England coronated Edward IV in 1461 and enjoyed relative peace for a decade. He systematically eliminated opposition until the Lancastrians were wholly defeated. The deposed Henry VI remained imprisoned from 1465 until his death. The War of the Roses appeared over until the Earl of Warwick launched a rebellion. The blood feud between Lancastrians and Yorkists began anew. In the end, Edward defeated Warwick’s brief insurrection and ruled until 1483.
Edward IV swept away the final Lancastrian opposition in 1468. By this point, Henry VI remained safely imprisoned. Meanwhile, the Earl of Warwick became England’s greatest landholder through marriage, inheritance, and confiscation of Lancastrian lands. Warwick attempted to broker a marriage alliance with France, but Edward undercut him by marrying Elizabeth Woodville. As a result, the Woodvilles became court favorites at Warwick’s expense.
An embittered Warwick formed an alliance with Edward’s brother, George. The king’s brother violated royal orders by marrying Warwick’s relative, Isabel Neville. The marriage formed an alliance between the Nevilles and George York. The pair formed an army and captured Edward IV in battle. They allowed the king to live, but executed the queen’s father and brother. England’s nobility refused to support Warwick en masse. Many preferred to settle disputes between families and took to raising private armies. Edward and Warwick declared a truce allowing the king to pacify the countryside.
English rebels blamed Warwick for the turmoil leading Edward to declare him, and his own brother George, traitors. The pair fled to France where King Louis IX brokered an alliance between Warwick and the former Queen consort Margaret of Anjou. The two formed a marriage alliance using her son, Edward, and his daughter, Anne. Warwick returned to England to overthrow Edward IV in 1470. He succeeded at first and the king fled the country.
Warwick won early victories, but Edward’s brother-in-law stepped in with reinforcements and funding. Edward IV returned in 1471 to outmaneuver Warwick politically and militarily. The two forces met for a showdown at Barnet. A thick fog obscured the battlefield and Warwick’s men actually attacked one another. Warwick died at the Battle of Barnet. Then, Edward eliminated Margaret’s army at the Battle of Tewkesbury. The last Lancastrian heir to the throne, Prince Edward, died in the conflagration. This led the Yorks to murder imprisoned Henry VI. The conflict between Yorkists and Lancastrians ended with Edward IV’s restoration. Edward reigned until his death in 1483.
Yorkist forces ended their long-standing feud with the Lancastrians in 1471. The last Lancastrian claimants to the English throne died along with the turncoat Warwick. The Earl of Warwick switched to the Lancastrian side out of jealousy and anger. It cost him his life and appeared to end the War of the Roses. However, one final chapter was left to play out upon Edward IV’s death.