Queen Margaret, of the Lancastrian party, is King Henry’s wife, the mother of his son Prince Edward, and the strongest defender of his cause.
She considers her husband a weakling and is horrified and appalled that he would give up their son’s rights in return for peace. Her love for her son is her strongest impetus after the humiliation the Yorkists have practiced on herself and Henry, and she is willing to risk everything to make sure that Prince Edward can inherit the throne. To her enemies’ sexist dismay, she reveals herself to be a good general and leader of men, one capable of rousing speeches. She is acknowledged to be the true leader of the Lancastrian cause, as she can bully Henry into doing what she will. She does suffer from some insecurities, however, and when she captures the Duke of York her relief bursts forth in her hysterical, sadistic taunting of the man before killing him. Beaten, she seeks help from the King of France, her kinsman, but due to her weakness at this point it is only Warwick’s defection and the personal insult to himself that make Lewis agree to help. For the sake of regaining the crown for Henry and her son, she is willing even to make an alliance with the Warwick who has insulted and belittled her and was the main cause of her defeat. They are ultimately unsuccessful, however, and Margaret’s crowing over the death of York’s youngest son is paid back to her when she must watch her own son murdered before her eyes, and then is left to live herself. Though it is ordered that she be exiled to France at the end of the play, she returns in Richard III.