Man stands on stage silhouetted with white feathers falling overhead

Henry VI Part III

William Shakespeare

Henry VI Part III written around 1591 - 92 is part of Shakespeare’s trilogy centred on the War of the Roses. The battle between the houses of York and Lancaster continues, with much bloodshed, leading to the eventual death of Henry VI and the reign of the house of York.

Synopsis 

A story of revenge, social disorder and tested loyalties to family and nation in pursuit of power. 

Having won the battle of St Albans and with Richard Plantagenet sitting on the throne of England, the Yorkists confront the Lancastrians. King Henry, to his wife's dismay, agrees to York's demand that he disinherit his son, Edward, Prince of Wales. Margaret vows to destroy York and his followers. She enlists the support of Clifford and others to raise an army.

Margaret's forces meet with those of York in battle, during which York's youngest son, Rutland, is killed by Clifford. York is then captured by Clifford and Northumberland, taunted with details of Rutland's death and brutally murdered. Edward and Richard are informed of their father's murder and unite with Warwick, who proclaims Edward the new Duke of York. They raise an army and defeat the Lancastrians at Towton. Henry, Margaret and their son are forced to flee north; Clifford is killed. Henry is captured and brought to London, where he is placed in the Tower by the new King Edward.

In France, Margaret and Warwick meet at the court of King Lewis. News reaches them that Edward has married Lady Elizabeth Grey, in spite of his earlier betrothal, instigated by Warwick, to King Lewis' sister, Lady Bona. This insult turns both Warwick and Lewis against Edward. Warwick pledges support to Margaret, releasing Henry from the Tower and reinstating him as King of England.

Warwick leaves London to muster his army, during which time Edward returns and recaptures Henry. The forces of Edward and Warwick meet at Barnet, where Warwick is killed. Margaret arrives in England with reinforcements. Her forces encounter Edward's for the last time at Tewkesbury, where, after much bloodshed, the Wars of the Roses seem finally to be over.