History Storytime - For Kids

The Wars of the Roses

February 14, 2022

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Wars of the Roses. This was the civil war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster that was fought in the time of knights and castles to see who would rule England.

600 years ago two families had a claim to the throne of England: the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. They were powerful noble families. They each had a banner with a Rose on it. The Lancastrians had a red rose; the Yorkists had a white rose. At first the Lancastrians were more powerful. So their Duke became the King of England. He and his son were at first very successful Kings. They fought wars in France. One king won a great victory at the Battle of Agincourt. Then Joan of Arc came and helped to reconquer France. The English were defeated. By this time the Lancastrian King was called Henry VI. He was not a very good king. He had a strong wife called Marguerite and she would have been a much better ruler than him.

Eventually the Duke of York got fed up with how useless Henry was being. The Duke claimed the throne of England for himself. He captured the King. However, Marguerite fought back. Her army killed the Duke of York in battle and they freed the King.

The Duke of York’s young son, Edward was now the Duke. He quickly marched to London with his friend Warwick. Warwick was a very powerful noble. He was so powerful that people called him the Kingmaker because they said he could make Kings. Together they chased Marguerite’s army to the north of England and fought a great battle at Towton. Marguerite and the Lancastrians were crushed and Henry was captured.

Now Edward was King of England.

For ten years Edward ruled. However, he and Warwick argued over who should be the wife of Edward. They argued so much that Warwick asked Marguerite who was hiding in France to invade England. She did so with Warwick’s help. Edward and his younger brother Richard had to flee. However, they weren’t gone long. They raised an army, returned to England, killed Warwick, defeated the Lancastrians, took back the throne and then murdered Henry VI. Edward was now King.

When Edward died he asked Richard to look after his young children until the oldest could be King. Richard agreed. However, Richard then imprisoned his nephews in the tower and took the throne for himself. The young princes were never seen again.

There was one last Lancastrian prince. His name was Henry Tudor. He invaded England, defeated Richard in battle and killed him. Henry then married one of Edward’s daughters and united the families. The Wars of the Roses were over.

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