N the day following the assassination of Henry, the body was taken from the
Tower and conveyed through the streets of London, with a strong escort of armed
men to guard it, to the Church of St. Paul's, there to be publicly exhibited, as
was customary on such occasions. Such an exhibition was more necessary than
usual in this case, as the fact of Henry's death might, perhaps, have afterward
been called in question, and designing men might have continued to agitate the
country in his name, if there had not been the most positive proof furnished to
the public that he was no more.
The body remained lying thus during the day. When night came, it was taken away
and carried down to Blackfriar's—a landing upon the river nearly opposite Saint
Paul's. Here there was a boat lying ready to receive the hearse. It was lighted
with torches, and the watermen were at their oars. The hearse was put on board,
and the body was thus borne away, over the dark waters of the river, to the
 lonely village of Chertsey, where it had been decided that he should be
VIEW OF CHERTSEY.
For some time after Henry's death Margaret was kept in close confinement in the
Tower. At length, finding that every thing was quiet, and that the new
government was becoming firmly established, the rigor of the unhappy captive's
imprisonment was relaxed. She was removed first to Windsor, and afterward to
Wallingford, a place in the interior of the country, where she enjoyed a
considerable degree of personal freedom, though she was still very closely
watched and guarded.
At length, about four years afterward, her father, King René, succeeded in
obtaining her ransom for the sum of fifty thousand crowns. René was not the
possessor of so much money himself, but he induced King Louis to pay it, on
condition of his conveying to him his family domain.
The ransom was to be paid in five annual installments, but on the payment of the
first installment the queen was to be released and allowed to return to her
native land. It was stipulated, too, that, as a condition of her release, she
was formally and forever to renounce all the rights of every kind within the
 England to which she might have laid claim through her marriage with Henry. It
might have been supposed that they would have required her to sign this
renunciation before releasing her. But it was held by the law of England, then
as now, that a signature made under durance was invalid, the signer not being
free. So it was arranged that an English commissioner was to accompany her
across the Channel, and go with her to Rouen, where he was to deliver her to the
French embassadors, who, in the name of Louis, were to be responsible for her
signing the document.
This plan was carried into effect. Margaret set out from the castle of
Wallingford under the care of a man on whom Edward's government could rely for
keeping a close watch over her, and taking care that she went on quietly through
England to the port of embarkation. This port was Sandwich. Here she embarked on
board a vessel, with a retinue of three ladies and seven gentlemen, and bade a
final farewell to the kingdom which she had entered on her bridal tour with such
high and exultant expectations of grandeur and happiness.
She arrived at Dieppe in the beginning of 1476, and proceeded immediately to
Rouen, where the commissioner, who came to attend
 her, delivered her to the French embassadors appointed to receive her, and
attend to the signing of the renunciation.
The document was written in Latin, but the import of it was as follows :
I, Margaret, formerly in England married, renounce all that I could pretend to
in England, by the conditions of my marriage, with all other things there, to
Edward, now King of England.
It cost Margaret no effort to sign this paper. With the death of her husband and
her son all hope had been extinguished in her bosom, and life now possessed
nothing that she desired. She signed this fatal document, renouncing not only
all claims to be henceforth considered a queen, but all pretension that she had
ever been one, with a passive indifference and unconcern which showed that her
spirit was broken, and that the fires of pride and ambition which had burned so
fiercely in her breast were now, at last, extinguished forever.
When the paper was signed Margaret was dismissed and left at liberty to go her
own way to her native province of Anjou, where it was her intention to spend the
remainder of her
 days. Her plan was to pass by the way of Paris, in order to see once more her
cousin, King Louis, who had treated her with so much consideration and honor
when she was on her way to England with a fair prospect of finding her husband
upon the throne. But the case was different now, Louis thought, and instead of
receiving kindly her intimation that she was intending to visit Paris on her way
home, he sent her word that she had better not come, and advised her instead to
make the best of her way to her father in Anjou.
He, however, as if to soften this incivility, sent an escort to accompany her in
her journey home, but Margaret was so stung by her cousin's heartless
abandonment of her in her distress that she resolved to accept no favor at his
hands; so she refused the escort, and set out with her few personal companions
This little blazing up of the old flames of pride and resentment in her heart
came near, however, to costing Margaret her life, for she had not gone far on
her journey before an emergency occurred in which an escort would have been of
great service to her. It seems that when the English were driven out of
Normandy, many families and some whole villages remained of people who were too.
poor to return.
 These people were now in a very low and miserable condition. They mourned
continually the hard necessity by which they had been left without friends or
protection in a foreign land; and they understood, too, that the first beginning
of the abandonment of their possessions in France by the English was the cession
of certain provinces by the government of Henry VI. at the time of that
monarch's marriage with Margaret of Anjou, and that all the subsequent
misfortunes of their countrymen in France, by which, in the end, the whole
country had been lost, had their origin in these transactions.
Now it happened that Margaret, on her journey from Rouen to Anjou, stopped the
first night at one of these villages. The people, seeing a party of strangers
come to town, gathered round the inn at night from curiosity to learn who they
might be. When they were informed that it was Margaret of Anjou, Queen of
England, who had been banished from the kingdom, and was now returning home,
they were excited to the highest pitch of anger against her as the author of all
their sufferings. They made a rush into the house to seize her, and, if they had
been successful, they would doubtless have killed her upon the spot. But some of
the gentlemen who were in her party defended
 her sword in hand, and kept the mob at bay until she gained her apartment. They
guarded her there until they could send for the authorities, who came and
dispersed the mob. Margaret immediately returned to Rouen, willing enough now to
accept of an escort. A proper guard was provided for her, and under the
protection of it she set out once more on her journey, and this time went on in
When Margaret at last reached her native country of Anjou, she was received very
kindly by her father, and went to live with him in a castle called the castle of
Reculée, situated about a league from Angers, the capital of the province.
Here she remained about four years. It was a very pleasant place. The castle was
situated upon the bank of a river, and yet in a commanding situation, which
afforded a pretty view of the town. There was a beautiful garden attached to the
castle, and a gallery of painting and sculpture. Her father, King René, was a
painter himself, and he amused himself a great deal in painting pictures to add
to his collection or to give to his friends.
But Margaret could take no interest in any of these things. Her mind was all the
time filled with bitter recollections of the past, which,
 even if she did not cling to and cherish them, she could not dispel. She dwelt
continually upon thoughts of her husband and her child. She made ceaseless
efforts to obtain possession of their bodies, in order that she might have them
transported to Anjou, and, as she could not succeed in this, she paid annually a
considerable sum to secure the services of priests to say masses over their
graves in England, in order to secure the repose of their souls.
Indeed, the anguish and agitation which continually reigned in her heart preyed
upon her like a worm in the centre of a flower. "Her eyes, once so brilliant and
expressive," says one of her historians, "became hollow and dim, and permanently
inflamed from continual weeping."Indeed, the whole mass of her blood became
corrupted, and a fearful disease affected her once beautiful skin, making her an
object of commiseration to all who beheld her.
She continued in this state until her father died. He, on his death-bed,
committed her to the care of an old and faithful friend, who, after King René's
decease, took her with him to his own castle of Damprierre, which was situated
about twenty-five miles farther up the river.
But, though Margaret was treated very kindly
 by the friend to whom her father thus consigned her, she did not long survive
this change. She died, and was buried in the cathedral at Angers, and for
centuries afterward the ecclesiastics of the chapter, once every year, at the
return of the proper anniversary, performed a solemn ceremony over her grave by
walking round it with a slow and measured step, singing a hymn.