Margaret of York

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Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy (3 May 1446 – 23 November 1503) – also by marriage known as Margaret of Burgundy – was a daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. She was Duchess of Burgundy as the third wife of Charles the Bold and acted as a protector of the Duchy after his death. She was also the sister of two Kings of England, Edward IV and Richard III. She was born at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England, and she died at Mechelen in the Low Countries.

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Early life

Duchess Isabel of Burgundy, the mother of Charles the Bold, was through her blood-ties and her perception of Burgundian interests pro-English. As a granddaughter of John of Gaunt, she was consequently sympathetic to the House of Lancaster. She believed that Burgundian trade, from which the Duchy drew its vast wealth, depended upon friendly relations with England. For this reason she was prepared to favour any English faction which was willing to favour Burgundy. By 1454, she favoured the House of York, headed by Margaret's father, Richard, Duke of York. Although the King of England, Henry VI, was the head of the House of Lancaster, his wife, Margaret of Anjou, was a niece of Burgundy's bitter enemy, Charles VII of France, and was herself an enemy of the Burgundians; Richard of York, by contrast, shared Burgundy's enmity towards the French, and preferred the Burgundians. Because of this, when Richard of York came to power in 1453-54, during Henry VI's first period of insanity, negotiations were made between himself and Isabel for a marriage between Charles the Bold, then Count of Charolais, and one of York's unmarried daughters, of whom the 8-year old Margaret was the youngest. The negotiations petered out, however, due to power struggles in England, and the preference of Charles' father, Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, for a French alliance. Philip had Charles betrothed to Isabella of Bourbon, the daughter of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon and Agnes of Burgundy, in late March 1454, and the pair were married on 31 October 1454.

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