Even More Historical Inaccuracies

Scene Depiction Reality
I.i. York and supporters (including his sons) enter Parliament immediately following the First Battle of Saint Albans Parliament meets on November 15, 1455 (nearly a half-year after the battle on May 22, 1455); at this point, York is again named Protector for a “mad” King Henry
Richard has the head of Somerset, whom he killed at St. Albans Richard was 3 years old at the time of St. Albans, and did not kill Somerset
York sits on the throne, committing treason After a victory at the Battle of Northampton (July 10, 1460), York enters London, and places a hand on the throne (touches, not sits, and four years later); on October 16, 1460, York demands the throne from Parliament
Henry agrees to disinherit his son, to be allowed to reign until death This happened on October 23, 1460, not immediately after St. Albans
Margaret and Prince Edward arrive to confront York This never happened; they had fled to Scotland
I.ii Richard convinces York to break the compromise and take the crown Richard was 8 years old at the time, and this did not take place; rather, it was Margaret who broke the compromise by gathering an army, which was ready by December of 1460
I.iii Clifford kills a very young Rutland at the Battle of Wakefield Rutland was seventeen at the time, and not a young boy but a seasoned warrior
I.iv Margaret mocks Edward as “wanton” and George as “lusty” Edward was 18, George 11 at the time
Margaret crowns York with a paper crown, then mocks him York’s severed head, when put on display on the walls of York, wears the paper crown only at that time
II.vi After Clifford’s death at the Battle of Towton, Warwick plans Edward’s coronation, and decides to go to France to negotiate the marriage with Lady Bonne. The coronation took place on June 29, 1461, three months after the battle. The battles to defeat Lancastrians continued through the Battle of Hexham on May 15, 1464. Warwick’s trip to France doesn’t take place until mid 1464, three years later.
III.ii Edward meets and “woos” Lady Grey after Warwick leaves for France on his negotiation mission Edward secretly weds Lady Grey on May 1, 1464, before Warwick’s trip to France; Lady Grey won’t be introduced as Queen Consort until late September 1464.
Richard announces in soliloquy his ambitions for the crown Richard is 12 years old at the time; there is no evidence of such ambitions at this time
Richard claims to be able to teach the “murderous Machiavel” lessons Machiavelli, author of The Prince, will not be born for another five years in 1469
III.iii Warwick, upon hearing Edward has married Lady Grey, turns against Edward Warwick does turn against Edward, but does not announce it until 1469. In the meantime, he gains allies and even more reasons to revolt: the marriage was bad and only continued to get worse for Warwick–his family, the Nevilles, were pushed out of many positions of power by the new Queen’s family (the Woodvilles and Greys). In 1467, Philip the Good Duke of Burgundy dies, and Charles the Bold takes over. Charles has had a feud with France. Edward–who must make an alliance for England–chooses, over Warwick’s advice, Burgundy. Edward’s sister Margaret then marries Charles the Bold. Meanwhile, Warwick offers his older daughter Isabella to George Duke of Clarence as a bride, but Edward forbids the marriage. George marries Isabella Warwick anyway. Then in 1469, a Warwick supporter, Conyers, starts a rebellion in the north; Edward sends forces to quell it. It is at this point that Warwick and Clarence announce support for rebels. The Battle of Edgecote Moor takes place on July 26, 1469; it is a Lancastrian victory, after which Warwick and Clarence retreat to France.
Warwick and Margaret are reconciled immediately after Warwick turns against Edward; Warwick offers Prince Edward his older daughter, while noting that George will marry the younger Through efforts of Louis XI, Warwick and Margaret of Anjou are reconciled in June of 1470 (nearly a year after Edgecote Moor); the marriage between Prince Edward (age 17) and Warwick’s younger daughter Anne (age 14) was arranged at this point; George’s marriage to Warwick’s older daughter happened before the reconciliation
IV.i Upon hearing that Warwick has aligned with Margaret, George turns against Edward and leaves his brother This took place before the reconciliation
IV.iv Warwick captures Edward Never happened. There was a short period of time in 1469, during which Edward had been captured by the Archbishop of York. In reality, Warwick landed with forces in September of 1470, and chased Edward to the eastern coast; Edward fled to Holland in October.
IV.vi Richard and Hastings rescue Edward from captivity Never happened.
V.i George betrays Warwick after Edward has taken London (and thus retaken Henry VI) George’s betrayal takes place before Edward retakes London (if it had happened afterward, Edward would have had no need to accept him back)
V.v Edward deals with his captives from the Battle of Tewkesbury (May 3, 1471), including Oxford Oxford wasn’t at Tewkesbury; he was captured trying to invade England two years later in 1473. This is why Oxford’s life is spared in the play; he was imprisoned rather than executed upon capture.
V.v Prince Edward is killed by Edward, George and Richard. Unlikely.  In fact, most historians have Prince Edward killed in battle, not captivity.
Margaret witnesses the death of her son and begs for death herself. False. She was not captured at Tewkesbury, but at Coventry a week later.
V.vi Richard kills Henry VI. Unlikely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *