Monday, 11 August 2008

Clarence decides

King Edward sent overtures to his estranged brother via a lady in waiting of the Duchess of Clarence, and prepared for battle with Warwick.

Edward and Warwick were both undefeated in battle. Edward assembled a powerful army, commanding its centre personally and entrusting the flanks to Gloucester and Hastings, but was it a match for the might of Warwick? Clarence was officially loyal to Warwick, but he had given private assurances of support to Edward. Who would he join when matters came to a head?

In the event, Clarence came in on the side of Edward at Barnet. Warwick fought on foot to demonstrate to his own forces that he would not be fleeing on horseback when the going got tough. A thick fog added to the confusion of the battle, but the outcome was decisive. Warwick was defeated and, having deprived himself of the means of a speedy escape, killed.

The victorious team of Edward, Gloucester, Hastings and Clarence headed west to confront the forces of Margaret of Anjou and her son Edward.

Margaret was also nominally in alliance with Warwick, at the insistence of the French King. Margaret and Warwick held the record for the most cynical partnership in history for over 450 years, until superseded by the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. She refused to link up with Warwick at his time of need since if Warwick won without her she would still be on the victorious side, and if he lost she hoped that the Yorkists would be weakened by the encounter enough for her army to prevail against them. Had she miscalculated?

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