The Duchess of York is the mother of King Edward, Clarence and Richard, and the widow of the Duke of York of the three Henry VI plays.
She is a tough, uncompromising woman whom grief has left bitter and who has no illusions about her third son, whom she openly detests and considers a shame to herself. She tries to protect her grandchildren from the realities of the world, but unsuccessfully; she is not overly kind to her daughter-in-law Queen Elizabeth, and forever reminds people of just how many family members she herself has lost. She is sick of seeing all her family fight for the crown and all the ills that desire causes. She ends up as a full opponent of her own son, openly challenging him for the murders he has done, which so discomfits him that he has drums drown her out. Her last words to him are a curse.