Richard III of England Timeline

Richard III of England Timeline

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  • 2 Oct 1452

    Birth of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, future Richard III of England, at Fotheringhay Castle.

  • 1455 - 1487

    Wars of the Roses in England.

  • 1470

    Birth of Prince Edward (eldest son of Edward IV of England), the future Edward V of England.

  • 1471

    Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is made Constable and Lord High Admiral by Edward IV of England.

  • 14 Apr 1471

    Edward IV of England wins the Battle of Barnet where the Earl of Warwick is killed.

  • 4 May 1471

    Henry VI of England’s only son Edward is killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Henry VI is imprisoned in the Tower of London by Edward IV of England.

  • 21 May 1471

    Henry VI of England is murdered in the Tower of London.

  • 1472

    Edward IV of England makes his younger brother Richard the Duke of Gloucester.

  • 12 Jul 1472

    Richard, Duke of Gloucester, future Richard III of England, marries Anne Neville.

  • 1473

    Birth of Prince Richard, second son of Edward IV of England.

  • 1473

    Birth of Edward of Middleham, son of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, future Richard III of England.

  • 1482

    Richard, Duke of Gloucester, future Richard III of England, leads a successful campaign in Scotland which recaptures Berwick.

  • 1483

    Richard III of England imprisons and then likely murders the two young sons of the late Edward IV, the 'Princes in the Tower'.

  • 1483 - 1485

  • Apr 1483 - Jun 1483

    Reign of Edward V of England.

  • 9 Apr 1483

    Edward IV of England dies of a stroke at Westminster.

  • 6 Jul 1483

    Coronation of Richard III of England in Westminster Abbey.

  • Nov 1483

    A plot to overthrow Richard III of England is foiled. The Duke of Buckingham is executed.

  • 1484

    Richard III of England establishes the Royal College of Arms.

  • 9 Apr 1484

    Death of Prince Edward, Richard III of England's son and heir.

  • Jul 1484

    Richard III of England creates the Council of the North.

  • Mar 1485

    Death of Queen Anne Neville, wife of Richard III of England.

  • 8 Aug 1485

    Henry Tudor, future Henry VII of England, lands with an army of French mercenaries at Milford Haven in South Wales.

  • 22 Aug 1485

  • 30 Oct 1485

    Coronation of Henry VII of England in Westminster Abbey.

Timeline of King Richard III

Timeline of King Richard III
The Middle Ages encompass one of the most exciting and bloodthirsty periods in English and European History.

This comprehensive Timeline of King Richard III of the Medieval period details the major events significant to the lives and events of famous people who lived during this era. Key dates provide a fast and simple way to cover history via the Timeline of King Richard III. Dates of great events and dates relating to the births, deaths and the durations of reigns. Dates of all of the major events and people who were important are briefly explained in the Timeline of King Richard III. The fastest way to obtain interesting facts, history and information on the times of the Medieval era.

King Richard III of England 1452 – 1485

Born – 2nd October 1452
Died – 22nd August 1485
Father – Richard Duke of York (1411 – 1460)
Mother – Cecily Neville (1415 – 1495)
Spouse – m. 1472 – Anne Neville (1456 – 1485)
Children – Edward of Middleham (1476 – 1484) illegitimate – John of Gloucester (1468 – 1499), Katherine (b. c1470 – c1487)
King of England – 1483 – 1485
Predecessor – Edward V – 1483
Successor – Henry VII – 1485 – 1509

Published Jul 8, 2017 @ 11:26am – Updated – May 8, 2021 @ 1:00 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2020). King Richard III of England 1452 – 1485. Available: Last accessed June 16th, 2021

The following is a brief factual biography of Richard III which provides links to more in-depth articles and papers on his life, career and reputation.

Richard Plantagenet was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, the youngest son of Richard, Duke of York, and his wife, the former Cecily Neville. York, a cousin to the reigning King Henry VI, held senior government positions but was unpopular with the Lancastrian regime. York’s disputes led to his early death at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460. His eldest son, Edward, seized the throne of England in March the following year and defeated the Lancastrians at Towton on 29 March.

The young king Edward IV now assumed responsibility for the upbringing of his younger siblings who had hitherto experienced an unsettled childhood. The elder son, George, was created duke of Clarence and the younger, Richard, was created duke of Gloucester at the age of eight and entered the household of his cousin, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, to begin his education as a nobleman. This took place primarily at the earl’s Yorkshire estates of Middleham and Sheriff Hutton.

Meanwhile, King Edward clandestinely married a Lancastrian widow in 1464 and thus began to alienate Warwick, his most powerful ally, who had favoured a political match with a European princess. Over the next five years the relationship between king and ‘over-mighty’ earl deteriorated until civil strife was resumed in 1469 and the following year Edward was driven into exile. One of the causes of their dispute was the marriage of Warwick’s elder daughter to Clarence without the king’s permission.

Richard accompanied Edward to the continent and on their return to England in 1471 the eighteen-year-old duke was given command of the vanguard at the Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury . These battles were resounding Yorkist victories and both Warwick and the Lancastrian heir, Prince Edward of Wales, were killed. The former king, Henry VI, died a few days later in London.

Richard now assumed the responsibilities of his position. He had been admiral of England since 1461 and he was now appointed constable. King Edward granted Richard many of Warwick’s forfeited estates and the following year the duke married Warwick’s younger daughter Anne, who was the widow of Prince Edward who was killed at Tewkesbury.

The couple took up residence in the north of England, which King Edward effectively entrusted to his brother, and Richard was created Warden of the West Marches of Scotland. Richard took his duties seriously and held the north against any Scottish incursions. In 1476, Duchess Anne gave birth to their only child, who became known as Edward of Middleham.

During the remaining years of his brother’s reign, Richard of Gloucester rarely left the north. Two such occasions included the invasion of France in 1475 and attending the parliament of 1478 when their brother Clarence was attainted for treason and privately executed . In the summer of 1482, Richard invaded Scotland at King Edward’s behest. He was accompanied by the Scots king’s brother, the duke of Albany. Richard and Albany marched as far as Edinburgh before Richard strategically withdrew over the border.

On 9 April 1483 King Edward died, a few days short of his forty-first birthday. There had been no time to prepare for a transition of power and the heir, another Edward, was twelve years old. Factions were immediately formed, each believing that they had an important role to play in the government of England. There was the queen and her extensive family the old nobility, represented in the former king’s Council, which included the late king’s friend and chamberlain, William, Lord Hastings and his surviving brother, Richard, who was appointed the lord protector.

At the time of his father’s death, the new king was at Ludlow under the tutelage of his maternal uncle, Earl Rivers. The queen sent for them to come to London and for the king to be crowned without delay. Lord Hastings possibly sent messengers north to inform Richard of his brother’s death and urge that he come immediately to London. Richard was joined on his journey south by the duke of Buckingham, a distant cousin. At Northampton, Richard and his followers met and arrested Earl Rivers. Richard then moved on to Stony Stratford where the king was resting, made three further arrests and escorted his nephew to London.

The queen, on hearing of these events, withdrew to sanctuary in Westminster Abbey with her family.
Edward V arrived in London on 4 May, the day for which his coronation had been planned, and the event was rescheduled for 22 June. Richard and the Council continued with the preparations for the coronation and with the governance of the country, but on 13 June Richard announced that a plot against him had been discovered and accused Lord Hastings of being the instigator . The latter was immediately executed and Archbishop John Rotherham, Bishop John Morton and Thomas, Lord Stanley, were arrested.

On 16 June the young king’s brother, Richard, Duke of York left sanctuary in Westminster Abbey and joined his brother in the royal apartments at the Tower. On 22 June Dr Ralph Shaa, brother of the mayor, declared to the citizens of London, that King Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was illegal. This was because of a pre-contract of marriage between Edward IV and Lady Eleanor Butler and the clandestine nature of the king’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. The children of the marriage were declared illegitimate, and therefore barred from succession to the throne of England. Within four days Richard was acclaimed king of England.

King Richard III was crowned, together with his wife Anne, on 6 July at Westminster Abbey. Shortly afterwards the couple began a progress around the country which ended in York with the investiture of their son Edward as prince of Wales. In the autumn of 1483, however, King Richard suffered a serious set-back. His former supporter, the duke of Buckingham, became involved in a rebellion, based primarily in the west country and Kent . Although swiftly repressed, the effects were far-reaching and King Richard now began to rely more on his northern supporters, placing them in the offices left vacant by the rebels.

The rebellion had been supported by a scion of the house of Lancaster, the exiled Henry Tudor, a descendant of King Edward III through his son John of Gaunt’s legitimised Beaufort family. Tudor had assumed the role of representative of the Lancastrian line and had become the focus for disaffected English nobles and gentry.

On Christmas Day 1483, in Rennes Cathedral, Henry Tudor declared his intention of marrying King Edward IV’s eldest daughter, the Lady Elizabeth, when he became king of England. He then spent the next eighteen months planning his invasion.

King Richard meanwhile called his first, and only, parliament in January 1484 . The legislation covered three main areas, the ratification of Richard as king, the passing of acts of attainder against the October rebels and the passing of a number of acts designed to reform part of the legal system.

King Richard’s reign was overshadowed by the threat of Tudor’s invasion and by personal loss. Near the anniversary of the death of his brother, King Edward, Richard’s son died and the king and queen shut themselves in their apartments at Nottingham Castle to mourn their loss. Richard’s queen died less than a year later on 16 March 1485.

The long-awaited invasion came on 7 August 1485 when Tudor landed at Milford Haven in Wales. King Richard mobilised his forces and on 22 August king and invader joined battle at Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Despite Richard’s superior army, the battle was lost when the king was slain after Sir William Stanley turned traitor in favour of his step-nephew, Henry Tudor, and led his forces into the battle on Tudor’s side. Richard Plantagenet was the last king of England to die on the battlefield.

The victor of Bosworth was to establish his own dynasty but his genealogical claim to the throne was both tenuous and cadet. It may also have been illegal without an act of parliament to amend Henry IV’s legitimisation of his Beaufort siblings who were barred, together with their descendants, from inheriting the throne. Tudor wisely decided to claim the throne by right of conquest but was cognizant of the need to take every opportunity of enhancing his own reputation at the expense of his predecessor. Richard’s actions and behaviour were the subject of attention and scrutiny and were presented, in the weeks and years after his death, as those of a wicked and unscrupulous tyrant.

During his own lifetime, however, Richard’s reputation was high, the loyal brother of Edward IV who administered the north of the realm and defended the country against the Scots. The premature death of Edward IV led to a national crisis in which Richard emerged as king. With the benefit of hindsight, historians have generally interpreted the fateful events of 1483 in the light of Richard being a calculating usurper. There are, of course, some contemporary criticisms and rumours about Richard but these are inevitable in view of his high profile. The decisive arrests of Rivers and others thus appear as pre-emptive acts to gain control of Edward V. The fact was that Richard had not been officially informed of his brother’s death and that his sister-in-law sought to crown her son with unseemly haste, an act which would have reduced Richard’s power to rule the king despite his appointment as Protector. Once crowned, Edward V would have ruled through his Council, the composition and performance of which could be manipulated by the Woodville faction.

Richard’s next decisive act was based on the revelation of a plot and the execution of its alleged leader, Hastings. Traditional historians have accused Richard of inventing the plot in order to rid himself of Edward V’s staunchest supporter. However, documents are extant which demonstrate that Richard was aware of the conspiracy before taking action, sought to obtain re-enforcements to support his protectorship and conducted a mop-up operation to neutralise other conspirators, all of which suggest that Richard was suppressing a genuine plot.

The declaration of the illegality of Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville has been interpreted as a convenient excuse for Richard to overturn his nephew’s succession and it was indeed a timely discovery. However, the legality of Richard’s actions and of the precontract dispute are still the subjects of academic debate.

Once Richard was crowned and his nephews bastardised, the young princes were no longer an important factor at the Ricardian court. Their ‘disappearance’, however, led to the greatest controversy surrounding King Richard – did he kill his nephews?

Accusations of infanticide, however, were not enough for the historians seeking to defame the dead king. The death of Richard’s own wife came under suspicion with hints of him murdering her with poison, of murdering her former husband after the battle of Tewkesbury, of murdering King Henry VI, and even of his own brother Clarence, despite his treason being confirmed by the act of attainder passed by King Edward IV’s own parliament. By the time the Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare penned what was to become one of his most popular and frequently performed plays, The Tragedy of King Richard III, the works of the anonymous Croyland Chronicler, John Rous, Bernard André, Polydore Vergil, Sir Thomas More, Edward Hall, Richard Grafton and Raphael Holinshed had been written. Shakespeare followed their tradition and presented his anti-hero as the murderous, deformed tyrant so well known to theatre, television and cinema audiences.

Within a few years of its first production a backlash against the ‘traditionalist’ version of King Richard’s history was written by Sir George Buck although it remained unpublished for some years. Later in the sixteenth century, Richard’s fate as the archetypal villain was sealed when John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough is reputed to have said ‘I take my history from Shakespeare’ despite the fact that Richard’s villainy was so over the top that the character has failed to gain acceptance as a real and identifiable person with many audiences.

The Great Debate, as the study of Richard’s reputation became known, truly began in the seventeenth century when Horace Walpole wrote his Historic Doubts and rattled the cages of the traditionalists. That debate is not yet over, with the majority of the British historical academic community still promoting Richard as an infanticide. Some academics have acknowledged that Richard was a talented administrator and that he cannot be held responsible for the deaths of Henry VI and his son, but their overall assessment is still that of an evil and avaricious man. This shift in his reputation has now led to new claims of avarice in that his motivation for taking the throne is said to be found in his fear of losing the Neville inheritance.

Gaining a re-evaluation of Richard’s reputation entails the painstaking task of examining the primary and Tudor sources and assessing his actions, both as duke and king, against the background of his times, his contemporaries, his predecessors and his successors. The art of rhetoric, so beloved of one of Richard’s greatest critics, Sir Thomas More, comes into play as the interpretation of his actions, such as his 1484 legislation, which has been described as either ‘enlightened’ or ‘divisive’, depends on the writer’s orientation. There is no clear evidence that Richard was guilty or innocent of his so-called ‘crimes’, but historians, whether detractors or sympathisers, must work with the information derived from the sources and endeavour to present a balanced view of this controversial figure.

King Richard III of England Found Facts and Fiction

First published in 2012, this post will be updated shortly.

King Richard III In Leicester England in a Car Park, it maybe British archaeologists have just made a remarkable find, distinguishing skeletal features and the presence of an arrow in the back, can this be King Richard III born 1452 who died as the result of wounds sustained at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485? His reign is famous, but merged with myth fact and fiction what do we really know about this much maligned King. He ruled for just two years between 1483-1485, how amazing that we all remember him so far on…But what of the truth, is our historic memory based on later texts and the fiction of Shakespeare rather than the evidence of contemporary sources…

Who was King Richard III?

  • He was the 4th son of Richard of York born October 2, 1452, at Fothering Gay Castle
  • 1461 Created Duke of Gloucester , soon after his eldest brother had been made King Edward IV
  • He was loyal to his brother as King, unlike his brother George, the Duke of Clarence
  • Married well to Anne NEVILLE, and obtained the northern half of Warwick as an inheritance ( via relationship to Richard Neville.)
  • On the strength of this wealth he held the commanding position of being Edward’s Lieutenant in the North.
  • 1482 commanded the invasion of Scotland and recapture of Berwick.
  • Feb 1483 he was empowered to keep whatever he could conquer in South-West scotland.
  • He was to this point fairly unremarkable, over-bearing and acquisitive but so were most of the nobles and aristocracy he was not as the modern memory wrongly focuses the schemer and murderer that Shakespeare portrays or was he? What really happened to the Princes in the Tower?

But after his brother’s death Richard emerges as a different character

It maybe this period that defines Richard III’s reign. His brother died in April 1483 and it is then that the troubles begin…

  • 30 April 1483 he was forestalling the Woodville Conspiracy against himself and arrested Anthony Woodville (Earl Rivers.)
  • He took possession of Edward V, his brother’s young heir and was subsequently appointed Protector, the virtual King.
  • 26 June 1483 Edward V was deposed as boy King and Richard seized the throne and was proclaimed King. Those inclined to justify Richard’s actions cite that he only took this action on learning that Edward and his other sibblings were illegitimate, others suggest the illegitimacy was a device of political convenience and connivance orchestrated by Richard.
  • Certainly Richard was ruthless exercising summary execution on Rivers and Hastings who were the main obstacles to his assuming power and the crown in particular. The further obstacle was the young Edward and his brother, the mystery remains unresolved but they were certainly detained in the tower and Richard appears to have made no effort to prove they were still alive. So either by delegation or direct authorisation it is quite likely he was responsible not only for their imprisonment but the death of his own nephews. It is by this act that his moral authority was certainly undermined.
  • Buckingham’s Rebellion saw many former servants of Edward IV risk life and property by joining the rebellion, given only months earlier many of them had worked with Richard in curtailing the activities of the rebellion of Woodville it suggests RIchard’s rule was not popular even with those who hadpart secured his Crown.
  • Richard also rewarded those loyal to him with lands in the North, reinforcing the imression that his was a northern regime imposed upon the reluctant southerners.

Was the Murder of the Princes Richard’s Great Mistake?

It maybe that similar to Henry and Thomas a Beckett, Richard had his own ‘who will rid me of these princes moment’ but he certainly lost any moral authority when it became clear the Princes must be dead. Richard had maintained an image of taking the moral high-ground, a ‘god-fearing’ king who had been against the immorality of his elder brother’s reign, but how could this be so if he had by word or deed murdered his brother’s sons?

King Richard III (1483 - 1485)

King of England from 1483. The son of Richard, Duke of York, he was created Duke of Gloucester by his brother Edward IV, and distinguished himself in the Wars of the Roses. On Edward's death 1483 he became protector to his nephew Edward V, and soon secured the crown for himself on the plea that Edward IV's sons were illegitimate. He proved a capable ruler, but the suspicion that he had murdered Edward V and his brother undermined his popularity. In 1485 Henry, Earl of Richmond (later Henry VII), raised a rebellion, and Richard III was defeated and killed at Bosworth. After Richard's death on the battlefield his rival was crowned King Henry VII and became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty which lasted until 1603.

Richard was the last English king to die in battle. His body was taken to Leicester where it was buried at Greyfriars Church in a Franciscan Friary which was subsequently destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries 1536 to 1541. In September 2012 archeologists uncovered remains of the church buried underneath a car park and found a skeleton of a male showing curvature of the spine, a major head wound, and an arrowhead lodged in his spine. On 4 Feb 2013 experts anounced that DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the kings's family. Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard." T Bones of King Richard III

His reburial was delayed by claims that as a son of the House of York he should be buried in York cathedral. However his remains were reburied in Leicester Cathedral on Thursday 26 March 2015.

The battle of Merevale?

Some historians believe that the climax of the battle and crowning of Henry VII took place in what is now a layby next to the A444.

The evidence for a new battle site is:

  • There are many local place names referring to Richard III in the Atherstone area
  • Richard's army were unlikely to have camped on top of Ambion Hill near Market Bosworth for all to see from a distance
  • Henry VII paid compensation to Merevale Abbey near to the new battle site.

Others aren't so sure, claiming that Bosworth was the battle site and that it was Richard's suspect battle tactics that led to him camping on high ground.

The Young Princes

Edward IV died in 1483. On his death, his minor son Edward became Edward V. But the young prince was never crowned. He was put into the charge of his uncle, Anne's husband, Richard of Gloucester, as Protector. Prince Edward and, later, his younger brother were taken to the Tower of London, where they disappeared from history. It's presumed that they were killed, although it's not clear when.

Stories have long circulated that Richard III was responsible for the deaths of his nephews, the "Princes in the Tower," to remove rival claimants for the crown. Henry VII, Richard's successor, also had motive and, if the princes survived Richard's reign, would have had the opportunity to have them killed. A few have pointed at Anne Neville herself as having the motivation to order the deaths.

Shakespeare’s Richard III - Myth or Reality ?

‘Child killer’, ‘murderer’, ‘usurper’ are all phrases you would associate with Shakespeare’s greatest villain - Richard III. Thanks largely due to the Shakespearian portrayal, Richard has gone down in history as one of England’s most evil monarchs. So, was the real Richard III truly as monstrous as Shakespeare made him out to be? Well the short answer is no. While Richard was no saint, making a number of misjudgements, and at times showing his ruthless streak, Shakespeare’s representation of Richard is largely inaccurate.

King Richard III by Unknown Artist, oil on panel, late 16th Century Copyright: National Portrait Gallery NPG 148

When Richard is first introduced by Shakespeare, he is instantly reviled for his appearance, and his physical deformity continues to be addressed throughout the plays. Shakespeare notoriously portrayed Richard as a hunchback, with a number of defects like his withered arm, and his full set of teeth at birth. Yet in reality, the body of Richard, discovered in a car park in Leicester, shows that although he suffered from scoliosis, which resulted in one shoulder being slightly higher than the other, these deformities were a myth.

Thou lump of foul deformity.

— Richard III Act 1 Scene 2

Richard is showcased as the typical villain, being responsible for a number of murders. Shakespeare depicts him as stabbing Prince Edward along with his brothers, before going to the Tower and dispatching Henry VI. Then during Act I of Richard III, he seemingly plots to become King and engineers the downfall of his brother George, Duke of Clarence by having him sent to the tower and eventually murdered.

Again, this is a major fabrication and in fact Richard proved extremely loyal to his brother, performing as a successful military commander during the Wars of the Roses. His loyalty was rewarded with control of the North and on Edward’s death, he was considered the principal statesman of the realm. Richard took no part in either the death of King Henry VI or Edward, with the former’s death most likely on the orders of Edward IV, while his son died at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Although Richard and George had a hostile relationship due to issues of inheritance, it was Edward IV who tired of George’s antics and ordered his execution for treason in 1478.

The story of the Princes in the Tower is arguably Richard’s most serious crime and sets him out to be England’s most infamous monarch. Even now, no one knows for sure what happened to Richard’s two young nephews Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury. Shakespeare, however, makes it perfectly clear that Richard ordered their deaths to enable him to usurp the throne. It’s true that Richard benefited the most from their deaths, but having already proclaimed them illegitimate after declaring Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville void, did he still perceive them as a threat? Indeed, there were a number of different people who could have been responsible. Historians today still have no definitive evidence to prove what actually happened.

I am determined to prove the villain.

— Richard III Act 1 Scene 1

You might ask then, why was Shakespeare so inherently biased against Richard? Well Shakespeare wrote the tetralogy consisting of Henry VI Part 1, Henry VI Part 2, and Henry VI Part 3 and Richard III in the early 1590s, under the reign of Tudor monarch Elizabeth I. Therefore, any criticism of Elizabeth’s grandfather, Henry Tudor, the man who would defeat Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, would be foolish to say the least. It’s also important to note that one of Shakespeare's important patrons was Fernando Stanley, a direct descendent of Thomas Stanley who famously switched allegiance to Henry at Bosworth. This is not to mention the fact that all the historical sources that Shakespeare relied upon, suffered heavily from Tudor bias anyway.

Richard III RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon 1984

So how should we judge Richard? I’d argue that we have to understand the context. Richard had grown up in turbulent times. In the space of twenty-two years, England had seen the throne change hands as many as four times. His father and brother had been killed when Richard was just a young boy. At eighteen, Richard was forced to flee the country after his brother, Edward IV was overthrown by Warwick, with the support of their disloyal brother George. So by 1483 when Richard acceded to the throne, it's fair to say that he had seen his fair share of intrigue and bloodshed. In a period where decisions were truly a matter of life or death, Richard’s aim must have simply been to survive and so if we can’t sympathise with Richard’s actions, we can start to understand why he chose to do what he did. If nothing else, Richard was a man of his time.


Richard was the youngest son of Richard, Duke of York. He had three elder brothers, Edward, Edmund and George. Richard, Duke of York, and his second son, Edmund, were both killed in battle during the Wars of the Roses. The eldest son, Edward, was a very good soldier, and won the throne of England in battle against the reigning king, King Henry VI. Edward then became King Edward IV of England and his two brothers, George and Richard, became very powerful men.

Richard married Anne Neville, whose father had once been a friend of the family. Richard and Anne had known each other since they were children, but Anne had been taken to France, where she had married the Prince of Wales, the son of Henry VI. When the Prince of Wales was killed in battle, Anne became a widow, and soon she was married to Richard, even though he had been her husband's enemy. Richard and Anne lived at Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire. They had one son, who was named Edward after Richard's brother, King Edward. Richard quarrelled frequently with his brother George, who was married to Anne's sister, Isabel. King Edward became so angry that he put George in prison, where he died.

King Edward married a woman called Elizabeth Woodville, who had been married before and had many relatives. Soon, her relatives became very rich and powerful, causing bad feeling among those who had been in the king's favour before the marriage. Edward and Elizabeth had several children, including two sons, who were named Edward and Richard.

When Edward IV suddenly died in April 1484, his elder son became King Edward V, but he was still a boy. Richard had been asked by his brother the king to look after the two boys. He was worried that the new young king would not be able to rule the country properly. He was also worried that the Woodville family would soon be telling the king what to do and ruling the country for themselves.

Richard took the throne from his nephew two months later. He claimed that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was not a proper marriage, and that this meant Edward V could not be king. Parliament then passed a law that agreed with this. He was crowned as Richard III on 6 July 1483.

Richard sent Edward and his brother to live in the Tower of London. A few months later, the princes in the tower disappeared and were never seen again. This became the mystery of the Princes in the Tower. At the time, many people believed that King Richard had ordered someone to kill them. Many historians agree, but there is no way to be certain. Richard was not in London at the time, but the boys were guarded by men who were loyal to him. As people started to believe that Richard had ordered the boys to be killed, many people turned against him. One of them was Richard's friend the Duke of Buckingham, who started a rebellion that failed. Henry Tudor, a distant relative of the House of Lancaster, then became Richard's main enemy. He returned to England and raised an army.

Richard and Henry's armies fought each other at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Henry won the battle and became the next King of England, as Henry VII. Richard was killed in the battle, though probably not by Henry himself. He was the last English king to die in battle. [2] He suffered two head wounds that would have killed him almost immediately. After the battle, his body was stripped of clothing and carried naked on the back of a horse to Leicester. He was buried in Greyfriars Church.

Greyfriars church was later demolished and the site became part of the garden of a large house. For about 200 years, a stone pillar marked the site of the grave. This had disappeared by 1844. Other buildings were added to the site over the years. By 1944, the area around the grave had become a car park for the nearby council offices. For a while, people thought that the body had been thrown into the river. There is a sign by the Bow Bridge in Leicester that tells this story, but it was not true.

In 2012, archaeologists began a project to try to find the body. On 24 August 2012, they started digging in the car park and found a skeleton on the first day. [2] On 12 September, they suggested that the skeleton was that of Richard III. On 4 February 2013, they announced that they were sure it was him. They had used DNA testing to make sure. His skeleton shows that he had been killed by two head wounds, which similar to how 15th century writers had said he had died. It also shows that the body was further damaged after his death. [2]

On 26 March 2015, Richard III's body was reburied. It now lies in a tomb in Leicester Cathedral.

There has been discussion for many years about whether Richard III was a good king or a bad king. During his reign, which lasted only two years, he was very popular in parts of the country, especially the north of England. However, there were enough people who hated him to make sure that his enemies were able to raise a big army against him and defeat him in battle.

It is often said that "history is written by the winners". After Henry VII won, Richard III was often treated as a villain in writings and stories. For example, in Shakespeare's play Richard III, he is shown to be totally evil. On the other hand, some writers from the time of Richard's reign make him a hero and ignore his flaws.

In 1605, William Camden wrote "he lived wickedly, yet made good laws". Modern historians also try to be careful when judging Richard III. For example, some historians have praised him for giving ordinary people more rights. However, many also think that he really did order the killing of the Princes in the Tower.

Among the laws Richard III made were removing limits on the printing and sale of books, more rights to people accused of a crime, laws to protect people from fraud when land was sold, bans on other types of fraud and changing the law from French into English. He created the Council of the North, which for the next 150 years would help solve problems in Northern England.

Watch the video: Richard III - Guilty or Innocent? Documentary


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