The Duke of Warwick had begun to support the Yorkist cause in 1453. His support had been key to Edward IV at the Battle of Towton - although Edward was a superior commander, Warwick's provision of money and equipment was key.

Despite the fact Warwick was rewarded by Edward for his support, Edward was determined not to make the same mistakes as his father and overuse his royal patronage in the favour of a particular individual. Warwick was given many powerful positions (Captain of Calais, Admiral of England and Constable of Dover Castle), but positions were also dispensed amongst other magnates - for instance, Warwick's position as Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster was given to Lord Hastings. Also, William Herbert was made Lieutenent of South Wales in place of Warwick, given him the same power if South Wales as Warwick had in the north. Hastings was made King's chamberlain in 1461.

This was all sensible and good use of patronage, but Warwick was to prove very hard to please. He wanted to be the dominant magnate, but Edward refused to let this happen.

Despite Edward's sensible attitude here, he made a very bad mistake later on. In May 1464, Edward married Elizabeth Woodville. Liz had a huge list of faults -

  • She was not a virgin.
  • She was a commoner.
  • She was a widow.
  • She had two children, and more than ten unmarried sisters and brothers. They would all want patronage.
  • Her first husband had died fighting the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans!
Warwick had spent a lot of time searching for a French bride for Edward, and he was made to look foolish by this marriage. This did not please him at all. The magnates and royal family were all shocked by this action, and Warwick was annoyed because now Liz's sisters would be favoured over his own daughters by nobles looking to marry.

The Woodville family received fairly extensive patronage - the heir of Lord Herbert and the Duke of Buckingham are married to Woodvilles. John Woodville was married to the Duchess of Norfolk. One male Woodville was made Admiral of the Fleet and another Bishop of Salisbury.

As the Woodville's influence over the King rose, Warwick's fell. They rose fast and to the magnates seemed objectionable - angry, grasping and vengeful. For example, when Lord Mayor Cooke of London was against them, they had his property ransacked and tried to bribe juries to get him convicted of treason!

In September 1465, Warwick's brother was made Archbishop of York, a very important position. So Warwick's family were still getting patronage, but the King followed his advice less. For example, Edward favoured an alliance with Burgundy, and was backed by the Woodvilles in this. This was a sound economic decision (because of the cloth trade) and met patriotic feeling, but Warwick still wanted a permanent alliance with France (who were anti-Burgundian).

In 1467, Warwick begun to organise the marriage of his daughter to the Duke of Clarence, who is Edward's brother, and therefore heir. This annoyed Edward, who saw this action as anti-Woodville. Warwick knew the Duke of Clarence was vindictive, jealous and unreasonable towards Edward (matching his own feelings!). Warwick's brother applied for dispensation from the Pope to carry out the marriage, and was instantly dismissed from his position as Lord Chancellor. This was the final collapse of Warwick and Edward's relationship.

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