Edward V

King-edward-v

Edward V,

1483

Born:

2 November 1470, son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, at Westminster Abbey, London

Crowned:

not crowned, did not succeed his father as expected

Died:

sometime after September 1483

Buried:

unknown, perhaps in Westminster Abbey

dward was born while his father was temporarily in exile in Burgundy and his mother in sanctuary. Edward IV returned to England in 1471 to reclaim the throne, entering London on 11 April to meet his son. Two months later, small Edward was created Prince of Wales.

From 1476 on, the young prince’s household, headed by his mother’s brother Anthony Woodville, Lord Rivers, was based at Ludlow Castle, on the Welsh border in Shropshire.

When news was received that his father Edward IV had died 9 April 1483, young Edward and his uncle Rivers set out for London with a large armed force. Edward’s uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had been named as Protector by Edward IV. Richard saw Lord Rivers’ armed force escort as a bid for power by the Woodville faction. Richard intercepted Edward, imprisoning Lord Rivers and escorting Edward to London himself.

Edward was lodged in the Tower while his coronation was planned. His younger brother Richard joined him there. Several weeks later, the lawfulness of Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was questioned. Parliament declared the marriage invalid. The children of that marriage were therefore illegitimate and incapable of inheriting. Richard claimed the throne and, on 6 July 1483, was crowned as Richard III.

Sometime that September, the last sighting of the “Princes in the Tower” was made. After that, they were never seen again. Their fate is still a mystery. Although there is little disagreement that Edward was killed, the issue of responsibility is still hotly debated. Who stood to gain?

Richard III, who no longer had an attractive royal rival? Or rival contender Henry Tudor, whose path to the throne was now clear and whose position was strengthened by his promise to marry Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth, heiress to the Yorkist claim if (and only if) her brothers were dead?

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