The car parked marked with an R,
as if your spirit had hovered
for half a millenium to mark
the deconsecrated spot.
A few inches either side
and you may have been lost forever,
though there was little chance of that,
so precisely did you engage with the living,
the aggrieved who wished to dig up
your true reputation
with those poignant bones.
The sight of that curved spine,
it touched our hearts,
wincing at the thought of you
holding a sword and swinging it,
yet swing it you did
to save your country, your soul.
The wounds so clear,
graphically revealed the ignominy
of your passing, the blood lust
and hate of those thrusting
at the legally occupied throne.
History is just a story, after all,
to which most of us consent,
but I think of you often, Richard,
the bloody white rose
cut too soon on a dark August day.
Edward the Fourth was England’s first Yorkist king and ruled, with one short intermission of six months roughly half way through, for over twenty years.
His motto was ‘method and order’, and he pretty much lived up to that. He was a daring and quite capable military commander, honing his skills as a young man in the early years of what we now know as ‘The Wars of the Roses’, an often bitter dynastic struggle between the two competing factions of the same Plantagenet family, the houses of York and Lancaster.
Able, handsome and popular
Edward was not only a handsome and popular king, he was also a fine administrator, a shrewd businessman and merchant. His royal court developed into one of the most splendid England has seen, thanks in part to the general stability which his strong reign brought in that turbulent era.
However, one weakness he had was an occasional tendency for poor judgement and a lack of foresight. At times it could have devastating consequences.
So what does his birth chart reveal about him?
Firstly he had Aquarius rising with his ruling planet Saturn conjunct Mercury and Uranus in Gemini in house 5.
A fine administrator – but with one fatal flaw
This indicates quite a distinguished, if unconventional personality with a gift for purposeful communication and also thinking ‘out of the box’. This house 5 probably links to the fine nature of the royal court which developed during his reign. Here too his fine administrative and business abilities are indicated.
However, Saturn and Mercury are also in challenging aspect to Neptune in house 8. Negative Neptune contacts can confuse and befuddle, which may relate to the poor judgement he displayed from time to time, a potentially fatal flaw in a monarch of course. He should have taken more counsel from his associates.
One example of his lack of foresight was his rather impetuous marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, which offended many of his supporters.
Despite this, he showered the Woodville family with honours. This type of behaviour might be seen in his Taurus Venus conjunct Jupiter in house 4, symbolising a tendency for over generosity, especially towards family members. His Sagittarian Moon also indicates a naturally generous nature. (Ultimately, this would have tragic consequences for his young son, the future Edward V, who would be deposed his uncle Richard after only a few days due to doubts regarding his legitimacy to be king).
The Wars of the Roses soon began again and his enemies, the Lancastrians, won several battles. Edward found himself politically outmaneuvered and in a weak military position – he had to quickly flee his kingdom and seek refuge in Flanders.
However, despite his poor judgement, six months later, thanks to his alliance with Charles the Bold Duke of Burgundy, he was back in England with an army and won his throne back at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 in typical swashbuckling fashion. This was his strength.
Strong but with powerful enemies
But where is this strength in his chart? Firstly, his Sun in Taurus is loosely square Mars in Leo. Here is a physically strong, stubborn and probably quite prickly character when push came to shove, which is probably also a prerequisite for any good warrior. However, his Mars in house 7 is also an indication of forceful, stubborn enemies too, such as the Lancastrians and Louis XI of France.
But he also had his Moon in Sagittarius in house 11 but close to his MC of career, in good aspect to Mars, but quincunx (or inconjunct 150 degree aspect) to his Sun. Here is a man of quick response, a sense of daring, of a never say die attitude, of going beyond the call of duty and, most importantly, being able to take the majority of the people with him. He was a leader by example, despite some serious flaws.
However, the challenging aspect between his Sun and Moon, hints at a compartmentalisation in his character. Maybe this daring aspect revealed in his career seemed somewhat divorced from his private life (Sun Taurus house 4).
A man of ‘luck’ and daring who invaded France
An example of his daring attitude (Moon in Sagittarius conjunct MC), plus his more positive planning and ‘out of the box’ mental capacities as shown in his Mercury Saturn Uranus conjunction, can be seen by his often overlooked invasion of France in 1475.
Although this incursion did not lead to any decisive battles, mainly thanks to the lack of support from Edward’s allies Charles the Bold of Burgundy and Francis II of Brittany, he did manage to secure the very lucrative Treaty of Picquigny, where the French king Louis XI generously paid him off.
This may be another example of the influence of his Venus Jupiter conjunction, a certain luck factor in his favour, as these two planets are often termed the lesser and greater benefic. This conjunction too indicates his ability to remain quite popular – the people liked him, so we have to assume that he had something about him. Also, his Moon in Sagittarius close to the midheaven point, would not do his popularity any harm.
However, another by product of this conjunction could be his apparent tendency to seriously overindulge in food and drink; he did become rather corpulent in towards the end of his life and this may well have led to his early death in 1483. Venus in Taurus loves the good things of the earth and Jupiter close by (but in Aries) would certainly tend to potentially exaggerate.
It is perhaps sad that Edward did not live another ten years, for England might have been spared the return of the Wars of the Roses which led to the downfall of the house of York. Edward VI might by then have become one of England’s greatest monarchs.
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His father was one of England’s most legendary monarchs, the victor of Agincourt in northern France in October 1415. Henry V went on to re-conquer Normandy, to officially become heir to the French throne and win the hand in marriage of the French king’s daughter, Catherine.
But alas for England, Henry V was dead by 1422, aged just 35, too famous to live long, as Shakespeare was to put it nearly two centuries later.
A fated inheritance?
However, he left behind a son aged just one, also called Henry, sixth of that name, who on his father’s death inherited two kingdoms, England and France.
Young Henry remains the only monarch to be crowned king of England and France, yet it was to be an illusive and tragic inheritance.
By 1453, a generation later, the English were effectively all but thrown out of France, only little Calais remaining.
Lancaster versus York
Back in England, the kingdom began to implode through the strong rivalry between the houses of Lancaster and York. Henry VI, unlike his famous father, was no military leader, becoming a powerless pawn during the shifting circumstances of war and intrigue. He was dethroned and eventually died in captivity, probably murdered.
It was an ignominious end to a reign which, at its start, promised the uniting of two kingdoms and a golden age.
So, according to the birth data, Henry was born with Pluto rising in Gemini, within a degree of the ascending point. Of course, Pluto was unknown back in the 15th century and therefore no astrologer could have pointed this out to his parents or guardians.
However, with the benefit of our hindsight, Pluto on sensitive points of a birth chart, and they don’t come much more sensitive than the ascending degree, can cast a very strong influence on the individual. Pluto is said to be transformative, a bringer of drastic change, almost like a finger of fate over which we have no control.
It’s worth remembering, too, that when Henry was king, the monarch was all powerful when he was of ruling age, say from his late teens.
The English kicked out of France
But because he became king aged 1, both England and France were ruled by others, essentially his uncles and their cohorts.
And because the figure head’s birth chart is, by its very nature, said to be symbolic of the ‘destiny’ of the whole nation beneath it, this Pluto conjunct the ascendant, exactly describes what happened over the next generation: a complete transformation, the English ending up being kicked out of France (except Calais), France setting its long course to become the dominant power in western Europe. England, on the other hand, went into meltdown.
Draining the swamp?
This is very much Plutonian, the draining of the swamp, a drastic, though perhaps necessary change which completely disrespects the individual.
Poor Henry probably never had a chance, not helped by the fact that he was no warrior, and in fact appeared to prefer religious study to the involvement in power politics. Some said that he had inherited his grandfather’s (Charles VI of France) supposed madness.
A life led through others
Returning to Henry’s chart, his chart ruler, Mercury and his Sun are both in Sagittarius in his 7th house of partnerships. This means that, although he was mentally expansive, his life was usually led through others, that he was always likely to be under the influence of more powerful people than he, even though he was king of two kingdoms. This was probably a result of inheriting so young.
His Mercury in Sagittarius in beneficial aspect to Jupiter in the 3rd house, strongly hints of a keen interest in the higher mind, the areas of philosophy and religion, and I suspect that this tendency became almost like an escape for him as the full magnitude of his personal situation revealed itself to him as he grew up.
An escape in philosophy and religion
His Sagittarian Sun is also ruler of that 3rd house, underlining the idea that thinking is a good way to travel philosophically, if not physically for him, though Sagittarius in itself suggests foreign involvement – he was king and the inheritor of two countries and cultures.
Saturn is ruler of the 9th house, the planet being found in Libra in the 5th house. I think he had a keen sense of justice too and was probably very knowledgeable of the law.
Also interesting, for those who think Uranus is ruler or co-ruler of Aquarius, Uranus is found in the 10th house in Pisces. Uranus in this house more than hints of sudden changes in the ‘career’ and if Uranus is indeed the MC (midheaven point) ruler too, then we have another tie up in regard to his experience of the vicissitudes of kingship.
His Moon in Taurus in the 12th house, might have added a touch of stability to his life. The Moon is said to be exalted in Taurus, so if he ever had time to engage in activities such as gardening, he might have found some quiet solace, especially as the Moon is in good aspect to Neptune, which would tend to add a spiritual, or unworldly edge to his character.
Mars is also involved in this configuration, nicely trining Neptune from the 6th house in Scorpio, adding energy and, I should imagine, some religious zeal to his already mentioned philosophical interests.
However, the Moon Mars opposition, would have also been a source of much psychological irritation, too, which would always tend to find release through this Neptune – this may have been one of the key indications of his love of religion and spiritual issues.
A victim of circumstance
Finally, his Chiron is in the 8th house of inheritance, almost exactly in aspect (quincunx) to Pluto on his ascendant and loosely opposite Neptune. Here is a very strong indication of his early circumstances, inheriting so young the newly founded empire of his father, plus his difficulty in coming to terms with it later on as circumstances began to change beyond his control. In his more lucid moments, he might have been able to give others some succinct advice about death and inheritance.
Looking at this chart, I do genuinely feel sorry for Henry, for there are few better examples of a king being a victim of circumstance.