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The Wars of the Roses: Family Feud, Plantagenet Style

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The Wars of the Roses: Family Feud, Plantagenet Style

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, July 30, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2332
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Miniature of the Battle of Tewkesbury, late 15th century

Long before royal exploits were splashed across the tabloids, England’s ruling family played out their dramas on the national stage. The heirs of Edward III fought a series of battles that came to be known as the Wars of the Roses during the mid-to-late 15th century. With cousins challenging cousins, brothers turning against brothers, and an uncle locking nephews in the Tower of London (never to be seen again), this clan seems tailor-made for peak television.

Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger considers the claim of the House of Lancaster, headed by John of Gaunt’s son Henry who deposed Richard II and took the crown of England for himself. A series of King Henrys led England in the name of Lancaster: Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI.

She also looks at the House of York, founded by the unimpressive Edmund of Langley and invigorated later by a strong claim to the throne. Richard of York was unsuccessful in his attempt to take the throne from Henry VI, but his son Edward decided to take up his father’s challenge. And it looks like the Earl of Richmond, with his Lancaster ties, might be headed in to crash the party.

Lloyd-Stanger looks at the family battles of the Wars of the Roses from the inside out, learning the truth behind Shakespeare’s warning in Henry IV, Part 2, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”

Lloyd-Stanger, former manager of visitor education at the Folger Shakespeare Library, is author of The Tudors by Numbers and the forthcoming Courting the Virgin Queen, published by Pen and Sword books.

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