This Day in History: 1454-03-23

On 23rd March 1454, a delegation of twelve lords of church and state attended an incapacitated Henry VI at Windsor Castle to try and seek his opinion on whom should replace Cardinal Kempe as chancellor: a decision solely within the king’s prerogative but vital if the machinery of government was still to function. The ‘balanced’ delegation represented the interests of both Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle) who sought the regency in the king’s absence and Queen Margaret and the court. Despite many attempts throughout the day to elicit a clear response from Henry, ‘they could obtain no answer’. This episode was the prelude to York’s election as chief councillor and protector and defender of the realm four days later.