Spotlight: Cecily Neville

Name: Cecily Neville / Cecily Plantagenet

Title/s: Duchess of York / The King’s Mother / Princess of Wales / Duchess of Cornwall / Countess of March / Countess of Cambridge / Countess of Ulster / Countess of Chester

Birth / Death: 3 May 1415 – 31 May 1495

Spouse: Richard Plantagenet Duke of York 1411-1460

Children: Anne 1439-1476 / Edward IV 1442-1483 / Edmund 1443-1460 / Elizabeth 1444-1503 / George 1449-1478 / Richard III 1452-1485

Parents: Ralph Neville Earl of Westmorland 1364-1425 & Joan Beaufort 1379-1440

Siblings: John 1387-1420 / Ralph d.1458 / Maud d.1438 / Philippa 1386-1453 / Margaret d.1464

Noble Connections: Cecily Neville’s sons were Edward IV, Richard III and the Duke of Clarence. Her nephew was Warwick the Kingmaker, and her great-niece, Anne Neville, became Queen of England as wife to her son.

Events of their Lifetime: Death of Henry VI 1471, accession of Edward IV 1460, marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville 1464, death of Edward IV and accession of Richard III 1483, Battle of Bosworth Field 1485

Controversy: There has been a question over the paternity of her eldest son, Edward IV, which was dredged up during the reign of her son, Richard III. It is said she had an affair with an archer.

Works of Fiction:
John M. Ford, The Dragon Waiting (1983)
Cynthia Haggard, The Bride Price (2011)
Cynthia Haggard, One Seed Sown (2011)
Cynthia Haggard, Thwarted Queen (2011)
Sharon Penman, The Sunne in Splendour (1982)
Jean Plaidy, The Sun in Splendour (1982)
Anne Easter Smith, Queen by Right (2011)

Portrayals on Screen:
Annette Crosbie, The Tragedy of Richard III, 1983, directed by Jane Howell
Caroline Goodall, The White Queen, 2013, 6 episodes
Helen Haye, Richard III, 1955, directed by Laurence Olivier
Maggie Smith, Richard III, 1995, directed by Richard Loncraine

Further Reading:
C.A.J. Armstrong, The Piety of Cecily, Duchess of York (1942)
P.A. Johnson, Duke Richard of York 1411-1460 (1988)
Amy Licence, Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings (2014)
Geoffrey Richardson, The Lordly Ones: a History of the Neville Family and their Part in the Wars of the Roses (1998)


Arms of Cecily Neville Duchess of York
Arms of Cecily Neville Duchess of York


Cecily Neville c.1450
Cecily Neville c.1450

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