Henry VI, king of England: Factional Struggles

Factional Struggles

From c.1435, Henry fell under the dominance of a faction headed first by Henry Beaufort and later by William de la Pole, 4th earl of Suffolk (see Pole, family), both of whom opposed continuing the war in France. Suffolk negotiated a marriage for Henry with Margaret of Anjou in 1445. This marriage was at first favorably received in England, but when Henry, now under the influence of his wife, surrendered Maine to Charles VII, Suffolk and the queen lost their popularity.

Suffolk was impeached in 1450 and mysteriously murdered at sea while on his way to France. The rebellion of Jack Cade, which broke out after Suffolk's death, was but one of many riots and uprisings indicating popular dissatisfaction with the government. The faction headed by Queen Margaret and Edmund Beaufort, 2d duke of Somerset, which dominated the king after Suffolk's death, was opposed by Richard, duke of York, the most powerful noble in the kingdom and heir presumptive to the throne. The struggle between these two factions developed into the dynastic battle between the Lancasters and the Yorks known as the Wars of the Roses.

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