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Richard III

The restoration of Edward IV in 1471 is sometimes seen as marking the end of the Wars of the Roses proper. Peace was restored for the remainder of Edward's reign. His youngest brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Edward's lifelong companion and supporter, William Hastings, were generously rewarded for their loyalty, becoming effectively governors of the north and midlands respectively.<ref>Baldwin, p. 56</ref> George of Clarence became increasingly estranged from Edward, and was executed in 1478 for association with convicted traitors.

When Edward died suddenly in 1483, political and dynastic turmoil erupted again. Many of the nobles still resented the influence of the queen's Woodville relatives (her brother, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers and her son by her first marriage, Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset), and regarded them as power-hungry upstarts and parvenus. At the time of Edward's premature death, his heir, Edward V, was only 12 years old and had been brought up under the stewardship of Earl Rivers at Ludlow Castle.

On his deathbed, Edward had named his surviving brother Richard of Gloucester as Protector of England. Richard had been in the north when Edward died. Hastings, who also held the office of Lord Chamberlain, sent word to him to bring a strong force to London to counter any force the Woodvilles might muster.<ref>Rowse, p. 186</ref> The Duke of Buckingham also declared his support for Richard.

Richard and Buckingham overtook Earl Rivers, who was escorting the young Edward V to London, at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire on 28 April. Although they dined with Rivers amicably, they took him prisoner the next day, and declared to Edward that they had done so to forestall a conspiracy by the Woodvilles against his life. Rivers and his nephew Richard Grey were sent to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire and executed there at the end of June.

Edward entered London in the custody of Richard on 4 May, and was lodged in the Tower of London. Elizabeth Woodville had already gone hastily into sanctuary at Westminster with her remaining children, although preparations were being made for Edward V to be crowned on 22 June, at which point Richard's authority as Protector would end. On 13 June, Richard held a full meeting of the Council, at which he accused Hastings and others of conspiracy against him. Hastings was executed without trial later in the day.

Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, then persuaded Elizabeth Woodville to allow her younger son, the 9-year-old Richard, Duke of York, to join Edward in the Tower. Having secured the boys, Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells then alleged that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville had been illegal and that the two boys were therefore illegitimate. Parliament agreed, and enacted the Titulus Regius, which officially named Gloucester as King Richard III. The two imprisoned boys, known as the "Princes in the Tower", disappeared and were possibly murdered; by whom and under whose orders remains controversial. There was never a trial or judicial inquest on the matter, and Perkin Warbeck claimed he was the younger of the Princes from 1490 and was recognised as such in international diplomacy outside England.

Having been crowned in a lavish ceremony on 6 July, Richard then proceeded on a tour of the Midlands and the north of England, dispensing generous bounties and charters and naming his own son as the Prince of Wales.


Wars of the Roses sections
Intro  Name and symbols  Summary of events  Origins of the conflict  Start of the war  Act of Accord  Death of Richard, Duke of York  Edward's claim to the throne  Yorkist triumph  Edward IV  Warwick's rebellion and the death of Henry VI  Richard III  Buckingham's revolt  Henry VII  Aftermath and effects  In literature  Key figures  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

Richard III
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