Saturday, 6 April 2013

Edward of Westminster and the Great Livery Jacket Mystery.

The Prince of Wales calms his retinue while his father dreams of happier times!
 When I first started planning my Lancastrian army to re-fight the momentous events of 1471, the one character I was reluctant to field was the 17 year old son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, variously known as Edward of Lancaster or Edward of Westminster, but, since 1454, the holder of the title Prince of Wales.

Edward was the titular commander of the centre ward of the Lancastrian army that fought at Tewkesbury on the 4th May 1471. The prospect of giving the command of one third of my forces to such a callow youth was not one I particularly cherished, so my original intention was the conveniently forget about him and give the command to someone else, probably the Duke of Exeter, who I was intending to draft in from the Lancastrian army that had fought at Barnet on the 14th April. 

However, when I started to read around things a little bit more, I began to come around to the idea that the young prince really ought to play a significant role in the affairs of my army. Although he was young, Edward had spent his entire life in the midst of the events and intrigues at the very heart of the Wars of the Roses. Following the catastrophic Lancastrian defeat at Towton in 1461, his mother, Margaret of Anjou, had dragged her beloved son around northern England, Scotland and then France, while she planned and plotted to secure his rightful place on the throne of England. Indeed, Edward had spent most of his life as an émigré in some place or other, largely at the Lancastrian court in exile in France, from around 1464 until his mother’s fateful attempt to re-gain his inheritance in 1471.
Close up detail of the Prince in action.
 I had always thought of Edward as a bit of a feeble mother’s boy, but the experiences of his childhood must have had a massive impact upon his development, and being constantly indoctrinated with his mother’s hatred for the Yorkist faction back at home, would have bred a young man driven to a fanatical desire to oust the enemy and claim his seat upon the throne of England, where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all sat before him.
He would have been brought up listening to stories of Henry IV and his invasion and seizing of the throne in 1399, and this would have inspired him to achieve a similar outcome in the events about to unfold before him 72 years later. We know from reports written by the Milanese ambassador to France in 1467, that Edward was infatuated with the prospect of fighting wars and beheading those that he saw as his enemies. Clearly, Edward was a young man determined to gain, by martial means, that which he viewed as rightfully his and punish, in the most extreme manner, those who had deprived him of it. How could I ever have considered leaving this character out of my plans?
Henry VI, erstwhile King of England, father of the warrior Prince.
One of the best aspects of the ‘Coat of Steel’ rules, is the importance placed upon the characteristics given to the noble commanders of the forces. Obviously, Edward is going to have to have a set of characteristics which accurately reflect both his inexperience as a battlefield commander and his passionate belief in the cause he was undertaking. As the Noble Cards don’t exist for personalities from this part of the Wars of the Roses, I will need to think very carefully about the statistics I give him to reflect this combination of characteristics.

My depiction of Edward shows him enthusing his troops to a frenzy of warlike belligerence(!), before leading them into action against the reviled Yorkists. His father, Henry VI, sits sleeping in a chair, totally oblivious to the events unfolding around him. In reality, this couldn’t have happened in 1471, as Henry was being held captive in London at this time, but this is one of the advantages of wargaming; it allows you to be a bit economical with the truth and change history just a tiny bit to suit your desired situation!
The final figure in the band is Edward’s standard bearer, carrying the heraldic banner depicting the arms of England, differenced with a label of three points. It was painting this particular figure which lead to a change in my painting of livery jackets. For my first few figures wearing livery jackets, I had painted them in quarters, based upon the jacket worn by retainers of Edward IV displayed in the notes included in the Perry Miniatures figures box. When I looked at other Wars of the Roses painted figures, the livery jackets were shown painted in two halves rather than quarters. Following some advice given by Pat McGill of the Lance and Longbow Society in an article in issue 11 of the Hobilar, I am now painting livery jackets in two halves of colour, which also fits in with the way Citadelsix produce their range of livery badge transfers.

So, Edward of Westminster is painted and based and ready to lead his ward into battle. The Duke of Exeter is now supporting the Prince, bringing a little experience and extra blood lust to proceedings. Let slip the dogs of war and may the Prince of Wales smite down his Yorkist adversaries and ascend the throne of England as Edward V!