On this day in history, 29 September 1464, Edward IV officially introduced Elizabeth Woodville to the Royal Council as his wife and Queen of England.
Ever since Edward’s coronation the question of the royal succession had been discussed. As the time went on more and more pressure was put on the king to find a suitable bride. Matters came to head in September 1464, when the king attended a meeting of the Royal Council, in Reading. The question of his marriage was discussed and this forced the king to inform the Council that he had already secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner. On St. Michael’s day, 29 September 1464, Elizabeth was introduced to the Royal Council and acknowledged by all present as Queen of England. She was eventually crowned at Westminster Abbey on 26 May 1465. Elizabeth Woodville’s greatest legacy was perhaps the great number of her female descendants who became queens. Her daughter Elizabeth of York married Henry VII, was Queen of England and was the mother of not only Henry VIII, but also Margaret, later wife of the King of Scotland, and Mary, later wife of the King of France; Woodville’s great-granddaughters included Queen Mary I and the enormously significant Queen Elizabeth I; her great-great-granddaughters included Mary, Queen of Scots and Lady Jane Grey, who ruled England for nine days in July 1553.
Pictured: King Edward IV and his Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, at Reading Abbey (1464), painted by Ernest Board (1923). The painting depicts King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, on Michaelmass Day, 1464, at Reading Abbey, Edward is greeting his wife, before placing her in the chair of estate in the chancel of the Abbey Church. Queen Elizabeth’s trainbearers are her two sons, Thomas and Richard Grey. Behind the Queen stand the Earl of Warwick, cousin to the King and on his left is the Duke of Clarence, the King’s younger brother. In the right-hand corner is Richard Woodville, the Queen’s father. To the extreme left stands the Abbot, John Thorne I.