Edward V of England

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Edward V
King Edward V from NPG.jpg
King of England
Reign9 April 1483 25 June 1483
Predecessor Edward IV
Successor Richard III
Lord Protector Richard
Born2 November 1470
Westminster, Middlesex, England
DiedUnknown, reputedly Bloody Tower, Tower of London (presumed c.1483, aged 12)
House York
Father Edward IV of England
Mother Elizabeth Woodville
English Royalty
House of York
Coat of Arms of Edward IV of England (1461-1483).svg
Edward IV

Edward V (2 November 1470 c.1483) [1] succeeded his father, Edward IV, as King of England and Lord of Ireland [2] upon the latter's death on 9 April 1483. He was never crowned, and his brief reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle and Lord Protector, the Duke of Gloucester, who deposed him to reign as Richard III on 26 June 1483; this was confirmed by the Act entitled Titulus Regius, which denounced any further claims through his father's heirs.

Lord Protector is a title that has been used in British constitutional law for the head of state. It is also a particular title for the British heads of state in respect to the established church. It is sometimes used to refer to holders of other temporary posts, for example, a regent acting for the absent monarch.

An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.

<i>Titulus Regius</i> a statute of the Parliament of England

Titulus Regius is a statute of the Parliament of England, issued in 1484, by which the title of King of England was given to Richard III.

Contents

Edward and his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, were the Princes in the Tower who disappeared after being sent to heavily guarded royal lodgings in the Tower of London. Responsibility for their deaths is widely attributed to Richard III, but the lack of any solid evidence and conflicting contemporary accounts also suggest other possible suspects.

Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York Second son of King Edward IV of England, younger of the princes in the Tower

Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York KG, was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, born in Shrewsbury. Richard and his older brother, who briefly reigned as King Edward V of England, mysteriously disappeared shortly after Richard III became king in 1483.

Princes in the Tower sibling duo

"The Princes in the Tower" is an expression frequently used to refer to Edward V, King of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV, King of England and Elizabeth Woodville surviving at the time of their father's death in 1483. When they were 12 and 9 years old, respectively, they were lodged in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them, their uncle, the Lord Protector: Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This was supposedly in preparation for Edward's forthcoming coronation as king. However, Richard took the throne for himself and the boys disappeared.

Tower of London A historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Early life

Cardinal Bourchier urges the mother of Edward V to let her son Richard out of Sanctuary, by John Z. Bell Cardinal Boucher urges the mother of Edward V to let her son out of Sanctury by John Z. Bell.jpg
Cardinal Bourchier urges the mother of Edward V to let her son Richard out of Sanctuary, by John Z. Bell

Edward was born on 2 November 1470 in Cheyneygates, the medieval house of the Abbot of Westminster. His mother, Elizabeth Woodville, had sought sanctuary there from Lancastrians who had deposed his father, the Yorkist king Edward IV, during the course of the Wars of the Roses. Edward was created Prince of Wales in June 1471, following Edward IV's restoration to the throne, and in 1473 was established at Ludlow Castle on the Welsh Marches as nominal president of a newly created Council of Wales and the Marches. In 1479, his father conferred the earldom of Pembroke on him; it became merged into the crown on his succession. [3]

The Abbot of Westminster was the head (abbot) of Westminster Abbey.

Elizabeth Woodville 15th-century Queen consort of England

Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483.

Sanctuary sacred place

A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.

Prince Edward was placed under the supervision of the queen's brother Anthony, Earl Rivers, a noted scholar, and in a letter to Rivers, Edward IV set down precise conditions for the upbringing of his son and the management of his household. [4] The prince was to "arise every morning at a convenient hour, according to his age". His day would begin with matins and then Mass, which he was to receive uninterrupted. After breakfast, the business of educating the prince began with "virtuous learning". Dinner was served from ten in the morning, and then the prince was to be read "noble stories ... of virtue, honour, cunning, wisdom, and of deeds of worship" but "of nothing that should move or stir him to vice". Perhaps aware of his own vices, the king was keen to safeguard his son's morals, and instructed Rivers to ensure that no one in the prince's household was a habitual "swearer, brawler, backbiter, common hazarder, adulterer, [or user of] words of ribaldry". After further study, in the afternoon the prince was to engage in sporting activities suitable for his class, before evensong. Supper was served from four, and curtains were to be drawn at eight. Following this, the prince's attendants were to "enforce themselves to make him merry and joyous towards his bed". They would then watch over him as he slept.

Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers 15th-century English noble, courtier, and writer

Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, Knight of the Garter, was an English nobleman, courtier, bibliophile and writer. He was the brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville who married King Edward IV. He was one of the leading members of the Woodville family, which came to prominence during the reign of King Edward IV. After Edward's death he was arrested and then executed by the future Richard III as part of a power-struggle between Richard and the Woodvilles. He wrote one of the first books printed in England.

Matins is a canonical hour of Christian liturgy.

King Edward's diligence appeared to bear fruit, as Dominic Mancini reported of the young Edward V:

Dominic Mancini was an Italian who visited England in 1482-3. He witnessed the events leading up to Richard III being offered the English crown. He left in 1483 and wrote a report of what he had witnessed. He called it: De Occupatione Regni Anglie per Riccardum Tercium. The account is a major source of information about the period, but it sat unread in a French library in Lille until rediscovered in 1934.

In word and deed he gave so many proofs of his liberal education, of polite nay rather scholarly, attainments far beyond his age; ... his special knowledge of literature ... enabled him to discourse elegantly, to understand fully, and to declaim most excellently from any work whether in verse or prose that came into his hands, unless it were from the more abstruse authors. He had such dignity in his whole person, and in his face such charm, that however much they might gaze, he never wearied the eyes of beholders. [5]

As with several of his other children, Edward IV planned a prestigious European marriage for his eldest son, and in 1480 concluded an alliance with the Duke of Brittany, Francis II, whereby Prince Edward was betrothed to the duke's four-year-old heir, Anne. The two were to be married upon their majority, and the devolution of Brittany would have been given to the second child to be born, the first becoming Prince of Wales. Those plans disappeared together with Edward V.

Reign

Edward V as Prince of Wales. From Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers, Lambeth Palace. King-edward-v.jpg
Edward V as Prince of Wales. From Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers , Lambeth Palace.

It was at Ludlow that the 12-year-old prince received news, on Monday 14 April 1483, of his father's sudden death five days before. Edward IV's will, which has not survived, nominated his trusted brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as Protector during the minority of his son. Both the new king and his party from the west, and Richard from the north, set out for London, converging in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. [6] On the night of 29 April Richard met and dined with Earl Rivers and Edward's half-brother, Richard Grey, but the following morning Rivers and Grey, along with the king's chamberlain, Thomas Vaughan, were arrested and sent north. [7] They were all subsequently executed. Dominic Mancini, an Italian who visited England in the 1480s, reports that Edward protested, but the remainder of his entourage was dismissed and Richard escorted him to London. On 19 May 1483, the new king took up residence in the Tower of London, where, on 16 June, he was joined by his younger brother Richard, Duke of York. [8]

The council had originally hoped for an immediate coronation to avoid the need for a protectorate. This had previously happened with Richard II, who had become king at the age of ten. Another precedent was Henry VI whose protectorate (which started when he inherited the crown aged 9 months) had ended with his coronation aged seven. Richard, however, repeatedly postponed the coronation. [9]

On 22 June, Ralph Shaa preached a sermon declaring that Edward IV had already been contracted to marry Lady Eleanor Butler when he married Elizabeth Woodville, thereby rendering his marriage to Elizabeth invalid and their children together illegitimate. [9] The children of Richard's older brother George, Duke of Clarence, were barred from the throne by their father's attainder, and therefore, on 25 June, an assembly of Lords and Commons declared Richard to be the legitimate king (this was later confirmed by the act of parliament Titulus Regius ). The following day he acceded to the throne as King Richard III.

Disappearance

King Edward V and the Duke of York in the Tower of London by Paul Delaroche. The theme of innocent children awaiting an uncertain fate was a popular one amongst 19th-century painters. Louvre, Paris. DelarocheKingEdward.jpg
King Edward V and the Duke of York in the Tower of London by Paul Delaroche. The theme of innocent children awaiting an uncertain fate was a popular one amongst 19th-century painters. Louvre, Paris.

Dominic Mancini recorded that after Richard III seized the throne, Edward and his younger brother Richard were taken into the "inner apartments of the Tower" and then were seen less and less until the end of the summer of 1483, when they disappeared from public view altogether. During this period Mancini records that Edward was regularly visited by a doctor, who reported that Edward, "like a victim prepared for sacrifice, sought remission of his sins by daily confession and penance, because he believed that death was facing him." [10] The Latin reference to Argentinus medicus had previously been translated to mean "a Strasbourg doctor", because in Roman times Strasbourg was called Argentoratum; however, D.E. Rhodes suggests it may actually refer to "Doctor Argentine", whom Rhodes identifies as John Argentine, an English physician who would later serve as provost of King's College, Cambridge, and as doctor to Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King Henry VII of England (Henry Tudor). [8]

Edward and his brother Richard's fate after their disappearance remains unknown, but the most widely accepted theory is that they were murdered on the orders of their uncle, King Richard. [2] Thomas More wrote that the princes were smothered to death with their pillows, and his account forms the basis of William Shakespeare's play Richard III , in which Tyrrell murders the princes on Richard's orders. Subsequent re-evaluations of Richard III have questioned his guilt, beginning with William Cornwallis early in the 17th century. [11] In the period before the boys' disappearance, Edward was regularly being visited by a doctor; historian David Baldwin extrapolates that contemporaries may have believed Edward had died of an illness (or as the result of attempts to cure him). [12] In the absence of hard evidence a number of other theories have been put forward, of which the most widely discussed are that they were murdered on the orders of the Duke of Buckingham or by Henry Tudor. However, Pollard points out that these theories are less plausible than the straightforward one that they were murdered by their uncle [13] who in any case controlled access to them and was therefore regarded as responsible for their welfare. [14] An alternative theory is that Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be a pretender to the throne, was indeed Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York as he claimed, having escaped to Flanders after his uncle's defeat at Bosworth to be raised with an aunt.

Bones belonging to two children were discovered in 1674 by workmen rebuilding a stairway in the Tower. On the orders of King Charles II, these were subsequently placed in Westminster Abbey, in an urn bearing the names of Edward and Richard. [15] The bones were reexamined in 1933, at which time it was discovered the skeletons were incomplete and had been interred with animal bones. It has never been proven that the bones belonged to the princes, and it is possible that they were buried before the reconstruction of that part of the Tower of London. [16] Permission for a subsequent examination has been refused.

In 1789, workmen carrying out repairs in St George's Chapel, Windsor, rediscovered and accidentally broke into the vault of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Adjoining this was another vault, which was found to contain the coffins of two children. This tomb was inscribed with the names of two of Edward IV's children: George, 1st Duke of Bedford, who had died at the age of 2; and Mary of York, who had died at the age of 14. Both had died before the King. However, the remains of these two children were later found elsewhere in the chapel, leaving the occupants of the children's coffins within the tomb unknown. [17]

In 1486 Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth, sister of Edward V, married Henry VII, thereby uniting the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Epitaph

Sarcophagal urn of the presumed bones of Edward V and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York Grab Edward V.jpg
Sarcophagal urn of the presumed bones of Edward V and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York

As outlined above, on the orders of Charles II, the presumed bones of Edward V (and his brother) were interred in Westminster Abbey; he was thus buried in the place of his birth. The white marble sarcophagus was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and made by Joshua Marshall. The sarcophagus can be found in the north aisle of the Henry VII Chapel, near Elizabeth I's tomb.

The Latin inscription on the urn can be translated as follows:

Here lie the relics of Edward V, King of England, and Richard, Duke of York. These brothers being confined in the Tower of London, and there stifled with pillows, were privately and meanly buried, by the order of their perfidious uncle Richard the Usurper; their bones, long enquired after and wished for, after 191 years in the rubbish of the stairs (those lately leading to the Chapel of the White Tower) were on the 17th day of July AD 1674 by undoubted proofs discovered, being buried deep in that place. Charles II, a most compassionate king, pitying their severe fate, ordered these unhappy princes to be laid amongst the monuments of their predecessors, AD 1678, in the 30th year of his reign. [18]

The original Latin text is as follows (original all in capitals): [19]

H.SS Reliquiæ Edwardi Vti Regis Angliæ et Richardi Ducis Eboracensis

Hos, fratres germanos, Turre Londinˢⁱ conclusos iniectisq culcitris suffocatos, abdite et inhoneste tumulari iussit patruus Richardus Perfidus Regni prædo ossa desideratorum, div et multum quæsita, post annos CXC&1~ scalarum in ruderibus (scala istæ ad Sacellum Turris Albæ nuper ducebant) alte defossa, indictis certissimis sunt reperta XVII die iulii Aº Dⁿⁱ MDCLXXIIII

Carolus II Rex clementissimu sacerbam sortem miseratus inter avita monumena principibus infelicissimis. iusta persolvit. anno domⁱ 1678 annoq regni sui 30

Ancestry

Portrayals in fiction

Edward appears as a character in the play Richard III by William Shakespeare. Edward appears alive in only one scene of the play (Act 3 Scene 1), during which he and his brother are portrayed as bright, precocious children who see through their uncle's ambitions. Edward in particular is portrayed as wiser than his years (something his uncle notes) and ambitious about his kingship. Edward and his brother's deaths are described in the play, but occur offstage. Their ghosts return in one more scene (Act 5 Scene 3) to haunt their uncle's dreams and promise success to his rival, Richmond. In film and television adaptations of this play, Edward V has been portrayed by the following actors:

Edward V is also featured as a mute role in another of Shakespeare's plays, Henry VI, Part 3 , where he appears as a newborn baby in the final scene. His father Edward IV addresses his own brothers thus: "Clarence, and Gloster, love my lovely queen, And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both." Gloster, the future Richard III, is at the close of this play already encompassing his nephew's demise, as he mutters in an aside, "To say the truth, so Judas kiss'd his master, And cried – All hail! when as he meant – all harm." [20]

Heraldry

As heir apparent, Edward bore the royal arms (quarterly France and England) differenced by a label of three points argent. During his brief reign he used the royal arms undifferenced, supported by a lion and a hart as had his father. [21] His livery badges were the traditional Yorkist symbols of the fetterlocked falcon and the rose argent. [22]

Notes

  1. R. F. Walker, "Princes in the Tower", in S. H. Steinberg et al, A New Dictionary of British History, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1963, p.286.
  2. 1 2 Horrox, Rosemary. "Edward V of England". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 August 2013. (subscription required)
  3. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pembroke, Earls of"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 79.
  4. Letter from Edward IV to Earl Rivers and the Bishop of Rochester (1473), in Readings in English Social History (Cambridge University Press, 1921), pp. 205–8.
  5. Dominic Mancini, The Usurpation of Richard III (1483), in A. R. Myers (ed.), English Historical Documents 1327–1485 (Routledge, 1996), pp. 330–3.
  6. 'Parishes : Stony Stratford', Victoria History of the Counties of England, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 476–482. URL: Date Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  7. "History of Croyland Abbey, Third Continuation". R3.org. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  8. 1 2 Rhodes, D.E. (April 1962). "The Princes in the Tower and Their Doctor". The English Historical Review. Oxford University Press. 77 (303): 304–306. doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxvii.ccciii.304.
  9. 1 2 Pollard, A.J. (1991). Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Alan Sutton Publishing. ISBN   0862996600.
  10. "The Usurpation of Richard the Third", Dominicus Mancinus ad Angelum Catonem de occupatione regni Anglie per Riccardum Tercium libellus; Translated to English by C.A.J. Armstrong (London, 1936)
  11. Kendall, P.M., Richard III, Aylesbury 1972, p.427; in the Encomium of Richard III, dedicated to Sir John Donne.
  12. David Baldwin, What happened to the Princes in the Tower? , BBC History: 2013
  13. Pollard, A. J. (1991). Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Stroud: Alan Sutton. pp. 124, 132.
  14. Pollard, A. J. (1991). Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Stroud: Alan Sutton. p. 137.
  15. John Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy (Routledge, 1993), page 65
  16. Weir, Alison. The Princes in the Tower. 1992, Random House, ISBN   9780345391780
  17. 1..Chapter Records XXIII to XXVI, The Chapter Library, St. George's Chapel, Windsor (Permission required) 2..William St. John Hope: "Windsor Castle: An Architectural History", pages 418–419. (1913). 3..Vetusta Monumenta, Volume III, page 4 (1789).
  18. westminster-abbey.org
  19. Google Images
  20. Henry VI, Part 3 , Act 5, Scene VII, Lines 26-27, 33-34.
  21. Charles Boutell (1864). Heraldry, Historical and Popular, Volume 1.
  22. John Burke, Bernard Burke (1842). A General Armory of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

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References

Edward V of England
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
Born: 2 November 1470 Died: 1483?
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Edward IV
King of England
Lord of Ireland

1483
Succeeded by
Richard III
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Edward of Westminster
Prince of Wales
1471–1483
Succeeded by
Edward of Middleham
Duke of Cornwall
1470–1483