Anne of York was born on 10 August 1439 as the daughter of Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York at Fotheringhay Castle. Her father probably wasn’t present around the time she was born. She would have a total of 12 siblings, though not all lived to adulthood. Two of her brothers would go on to become King of England, King Edward IV and Richard III.
Not much is known of Anne’s childhood. She was just eight years old when she married the 17-year-old Henry Holland, later Earl and Duke of Exeter. Although young wives were usually sent to live in the household of their husband, Henry came to live with them at Fotheringhay. It was an excellent match for Anne, and the match was approved of by the King. Their marriage was consummated around nine years later when Anne was 17. She fell pregnant with what would prove to be their only child. Lady Anne Holland was born just as her father was incarcerated as he had remained loyal to King Henry VI. The couple would never be together again, and when he was attained in 1461, his estates were given to Anne. They could now be passed intact to Lady Anne, making her a wealthy heiress. Anne’s brother Edward became King of England in March 1461 which had allowed for the attainder of Henry. Anne and Henry officially separated in 1464.
When Anne remarried to Thomas St Leger, Lady Anne had died in childhood and her brother cleverly extended the remainder of Henry’s lands to include any children Anne might have by a second husband. In January 1476, Anne went into labour and delivered a healthy baby girl, but sadly Anne herself died the next day of complications. Her daughter, also named Anne, inherited all the Exeter lands. Anne was buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor.
Anne’s matrilineal descendants’ DNA was used to identify the remains of King Richard III, who was found buried in a car park.1