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Tudor Minute June 8: The Death of Elizabeth Woodville

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for June 8.

Today we mark the death, in 1492, of Elizabeth Woodville, in Bermondsey Abbey. She was the mother of Elizabeth of York, and the princes in the Tower, and the grandmother to Henry VIII. But Henry didn’t remember his grandmother, of course. The relationship between Elizabeth Woodville and her son in law’s family continues to be the stuff of historical fiction writers – it’s possible that she angered Henry VII after supporting early rebellions against him, though why she would have done that and jeopardized her daughter’s position as queen is curious – if she did participate in any rebellion, it likely meant that she believed her sons were still alive.

She had had a tumultuous life that paralleled the Wars of the Roses – she was widowed early on when her husband was killed in a battle. Then she caught the eye of Edward IV, and married him. Their marriage, while a love match, still revolved around the Civil Wars, and she fled to sanctuary more than once, actually giving birth in the Sanctuary of Westminster Abbey during one period. You can imagine that by the time her daughter was on the throne as Queen, she was likely tired, and wanted a quiet life, joining an Abbey, and leaving the court politics to others. Still, it leaves people wondering how she could have abandoned the court if there hadn’t been drama.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com where there is an older episode on Elizabeth Woodville.


Elizabeth Woodville Episode