review: The Prince Who Did Not Become King

The Prince Who Did Not Become King: Edward of Lancaster, 1453-1471

by Susan Higginbotham

This critique of the short life of the son of England’s King Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou covers the few known facts, mostly relayed through the political movements of his parents. The few documented fragments of his personality are historically biased, and discussed at length, as well as his unconsummated marriage to Warwick’s daughter, Anne Neville (who later became Richard III’s Queen).

With illegitimacy claims against him, Edward grew up uncertain of ever obtaining the throne of England, but there were other reasons for the Yorkist rise against his father, the anointed King Henry VI. Though he was the son of the great Henry V, this Henry suffered bouts of madness, probably inherited from his maternal grandfather, France’s mad King Charles VI. Add to this the English’s dislike of the foreign Queen, Margaret of Anjou, and the country was ready to rally behind the Duke of York’s claim, stemming from another branch of Edward III’s progeny.

This is an intelligently written piece from an author known for her humorous, though well-written novels on various historical figures of the medieval, Wars of the Roses and Tudor eras. There are plenty of sources cited and it is clearly not written based on the author’s opinion. Her novel on these same characters, The Queen of Last Hopes, intimately details the Queen’s life and all of her travails. The Prince Who Did Not Become King serves as a companion to the novel, or a stand-alone non-fiction critique.

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