Happy Birthday, Anne of York!

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Anne Duchess of Exeter

Anne and her second husband, Thomas St Leger

I think this is going to be one of the more interesting marriages to write about, though I know very little at the moment.

Anne was married to Henry Holland, duke of Exeter. They had a daughter, Anne, in 1455 and possibly a son, Thomas, (according to at least one source) born in 1461. It’s difficult enough to find a time during the turbulence of 1454/5 when Anne and Henry (who did not have a happy union) could have been in the same place long enough to conceive a child, 1460/1 is even more unlikely. Their marriage essentially ended in 1461.

Just when Anne and Thomas St Leger became lovers isn’t clear, though there were rumours surrounding her (and to a lesser extent her sister Margaret) for some time from about the mid 1460s. Anne was granted an extremely favourable divorce from Holland in 1472 (with the Exeter title and lands being granted to her) and married St Leger in 1474. Their only daughter, Anne St Leger, was born two years later. Anne died shortly after her daughter’s birth.

St Leger was executed in 1483 after Buckingham’s rebellion. Their daughter was stripped of her titles and Exeter properties. She married George Manners (lord Roos) and died in 1526.

I will be exploring Anne and her marriages in more detail in a later post.

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Comments
  1. Davies’ English Chronicle does mention that the Duchess of Exeter was one of those in the Tower when it was besieged following Northampton (pg. 96 of the version found on Google Books). Since Exeter’s household men were prominent among those executed afterward, I wonder if the duchess had been reconciled with her husband at least to the extent of living in his household?

  2. anevillfeast says:

    I’ll check that out, Susan, thanks.

  3. Caroline says:

    Thanks for another post about another strong Plantagenet woman who overcame difficult circumstances. How sad she died so soon after she married the man she loved.
    I admit that I chuckled when I read how her first husband “accidentally” drowned on the way to the French Expedition in 1475. The Duke of Exeter must have deeply distrusted and disliked by many important people (if not the King himself) if they were so keen to be rid of him even after he and Anne divorced.

  4. Caroline says:

    Thanks for another post about a strong Plantagenet woman who overcame difficult circumstances. How sad she died so soon after she married the man she loved.
    I admit that I chuckled when I read how her first husband “accidentally” drowned on the way to the French Expedition in 1475. The Duke of Exeter must have deeply distrusted and disliked by many important people (if not the King himself) if they were so keen to be rid of him even after he and Anne divorced.

  5. Caroline says:

    Sorry for the double post!

  6. anevillfeast says:

    That’s ok, Caroline – so important it needed to be said twice! I must admit I’m a sucker for the story of Anne and St Leger. It strikes me too as deeply sad that she died so soon after their marriage, but they must have been together for about 10 years or so. (I’ve got this lovely scene in mind where he orchestrates a fall from a horse during a hunt so that she can be the one who rescues him. He tells her that if it was the other way around, he’d ask for a kiss in payment. She says she needs no payment and he says “I’ll hold onto it then, but you do realise it will be accruing interest”.)

    I agonised over how to make Exeter sympathetic. Maybe if he and Anne hadn’t been so clearly miserable together I might have found something. My daughter told that it was perfectly all right for me to have a wholly unlikeable character, so I’m just letting rip!

    I think just about anyone who got involved with Exeter came very soon to a point of regret. Had Warwick succeeded at Barnet, I don’t think he would have long tolerated him. Being tossed overboard (metaphorically if not actually) was always in his stars.

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