The ‘pre-contract’ – Edward IV’s first marriage, to Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) – the evidence

Over the weekend at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, it was lovely to meet readers old and new and potential, to catch up with Ricardian friends, and exchange views with interested members of the public.

As usually happens at such events, the odd debate took place over whether Richard ‘did it’ (I’m sure you can guess what) and the validity of his claim to the throne. At that point it would have been invaluable to have been able direct my challenger to a resource that has just come to my attention – a page on the Revealing Richard III website specifically discussing Edward IV’s pre-contract with Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) which meant that his sons with Elizabeth Woodville were illegitimate (a subject of course covered in The King’s Man).


King Edward distributing largesse … before any word of his pre-contract came out…

Members of the Looking for Richard project team Philippa Langley and Dr David and Wendy Johnson, drawing also on work by the late Dr John Ashdown-Hill, have pulled together the early sources on the subject into a single page to demonstrate why the pre-contract was not the fiction many later claimed, from the Tudor period onwards. The page can be found here:

So, next time someone says to you, ‘But it was all just made up by Richard to seize the throne’, just point them in the direction of the Revealing Richard III website… I certainly will! I’m very grateful to Philippa, Wendy and David for bringing it to my attention.

Loyaulte me lie!


Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A third book in the ‘White Boar’ sequence, King in Waiting, will be published in 2021.

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

About alexmarchantblog

A Ricardian since a teenager, and following stints as an archaeologist and in publishing, Alex now lives and works in King Richard’s own country, not far from his beloved York and Middleham
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1 Response to The ‘pre-contract’ – Edward IV’s first marriage, to Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) – the evidence

  1. Pingback: Historical Scandals: the Marriage(s) of King Edward IV – and a Countdown Discount… | The Order of the White Boar

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