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King Edward V

Powerful Essays
(Reign, April 9-June 22, 1483)

Edward V: life dates, c. 12-13 years, November 2, 1470—c. September-October 1483; reign, less than 3 months, April 9—June 22, 1483.

Edward of Westminster, the oldest son of Edward IV was only twelve years old when his father Edward IV died on April 9, 1483. On that event, Prince Edward became King Edward V. He was not married during his short reign of less than three months. However, the prince was pre-contracted to marry Anne of Brittany when he was ten and she four years old in 1480. Since Edward V had no queen consort, this chapter summarizes his biography. Edward V’s place in history is notorious in that he was the older of two sons of Edward IV who were imprisoned in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard of Gloucester. They were never seen again outside its walls after July 1483. What happened to the two, who have always been referred to as the Princes in the Tower, is the most contentious mystery in English history. Major focus in this narrative is on five issues:

Known Historical facts relating to the Princes in the Tower.

Speculations on the fate of the Two Princes in the Tower of London

Anti-Woodville motivation of Richard III in usurping the crown.

The basis for questioning legitimacy of Edward IV’s children.

The question of legitimacy of Edward IV.

Edward V’s place in history rests only on his being the oldest of the two Princes in the Tower. Otherwise, he is merely a pawn whereby Richard of Gloucester became King Richard III.

Known Historical Facts Relating to the

Princes in the Tower

Edward V was born in sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, on November 2, 1470, while his father, Edward IV, was exiled in Burgundy. His mother, Queen Elizabeth Woodville...

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.... Henry VI elevated Richard as Baron Rivers of Grafton in 1448. He remained loyal to Lancaster until his daughter Elizabeth married Edward IV of York in 1464, when Richard Woodville switched loyalty to York. Edward IV advanced his father-in-law Richard Woodville to the rank of Earl Rivers of Grafton in 1466. His rise in social status was a small part of resentment in the nobility for Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s endless efforts to gain noble titles for her large family.

Resentment against Elizabeth and her Woodville family steadily grew during the course of her nineteen-year marriage to Edward IV. All in the House of York distrusted her for her previous Lancaster connections. Her father has risen through Lancaster ranks; she had been a maid-of-honor for Lancaster Queen Margaret of Anjou; her first husband, Sir John Grey, died in cavalry service for Henry VI. All
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