It is conventional knowledge and understanding that history is made by men and women who take up roles or responsibilities which tend to define the state of affairs at their time. More often than not, such decisions are made at critical times such as during times of war or catastrophes. Such acts are hailed and recorded in history. One of such individuals who made history in the past is Marie Anjou, a noble woman who lived in the 1404 and 1463 (Kinoshita and Mac Cracken 25). Though she was a queen for a long period running from 1422 to 1461, her major contribution, and the reason as to why she is recorded in history, is her contribution in the War of Roses which was fought between 1455 and 1485 (Hicks 30). In order to understand the circumstances leading to her actions and the accolades that she receives, it is important to look at the historical perspective and the circumstances surrounding her actions.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (Para 1), the War of Roses can be broadly defined as the series of civil wars which took place between two dynasties. The houses that were at war were the House of Lancaster and the House of York (Britannica Para 3). It is referred as the War of Roses mainly because the heraldic symbols for the England’s throne were symbolized by the roses which represented the two houses. The House of Lancaster used the red roses while the House of York used the white roses. The wars between the supporters of the two were quite common and they spread over a long duration of time.
One of the major players in the war was Marie Anjolou. According to Kinoshita and MacCracken (43), Marie was the Queen consort for Charles VII who was the king of France from 1422-1461. She took after her mother, Yolande of Aragon, who played a major role in the Hundred Years of War which were succeeded by the war of roses. Marie is fondly remembered for her spirited fight in convincing the Lancaster’s to rise to war against the York’s (Hicks 78).
It so happened that there were constant clashes between the members of the House of Lancaster and the members of the House of York. However, the Britannica Encyclopedia (Para 10), the most fierce confrontation occurred in 1455 in what came to be known as the Battle of St. Albans. This war led to the death of a number of the leaders from the house of Lancaster. This was a major setback for the Lancastrians even though they were under the guidance of Richard who took the reins of power and guided the people well. However, they still needed more inspiration, something to keep them going and fighting for their course. This is where a strong figure was needed, one who could move the masses and convince them not to give up in as much as they were badly wounded.
This is where Marie Anjolou came in. She realized that even though there seemed to be a ray of peace, it was only because the House of York was enjoying significant control she sought to disrupt this. She, therefore, led the Lancastrians to protest against York (Hicks 98). This led to a heated confrontation back in 1959. In the repercussions of the confrontation, York and his supporters were forced to run for their lives. It was while on the run that one of York’s generals invaded England from a different point in the battle of Northampton and captured Henry (Hicks 101). This was quite convincing for York and he came back home, only that he did not reclaim power to the throne.
After the capture of Henry, Marie was distraught and could not rest until he was recaptured. Therefore, she rallied the other nobles and they re-united their armies. They started their pressure from the North with such force that when York tried to counter their moves, he was killed together with his son at the Battle of Wakefield. Kinotisha and MacCracken (138) indicate that this victory acted as a motivation for the Lancastrians who advanced further south. This sired the second battle of Albans where the Lancastrians managed to recapture Henry from the York’s However, this was too much for York’s elder son Edward who organized his armies and went into a fierce war with his opponents. At the Battle of Towton which was fought in the March of 1461, Edward managed to conquer the Lancastrians once and for all. Consequently, the Lancastrians uprisings in the north were put down and Henry was once again captured. This was a great win for the York’s and a gross loss for the Lancastrians. It also marked the ending of the great wars.
Looking at the above scenario, it is clear as to why Marie Anjolou became so famous. It can be argued that she was responsible for organizing and propagating the War of Roses. The Britannica Encyclopedia (Para 7) indicates that these contributions cannot be undermined. They were quite monumental at the time and they defined the state of affairs in England at the time. It was also her persistence in war and power that led to the death of so many warriors in the road to power. Therefore, she can be seen as an icon of the political arena where the leaders can engage in war activities all with the aim of gaining power. She is an indication of how addiction to power can lead individuals to taking any action just so as to acquire this power.
Besides the fact that she led the people to war, there are also other characters of Marie which made her stand out and be remembered to date. First o fall, it cannot be denied that she was quiet a brave woman. It has to be noted that during the time of the war, women did not have much power since the society was strictly patriarchal. However, this did not stop her from rallying her people to push for what they believed to be true. She rose above the gender stereotyping to inspire and lead her people to fight. In as much as they did not entirely win the war, yet it is very clear that they made an attempt. There was someone who was guiding them on this, Marie.
Her abilities as a leader were also witnessed. As indicated by Hicks (109), the initial confrontations left many of the Lancastrian leaders dead. Therefore, it appeared as if the York’s had won and could enjoy their reign. However, Marie realized this and as a leader, she decided to give them a run for their money. It was her leadership abilities which drove her to inspire and motivate her people to go to war. It was also these abilities which, after the first loss, made her manage to convince the people to rise up again and fight the York’s. They managed to recapture Henry who had been captured. They also managed to make York free the country. This was quiet a brave act for a woman.
Kinoshita and Mc Cracken (200) also indicate that her planning and organizing skills were witnessed at this time. After losing in the first battle of St. Albans, she managed to convince the other Lancastrian nobles to gather their armies again. She drove them to the second battle of St. Albans where they escaped with the victory. Her abilities in this case were seen in the fact that she could manage to bring a dispersed army together rand inspire it to victory. This was such an achievement for her.
In conclusion, the essay above has looked at Marie Anjolou and the role she played in the War of Roses. It has emerged that she rose above the challenges of gender discrimination to inspire her people to stand their ground. To a great extent, it is arguable that she was the force between the wars. If only she had relented on her stand or given up after the first failure, the York’s would have had such an easy time. However, Marie used her experience, leadership skills, and her position of power to convince the people that they could actually go to war and fight for their course. Therefore, it is acceptable hat she rightfully won her place in the books of history as a brave warrior.
Encyclopedia Britannica. “Wars of the Roses.” Britannica.com, 2013. Web. 2nd April 2013, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/509963/Wars-of-the-Roses
Hicks, Michael. The Wars of the Roses, 1455-1485. New York, NY: Osprey Publishing, 2003. Print.
Kinoshita, Sharon, & MacCracken, Peggy. Marie De France: A Critical Companion. New York, NY: DS Brewer, 2012. Print.