Here are the family members and allies of Richard, Duke of York and the House of York. Click here for King Henry VI and the House of Lancaster.
RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK (Sean A. Brosnahan) – Great-grandson of King Edward III, Richard was a powerful magnate who became Lord Protector of England during Henry VI’s difficulties. He did not get along with Henry’s Queen Margaret, and led a rebellion in which he made his own claim to the throne based on his lineage to King Edward III.
Though York would claim the throne for himself, he relented and allowed Henry to remain king on the condition that Henry would turn over rule of England to York and his sons Edward, Richard, and Clarence. Two of these sons – Edward and Richard, would eventually become king.
EDWARD IV, SON OF YORK (Benjamin Tarlton) – Edward was the second son of Richard, Duke of York, although he was the oldest of the four sons who survived to adulthood. Upon the death of his father at the hands of Margaret and the Lancastrians, Edward would lead his father’s forces and eventually take the throne, becoming the first Yorkist King of England.
Though he was a brilliant military commander and tactician, King Edward IV died early of natural causes after a relatively short reign. Within two years, his two sons were imprisoned and presumably killed, and Richard, who took the throne as Richard III would be killed by Henry Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth Field.
GEORGE OF CLARENCE, SON OF YORK (Will Cannon) – Known as “Clarence” in Henry VI, this son of the Duke of York was a key figure in several battles against the Lancasters. He famously switched sides and joined the Lancasters for a period when Warwick The Kingmaker defected and allied himself with Henry VI.
After it became apparent that he would not be king after Henry VI’s son, Clarence returned to the Yorks and rejoined his brothers in battle.
RICHARD, SON OF YORK (Seth Blum) – The youngest surviving son of Richard, Duke of York was and continues to be one of the most controversial figures of the late 1400’s. Partisan writings from the era cast him as either a politically-astute, benevolent leader or a conniving, murderous villain (Shakespeare went with the latter in order to please Elizabeth I, who was directly descended from Henry Tudor – who defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field). He is often depicted in writing or onstage as having some sort of physical deformity, such as a hunched back or crooked spine.
Regardless of his true nature, Richard was instrumental in aiding his brother Edward to capture the crown from Henry VI. Bare Theatre will continue his story in “Richard III” at Sonorous Road Productions this November.
BARON HASTINGS (Pimpila Violette) – William Hastings, first Baron of Hastings, was a staunch ally of the Yorks. Warwick respected him so much that he arranged for Hastings to be married to Warwick’s widowed sister.
Hastings’ loyalty became crucial during the rise and reign of Edward IV. He would prove a valuable asset on the field in several key battles and his loyalty was unwavering.
LADY GREY (Maggie Lea) – Elizabeth Woodville was a mid-level noblewoman whose first marriage was to a minor supporter of the Lancasters, Sir John Grey. After he died on the battlefield at St. Albans, Elizabeth married King Edward IV. This caused quite a stir because she had no real estate and this was only the second time since the Norman conquests that an English king had married one of his subjects.
Warwick, who had negotiated a marriage/alliance with France on Edward’s behalf, was enraged when he found out the king had married Lady Grey without his knowledge and defected to the Lancasters. Her son would briefly become King Edward V before being deposed by Richard III, but she would remain influential and helped bring about the ascension of King Henry VII.
MONTAGUE, BROTHER OF YORK (G. Todd Buker) – Montague is a conflation of several different characters and ideas. In Act I of Henry VI, Part 2, he is the Earl of Salisbury, Warwick’s father. The Montague that follows afterwards is Salisbury’s son and Warwick’s younger brother.
In our play, Montague is the brother of Richard, Duke of York, uncle to Edward, Clarence, Rutland and Richard. He recognizes King Henry’s vulnerability and urges York to war.
EARL OF SALISBURY (Dustin Walker) – Richard Neville was the fifth Earl of Salisbury. By blood he was related to Warwick and Westmoreland and by marriage to the Montagues. His close family had a private feud with the Percys of Northumberland, and this may in part explain Salisbury’s allegiance to Richard, Duke of York.
Salisbury fought with York at the First Battle of St. Albans, and was afterward named Lord Chancellor by York. In our play, Salisbury alone joins Clarence in defecting to the side of Warwick and the Lancasters.
EARL OF WARWICK (Aneisha Montague) – Richard Neville, known as the Earl of Warwick or “The Kingmaker,” was the wealthiest and most powerful lord in England during the time of the War of the Roses. A land dispute put Warwick at odds with Somerset when King Henry VI became ill because Somerset was able to lead by proxy and hold advantage over Warwick. Thus Warwick sided with the Yorks.
After the Duke of York’s death, Warwick sided with York’s eldest son, Edward, to take the crown from King Henry. Warwick negotiated a marriage with the king of France’s sister-in-law, Lady Bona, only to discover Edward was already married to the Lady Grey. In our play, Warwick becomes furious at being kept in the dark and declares allegiance to the Lancasters. In an attempt to weaken the Yorks, Warwick convinced Clarence to defect from his brother, Edward, and join the Lancasters as well.
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