Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, is probably the central character involved in the War of the Roses. He was the mastermind of the elevation of the York clan to the throne of England, and the de facto ruler for the early years of Edward IV's reign. Already the richest man in England before instigating the ruinous war, Warwick was seemingly never satisfied. Even after he had place the Yorks in power over the Lancasters, at a tremendous cost to all of England, he could not tolerate anything less than full submission to his will. Edward IV was a passive king, but he took direction from wife's family, sometimes in opposition ot the counsel of Warwick. For this reason, Warwick plotted with Edward's brother the Duke of Clarence to overthrow Edward, only eight years after he had placed him on the throne.
At the Battle of Edgecote, fought in 1469, the king's army was defeated and Edward IV himself, was captured. Warwick's victory was short lived however—the tide soon turned again in favor of Edward when his faithful brother Richard came to the rescue, and most of the nobles stayed loyal to the king. Warwick and Clarence were declared traitors and driven out of England. At this point Warwick sought to make amends with his old enemy Margaret Anjou, who was living in exile in France with her disinherited Lancaster son, Prince Edward. Warwick proposed a marriage between his daughter and Prince Edward in return for a promise that he would raise an army to depose Edward VI, and place her son on the throne. This she agreed to after some reluctance, but lived to regret it. Warwick was killed at the Battle of Barnet and her son, Prince Edward was captured and executed soon afterward, leaving Edward IV to rule in peace.