Edward V (1470-1483) - King of England 1483

Medieval Stained Glass Window featuring King Edward V - © Nash Ford Publishing Victorian Engraving of King Edward V - © Nash Ford Publishing Victorian Stained Glass Window featuring King Edward V - © Nash Ford Publishing Drawing of King Edward V after a Medieval Manuscript - © Nash Ford Publishing

King Edward V was the elder son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. He was born in the Sanctuary at Westminster to which, during the brief Lancastrian Restoration of 1470-1, his mother had fled. He was created Prince of Wales after his father's victorious return and the murder of Prince Edward of Lancaster. He seems to have spent his childhood principally at Ludlow Castle and he was there at the date of his father's death and his own accession in April 1483. There was immediately a struggle for the possession of his person between his mother's relatives, the Grey and Woodville families, and his paternal uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This ended in the complete victory of the latter and the execution of several members of the former clans. Gloucester brought his nephew to London on 4th May and ominously assigned for him the Tower as his residence. He then summoned a Parliament by means of which he hoped to further his designs: whether these were at first merely for the Protectorate or whether they were for the Crown itself, it is impossible to say. However, Gloucester soon obtained custody of the little King's only brother, Richard, Duke of York, and sent him to keep his brother company in the Tower. He then cleared his way by executing Lord Hastings and deferring the Parliament. He trumped up a charge of bastardy against the two boys and, overawing the capital by bodies of his own adherents, proceeded to claim the Crown as King Richard III. The two princes were almost certainly murdered shortly afterwards, smothered, if tradition is to be believed, by two assassins in the pay of King Richard. Recent analysis has, however, thrown some doubt upon Richard’s guilt. Two skeletons of the stature of boys of thirteen and eleven were discovered at the foot of a staircase in the White Tower in the reign of King Charles II. Believing these were the bodies of the ‘Princes in the Tower,’ they were reburied in Westminster Abbey.

Edited from CRL Fletcher's 'Historical Portraits' (1909)

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