Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (1428—April 14, 1471), was also known as "Warwick the Kingmaker." Neville was the richest man in England outside the royal family, and he used his wealth and power to help depose the "Lancastrian" Henry VI in favor of the "Yorkist" Edward IV, and then later to place Henry VI back on the throne.
Warwick was the eldest son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and Alice Montagu, Countess of Salisbury. His younger brother was Sir John Neville, Marquess of Montagu and for a brief time Earl of Northumberland. He married Anne Beauchamp, daughter and eventual heiress of the 14th Earl of Warwick. Thus he controlled two great earldoms, with estates throughout the English Midlands and the Welsh March.
As the nephew by marriage of Richard, Duke of York, Warwick was a key player for the Yorkists during the Wars of the Roses. He used his influence and popularity to help York try to gain a more influential role under Henry VI, although he stopped short of supporting York when he claimed the throne in front of parliament in London in 1460. Warwick became the largest and most influential landowner in England after the death of his father at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, after which his military support was instrumental in putting Edward IV of England on the throne, and the two had a very close relationship during the early years of Edward's reign, when Warwick was entrusted to put down Lancastrian rebellions in the northern counties of England.
However, by the late 1460s the two had fallen out. This breakdown in their relationship had several causes, but stemmed originally from Edward’s decision to marry Elizabeth Woodville in secret in 1464. Edward later announced the news of his marriage as a fait accompli to the considerable embarrassment of Warwick who had been negotiating a match between Edward and a French bride, convinced as he was of the need for an alliance with France. This embarrassment turned to bitterness when the Woodvilles came to be favoured over the Nevilles at court, and other factors also compounded Warwick’s disillusionment: Edward’s preference for an alliance with Burgundy (Warwick favoured France), and Edward’s reluctance to allow his brothers George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester to marry Warwick’s daughters Isabella and Anne.
By 1469 Warwick had formed an alliance with Edward's jealous brother George, to whom he married his eldest daughter Isabel in that year. They defeated Edward's forces at the Battle of Edgecote Moor, capturing the king and ruling in his name for a few months. Crucially, however, Warwick's brother John Neville remained loyal to Edward, and he was soon liberated by an army led by his youngest brother Richard. Warwick was attainted as a traitor in 1470 and forced to flee to France, where he came to form an alliance with his old enemy Margaret of Anjou, queen of King Henry VI of England. As a result, he married off his younger daughter, Anne, to Margaret's son, Edward, Prince of Wales.
Margaret remained suspicious of Warwick, and insisted that he cement their alliance by returning to England with an army. This he did and this time, Warwick's brother John supported him with an army from the north and Edward was forced to flee while Warwick restored King Henry VI to the throne on October 30.
Warwick now planned to consolidate his alliance with Louis XI of France by helping France to invade Burgundy, for which King Louis promised him the reward of the Burgundian territories of Zeeland and Holland. News of this drove Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy to assist Edward with funds and an army to invade England in spring 1471. By the time Margaret and her supporters were ready to join Warwick from France, Warwick (along with his brother and chief supporter the John Neville) had been defeated and killed by the returning Edward IV at the Battle of Barnet 1471. His daughter, Isabella Neville, remained married to Clarence, but Anne Neville, whose husband the Prince of Wales was killed shortly afterwards at the Battle of Tewkesbury, later married Richard III of England.
- Warwick the Kingmaker by Paul Murray Kendall ISBN 0351170960
- The Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth ISBN 0975126407. An award-winning novel based on Paul Murray Kendall's account and lauded by the Richard III Society for its meticulous research, The Rose of York brings the Wars of the Roses to life for the student of medieval history.
- Percy-Neville feud
- Wars of the Roses
- Warwick Castle (http://www.warwick-castle.co.uk)