Francis was aged about eight when his father died and he was sent to live with Richard at Middleham, the family seat of the Nevilles. Despite a four-year age difference, the two boys formed a close bond which lasted till the end of Richard’s life. In due course they married women who were cousins, such were the kinship ties in the nobility.
Francis was knighted by Richard in 1481 during the expedition to Scotland and two years later created 1st Viscount Lovell by Edward IV shortly before the latter’s death. He succeeded William Lord Hastings as Lord Chamberlain under Richard III and was given a place of honour at Richard’s coronation.
He survived the cull of senior Yorkist supporters after Bosworth and organised attempts to overthrow Henry VII including that of the claimant Lambert Simnel. After the failure of that rebellion he was given a safe conduct to Scotland, but is then lost to history.