Henry VI, Part III

Type: 
History
First Performed: 
1590-91
First Printed: 
1594
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'Tis beauty that doth oft make woman proud;
'Tis virtue that doth make them most admired;
'Tis government that makes them seem divine.

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The War of the Roses rages on, and York and his supporters win the Battle of St. Albans and appoint Richard Plantagenet to the throne of England. In the face of defeat, Henry VI agrees to an arrangement that will see him rule England until his own death, but disinherit his own son, the Prince of Wales, who would have next ascended to the throne.

Margaret is furious and vows to ruin York to ensure that her son will rule England. With help from Clifford, she raises an army of Lancastrians that meets York in battle and kills both Rutland, youngest son of York, and York himself. When York's sons Edward and Richard learn of their father and brother's deaths, they unite to defeat Margaret's forces. The Lancastrians are forced to flee, but Henry is captured and placed in the Tower of London by the new King Edward.

Margaret and her allies make it to France, where they seek support at the court of King Louis. The King rescinds his support for Edward when he learns the new King has hastily wed Lady Grey, rather than keeping his promise to wed the King's sister-in-law. Margaret secures France's support for Henry VI.

The new royal family of Kent is filled with dissension and betrayal as Richard eyes the throne for himself. Their other brother, Clarence, is also disgruntled with his place in the court. Warwick and Clarence defect to join Margaret and her French allies, but not before they capture Edward and bring Henry to the throne. In spite of their rivalry, Henry frees Edward and the two, along with defector Clarence, join forces against Warwick. Despite the support of France and Warwick, Margaret's forces are defeated. Warwick and the Prince of Wales are killed, but Margaret receives mercy. During a visit to imprisoned Henry, Richard is foretold of his own bloody future, which prompts him to kill the oracle Henry. Richard then turns his attention to dethroning his brother and claiming the crown for himself.