Who's Who?

The Wars of the Roses lasted for more than half a century. Most of those involved in the conflict’s beginning were long dead by the time it ended. The only major players to live through the entire period were women and churchmen. All of the principal noble families of the age, and many gentry families too, became embroiled in the politics of the wars. Quite often local disputes became the trigger for major incidents within the Wars.

We will be steadily updating this page with short biographies of the most significant figures in the Wars of the Roses along with links to find out more and suggestions of sources to help you decide for yourself about them. In the meantime, we are very grateful to the Canadian Branch of the Richard III Society for permission to use the biographies of some of the key players that have been written for their website.

Humfrey, duke of Gloucester

Brother of Henry V
Protector of Henry VI

Henry VI

The last Lancastrian king

Margaret of Anjou

Henry VI’s Queen

Edward of Lancaster

Only son to Henry VI. Killed at Tewkesbury.

Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York

Protector of the Realm during Henry VI’s illness, father of Edward IV and Richard III

Cecily Neville

Mother of Edward IV and Richard III

Edward IV

King at age 19. Established the House of York on the throne.

Elizabeth Woodville

Edward IV’s Queen. Daughter of Earl Rivers & Jacquetta Duchess of Bedford.

Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy

Edward IV & Richard III’s youngest sister. Influential in Europe and opposing Henry VII.

George, Duke of Clarence

Edward IV’s middle brother. Executed for treason

Isabel Neville

Daughter of Warwick; Duchess of Clarence

Richard III

Youngest brother to Edward IV. Last Plantagenet King.

Anne Neville

Daughter of Warwick. Richard III’s Queen.

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (the ‘Kingmaker’)

Powerful landowner & cousin to Edward IV. Killed at Barnet.

Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess Dorset

Older son of Elizabeth Woodville before she married Edward IV

Sir Richard Grey

Elizabeth Woodville’s younger son before she married Edward IV

Elizabeth of York

Eldest child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Henry VII’s Queen.

Edward V

The elder of the Princes in the Tower.

Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York

The younger of the Princes in the Tower

Edward Plantagenet (Earl of Warwick)

Only son of George and Isabel. Executed by Henry VII

Margaret Plantagenet

Daughter of George and Isabel. Executed by Henry VIII

Edward of Middleham

Only legitimate son of Richard III and his wife Anne. Died in childhood.

Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers

Father of Elizabeth Woodville.

Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford

Mother of Elizabeth Woodville.

Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers

Tutor to Edward V. Executed by Richard III.

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

Rebelled against Richard III & executed.

Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland

Lord of the Northern Marches.

William, Lord Hastings

Close friend and adviser to Edward IV. Executed by Richard.

Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells

Allegedly performed a marriage between Edward IV and Eleanor Butler

Eleanor Butler (née Talbot)

Allegedly married to Edward IV before he married Elizabeth Woodville

John Morton, Bishop of Ely

Member of Edward IV’s and Edward V’s Council. Imprisoned by Richard III.

Sir William Catesby

Close friend and adviser to Richard III. Executed after Bosworth

Francis, Lord Lovell

Close friend and adviser to Richard III. Escaped from Bosworth.

Sir Richard Ratcliffe

Close friend and adviser to Richard III. Killed at Bosworth.

Lambert Simnel

Claimed to be Edward, 17th Earl of Warwick early in Henry VII’s reign.

Perkin Warbeck

Claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury during Henry VII’s reign.

Henry VII

Defeated Richard III at Bosworth. Claimed the throne by ‘right of conquest.’