edmund (married Margaret Beaufort; their son became Henry VII, first Tudor king), Jasper, Owen; a daughter died in childhood

Sister of Isabella of Valois, second queen consort of Richard II. Catherine died in childbirth.

More >> Catherine of Valois

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Margaret of Anjou (March 23, 1430 - August 25, 1482)

Margaret of Anjou, Queen Consort of Henry VI of England
Margaret of Anjou, Queen Consort of Henry VI of England. © 2011

Also known as: Marguerite d'Anjou
Mother: Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine
Father: René I of Naples
Queen consort to: Henry VI (1421-1471, ruled 1422-1461)
Married: May 23, 1445
Coronation: May 30, 1445
Children: Edward, Prince of Wales (1453-1471)

Taking an active part in the Wars of the Roses, Margaret was imprisoned after her husband's and son's deaths.

More >> Margaret of Anjou

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Elizabeth Woodville (~1437 - June 8, 1492)

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of Edward IV
Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of Edward IV. © 2011

Also known as: Elizabeth Wydeville, Dame Elizabeth Grey
Mother: Jacquetta of Luxembourg
Father: Richard Woodville
Queen consort to: Edward IV (1442-1483, ruled 1461-1470 and 1471-1483)
Married: May 1, 1464 (secret marriage)
Coronation: May 26, 1465
Children: Elizabeth York (married Henry VII); Mary of York; Cecily of York; Edward V (one of the Princes in the Tower, probably died about age 13-15); Margaret of York (died in infancy); Richard, Duke of York (one of the Princes in the Tower, probably died about age 10); Anne of York, Countess of Surrey; George Plantagenet (died in childhood); Catherine of York, Countess of Devon; Bridget of York (nun)

Also married to: Sir John Grey of Groby (~1432-1461)
Married: about 1452
Children: Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, and Richard Grey

At age eight, she was a maid of honor to Margaret of Anjou, Queen consort of Henry VI. In 1483 Elizabeth Woodville's marriage to Edward was declered invalid and their children declared illegitimate. Richard III was crowned king. Richard imprisoned the two surviving sons of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV; the two boys were presumably killed, either under Richard III or under Henry VII.

More >> Elizabeth Woodville

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Anne Neville (June 11, 1456 - March 16, 1485)

Anne Neville, Queen Consort of Richard III of England
Anne Neville, Queen Consort of Richard III of England. © 2011
Mother:< Father: Richard Neville, Earl o Queen consort to: Richard III (1452-1485, ruled 1 Married: July Coronation: Jul Children: Edward (died age 11); adopted nephew Edward, Earl o

Also married to: Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales (1453-1471), son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou
Married: December 13, 1470 (probably)

Her mother was a wealthy heiress, Countess of Warwick in her own right, and her father the powerful Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, known as the Kingmaker for his part in making Edward IV king of England and later taking part in restoring Henry VI. Anne Neville's sister, Isabel Neville, was married to George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III.

More >> Anne Neville