The Royal Family Tree 1399–1461
The whole family tree of Edward III’s descendants can be intimidating. To avoid over-powering students I used to build it up gradually by using a set of cards, one for each person in the tree, and colour coded.
This PowerPoint therefore performs the same function, if a little more economically. It provides a sequence of 5 screens which gradually build up the royal family tree.
This can be used in conjunction with pages 38-9 of my book The Wars of the Roses.
Page 39 provides a point by point explanation of the significant elements on the tree.
The family tree is provided as both a PowerPoint and as aPDF:
A quick run-down of the sequence of screens:
Screen 1 – Edward III and 4 of his sons with the crown passing to Richard II after Edward III. I know Edward had more off-spring but I’ve only included the most relevant ones. (The Duke of Buckingham who may have believed he had a claim in the 1480s was descended from the 5th son who’s not on this screen).
Screen 2 – The Lancastrian line – John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster’s descendants by his first wife. I’ve omitted royal brothers for clarity.
Screen 3 – The Beauforts – closely related to the Lancastrians because also descended from John of Gaunt but by his 3rd wife. Edmund Beaufort is the key figure in the early 1450s.
Screen 4 – Introduces the Yorkist line descended from Edward III’s 4th son. Richard of York’s inheritance was mixed – his father was executed for treason in 1415 but his uncle was a hero, killed at Agincourt
Screen 5 – the crux of the issue - why Richard of York could claim to be Henry VI’s heir before 1453 and in autumn 1460 said he had a better claim to the crown. Basically the York family made a marriage that leap-frogs them to the left – when Richard of Cambridge married Anne Mortimer. However this claim was only used as a post-hoc argument when York had no other escape from charges of treason in 1460.