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Kings And Queens Of England, Part 3


Edward IV, born 1442, reigned 1461 – 1483. Greedy and lazy, liked women, but considered a good king. Drowned his troublesome younger brother, Duke of Clarence, in a barrel of wine. Died of fever. To son:

Edward V, born 1471, reigned April – June 1483, only aged 12. Edward IV’s brother, Richard, was appointed Protector but when Edward died, Edward V was put in the Tower by Richard III. Edwards’s brother, Richard, was also imprisoned to keep company – the Princes in the Tower. Edward’s coronation was set for 4th May 1483 but was then postponed. A rumour was circulated that Edward IV’s marriage was void so Edward V was illegitimate and could not be king. Richard III was crowned on 6th July 1483. Nothing more was heard of the princes until demands were made for their release. It was then announced that they were dead. It is thought that Richard III had both boys smothered in late July or early August. But some papers indicate that they were alive as late as 1485. If this is true, it is possible they were killed by Henry VII after he killed Richard III in battle and then blamed Richard. In 1674 a buried chest was found in the Tower which contained bones of two boys. They were reburied in Westminster Abbey. In 1933 the tomb was opened but scientists were unable to tell the age of the bones or cause of death. One boy, probably Edward, had serious jaw disease. To uncle, brother of Edward IV:

Richard III, born 1452, reigned 1483 – 1485. Killed at Battle of Bosworth Field. Deserted by two allies who changed sides. Only son, Edward, died in 1484 (but see letter below). To son of half brother of Henry VI:


Henry VII, born 1457, reigned 1485 – 1509. Having gained the support of the in-laws of Edward IV, Henry VII decisively defeated Richard III at Bosworth on 22nd August 1485 after several of Richard’s key allies switched sides. Henry’s claim to the throne was tenuous, based upon an illegitimate line of succession. He was a fiscally prudent monarch who restored the fortunes of an effectively bankrupt exchequer by introducing ruthlessly efficient mechanisms of taxation. He died of tuberculosis although popular belief was that he died of a broken heart over the death of his heir, Arthur, in an epidemic. To second son:

Henry VIII, born 1491, reigned 1509 – 1547. Married six times. No account of the legacy of Henry VIII can overlook its dominating fact: the launching of the English Reformation. Though mainly motivated by dynastic and personal concerns, and despite never really abandoning the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, Henry ensured that the greatest act of his reign would be one of the most radical and decisive of any English monarch. Died of a combination of old age and syphilis.To son:

Edward VI, born 1537, reigned 1547 – 1553. Came to the throne aged 10 and died childless in great pain of tuberculosis at age 16. To great-granddaughter of Henry VII:

Lady Jane Grey, ruled 9 days July 1553 aged 16. Died 1554 in the Tower. Edward VI’s will left the throne of England to Lady Jane Grey (who was staunchly Protestant but actually third in line). Many powers of the land proved willing to accept her as Queen of England, even if only as part of a power-struggle to stop Henry’s elder daughter, Princess Mary, a Roman Catholic, from acceding to the throne. Jane’s brief rule ended, however, when the authorities revoked her proclamation as queen. Executed for treason. To the elder sister of Edward VI:

Mary I, born 1516, reigned 1553 – 1558, married Philip of Spain, no children. She died after a false pregnancy so probably of ovarian cancer. To the younger sister of Mary and Edward:

Elizabeth I, born 1533, reigned 1558 – 1603. Unmarried, no children. She died of old age and pneumonia. She refused to die in her bed and lingered for days propped up on cushions on the floor. To James I, the double grandson of Henry VII.

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