By 1456 Henry VI
felt sufficiently confident and well enough (he suffered from sporadic insanity
) to remove Richard
Duke of York
from his office as first minister, although York maintained his position in the King's Council, where he
was dominant. The Earl of Warwick
, an important member of the Yorkist
faction, was appointed Captain of Calais
point from where he would later launch his Yorkist invasion of England
Peace continued for another 3 years, supported by a public show of affection by the King, the 'Loveday' in
which the members of the rival factions walked into St Paul's Cathedral arm-in-arm. Despite this show, the reality
was that the rift was as large as ever. While the Duke of York was carrying out his duties in Dublin, the feud between
the houses of Lancaster and York revolved mainly around the Earl of Warwick and Margaret of Anjou, the King's wife.
Margaret tried to have Warwick arrested for alleged crimes of piracy and inciting a riot in court, further
widening the rift.
By 1459 Margaret of Anjou and the Duke of Buckingham appear to have convinced the King that the Duke of York and
his ally the Earl of Warwick were planning to usurp the throne. In June of that year, the Lancastrians decided it was
time to crush the Yorkist faction by force. Indicted for treason, York and his supporters rallyed their armies once
more. A small Yorkist army led by the Earl of Salisbury defeated a larger Lancastrian force at Blore Heath, in
Shropshire. A game of cat and mouse ensued, as the bulk of the King's army, together with the King, pursued York to
his base at Ludlow.
Yorkist troops began to desert following a promise of pardon, putting paid to the Yorkist cause. The Duke of York
fled to Ireland and Salisbury and Warwick fled to Calais, leaving his commanders in the field.
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