The Yorkist lords at Calais, invited by the people of Kent, landed at Sandwich, about mid-summer. They entered London with a large army on 2 July. The queen raised a force, which was totally defeated by the Yorkists at Northampton on 10 July. The duke of Buckingham, the queen’s general, was killed and the king taken prisoner. The queen and her son fled to Scotland.
The duke of York returned from Ireland on 9 October, and made a formal claim to the crown on 16 October. A compromise was reached on 31 October, that Henry should retain the crown for life, and be succeeded by the duke of York. The proceedings of the parliament at Coventry in 1459 were set aside as illegal.
The Queen raised an army in the north and advanced against the Yorkists. On 2 December the Duke of York left London to oppose her. He was besieged by her forces in Sandal Castle near Wakefield, sallied out and attacked them on 30 December, but was defeated and killed. His son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, was killed and the earl of Salisbury who was also with him was executed afterwards.
By the autumn of this year York’s family (including Richard) were in the house of Sir John Fastolf in Southwark, London.
Duke Richard’s eldest son Edward, now duke of York (and afterwards Edward IV) defeated Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, at the battle of Mortimers Cross, near Wigmore, on 2 February. The earl’s father, Owen Tudor, and several other prisoners were beheaded on the field of battle. The queen advanced southward, defeated the earl of Warwick at the second battle of St Albans on 17 February, and rescued the king. London closed its gates against her and she was obliged to retire to the north.
Edward, duke of York, entered London on 28 February. He urged his claim before a council of peers, prelates and chief citizens, who declared him king on 3 March. He was solemnly installed at Westminster as king on 4 March, immediately marched into the north, and defeated the Lancastrians with great slaughter at the battle of Towton, near Tadcaster on 29 March. Henry, with his queen and son Edward and some of their supporters, escaped to Scotland. Edward IV returned to London, and was crowned on 28 June.
The new king created his brothers, George and Richard, dukes of Clarence and Gloucester respectively. Richard possibly placed in the household of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the king’s cousin.
The duke of Somerset, Henry Beaufort, and many other Lancastrians abandoned Henry and made terms with King Edward.
Queen Margaret landed in Northumberland with French troops, and retired to Scotland after no English joined her.
Queen Margaret marched into England and captured several northern castles. She was again joined by Somerset and other supporters. John, Marquess of Montague, brother of the earl of Warwick, defeated the Lancastrians at a battle on Hedgley Moor, near Wooller, Northumberland, on 25 April, and again at Hexham, also in Northumberland, on 15 May. Henry found refuge in Lancashire; the queen and the prince retired to Flanders. The Duke of Somerset and many other prisoners were executed.
On 29 September Edward IV revealed his marriage to Elizabeth, the widow of Sir John Grey, a Lancastrian. Edward immediately showed favour to her relatives, the Woodvilles, and thus aroused the jealousy of his brothers and his supporter, the earl of Warwick.
Henry VI was captured in Lancashire in July, conducted to London and imprisoned in the Tower.
Edward IV took the seals of office from the Chancellor, George Neville, Archbishop of York, on 9 June, a first blow against the power and influence of the Nevilles.
The king went on pilgrimage into Norfolk in June, accompanied by his brother Richard. Insurrections against the Woodvilles were raised by the earl of Warwick and Edward’s brother Clarence. On 11 July Clarence married Isabel Neville, daughter of the earl of Warwick against the wishes of his brother. On 26 July the king’s troops were defeated at Edgecote, near Banbury. The queen’s father, Richard, Earl Rivers) and her brother John Woodville, together with other supporters of the king were captured and executed. The king was arrested by Warwick and imprisoned in Middleham Castle but he was free again by late September. Warwick and the king apparently reconciled.