Was Edward IV illigitimate?

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Kimberly:
In his time, it was noted that Edward IV looked nothing like his father, Richard Duke of York. So,was Edward's father really an archer called "Blaybourne?
Would "Proud Cis" lower herselt to deceiving her husband in this way... and why?
Or is it all Tudor propaganda? 8)

Prince_Lieven:
Tudor propaganda all!!! Cecily would NEVER have slept with an archer.

Here's what Wikipedia thinks (hee-hee, I'm under 18, they can't sue!):

Until recently, evidence of Edward's illegitimacy was lacking. Despite some concerns raised by some scholars, it was generally accepted that the issue was raised as propaganda to support Richard III.

In his time, it was noted that Edward IV looked nothing like his father. Questions about his paternity were raised during Edward's own reign, for example by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick in 1469, and repeated by George, Duke of Clarence shortly before his death in 1478, but with no evidence. It was suggested that the real father may have been an archer called Blaybourne.

Prior to his succession, on June 22, 1483, Richard III declared that Edward was illegitimate, and three days later the matter was addressed by parliament. In Titulus Regius (the text of which is believed to come word-for-word from the petition presented by Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham to the assembly which met on June 25, 1483, to decide on the future of the monarchy). It describes Richard III as "the undoubted son and heir" of Richard, Duke of York and "born in this land" -- an oblique reference to his brother's birth at Rouen and baptism in circumstances which could have been considered questionable. Dominic Mancini says that Cecily Neville, mother of both Edward IV and Richard III, was herself the basis for the story: When she found out about Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, in 1464, "Proud Cis" flew into a rage. One of the things she is reported to have then said was that she was of a good mind to declare he was illegitimate and so have him kicked off the throne for his foolishness.

As historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman believes, paid propagandists for Henry Tudor, after he became Henry VII (and King Richard was dead), concocted out of whole cloth the story that Richard III had said his brother Edward was illegitimate: "Tudor's official historian, Polydore Vergil, . . . contend[ed] that Richard based his claim to the crown upon his brother Edward's illegitimacy. This was, of course, an out-and-out lie." Richard III's claim to the throne is generally believed to be based on his claim that Edward IV's children were illegitimate.

The matter is also raised in William Shakespeare's Richard III, in the following lines from Act 3 Scene 5:

   Tell them, when that my mother went with child
   Of that unsatiate Edward, noble York
   My princely father then had wars in France
   And, by just computation of the time,
   Found that the issue was not his begot

They go on to say . . .

In 2003, historian Dr Michael Jones revealed in a Channel 4 documentary (first broadcast January 3, 2004) previously overlooked evidence from Rouen, cathedral, France, discovered while researching the Hundred Years' War. In the cathedral register, an entry in 1441 records that the clergy were paid for a sermon for the safety of the Duke of York, going to Pontoise (near Paris) on campaign. He would have been on campaign from July 14 to August 21, 1441, several days' march from Rouen.

If a child with a claim to the throne was born small or sickly it would normally have been recorded, and there is apparently no such record, consequently, proponents of the theory of illegitimacy claim it is likely that Edward was not born prematurely. By calculating back from Edward's birth on April 28, it seems apparent that Richard was not present at the time of Edward's conception around the first week of August 1441.

Additionally, the cathedral records reveal that Edward's christening took place in private in a side chapel, whereas for the christening of Richard's second son the whole cathedral was used for a huge celebration, again suggesting to proponents of the theory that Edward was indeed illegitimate, although in spite of this, the Duke never disclaimed his paternity of his wife's eldest son.

Some historians have raised the criticism that it is logistically possible for Richard Duke of York to have returned briefly from battle to Rouen because often military leaders led their forces from the rear.

Dr Jones argues that, if it were true that Edward IV was illegitimate, this would have invalidated his claim to the throne of England thus rendering the existing royal family path as illegitimate. Dr Jones argues that tracing through Edward's younger brother, George Duke of Clarence (whom Jones argues was the legitimate heir), the current heir would be Michael Abney-Hastings, 14th Earl of Loudoun who resides in Australia as a rice researcher. However, since King Henry VII claimed the throne of England through right of conquest, it can be argued that Michael Abney-Hastings is no more legitimate to the throne then the blood line that would have continued if William the Conqueror had not taken over. Furthermore, under English law, the son of a married woman is automatically considered the son of her husband unless he is disclaimed at birth. Since Richard did not do this, Edward remained his legal son and heir, whether or not he was actually Richard's biological son.


Prince_Lieven:
See, Sharon Penman agrees with me! And what's the big deal about him not looking like his dad - I look nothing like my father, but that doesn't mean I'm illegitimate (or mum has a lot of explaining to do!!!). : - )

Kimberly:
Hey, I spelt "illegitimate" wrong :o

Kimberly:
I'm waiting to see what the Tudor Apologists have got to say.... ;D

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