The coverage confirming that the bones found under a car park in Leicester do indeed belong to England’s most infamous and reviled Plantaginet king, Richard III, have put me in something of a Medieval mood and I started wondering about his life, his wife and what she might have worn.
Richard’s Queen Consort was Lady Anne Neville. (11 June 1456 – 16 March 1485) who was an English noblewoman and great beauty and a member of the powerful House of Neville. She became Queen when Richard seized the crown in June 1483, but died in March 1485, five months before Richard was killed at Bosworth Field. She and Richard had a child called Edward (1473-1484). Anne died on 16 March 1485 probably of tuberculosis. The day she died, there was an eclipse, which some took to be an omen of Richard’s fall from heavenly grace. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, in an unmarked grave. Richard is said to have wept at her funeral.
There was no memorial to her until 1960, when a bronze tablet was erected on a wall near her grave by the Richard III Society. It’s inscription says,
ANNE NEVILL 1456-1485 QUEEN OF ENGLAND YOUNGER DAUGHTER OF RICHARD EARL OF WARWICK CALLED THE KINGMAKER WIFE TO THE LAST PLANTAGENET KING RICHARD III.
“In person she was seemly, amiable and beauteous…And according to the interpretation of her name Anne full gracious” REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
In the Middle Ages, British and European women of high birth covered their heads, much as many Muslim women do today, signifying their modesty. In this portrait of Anne Neville, she’s wearing the fashionable horned headdress.
English headwear researcher, Katrina Wood has this to say:
This style of headdress was worn for many years by the middle classes and was Burgundian-French in origin. The cones or horns which projected out at roughly a 45 degree angle were called templettes or templars and over the course of the next few hundred years varied in shape and size according to fashion. The hair was completely concealed as decorum dictated. Starched white veils would then be attached to the headpiece using pins.
The late 15th century saw the return of the horned headdress for the upper classes. The primary difference between this and other previous styles of truncated head-dress, is the lack of a padded roll previously seen in earlier versions and the style of gown it was worn with.
Interesting that the horns went out of fashion, and then came back in, just like fashion today!
I found some wonderful collectable art dolls of Lady Anne Neville and Richard III by Debbie Ritter for sale on Etsy.com