Edward IV died of too much on the 9th April 1483 and his son Edward (now the V) just 12 years old was crowned king, although Edward (the V) was in the care of his mother’s family (ie The Woodvilles) it appears Edward’s father, ie Edward IV had said in his will that his brother Richard should be Lord Protector which meant he was to look after the realm and his nephew. Regrettably, Richard didn’t like the Woodvilles and they didn’t like him; this did not bode well for young Edward (V) or his brother (Richard, Salisbury of, younger).
Richard (of Gloucester)
Richard was the youngest son of the grave and stern looking Richard Duke of York, being born 2nd October 1452. His formative years he had had his fair share of escaping, fleeing, fighting and generally being of The House of York. When Edward (the IV, that is) had been king Richard had remained staunchly loyal, looking after some of the north, helping invade France and being popular with The Common People (at the time). He had also sort of invaded Scotland with or for Edward when the Scots were arguing over which James was king. Up until the death of his brother Edward (you know which one!) he was considered by everyone apart from the Woodvilles and their affiliates (and Lancastrians lying low) as ‘Reasonable for a Duke’.
As it will have been noticed in previous chapters rivalries between families and or powerful men in their own rite were not uncommon. In those days this did not mean just deliberately forgetting a birthday, not sending Christmas cards or ‘unliking’ them on social media. There often fatal consequences, Richard who as a result of the Wars was short on family whereas the Woodvilles were not and thus he may have felt threatened and was not inclined to flee anywhere. Thus has Lord Protector he acted as follows:
He protected little Edward by taking him away from the Woodvilles, executing a couple of them and locking Edward and his brother in The Tower (London of,) for their safety (sort of).
He claimed he was told by some clergymen that his brother had been supposed to marry one Eleanor Talbot who was by good happenstance dead by then. A scholar by the name of Titulus Regilius was consulted and he agreed Edward (IV) shouldn’t have married thus anyone called Woodville and subsequent children were not allowed to be kings. Thus, the only option was Richard, who became The III on the 6th July 1483.
The Princes, Did He or Didn’t He?
Much has been written, said or acted (sometimes very badly) on this subject and the general opinion of historians is that the two princes died on Richard’s watch. This, however, has been disputed by many people, so much so that there was much celebration when Richard (the III, not his nephew) body was found in a car park and re-buried in a church. There have been many interesting (and sometimes entertaining) theories on the subject, thorough and painstaking research has led this author to conclude, the following.
1.One or other or both of the Princes may have been murdered by someone on Richard’s orders, as no one wanted another minority, did they now? Look how that had worked out with Henry VI! And this sort of thing had been happening for centuries, a king had to do what a king had to do.
2. Both Princes may have been allowed to flee if they knew what was good for them and stay quiet on the mainland of Europe. And not come back as Pretenders.
3.Both Princes had been seemingly rescued by opponents of Richard then murdered to make him look bad. The Renaissance was starting, and all sorts of new dirty tricks were being invented.
4.Both Princes died of something which would have been dreadfully embarrassing as who was going to believe Richard and he couldn’t think up a good cover-up.
5.Everyone was fed-up of the Houses of York and Lancaster and wanted the whole lot cleared out, irrespective how, where or when.
6. Being jolly young lads they escaped of their own accord and ran away to join a company of travelling players with a view to becoming Pretenders
However, thanks to Shakespeare and the Tudors it was generally believed Richard had had the little princes cruelly slain in their bed or made to dress up in cute little velvet clothes and then got them slewed.
The matter will never be resolved, which is good news for historians and writers of historical fiction.
The Tudurs were a welsh family, although not princely were reasonably noteworthy, in a welsh way. Chance brought them to the centre of History.
No one had quite known what to do with Henry V’s young widow Catherine (once of Valois). Eventually she was packed off to Wales, where it was reckoned she could do no harm. One day looking out of a window, she chanced to see Owen Tudur (Sir) swimming (naked), whether this was by chance or he happened to be the sort of who knowingly swam naked when lonely young ladies were about is a matter of conjecture. Anyhow some say they were married, some say not, what is certain they had several children amongst whom where Jasper and Edmund both of whom married well (in a Lancastrian sort of way) and did service during the Wars of the Roses, but not in a way the Yorkists appreciated; Owen was possibly be-headed, and Jasper died of plague while in prison, so cannot be blamed for not washing his hands.
Edmund now took care of his young nephew Henry and they spent many years fleeing and returning to These Isles.
By now there were so few Lancastrian royals left that many of their supporters thought since Henry’s mother was a Beaufort (but on a small scale) whose family was sort of royal and as Henry could kind of claim descent from Cadwaldr, the last British King (and thus Welsh) of Britain, Henry had a sort of claim. Everyone took this seriously and he had to hide for the Sun of York, even in France. Eventually, however on hearing that every noble in England was pretending to be horrified by the not uncommon slaughtering of two young nobles Henry now an adult landed wisely in Wales and marched east knowing he was bound to bump into Richard (The III) eventually. At this stage to appeal to English supporters he styled himself Tudor.
Bosworth, Battle Of,
Richard depending on your preference had either been brooding in dark corners talking to himself, arranging for folk to be murdered, or being an average kingish sort of person when the news of Henry’s sort of invasion reached him. He at once rallied a Yorkist sort of Army and marched west knowing he was bound to bump into Henry (Tudor) eventually.
On the 22nd (ish) of August 1485 after a lot of footling about the place the armies met in Leicestershire near Market Bosworth in a field, though which one is often argued over. Richard’s Army was mostly English, Yorkish and not wholly professional. Henry’s had some Lancastrians, quite a few Welsh and most importantly French and German mercenaries, care of the French, who were more than happy to have English kill each other off.
The battle swayed this way and that, noteworthy for the curious reason everyone called Stanley stood to one side to see how things went. Eventually, Richard who actually at this juncture did have a horse decided to put an end to the business by memorably charging straight at Henry, who give him his due memorably stood his ground. Richard hacked his way through the Tudor lines, but the mercenaries professionally closed ranks and thus Richard isolated with a few noble followers was hacked himself but did not surrender, thus was still very gallant; what Henry was doing apart from sitting nobly is not recorded. Someone found the crown and gave it to Henry.
Richard although now quite dead, but by the standards of the nobility quite respectably so was chopped up even more and thrown somewhere, eventually to be a car park and left to the mercies of Tudor commentators, Shakespeare and questionable interpretations by actors.
Henry became a VII.
And so, ended the Wars, Roses of, with nary a proper survivor of York or Lancaster in sight.
Consequences of, and A New Age Imported.
During the many years of wars, lots of knights in their armour had been gallantly, foully or accidentally killed.
This happened just about the same time as gunpowder and long spears called pikes were being invented which meant any commoner could knock a noble off of a horse with comparative ease. Also, because the nobility had been chasing about the lands being such hysterics and opportunists, the old veneers were starting to wear off.
These innovations and changing perspectives coupled with the lack of surviving nobility meant the old Late, Late Medieval era was coming to an end and anyone who was still a living noble had to consider other ways to get to power aside from charging where the opposition was the thickest.
Also, because there had been so much fleeing to France etc and Calais was still in English hands, returning exiles were bringing back all sorts of continental habits such as revitalised trading links, better gunpowder and smaller ways to use it, more ships to sail longer distances, other lands to exploit and The Early Renaissance, which meant everything had to change.
This will be discussed in the next volume.