(The War of the Roses includes far too many characters to list them all here; thus only major characters and their relationships to each other follow.)
KING HENRY VI: Son of Henry V and grandson of Henry IV, Henry VI is a child at the beginning of the play and grows to be an ineffectual king.
EDWARD: The prince of Wales and son of Henry VI and Queen Margaret, Edward is born late in the play and never advances to the throne.
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER: Uncle of Henry VI and younger brother of Henry V, Gloucester is protector of England while Henry is an infant. He is arrested on trumped-up charges of treason and is murdered.
DUKE OF BEDFORD: Uncle of Henry VI, Bedford is the regent of France.
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
THOMAS BEAUFORT: Duke of Exeter and great-uncle of Henry VI.
HENRY BEAUFORT: The great-uncle of Henry VI, Beaufort is the bishop, later cardinal, of Winchester. A lifelong enemy of Gloucester, he conspires in his death and dies unrepentant.
JOHN BEAUFORT: Earl, later duke, of Somerset
EARL OF SUFFOLK: Through arranging the marriage of Margaret to Henry VI, Suffolk puts himself in a position of enormous power and is elevated to the rank of duke. He and the queen are lovers, but he is later banished and murdered.
LORD TALBOT: A general in the English armies in France, Lord Talbot is killed in battle early in the play.
EARL OF SALISBURY: The father of Warwick, Salisbury is the military leader of the English armies in France. He is killed in battle early in the play.
MARGARET: The daughter of the French Reignier, Margaret marries King Henry VI becoming the queen of England. She is not popular with much of the English citizenry, but she is a powerful force behind the Lancastrian struggles to keep the throne, for both her husband and her son.
ELEANOR: The wife of Gloucester, she has ambitions for her husband to take the throne. However, she is trapped in her schemes, tried, and banished.
RICHARD PLANTAGENET: Son of the late Richard, earl of Cambridge, he becomes duke of York and claims to be the rightful heir to the throne occupied by Henry VI. He is killed, but his son becomes King Edward IV.
EDWARD: Earl of March and son of York, he later becomes King Edward IV.
EDMUND: Son of York and Earl of Rutland, he is killed in battle.
GEORGE: Son of York and later duke of Clarence.
RICHARD: Son of York and later duke of Gloucester, Richard, after the conclusion of this play, becomes King Richard III.
EARL OF WARWICK: Named Richard Neville, he is the son of the earl of Salisbury. Known as the king-maker, he switches allegiances in the war, whenever it suits his purposes.
EDMUND MORTIMER: Earl of March and uncle of Plantagenet, Mortimer spends much of his adult life in jail after his supporters try ot place him on the throne as the rightful heir. York’s family pledges to carry out his request that the throne be restored to them.
LADY ELIZABETH GREY: The wife of Edward IV, she stuns the nobles when she marries the king because she is of a lower station than the king and brings no dowry to the marriage. Her betrothal to Edward sends Warwick to the Lancastrian side and Queen Margaret.
LEWIS XI: King of France and father of Charles.
CHARLES: Dolphin, afterwards king, of France, Charles is the son of Lewis XI.
REIGNIER: Duke of Anjou and titular king of Naples, Reignier is the father of Queen Margaret who marries Henry VI.
JOAN LA PUCELLE: A French peasant, better known as Joan of Arc, she is inspired to protect France from England. She is burned at the stake by the English early in the play.