Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales

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Edward of Middleham
Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester,
Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Salisbury
Rous Roll - Edward, Prince of Wales.jpg
Edward of Middleham with the White Boar of King Richard III. Illustration from the contemporary Rous Roll
Bornc.December 1473 or 1476
Middleham, Wensleydale, England
Died9 April 1484 (aged 7–10)
Middleham, Wensleydale, England
English: Edward of Middleham
Welsh: Edward o Middleham
House York
Father Richard III of England
Mother Anne Neville

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales (c.December 1473 or 1476  9 April 1484), was the son and heir apparent of King Richard III of England by his wife Anne Neville. He was Richard's only legitimate child and died aged ten. [1]


Birth and titles

Edward was born at Middleham Castle, a stronghold close to York that became Richard and Anne's principal base in northern England. [2] His birth date is usually given as around December 1473, but he may have been born as late as 1476. [3] Professor Charles Ross wrote that the date 1473 "lacks authority. In fact, he was probably not born until 1476." [4] The act of Parliament that settled the dispute between George of Clarence and Richard over Anne Beauchamp's inheritance just as if the Countess of Warwick "was naturally dead" was dated May 1474. [5] The doubts cast by Clarence on the validity of Richard and Anne's marriage were addressed by a clause protecting their rights in the event they were divorced (i.e. of their marriage being declared null and void by the Church) and then legally remarried to each other, and also protected Richard's rights while waiting for such a valid second marriage with Anne. [6] There were no provisions, however, for their heirs in case of this said divorce, which seems to confirm Richard and Anne had no children as of 1474. However, such provision was the province of the ruling king for those of royal blood, so would have been moot.

Edward was mostly kept at Middleham, and was known to be a sickly child. [7]

In 1478, Edward was granted the title of Earl of Salisbury, previously held by the attainted George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. The title became extinct on his death. [8] His father became King of England on 26 June 1483, deposing his nephew Edward V. Edward did not attend his parents' coronation, which was probably due to illness. [2] He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in a splendid ceremony in York Minster on 8 September 1483, following his parents' royal progress across England. [9]


The reasons for his sudden death are unknown. The Croyland Chronicle reads:

However, in a short time after, it was fully seen how vain are the thoughts of a man who desires to establish his interests without the aid of God. For, in the following month of April, on a day not very far distant from the anniversary of king Edward, this only son of his, in whom all the hopes of the royal succession, fortified with so many oaths, were centred, was seized with an illness of but short duration, and died at Middleham Castle, in the year of our Lord, 1484, being the first of the reign of the said king Richard. On hearing the news of this, at Nottingham, where they were then residing, you might have seen his father and mother in a state almost bordering on madness, by reason of their sudden grief. [10]

Edward's sudden death left Richard without a legitimate child. Contemporary historian John Rous recorded that Richard declared his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick, his heir-presumptive, but there is no other evidence of this, and seems unlikely as Richard's own claim was based on the attainting of Warwick's father. [11] Similarly, John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln also seemed to have been designated as Richard's heir-presumptive, but was never publicly proclaimed as such. [12]

Richard's enemies were inclined to believe that Edward's sudden death was divine retribution for Richard's alleged involvement in the usurpation and subsequent disappearance of the sons of Edward IV, his nephews Edward V of England and Richard, Duke of York. It may have also emboldened them to renew hostilities. [13]


Effigy at Sheriff Hutton Church long believed to represent Edward of Middleham, but now thought to be an earlier work Edward of Middleham (geograph).jpg
Effigy at Sheriff Hutton Church long believed to represent Edward of Middleham, but now thought to be an earlier work

The location of Edward's burial is unknown. A mutilated white alabaster cenotaph ("empty tomb") [14] in the Church of St Helen and the Holy Cross at Sheriff Hutton, with an effigy of a child, was long believed to represent Edward of Middleham, but is now thought to be an earlier work depicting one of the Neville family. [15]

Titles, styles, and arms



Edward's coat of arms as Prince of Wales Arms of the Prince of Wales (Modern).svg
Edward's coat of arms as Prince of Wales

From 1483 to 1484, Edward used the arms of his father, debruised with a label of three points Argent.


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  1. "Official Website of the British Monarchy". royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009.
  2. 1 2 Panton, p. 162-163
  3. 1 2 3 4 Weir, Alison (1996). Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy, Revised Edition. London: Random House. pp. 143–144. ISBN   978-0-7126-7448-5.
  4. Ross, Charles. Richard III (Univ. of California Press, 1981) ISBN   0-520-04589-0, p. 29, n22, citing P. W. Hammond Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales (1973) pgs. 12, 35–6, and also T. B. Pugh, Glamorgan County History III (1971) p 687.
  5. Ross, C.D., Richard III, St. Ives 1981, p.30
  6. C. Given-Wilson [ed.], Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, Edward IV – October 1472 – 2nd roll
  7. "Princes of Wales". englishmonarchs.co.uk.
  8. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Salisbury, Earls of". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 72.
  9. Kendall P.M., Richard III, 1955.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. Pierce, Hazel, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473–1541 (University of Wales Press, 2009), p. 9.
  12. Wagner, John, Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses, ABC-CLIO, 2001, p. 211-212.
  13. Pollard, A.J. (2004). "Edward [Edward of Middleham], prince of Wales (1474x6–1484)" . Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/38659. ISBN   978-0-19-861412-8 . Retrieved 28 December 2021.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  14. "Richard III". englishmonarchs.co.uk.
  15. Routh P. and Knowles R. (1982). The Sheriff Hutton Alabaster Reconsidered. Wakefield Historical Publications.
  16. "Richard's children". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  17. Kendall P. M., Richard III, 1955


Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
Born: December 1473 Died: 9 April 1484
English royalty
Title last held by
Edward of the Sanctuary
Prince of Wales
Title next held by
Arthur Tudor
Peerage of England
Title last held by
Edward of the Sanctuary
Duke of Cornwall
Earl of Chester

Title next held by
Arthur Tudor
Political offices
Title last held by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Title next held by
The Marquess Cornwallis