Jasper Tudor: Life Story

Chapter 13 : Readeption of Henry VI

On 1st May, Warwick and Clarence, swiftly followed by Oxford, were welcomed with open arms by Jasper who now sought, together with Louis XI, to affect a reconciliation between Queen Marguerite and her former enemy. Jasper remained completely devoted to the Lancastrian cause – obviously aware that Henry VI would never again be an effective King, it was his aim to ensure that his nephew, Edward of Lancaster, was crowned as King.

Eventually Marguerite was induced to put her trust in Warwick. In recognition of the rapprochement, Edward of Lancaster was married to Warwick’s younger daughter, Anne Neville. This gave Warwick a daughter in both the Lancastrian camp and also potentially in the Yorkist camp should Clarence succeed Edward IV as the Yorkist heir (at this time Edward IV had no sons). One story is that Warwick was kept on his knees for fifteen minutes to alleviate Marguerite’s anger against him for the many losses she had suffered. Other accounts show her as more pragmatic and receiving him graciously.

It was agreed that Jasper and Warwick were to lead an initial invasion, to be followed up by Marguerite and Prince Edward, together with his new bride. As a sop to Clarence he was recognised as heir to his new brother-in-law, Prince Edward.

On 9th September 1470, Jasper, together with Oxford, Warwick and Clarence, sailed from Normandy. Jasper had been confirmed in his title of Earl of Pembroke and was appointed as joint Lieutenant with Prince Edward for Henry VI. The little fleet landed on 13th September, first at Dartmouth and then Plymouth. Some accounts say that the move from Dartmouth to Plymouth was because of a poor reception in the first town. The leaders then separated. Jasper headed for Wales, where he could be sure of support, and Warwick for London. Disturbances had been organised in the north to lure Edward away from the capital.

Edward was completely outmanoeuvred when Warwick’s brother, Montague, previously a committed Yorkist, defected. Suddenly surrounded by enemies, Edward immediately took ship for Burgundy, together with his younger brother, Richard of Gloucester. There they threw themselves on the mercy of their brother-in-law Charles, Duke of Burgundy, who initially greeted them very coldly.

Warwick, having reached the capital, freed Henry VI from his captivity in the Tower of London. Henry who appeared dazed, unkempt and hardly a fine figure of a King, was re-crowned to wash away the stains of his deposition. The risk of Marguerite’s alliance with Louis XI was now exposed as Warwick, in accordance with the agreement made with the French king, was obliged to declare war on Burgundy. This move changed Charles of Burgundy from a mildly supportive Lancastrian to a willing supporter of Edward of York.

Jasper was now reunited with his nephew, Henry Tudor, whom he collected from the Devereux estates, and with the boy’s mother, his other sister-in-law, Lady Margaret Beaufort. Jasper was in the interesting position of being uncle both to the nearest Lancastrian heir, Edward Prince of Wales, and of the more distant Lancastrian, Henry Tudor.

Jasper and Henry Tudor spent a week or so with Margaret and her husband, Stafford, at their home at Woking before heading west.

Together with Warwick, Jasper was now the most powerful man in England, exercising his role as Henry VI’s Lieutenant. The Parliament called in December 1470 repealed the legislation of Edward IV’s reign and restored Jasper to the position he had held before Edward’s coronation in 1461. This, of course, included the earldom of Pembroke. Rather confusingly, as Herbert’s son had never been attainted by Parliament, he also was technically Earl of Pembroke. Jasper received new grants, including the wardship of the minor son of Lord Grey of Powys which gave him control of significant lands in the Welsh Marches and some of the lands of the young Duke of Buckingham, who had been moved to the Yorkist affinity, when he was married to Katherine Woodville, sister of Edward IV’s queen.