I go back and forth on whether or not I believe the precontract story, to be honest.I find it intriguing that Clarence may have had a legal claim as Edward's heir, if the alleged betrothal ceremony (as legal a marriage as a full marriage ceremony in the C15th) between Edward and Eleanor Butler, nee Talbot, did take place c. 1462 - and the supposed witness of this , or holder of evidence, Bishop Stillington of Bath and Wells (Edward's head of the private chancery/ lord privy seal in 1462-5 so the likely man to be entrusted with private legal arrangements), was arrested when Clarence was seized by Edward for treason, tried, and killed in early 1478. S was accused of words prejudicial to the King - does this mean he talked about the Eleanor B affair, Clarence found out and tried to use it, and Edward shut Stillington up? (The opponents of this allege that Richard just invented the betrothal story in 1483.) And by C15th Church law a marriage had to be in public in a church to be legal, and Edward's was not - it was apparently in a private chapel? at Elizabeth Woodville's home at Grafton Regis, Northants with very few witnesses and the priest unknown, and none of his council or family were there. So legally was it invalid and Clarence was the correct heir, assuming that Edward did not 'remarry' Elizabeth once his 'first wife/ fiancee' Eleanor was dead in 1468 - his son was not born until 1470? Clarence was as likely as Richard to have tried to depose Edward V in 1470, but less likely to have won in a straight battle with the Woodvilles for control of Edward.
And if Edward was 'married' to Eleanor, she was still alive when his eldest daughter Elizabeth of York was born in 1466, and she was not the legal heir after 1483 so her transmitting the claim to her Tudor children was illegal too. (Her husband Henry Tudor/ H VII notably based his claim on his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, descended from John of Gaunt son of Edward III, not on his wife). And Henry had the Ricardian act of parliament covering the 'illegal marriage of Edward IV' declared invalid in 1485 and all copies of it confiscated - a classic cover-up??
I've also seen it suggested that Edward only revealed the marriage to his council because Elizabeth was pregnant, with the pregnancy then ending in a miscarriage, but there's never been any substantiation for that.But did Edward want the marriage ceremony to Elizabeth to be in private in case he wanted to have it denied later on, if he found that the Council (Warwick included) were implacably opposed to it? Was he really that devious, and was it Elizabeth not him who insisted on a marriage not a betrothal ceremony, and who first publicised it in order to force his hand? So she was more worldly and ruthless than Eleanor Butler/Talbot, an idealist who later became a lay member of a religious fraternity in Norwich, near her sister the duchess of Norfolk's home where she lived, and was buried
in a nearby convent church? So could Edward have denied the Woodville marriage if his council had stood up to him, and left two not one 'wives' out in the cold?
I suppose “somewhat interesting” is one way to describe gleefully ignoring the law whenever it’s convenient.The somewhat interesting way all of the sons of York interpreted legality at times is rather fascinating.
The two quotes I always come back to on Henry VI are:I suppose “somewhat interesting” is one way to describe gleefully ignoring the law whenever it’s convenient.
As for remaining a Yorkist and Ricardian sympathiser despite it all, I’m very familiar with that feeling. Helps that the other side doesn’t really have anyone to capture one’s sympathies (I suppose you can sympathise with Henry VI as a man, but as a king...) and plenty who are guilty of the same sins as the Yorkists.
That certainly was said of Louis VII, if not the 'from birth' part. Indeed he was raised to be a monk (presumably an abbot, really), only being a king because his brother died in that freak pig accident."Henry would have made a fine monk. Perhaps even a Saint. Sadly, he was, from almost the moment of his birth, take with being king of England and France. At that, he was hopeless."