Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick

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Lady Anne de Beauchamp
suo jure Countess of Warwick
Countess of Salisbury
Spouse(s) Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick

Issue

Isabel Neville, Duchess of Clarence
Anne Neville, Queen consort of England
Father Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick
Mother Isabel le Despenser, Countess of Worcester and Warwick
Born (1426-07-13)13 July 1426
Died 20 September 1492(1492-09-20) (aged 66)

Lady Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick (13 July 1426 – 20 September 1492) was the daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, and his second wife Isabel le Despenser, a daughter of Thomas le Despenser (22 September 1373 – 13 January 1399/1400) and Constance of York. Anne de Beauchamp was the mother of Anne Neville, Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Richard III.[1]

Inheritance[edit]

Anne de Beauchamp was born at Caversham Castle in Oxfordshire (now Berkshire). She became the wife of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick.[2] Following the death of Anne de Beauchamp's father, and subsequently that of her brother, Henry, and her niece Lady Anne, Warwick inherited the title and the considerable estates of the Earl of Warwick through her.

However, this was contested by her three older half-sisters, children of her father's first marriage to Elizabeth, heiress of Berkeley. One of these, Lady Eleanor, was married to Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset (killed at the First Battle of St Albans in 1455). The litigation over the Warwick inheritance only fueled the enmity between this branch of the Nevilles and the Beauforts who were closely related. Anne de Beauchamp's husband, Richard, was the grandson of Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland, sister of the Duke's late father. Law considered that Anne de Beauchamp being a full-blooded aunt of the last countess was more eligible to inherit than her older half-sisters, who were thus not coheirs with her, including the eldest - Lady Margaret, Countess of Shrewsbury (d. 1468). Richard Neville succeeded in keeping the Warwick and Despencer estates intact.[3]

Children's marriages[edit]

Her older daughter, Lady Isabel, married George, Duke of Clarence, the younger brother of King Edward IV of England. Her younger daughter, Lady Anne Neville, was married to Edward of Westminster, the only son of King Henry VI. When Edward of Westminster was killed in the Battle of Tewkesbury, Anne Neville was married to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III of England. Although their mother was still living, the husbands of the two Neville sisters fought over her inheritance, with Richard eventually coming out on top.[4] However, the son of the Duke of Clarence inherited the earldom of Warwick through his mother.[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

Anne died in obscurity, having survived her husband, her daughters and the sons-in-law who had effectively disinherited her. She was in sanctuary at Beaulieu Abbey in 1486 when she petitioned Henry VII for the return of her estate. She recovered a small portion, but only on condition that she broke the entail and remit the bulk of them to Henry VII.[3]"The 'Warwick and Spencer lands', her own patrimony became part of the crown estate."[5]

Fictional portrayals[edit]

Anne, Countess of Warwick appears prominently in the Philippa Gregory novels The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker's Daughter, and is played by Juliet Aubrey in the 2013 White Queen mini-series. She is depicted as a coldly ambitious mother to Isabel and Anne Neville, and her husband's staunchest supporter. A more sympathetic portrayal of the Countess of Warwick is in the novel The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, and a maternal view of her is observed in The Reluctant Queen by Jean Plaidy. Novelist Sandra Worth represents the Countess as her husband's conscience in her five novels about the Wars of the Roses. The Countess is depicted as being especially close to her grandson Edward of Middleham.[citation needed]

Ancestry[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Anne Beauchamp
Countess of Warwick
1449–1492
Succeeded by
Edward Plantagenet

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford DNB
  2. ^ Warwick Castle facts
  3. ^ a b M.A. Hicks, "Descent, Partition and extinction: the Warwick inheritance", Bulletin of the Institute for Historical Research LII (1979), pp. 116-128.
  4. ^ Queens' College, Cambridge
  5. ^ B.P. Wolfe, The Crown Lands 1461-1536: an aspect of Yorkist and Early Tudor Government (1970), p. 171.