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Richard III of York (Plantagenet), King of England

Also Known As: "Old Dick", "Crookback"
Birthplace: Fotheringhay Castle, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England
Death: Died in Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, England
Cause of death: Killed in Battle
Place of Burial: Leicester Cathedral, Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York
Husband of Anne Neville, Queen consort of England
Partner of Various Unknown Mistresses of Richard III
Father of Richard Plantagenet; Katherine, Countess of Huntington; Stephen Hawes; Various Illegitimate of Richard III; Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales and 1 other
Brother of Joan of York; Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter; Henry of York; Edward IV of England; Edmund of York, Earl of Rutland and 7 others

Managed by: Ofir Friedman
Last Updated:

About Richard III of England

Richard III of England

Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485, at the age of 32, in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of the fictional historical play Richard III by William Shakespeare.

When his brother King Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward's son and successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. As the young king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met and escorted him to lodgings in the Tower of London, where Edward V's own brother Richard of Shrewsbury joined him shortly afterwards. Arrangements were made for Edward's coronation on 22 June 1483; but, before the young king could be crowned, his father's marriage to his mother Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid, making their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. On 25 June, an assembly of Lords and commoners endorsed the claims. The following day, Richard III began his reign, and he was crowned on 6 July 1483. The young princes were not seen in public after August, and accusations circulated that the boys had been murdered on Richard's orders, giving rise to the legend of the Princes in the Tower.

Of the two major rebellions against Richard, the first, in October 1483, was led by staunch allies of Edward IV[1] and Richard's former ally, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham;[2] but the revolt collapsed. In August 1485, Henry Tudor and his uncle, Jasper Tudor, led a second rebellion against Richard. Henry Tudor landed in southern Wales with a small contingent of French troops and marched through his birthplace, Pembrokeshire, recruiting soldiers. Henry's force engaged Richard's army and defeated it at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Richard was struck down in the conflict, making him the last English king to die in battle on home soil and the first since Harold II was killed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

After the battle Richard's corpse was taken to Leicester and buried without pomp.[3] His original tomb is believed to have been destroyed during the Reformation, and his remains were lost for more than five centuries.[4] In 2012, an archaeological excavation was conducted on a city council car park on the site once occupied by Greyfriars Priory Church. The University of Leicester identified the skeleton found in the excavation as that of Richard III as a result of radiocarbon dating, comparison with contemporary reports of his appearance, and comparison of his mitochondrial DNA with that of two matrilineal descendants of Richard III's eldest sister, Anne of York.[5][6][7] Richard's remains were reburied in Leicester Cathedral on 26 March 2015.[8]

Richard was born on 2 October 1452[9] at Fotheringhay Castle, the twelfth of thirteen children of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville at the beginning of what has traditionally been labelled the "Wars of the Roses," a period of "three or four decades of political instability and periodic open civil war in the second half of the fifteenth century,"[10] between supporters of Richard's father (a potential claimant to the throne of King Henry VI from birth),[11]—"Yorkists"—in opposition to the regime of Henry VI and his Queen Margaret of Anjou,[12] and those loyal to the crown ("Lancastrians").[13]

When his father and elder brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland were killed in the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460, Richard, who was eight years old, and his older brother George (later Duke of Clarence) were sent by his mother, the Duchess of York, to the Low Countries.[14] They returned to England following the defeat of the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton and participated in the coronation of Richard's eldest brother as King Edward IV in June 1461. At this time Richard was named Duke of Gloucester and made a Knight of the Garter and Knight of the Bath; he was involved in the rough politics of the Wars of the Roses from an early age (for example, Edward appointed him the sole Commissioner of Array for the Western Counties in 1464, when he was eleven). By the age of seventeen, he had an independent command.[15]

Richard spent several years during his childhood at Middleham Castle in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, under the tutelage of his cousin Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (later known as the "Kingmaker" because of his role in the Wars of the Roses) who took care of his knightly training: in autumn 1465 King Edward granted the earl £1000 for the expenses of his younger brother’s tutelage.[16] With some interruptions, Richard stayed at Middleham either from late 1461 until early 1465, when he was twelve[17] or from 1465 until his coming of age in 1468 when he turned sixteen.[18] While at Warwick's estate, he probably met Francis Lovell, a strong supporter later in his life, and Warwick's younger daughter, his future wife Anne Neville,[19]

It is possible that even at this early stage Warwick was considering the king’s brothers as strategic matches for his daughters, Isabel and Anne: young aristocrats were often sent to be raised in the households of their intended future partners,[20] as had been the case for the young dukes’ father, Richard of York.[21] As the relationship between the king and Warwick became strained, Edward IV opposed the match.[22] During Warwick’s lifetime, George was the only royal brother to marry one of his daughters, the eldest, Isabel, on 12 July 1469, without the king's permission. George joined his father-in-law's revolt against the king,[23] while Richard remained loyal to Edward, even though rumour coupled Richard’s name with Anne Neville until August 1469.[24]

Richard and Edward were forced to flee to Burgundy in October 1470 after Warwick defected to the side of the former Lancastrian Queen Margaret of Anjou and for a second time, Richard was forced to seek refuge in the Low Countries, which were part of the realm of the Duchy of Burgundy. In 1468, Richard's sister Margaret had married Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy, and the brothers could expect a welcome there. Although only eighteen years old, Richard played crucial roles in the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury[25] that resulted in Edward's restoration to the throne in spring 1471.

During his adolescence, Richard developed idiopathic scoliosis.[26] In 2014 the osteoarchaeologist Dr Jo Appleby, of Leicester University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, imaged the spinal column and reconstructed a model using 3D printing, and concluded that though the spinal scoliosis looked dramatic, it probably did not cause any major physical deformity that could not be disguised by clothing.[27]

Following a decisive Yorkist victory over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury, Richard married Anne Neville, the younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick, on 12 July 1472.[28] By the end of 1470 Anne had previously been wedded to Edward of Westminster, only son of Henry VI, to seal her father's allegiance with the Lancastrian party.[29] Edward died at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471,[30] while Warwick had died at the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471.[31] Richard's marriage plans brought him into conflict with his brother George:[32] John Paston’s letter of 17 February 1472 makes it clear that George was not happy about the marriage but grudgingly accepted it on the basis that "he may well have my Lady his sister-in-law, but they shall part no livelihood".[33] The reason was the inheritance Anne shared with her elder sister Isabel, whom George had married in 1469. It was not only the earldom that was at stake; Richard Neville had inherited it as a result of his marriage to Anne Beauchamp, who was still alive (and outlived both her daughters) and was technically the owner of the substantial Beauchamp estates, her own father having left no male heirs.[34]

The Croyland Chronicle records that Richard agreed to a prenuptial contract in the following terms: "the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester with Anne before-named was to take place, and he was to have such and so much of the earl's lands as should be agreed upon between them through the mediation of arbitrators; while all the rest were to remain in the possession of the Duke of Clarence".[35]

The date of Paston’s letter suggests the marriage was still being negotiated in February 1472. In order to win his brother George’s final consent to the marriage, Richard renounced most of Warwick’s land and property including the earldoms of Warwick (which the Kingmaker had held in his wife’s right) and Salisbury and surrendered to Clarence the office of Great Chamberlain of England,[36] while he retained Neville’s forfeit estates he had already been granted in the summer of 1471:[37][38] Penrith, Sheriff Hutton and Middleham, where he later established his marital household.[39]

The requisite Papal dispensation was obtained dated 22 April 1472.[40] Michael Hicks has suggested that the terms of the dispensation deliberately understated the degrees of consanguinity between the couple, and the marriage was therefore illegal on the ground of first degree consanguinity following George's marriage to Anne's sister Isabel.[41] First degree consanguinity applied in the case of Henry VIII and his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon. In their case the papal dispensation was obtained after Catherine declared the first marriage had not been consummated.[42] In Richard's case, there would have been first degree consanguinity if Richard had sought to marry Isabel (in case of widowhood) after she had married his brother George, but no such consanguinity applied for Anne and Richard. Richard's marriage to Anne was never declared null, and it was public to everyone including secular and canon lawyers for 13 years.[43]

In June 1473, Richard persuaded his mother-in-law to leave sanctuary and come to live under his protection at Middleham. Later in the year, under the terms of the 1473 Act of Resumption,[44] George lost some of the property he held under royal grant, and made no secret of his displeasure. John Paston's letter of November 1473 says that the king planned to put both his younger brothers in their place by acting as "a stifler atween them".[45]

Early in 1474, Parliament assembled and King Edward attempted to reconcile his brothers by stating that both men, and their wives, would enjoy the Warwick inheritance just as if the Countess of Warwick "was naturally dead".[46] 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.[47] The following year, Richard was rewarded with all the Neville lands in the north of England, at the expense of Anne's cousin, George Neville.[48] From this point, George seems to have fallen steadily out of King Edward's favour, his discontent coming to a head in 1477 when, following Isabel's death, he was denied the opportunity to marry Mary of Burgundy, the stepdaughter of his sister Margaret, even though Margaret approved the proposed match.[49] There is no evidence of Richard's involvement in George's subsequent conviction and execution on a charge of treason.[50]

  • .... etc.

Accounts note that King Richard fought bravely and ably during this manoeuvre, unhorsing Sir John Cheyne, a well-known jousting champion, killing Henry's standard bearer Sir William Brandon and coming within a sword's length of Henry Tudor before being surrounded by Sir William Stanley's men and killed.[146] The Burgundian chronicler Jean Molinet says that a Welshman struck the death-blow with a halberd while Richard's horse was stuck in the marshy ground.[147] It was said that the blows were so violent that the king's helmet was driven into his skull.[148] The contemporary Welsh poet Guto'r Glyn implies a leading Welsh Lancastrian Rhys ap Thomas, or one of his men, killed the king, writing that he "killed the boar, shaved his head".[147][149][150] The identification in 2013 of King Richard's body shows that the skeleton had 11 wounds, eight of them to the skull, clearly inflicted in battle and suggesting he had lost his helmet.[151] Professor Guy Rutty, from the University of Leicester, said: "The most likely injuries to have caused the king's death are the two to the inferior aspect of the skull—a large sharp force trauma possibly from a sword or staff weapon, such as a halberd or bill, and a penetrating injury from the tip of an edged weapon."[152] The skull showed that a blade had hacked away part of the rear of the skull. King Richard III was the last English king to be killed in battle.[153]

Polydore Vergil, Henry Tudor's official historian, recorded that "King Richard, alone, was killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies".[154] Richard's naked body was then exposed, possibly in the collegiate foundation of the Annunciation of Our Lady, before being buried at Greyfriars Church in Leicester.[155] In 1495, Henry VII paid £50 for a marble and alabaster monument.[155] According to a discredited tradition, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, his body was thrown into the River Soar,[156] although other evidence suggests that a memorial stone was visible in 1612, in a garden built on the site of Greyfriars.[155] The exact location was then lost, owing to more than 400 years of subsequent development,[157] until archaeological investigations in 2012 (see the Discovery of remains section) revealed the site of the garden and Greyfriars church. There is a memorial ledger stone in the choir of the cathedral and a stone plaque on the bridge where tradition had suggested his remains were thrown into the river.

According to another tradition, Richard consulted a seer in Leicester before the battle who foretold that "where your spur should strike on the ride into battle, your head shall be broken on the return". On the ride into battle, his spur struck the bridge stone of Bow Bridge in the city; legend states that as his corpse was carried from the battle over the back of a horse, his head struck the same stone and was broken open.[158] Bow Bridge has become a notable landmark due to its association with Richard.[159]

Henry Tudor succeeded Richard to become Henry VII and sought to cement the succession by marrying the Yorkist heiress Elizabeth of York, Edward IV's daughter and Richard III's niece.[160]

Richard and Anne had one son, born between 1474 and 1476,[161][162] Edward of Middleham, who was created Earl of Salisbury on 15 February 1478.[163] He died in April 1484, after being created Prince of Wales on 8 September the previous year, and only two months after formally being declared heir apparent.[164] Richard also had two acknowledged illegitimate children: John of Gloucester (also known as "John of Pontefract"), who was appointed Captain of Calais in 1485, and Katherine Plantagenet who married William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke in 1484. Neither their birth date nor the name of their mothers are documented, but since Katherine was old enough to be wedded in 1484 (age of consent was 12) and John was old enough to be knighted in September 1483 in York Minster (when his half brother Edward, Richard's only legitimate heir, was invested Prince of Wales) and to be made Captain of Calais in March 1485, most historians agree that they were fathered during Richard's teen years.[165][166] There is no trace of infidelity on Richard's part after his marriage to Anne Neville in 1472, when he was around 20.[167]

Michael Hicks and Josephine Wilkinson have suggested that Katherine's mother may have been Katherine Haute, on the basis of the grant of an annual payment of 100 shillings made to her in 1477. The Haute family was related to the Woodvilles through the marriage of Elizabeth Woodville's aunt, Joan Woodville to Sir William Haute. One of their children was Richard Haute, Controller of the Prince's Household. Their daughter, Alice, married Sir John Fogge; they were ancestors to queen consort Catherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII.[168] They also suggest that John's mother may have been Alice Burgh. Richard visited Pontefract from 1471, in April and October 1473, and in early March 1474, for a week. On 1 March 1474, he granted Alice Burgh £20 a year for life "for certain special causes and considerations". She later received another allowance, apparently for being engaged as nurse for Clarence's son, Edward of Warwick. Richard continued her annuity when he became king.[169][170] John Ashdown-Hill has suggested that John was conceived during Richard's first solo expedition to the eastern counties in the summer of 1467 at the invitation of John Howard and that the boy was born in 1468 and named after his friend and supporter. Richard himself noted John was still a minor (not being yet 21) when he issued the royal patent appointing him Captain of Calais on 11 March 1485, possibly on his seventeenth birthday.[171]

Both of Richard's illegitimate children survived him, but they seem to have died without issue and their fate after Richard's demise at Bosworth is not certain. John received a £20 annuity from Henry VII, but there are no mentions of him in contemporary records after 1487 (the year of the Battle of Stoke Field). He may have been executed in 1499, though no record of this exists beyond an assertion by George Buck over a century later.[172] Katherine apparently died before her cousin Elizabeth of York's coronation on 25 November 1487, since her husband Sir William Herbert is described as a widower by that time.[171][173] Katherine's burial place was located in the London parish church of St James Garlickhithe,[174] between Skinner's Lane and Upper Thames Street.[175] The mysterious Richard Plantagenet, who was first mentioned in Francis Peck's Desiderata Curiosa (a two-volume miscellany published 1732–1735) was said to be a possible illegitimate child of Richard III and is sometimes referred to as "Richard the Master-Builder" or "Richard of Eastwell", but it has also been suggested he could have been Richard, Duke of York, one of the missing Princes in the Tower.[176] He died in 1550.[177]

At the time of his last stand against the Lancastrians, Richard was a widower without a legitimate son. After his son's death, he had initially named his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick, Clarence's young son and the nephew of Queen Anne Neville, as his heir. After Anne's death, however, Richard named another nephew, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, the son of his elder sister Elizabeth. However, he was also negotiating with John II of Portugal to marry his sister, Joanna, a pious young woman who had already turned down several suitors because of her preference for the religious life.[178]

  • .... etc.

On 24 August 2012, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society, announced that they had joined forces to begin a search for the remains of King Richard. Originally instigated by Philippa Langley of the Society's Looking For Richard Project[235][236][237] and led by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), experts set out to locate the lost site of the former Greyfriars Church (demolished during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries), and to discover whether his remains were still interred there.[238][239] By comparing fixed points between maps in a historical sequence, the search located the Church of the Grey Friars, where Richard's body had been hastily buried without pomp in 1485, its foundations identifiable beneath a modern-day city centre car park.[240]

On 5 September 2012, the excavators announced that they had identified Greyfriars church[241] and two days later that they had identified the location of Robert Herrick's garden, where the memorial to Richard III stood in the early 17th century.[242] A human skeleton was found beneath the Church's choir.[243]

Improbably, the excavators found the remains in the first location in which they dug at the car park. It was subsequently noted from a photograph taken that there was a painted "R" in nearly the exact spot at which the remains were found. Further, sources have not been able to definitively identify the source of the painted "R" or exactly what it signified, although there are plausible explanations, such as an indication of a reserved space. However, local officials admitted that it would be a strange location for a reserved space. What is less in doubt is that the painted "R" had been present for quite some time prior to the dig.[244][245]

On 12 September, it was announced that the skeleton discovered during the search might be that of Richard III. Several reasons were given: the body was of an adult male; it was buried beneath the choir of the church; and there was severe scoliosis of the spine, possibly making one shoulder[246] higher than the other (to what extent depended on the severity of the condition). Additionally, there was an object that appeared to be an arrowhead embedded in the spine; and there were perimortem injuries to the skull. These included a relatively shallow orifice, which is most likely to have been caused by a rondel dagger and a scooping depression to the skull, inflicted by a bladed weapon, most probably a sword. Additionally, the bottom of the skull presented a gaping hole, where a halberd had cut away and entered it. Forensic pathologist, Dr Stuart Hamilton stated that this injury would have left the King's brain visible, and most certainly would have been the cause of death. Dr Jo Appleby, the osteo-archaeologist who excavated the skeleton, concurred and described the latter as "a mortal battlefield wound in the back of the skull". The base of the skull also presented another fatal wound in which a bladed weapon had been thrust through it, leaving behind a jagged hole. Closer examination of the interior of the skull revealed a mark opposite this wound, showing that the blade penetrated to a depth of 10.5 cm.[247] In total, the skeleton presented 10 wounds: 4 minor injuries on the top of the skull, 1 dagger blow on the cheekbone, 1 cut on the lower jaw, 2 fatal injuries on the base of the skull, 1 cut on a rib bone, and 1 final wound on the King's pelvis, most probably inflicted after death. It is generally accepted that postmortem, Richard's naked body was tied to the back of a horse, with his arms slung over one side and his legs and buttocks over the other. This presented a very opportunistic target for onlookers, and the angle of the blow on the pelvis suggests that one of them stabbed Richard's right buttock with substantial force, as the cut extends from the back all the way to the front of the pelvic bone and was most probably an act of humiliation. It is also possible that Richard suffered other injuries which left no trace on the skeleton.[248][249][250]

In 2004, the British historian John Ashdown-Hill had used genealogical research to trace matrilineal descendants of Anne of York, Richard's elder sister.[251] A British-born woman who emigrated to Canada after the Second World War, Joy Ibsen (née Brown), was found to be a 16th-generation great-niece of the king in the same direct maternal line.[252][253] Joy Ibsen's mitochondrial DNA was tested and belongs to mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup J, which by deduction, should also be the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup of Richard III.[171] Joy Ibsen died in 2008. Her son Michael Ibsen gave a mouth-swab sample to the research team on 24 August 2012. His mitochondrial DNA passed down the direct maternal line was compared to samples from the human remains found at the excavation site and used to identify King Richard.[254][255][256][257]

On 4 February 2013, the University of Leicester confirmed that the skeleton was beyond reasonable doubt that of King Richard III. This conclusion was based on mitochondrial DNA evidence,[258] soil analysis, and dental tests (there were some molars missing as a result of caries), as well as physical characteristics of the skeleton which are highly consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard's appearance.[259] The team announced that the "arrowhead" discovered with the body was a Roman-era nail, probably disturbed when the body was first interred. However, there were numerous perimortem wounds on the body, and part of the skull had been sliced off with a bladed weapon;[260] this would have caused rapid death. The team concluded that it is unlikely that the king was wearing a helmet in his last moments. Soil taken from the Plantagenet King's remains was found to contain microscopic roundworm eggs. Several eggs were found in samples taken from the pelvis, where the king's intestines were, but not from the skull and only very small numbers were identified in soil surrounding the grave. The findings suggest that the higher concentration of eggs in the pelvic area probably arose from a roundworm infection the King suffered in his life, rather than from human waste dumped in the area at a later date, researchers said. The Mayor of Leicester announced that the king's skeleton would be re-interred at Leicester Cathedral in early 2014, but a judicial review on that decision delayed the reinterment for a year.[261] A museum to Richard III was opened in July 2014 in the Victorian school buildings next to the Greyfriars grave site.[6][258][262][263]

The proposal to have King Richard buried in Leicester attracted some controversy. Those who challenged the decision included fifteen 'collateral [non-direct] descendants' of Richard,[264] represented by the Plantagenet Alliance, who believe that the body should be reburied in York, as they claim the king wished.[264] In August 2013, they filed a court case in order to contest Leicester's claim to re-inter the body within its cathedral, and propose the body be buried in York instead. However, Michael Ibsen, who gave the DNA sample that identified the king, gave his support to Leicester's claim to re-inter the body in their cathedral.[264] On 20 August, a judge ruled that the opponents had the legal standing to contest his burial in Leicester Cathedral, despite a clause in the contract which had authorized the excavations requiring his burial there. He urged the parties, though, to settle out of court in order to "avoid embarking on the Wars of the Roses, Part Two".[265] The Plantagenet Alliance, and the supporting fifteen 'collateral [non-direct] descendants', also faced the challenge that 'Basic maths shows Richard, who had no surviving children but five siblings, could have millions of "collateral" descendants' and they don't represent 'the only people who can speak on behalf of him', as one member claimed.[264] A ruling in May 2014 decreed that there are "no public law grounds for the Court interfering with the decisions in question".[266] The remains were taken to Leicester Cathedral on 22 March 2015 and reinterred on 26 March.[267]

On 5 February 2013 Professor Caroline Wilkinson of the University of Dundee conducted a forensic facial reconstruction of Richard III, commissioned by the Richard III Society, based on 3D mappings of his skull. The face is described as "warm, young, earnest and rather serious".[268] On 11 February 2014 the University of Leicester announced the project to sequence the entire genome of Richard III and one of his living relatives, Michael Ibsen, whose mitochondrial DNA confirmed the identification of the excavated remains. Richard III was the first ancient person, with known historical identity, to have the genome sequenced.[269]

In November 2014, the results of the testing were announced, confirming that the maternal side was as previously thought.[270] The paternal side, however, demonstrated some variance from what had been expected, with the DNA showing no links to the purported descendants of Richard's great-great-grandfather Edward III of England through Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort.[271] This could be the result of misattributed paternity that does not reflect the accepted genealogies between Richard and Edward III or between Edward III and the 5th Duke of Beaufort.[271][272]

In 1485, following his death in battle against Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field, Richard III's body was buried in Greyfriars Church in Leicester.[273]

Following the discoveries of Richard's remains in 2012, it was decided that they should be reburied at Leicester Cathedral,[274][275] despite feelings in some quarters that he should have been reburied in Yorkshire.[276] His remains were carried in procession to the cathedral on 22 March 2015, and reburied on 26 March 2015[277] at a religious re-burial service at which both the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester and the Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury officiated. The British Royal Family was represented by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Countess of Wessex. The actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a distant relation of the king, read a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.[8]

.... etc.



  • Sir Richard III Plantagenet, King of England, Duke of Gloucester1,2,3,4,5,6
  • M, #27003, b. 2 October 1452, d. 22 August 1485
  • Father Sir Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, 6th Earl of March, 8th Earl of Ulster, Protector of England7,8 b. 21 Sep 1411, d. 31 Dec 1460
  • Mother Cecily Neville7,8 b. 3 May 1415, d. 31 May 1495
  • Sir Richard III Plantagenet, King of England, Duke of Gloucester was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringhay Castle, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England.2,4,6 He married Anne Neville, daughter of Sir Richard 'the King Maker' Neville, 1st Earl Warwick, 2nd Earl Salisbury, Lord Bergavenny, Glamorgan, & Morgannwg, Sheriff of Worcestershire, Admiral of England, Ireland, & Aquitaine, Chamberlain of the Exchequer and Anne Beauchamp, circa 18 March 1472 at Westminster Abbey, London, Middlesex, England; They had 1 son (Sir Edward).9,10,2,11,3,4,12,5,6 Sir Richard III Plantagenet, King of England, Duke of Gloucester and Anne Neville obtained a marriage license on 22 April 1472; Request for dispensation to marry, they being in the 3rd & 4th degrees of affinity.11,4,12,6 Sir Richard III Plantagenet, King of England, Duke of Gloucester died on 22 August 1485 at Battle of Bosworth, England, at age 32; Buried at Grey Friars Abbey, Leicester. His bones were rumored to have later been dug up (during the Reformation) and thrown into the River Soar. That isn't true. His bones were found under a car park in Leicester in 2012.2,4,6
  • Family 1
  • Child
    • Katherine Plantagenet13,14,15,16,17,4,18,6 d. bt 8 Mar 1485 - 25 Nov 1487
  • Family 2 Anne Neville b. 11 Jun 1456, d. 16 Mar 1485
  • Child
    • Sir Edward Plantagenet, Duke of Cornwall, Earl Salisbury & Chester, Prince of Wales2,4,6 b. 1476, d. 9 Apr 1484
  • Citations
  • [S8381] Unknown author, The Lineage and Ancestry of HRH Prince Charles, by Gerald Paget, Vol. 1, p. 29.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 797.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 166.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 409-410.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. IV, p. 128.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 457-458.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 403-405.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 451-453.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 439.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 511-512.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 573.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. III, p. 531-532.
  • [S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. X, p. 403.
  • [S11575] The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, by Gerald Paget, Vol. I, p. 29.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 396.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 798.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 389.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. III, p. 279.
  • From:


  • Richard III Plantagenet, King of England
  • M, #101628, b. 2 October 1452, d. 22 August 1485
  • Last Edited=22 Jan 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=2.36%
  • Richard III Plantagenet, King of England was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringhay Castle, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England.2 He was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire, England.3 He was the son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Lady Cecily Neville. He married Lady Anne Beauchamp Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and Lady Anne Beauchamp, on 12 July 1472 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.2 He died on 22 August 1485 at age 32 at Bosworth, Leicestershire, England, killed in action.4 He was buried at Grey Friars Abbey, Leicestershire, England.4
  • Richard III Plantagenet, King of England also went by the nick-name of 'Old Dick'. Richard III Plantagenet, King of England also went by the nick-name of Richard 'Crookback'. He gained the title of Duke of Gloucester on 1 November 1461.2 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) before 4 February 1466.2 He gained the title of King Richard III of England on 22 June 1483.2 He was crowned King of England on 6 July 1483 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England, and styled 'Rex Angliae et Franciae et Dominus Hiberniae.5' He fought in the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485 at Bosworth, Leicestershire, England.4 He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.6
  • Children of Richard III Plantagenet, King of England
    • Catherine Plantagenet
    • Richard Plantagenet b. 1469, d. 1550
    • John of Gloucester b. c 1470, d. c 1499
  • Child of Richard III Plantagenet, King of England and Lady Anne Beauchamp Neville
    • Edward of Middleham Plantagenet, Prince of Wales b. Dec 1473, d. 31 Mar 1484
  • Citations
  • [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 142. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.
  • [S125] Richard Glanville-Brown, online <e-mail address>, Richard Glanville-Brown (RR 2, Milton, Ontario, Canada), downloaded 17 August 2005.
  • [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families, page 144.
  • [S4] C.F.J. Hankinson, editor, DeBretts Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, 147th year (London, U.K.: Odhams Press, 1949), page 20 . Hereinafter cited as DeBretts Peerage, 1949.
  • [S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995), reference "Richard III, 1452-1485". Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.
  • From:


  • Born: 2 Oct 1452, Fotheringhay Castle, England
  • Died: 22 Aug 1485, Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, England
  • Buried: Grey Friars Abbey, Leicestershire, England
  • Notes: Knight of the Garter.
  • Father: Richard PLANTAGENET (3° D. York)
  • Mother: Cecily NEVILLE (D. York)
  • Married: Anne NEVILLE (Queen of England) 12 Jul 1472, Westminster Abbey, London, England
  • Children:
    • 1. Edward "of Middleham" PLANTAGENET (Prince of Wales)
  • Associated with: ¿?
  • Children:
    • 2. Catherine PLANTAGENET (C. Huntingdon)
    • 3. John PLANTAGENET of Gloucester


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 48
  • Richard III by James Gairdner
  • RICHARD III (1452–1485), king of England, the eleventh child of Richard, duke of York [q. v.], by Cicely, daughter of Ralph Neville, first earl of Westmorland [q. v.], was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire on 2 Oct. 1452. At the time of his birth the court of Henry VI stood in fear of his father's pretension to the crown, and civil war was brewing. He was just seven years old when, owing to his father's hasty flight from Ludlow (October 1459), his mother, with her two youngest sons—namely, George and himself—was taken in Ludlow Castle and handed over by Henry VI to the keeping of her sister Anne, duchess of Buckingham. But next year Henry himself fell into the hands of the Yorkists at the battle of Northampton (10 July 1460), so that the Duchess of York recovered her freedom. She brought her sons George and Richard to London in September, and lodged them in John Paston's house. The duke, her husband, was killed five months later at the battle of Wakefield (30 Dec. 1460), and when, shortly afterwards, the Lancastrians won also the second battle of St. Albans (17 Feb. 1461), it seemed as if London lay at their mercy. The duchess accordingly sent her two youngest sons by sea to Utrecht for safety; but they were soon recalled by their elder brother, who had not only caused himself to be proclaimed king, as Edward IV, but had succeeded in securing his throne by the decisive victory of Towton (29 March 1461). They returned in April.
  • Out of a family of eight sons and four daughters only three sons and three daughters of the Duchess of York now survived. Edward was crowned at Westminster on 28 June, and created his brother George Duke of Clarence and Richard Duke of Gloucester. They were also made knights of the Bath at the Tower of London just before the ceremony (Anstis, Observations Introductory, Coll. of Authorities, p. 30). Edward then appointed Clarence lieutenant of Ireland, and Gloucester, though he was only nine years old, admiral of the sea. He also gave liberal grants to each, and to Richard, among other things, the fee-farm of the town of Gloucester, the constableship of Corfe Castle, the manor of Kingston Lacy, which belonged to the duchy of Lancaster, the castle, county, and honour of Richmond in Yorkshire, and the county, honour, and lordship of Pembroke. A few years later, Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, ‘the kingmaker,’ whose disaffection to Edward IV was beginning, tried to seduce both these younger brothers from their allegiance, and carried them down with him to Cambridge; but Richard remained steadfast to Edward, although Clarence proved disloyal. About the beginning of 1466 Richard was elected a knight of the Garter (Anstis, Register of the Garter, p. 181), and in the same year he was at the banquet at the enthronement of Archbishop George Neville [q. v.] of York (Leland, Collectanea, vi. 3). In 1468 he had a grant of the castle and manor of Farley in Somerset and the manors of Heytesbury and Teffont in Wiltshire, which had belonged to Robert, lord Hungerford, and of the manor and town of Bedminster, which had belonged to Henry, duke of Somerset. In 1469 he accompanied his brother Edward into Norfolk just before the breaking out of Robin of Redesdale's rebellion [see Robin], and probably went with him against the rebels. In October, when Edward IV had escaped from his temporary detention by Warwick in Yorkshire, Richard entered London in his company, and was immediately afterwards (17 Oct.) appointed constable of England for life and chief justiciar of South Wales. Next year (1470), on 26 Aug., he was further appointed warden of the west marches against Scotland (Rymer, xi. 658, 1st edit.). A month later Richard accompanied Edward in his flight to Holland, and shared his exile till the following March (1471). Sailing back with him from Flushing, he assisted him in the recovery of his kingdom. During the voyage, indeed, their ships were separated by a storm, and Richard, with a company of three hundred men, landed four miles from Ravenspur, where his brother landed; but they soon joined forces, and when Edward, pretending that he was merely come to claim his duchy of York, was allowed to enter York peacefully without his army, he at first left the latter at three bowshots' distance under Richard's command. Presently the city was persuaded to admit the forces for twelve hours; but when some of the citizens, doubting Edward's good faith, insisted on his going to the minster to make oath that he would not claim the crown, Richard proposed to the Earl of Rivers to kill the recorder and Martin De la Mere if the condition were insisted on. Edward, however, succeeded in getting his forces away without any act of violence.
  • Shortly afterwards, at Banbury, Richard assisted in the reconciliation between his brother Edward and Clarence. In the two battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury (14 April and 4 May) he commanded Edward's vanguard, and displayed both skill and valour. After the latter engagement he and the Duke of Norfolk, as constable and marshal of England, passed sentence on Somerset and other fugitives who had received King Edward's pardon after taking refuge in the abbey, and they were beheaded in the town. This was a serious function for a lad in his nineteenth year. Yet it is also reported, and perhaps truly, that he and Clarence butchered young Edward, prince of Wales, after the battle, and a fortnight later that he murdered the unhappy Henry VI in the Tower of London. On 3 July following, although no regular parliament seems to have been assembled, the lords met in the parliament chamber at Westminster, and each severally took an oath to Edward's eldest son, recognising him as prince of Wales and successor to the throne. After the spiritual lords the names of Clarence and Gloucester headed those of the temporal (Rotuli Parliamentorum, vi. 234). Edward rewarded Richard's fidelity by large additional grants of lands and offices. He made him great chamberlain of England (which office he resigned a year later in favour of Clarence) and steward of the lands of the duchy of Lancaster beyond Trent; and he bestowed on him the confiscated possessions of the Earl of Oxford and other Lancastrians. He also gave him (14 July 1471) the castles of Middleham and Sheriff-Hutton in Yorkshire, and Penrith in Cumberland—a portion of the lands of Warwick the Kingmaker. Warwick had left two daughters, of whom Clarence had already married the elder, and Richard now proposed to marry the younger, named Anne [see Anne, 1456–1485]. She had been betrothed to the late—probably murdered—prince of Wales, but she seems to have had no great objection to marry his reputed murderer. Clarence, however, who had kept his sister-in-law hitherto in a state of pupilage (she was not yet fifteen), opposed the marriage, and particularly objected to divide his father-in-law's inheritance. He hid the young lady from his brother's eyes, but Richard discovered her in London disguised as a kitchenmaid, and placed her in the sanctuary of St. Martin's-le-Grand for security. On this a vehement dispute took place between the brothers, who each supported his own claim before the king with an ability that astonished even lawyers; and, though the king decided that Richard should have Anne, with a certain portion of Warwick's property, an ill-will that threatened at times to come to blows endured for years between the two [see Plantagenet, George].
  • In September 1471 Richard is said to have caused the bastard Falconbridge to be beheaded in Yorkshire [see Fauconberg, Thomas, the Bastard of]. But probably there is some mistake here. The bastard had commanded Warwick's fleet and bombarded London while Edward was in the west country, but had submitted to Richard at Sandwich on 26 May; and Richard took him to Middleham apparently as a prisoner on parole (Wavrin-Dupont, iii. 145; cf. Ramsay, ii. 387, n. 3, from which it would seem that ‘Merlan’ must be Middleham); but as the bastard afterwards attempted to escape, hoping, as it was believed, to have found shipping somewhere, he forfeited his claim to mercy. He was captured at Southampton, and probably executed there. In 1473 the widowed Countess of Warwick, who had been in Beaulieu sanctuary in Hampshire since her husband's death, at length came out, and was conveyed by Sir James Tyrell [q. v.] into the north. She seems to have been anxious to throw herself upon Richard's protection, and Clarence was believed to have objected to her removal. The king, according to a letter of that date, restored to her all her patrimonial property, the lands of the Beauchamps; but she granted it to Richard, with whom she had found a home, probably at Middleham. The whole of her property, however, alike inheritance and jointure, was divided between him and Clarence by an act of parliament in May 1474, her own rights being set aside just as if she were dead, and Richard kept her as a prisoner while he lived.
  • Richard continued to receive new grants from the crown. In 1471 he was made justiciar of North Wales; in 1472 warden of the royal forests north of Trent. In 1474 a further portion of Lord Hungerford's lands was bestowed on him, and in 1475 some of those of the Earl of Oxford and Sir Thomas de la Launde. After receiving his share of Warwick's property he resided chiefly in Yorkshire, and mostly at Middleham, though he had an official residence at Pomfret as steward of the duchy of Lancaster.
  • In 1475, when Edward invaded France and made an inglorious peace with Louis XI, without striking a blow, Richard was displeased and stood aloof from the interview at Picquigny; but, when the matter was settled, he paid a visit of courtesy to Louis at Amiens, and received from him presents of plate and horses (Comines, bk. iv. ch. x.). It does not appear that he was directly responsible for the death of his brother Clarence in 1478, which Sir Thomas More says he openly opposed; but a suspicion prevailed that he had helped indirectly to bring it about. Three days before the duke suffered Richard's son was created Earl of Salisbury—a second title which had belonged to Clarence—and three days after the event Richard himself obtained licenses from the king to erect two considerable religious establishments, each presided over by a dean, the one at Barnard Castle and the other at Middleham, for the souls of himself and his wife after their decease, as well as of his father, brothers, and sisters.
  • Of the lordship of Barnard Castle, Richard had held one moiety in right of his wife till the death of Clarence, when the other moiety fell to him also. On the same day (21 Feb.) on which he obtained these licenses he was again appointed to the office of great chamberlain of England, which he had before resigned in Clarence's favour. Not long after, he was made admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine. On 12 May 1480 he was appointed the king's lieutenant-general in the north, in anticipation of a Scottish invasion, and in June a commission was directed to him and others to raise troops in Yorkshire (Rymer, xii. 115, 117). In September he had to punish a Scottish raid into Northumberland, but he was back again at Sheriff-Hutton in October (Plumpton Corresp. p. 40, Camden Soc.; Davies, York Records, pp. 106, 108). On 12 June 1482 he was appointed to command an army against Scotland. He began the campaign by taking the town of Berwick, and, leaving a force to besiege the castle, marched on to Edinburgh. He was accompanied by Alexander, duke of Albany, whom Edward IV had promised to make king of Scotland. His progress was aided by Angus ‘Bell the Cat’ [see Douglas, Archibald, fifth Earl of Angus]. After the Scottish nobles at Lauder took their king (James III) into their own keeping, Richard enabled Albany to make terms for his pardon, and having exacted an important bond from the town of Edinburgh, he obtained on his return the surrender of Berwick Castle.
  • A campaign so successful won for him the thanks of parliament, which met in January 1483. He had also been for some years warden of the west marches, and had brought the borders into such admirable subjection that, in reward for his services, parliament made the extraordinary provision that that wardenship should descend to his heirs male, with the possession of Carlisle and various lands in Cumberland, and such adjoining districts of Scotland as they should be able to conquer (Rotuli Parl. vi. 197, 204).
  • On 9 April following Edward IV died at Westminster, leaving to Richard the care of his family and kingdom during the minority of his eldest son Edward, then in his thirteenth year. Lord Hastings sent Richard notice of the event, and he immediately repaired to York, where he held a funeral service for his brother, and called on all the neighbouring gentry to swear allegiance to Edward V, himself setting the example. Meanwhile the queen-dowager and her relatives had likewise sent word to young Edward, who was then at Ludlow, and whom they wished to come up to London with a strong escort; but Lord Hastings said if the company were dangerously large he would retire to Calais, of which place he was governor. Hastings was not the only one suspicious of the Woodvilles or Wydevilles, the queen dowager's family. When Richard reached North- ampton on the 29th, the young king had gone as far as Stony Stratford, ten miles farther on; but his uncle, Lord Rivers, and his uterine brother, Lord Richard Grey, rode back to Northampton to salute Gloucester in his name. The Duke of Buckingham also arrived there, and he and Gloucester supped together with Rivers and Grey. But after supper the two dukes held an interview apart, and next morning, having secured the keys of the inn, and seized Rivers and Grey, and some others, went on to Stony Stratford, and brought the young king back to Northampton, telling him that his maternal relatives had a design to seize the government by force. The poor boy-king burst into tears, but the tale was very generally believed, when the dukes, on the way to London, exhibited the ‘barrels of harness’ seized in the possession of his escort. Moreover, the Woodville party had done some questionable things in London, and had meant to have crowned the lad on 4 May—almost as soon as he could well have arrived, even if his course had been uninterrupted. As it was, he only reached London that very day, in company with his uncle, Gloucester, and the Duke of Buckingham. His mother, meanwhile, hearing what had occurred, had withdrawn herself in great haste into the sanctuary at Westminster, which adjoined the palace, getting a breach made in the walls, to remove her furniture, and took with her her second son, Richard, duke of York, and her five daughters.
  • Richard seems to have been recognised by the council, even before his arrival in London, as protector of the king and kingdom. The young king, who was at first lodged in the bishop of London's palace by St. Paul's, was soon transferred to the royal apartments in the Tower. A new day—22 June—was fixed for the coronation, and parliament was summoned to meet three days later. Archbishop Rotherham of York was deprived of the great seal, and Dr. Russell, bishop of Lincoln, was made chancellor in his place. The Woodville influence was quite subverted. The queen's brother, Lionel, bishop of Salisbury, was in the sanctuary along with her, and the property of her son, the Marquis of Dorset, who, as constable of the Tower, had fitted out a fleet with money and arms from that fortress, was everywhere confiscated. On 9 June the Protector held a council, which sat from ten to two o'clock, and it was significantly noted that no communication was held with the queen. Next day Richard wrote to the mayor and corporation of York, requesting them to send up at once as many armed men as they could get together, to protect him and the Duke of Buckingham against an alleged conspiracy of the queen's adherents.
  • The fact seems to be that some of the council, especially Hastings, who had hitherto opposed the Woodvilles, were beginning to be more apprehensive of Richard's ambition than of theirs. Conferences took place at St. Paul's and elsewhere as to how to get the king out of Richard's power; while the protector himself held private consultations with his more confidential friends at Crosby's Place in Bishopsgate Street, and for a time deserted the regular council in the Tower. On 13 June, however, he appeared there. He was very urbane, asked Morton, bishop of Ely, for strawberries from his garden in Holborn [see Morton, John, 1420?–1500], and, after opening the business, begged leave of temporary absence. An hour later he returned, with a strangely altered demeanour, and inquired what punishment they deserved who had conspired against his life. He accused the queen as a sorceress who, with Jane Shore as her accomplice, had wasted his body ‘by their sorcery and witchcraft,’ in proof of which he bared his left arm to the council, shrunk and withered, as, according to Sir Thomas More, who relates the story, ‘it was never other.’ Hastings answered that if they had so done they deserved heinous punishment. ‘What!’ said the Protector, ‘dost thou serve me with ifs and with ands? I tell thee they have done it, and that I will make good on thy body, traitor!’ Then he struck his fist violently upon the council table. Armed men rushed in and arrested Hastings and Lord Stanley, Bishop Morton and Archbishop Rotherham. Hastings was borne off to immediate execution on Tower Green, the Protector swearing that he would not dine till he had seen his head off. Then Richard sent for some of the leading citizens, before whom he and Buckingham appeared in rusty armour which they had hastily put on, and told them they had just escaped a plot to assassinate them in the council chamber. A proclamation was also put out to that effect, rather too neatly written, as some observed, to give it credit, for it seemed to have been prepared beforehand. Richard then seized the property of Jane Shore, and, by bringing her before the bishop of London's court as a woman of loose life, caused her to do penance in the streets with a lighted taper. His object, perhaps, was to punish her for some political intrigue, but the patience with which she underwent her penance attracted general sympathy. Then followed, at Pomfret, on 25 June, the execution, apparently by com- mand of the Earl of Northumberland, but without any legal trial, of Earl Rivers, Lord Richard Grey, and Sir Thomas Vaughan, who had been taken at Stony Stratford.
  • Meanwhile there was intense agitation in London. Westminster was full of armed men, and Richard was expecting more from Yorkshire, yet three days after the execution of Hastings, Archbishop Bourchier somehow persuaded the queen to deliver up her second son, the Duke of York, out of sanctuary, to keep company with his brother in the Tower. The coronation was now deferred until 2 Nov., and on Sunday, 22 June, when it was to have taken place, Dr. Shaw, at St. Paul's Cross, preached a sermon, in which he intimated that the children of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville were illegitimate, and that the crown belonged by right to the Protector. Nor was this all, for the preacher further insinuated that Edward IV himself was a bastard, which he must have been authorised to do by Richard, to the dishonour of his own mother. Further, it had been arranged that Richard was to pass by during the sermon, but he arrived rather late, and when the preacher, returning to the subject, said, ‘This is his father's own figure,’ the crowd, already deeply shocked, made no response.
  • On the Tuesday following (24 June) the Duke of Buckingham, with some other lords and knights, addressed the citizens at the Guildhall in an eloquent speech in favour of Richard's claims. The citizens remaining dumb, the recorder was instructed to ask if they would have Richard for their king, and a few at the end of the hall cried, ‘King Richard!’ Next day, the 25th, was that for which parliament had been summoned, and, though a supersedeas had been received at York to countermand the sending up of representatives, there was certainly something like a parliamentary assembly that day in London. A roll was brought in declaring Richard to be rightful king, on the ground that Edward's marriage with Elizabeth Woodville was invalid, Edward having, it was asserted, made a precontract of matrimony with Dame Eleanor Butler, ‘daughter of the old Earl of Shrewsbury.’ Moreover, it was insisted that that marriage had led to grave inconveniences. Besides, Edward himself had been born abroad, at Rouen, and his brother Clarence at Dublin. Richard alone of the brothers was the true-born Englishman. On these grounds a deputation was sent to him at Baynard's Castle, asking him to assume the crown. Buckingham was spokesman, and Richard, with feigned reluctance, accepted the honour. Next day, accompanied by a number of the nobles, he went to Westminster, and seated himself in the marble chair. From that day (26 June) he dated the commencement of his reign.
  • Immediately afterwards Sir Richard Radcliffe [q. v.], who had carried out the executions at Pomfret, came up with the Yorkshire bands written for by Richard to protect himself against the queen-dowager. They came up very ill accoutred in rusty armour, and were joined by others from Wales—a force, despite the sneers of the citizens, sufficient to keep London quiet till the coronation. It took place at Westminster on Sunday, 6 July. Two days before the king had proceeded in state down the river to the Tower, and liberated Lord Stanley and Archbishop Rotherham from their confinement; the next day there were pageants, and the coronation itself was conducted with particular splendour, the newly pardoned Stanley carrying the mace as lord high constable. The success of the usurpation, however, at once produced a changed feeling among the nobility, and Richard, we are told, lost the hearts of many who would have fought to the death for him as Protector. Strangely enough, even Buckingham was disaffected, and Bishop Morton, having been committed to his custody, flattered his vanity by the suggestion that he would have been a better ruler than Richard. Thoughts of supplanting Richard certainly seem to have occurred to him, and the murder which soon after followed of the dethroned Edward V and his brother must have stimulated them all the more; but they were presently laid aside in favour of a project to assist Henry, earl of Richmond, to the crown [see Henry VII].
  • The secret order for the death of the two young princes seems to have been given by Richard when on a royal progress which he made just after his coronation. He went first by Windsor and Reading to Oxford, where he met with a noble reception, and spent two days visiting the colleges; then to Woodstock, where he won popularity by disafforesting some land that his brother Edward had annexed to Whichwood Forest; then on to Gloucester, and to Worcester. Each of these towns offered him a gift of money to defray his expenses, as London itself had done before; but he gracefully declined, saying he would rather have their hearts than their money. At Warwick, which he reached next, he received the Duke of Albany and an embassy from Spain. He then went on through Coventry, Leicester, and Nottingham to York, which he reached on 29 Aug. There he stayed several days, and on 8 Sept. he and his queen [see Anne, 1456–1485] walked through the streets with crowns on their heads, and his son Edward was created prince of Wales.
  • During this progress the princes were at first kept in close custody within the Tower, so that little was known about them, and conspiracies began to be formed for their liberation. There was also a project for conveying some of their sisters in disguise beyond sea, to prevent which a force of armed men was laid round the abbey and its neighbourhood. Cabals against Richard spread all over the southern counties, and it was given out that Buckingham would lead the movement. But the news speedily followed that the two young princes were dead. How they had been cut off no one knew, but no one doubted that it was a murder. Buckingham then, at the suggestion of Morton, opened communications with Richmond in Brittany, who was to invade England in aid of a general insurrection, to take place all over the southern counties and in Wales simultaneously on 18 Oct. The secret, however, leaked out. The Duke of Norfolk wrote from London on the 10th for aid to put down disturbances in Kent, and Richard himself, who had reached Lincoln on the 11th, wrote from thence to York for a body of men to meet him at Leicester on the 21st to help him to subdue Buckingham. On the 23rd he issued a proclamation offering rewards for the apprehension of Buckingham, Dorset, and the other leaders, and inveighing against the rebels as subverters of morality, pointing particularly to the dissolute life of Dorset, who had now taken Jane Shore into his keeping.
  • The rebellion, however, was defeated not by arms, but by stormy weather. An unusual flood swelled the Severn, and Buckingham could not get out of Wales, the bridges being destroyed to stop his progress. Provisions ran short, and his followers deserted. At last he himself fled northwards in disguise into Shropshire, where he was betrayed and delivered up by a retainer. He was brought before Richard, who had come south with an army as far as Salisbury on 2 Nov., and, after being examined, was sent to summary execution. Meanwhile the storm had also frustrated the invasion of Richmond, and the whole rebellion collapsed. The king was received in triumph at Exeter, and returned to London before the end of November.
  • Parliament had been summoned for 6 Nov., but owing to the rebellion it was put off, and met on 23 Jan. 1484. The king's title was confirmed, his son declared heir-apparent, and the leading lords and gentlemen of the household called to swear to the succession. An act of attainder was passed against a hundred persons concerned in the rebellion, and some good laws were enacted, among which was one for the abolition of ‘benevolences.’ On 1 March Richard signed a declaration before the lords spiritual and temporal, and the lord mayor and aldermen of London, that if his nieces would come out of sanctuary, he would put them in surety of their lives and persons, and marry them to ‘gentlemen born,’ giving also a pension for life to their mother, whom he called ‘dame Elizabeth Grey.’ The object was clearly to prevent any of the daughters being conveyed abroad and married to Richmond. The offer was accepted, and the ladies came out of sanctuary. On 10 March Richard issued a remarkable circular to the bishops, urging them to repress and punish immorality. About the same time numerous commissions of muster and array were issued to meet the danger of invasion. After the parliament the king visited Cambridge, and went on to Nottingham, where he received news of the death of his only legitimate son, so recently named heir-apparent. He continued his progress to York, Middleham, and Durham, returning to Westminster for a short time in August, when he caused Henry VI's body to be removed from Chertsey to Windsor. Shortly afterwards he went to Nottingham to receive a Scottish embassy in September. Nottingham from this time was his principal residence—apparently as a central position where he might receive news from any quarter of invasion, of which he stood in constant dread. Towards the close of the year he issued a proclamation for the punishment of lying rumours and seditious writings, and Colyngbourne, a Wiltshire gentleman, who seems to have been one of the first promoters of Richmond's attempted invasion the year before, suffered the hideous death of a traitor on Tower Hill, not more, it was thought, for that than for a well-known rhyme aimed at the king and his three leading councillors.
  • On 7 Dec. the chancellor was instructed to prepare a proclamation against Richmond and his adherents. On the 18th commissioners were directed to inquire in Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Middlesex what number of armed men could be got ready on a sudden alarm. But the king kept a particularly gay Christmas at Westminster, and his eldest niece, the intended bride of his rival, danced at court in apparel exactly similar to that of his own queen—a fact which gave rise to strange surmises. On Twelfth night following (6 Jan. 1485) he walked with the crown on his head in Westminster Hall. But on that very day he received information from beyond sea that his enemies would certainly attempt an invasion in the following summer. To meet this he was driven to the expedient of a forced loan, too much like the benevolences that he had condemned in parliament, and this increased his unpopularity. Further, he seemed to have contemplated somehow getting rid of his queen, of whose barrenness he complained to Archbishop Rotherham and others, and marrying his niece Elizabeth. The queen actually died on 16 March—the day of an eclipse of the sun—and the talk about his intention was so strong that it dismayed for a time the Earl of Richmond in France; but the idea met with such opposition that he was obliged to deny publicly that he had ever entertained it. He sent Elizabeth to Sheriff-Hutton, where also he kept his brother Clarence's son Edward, earl of Warwick [q. v.] After his own son's death he had proclaimed the latter heir-apparent. But he now set him aside in favour of his other nephew, John, earl of Lincoln, the son of his sister Elizabeth by the Duke of Suffolk. He left London in the spring, and was at Nottingham again in June. He put Lord Lovel in command of a fleet at Southampton. On 22 June commissions of array were issued to every county, with orders for every one to be ready at an hour's warning, and next day the proclamation of December against Richmond and his adherents was renewed. Richmond, however, landed at Milford Haven on 7 or 8 Aug., and, notwithstanding some alarms of opposition, succeeded easily in about a week in reaching Shrewsbury, with a considerable accession made to his forces by Welsh chieftains whom Richard had too much trusted.
  • Richard was collecting an army at Nottingham, but the troops had not all come together. Among others he had required the presence of Lord Stanley out of Lancashire, but Stanley sent an excuse that he was ill of the sweating sickness. His son, Lord Strange, at the same time endeavoured to escape from the court, but being taken, confessed that he and his uncle, Sir William Stanley, had been in communication with the enemy. The young man, however, throwing himself on the king's mercy, offered the strongest assurances that his father at least would shortly bring his forces to Richard's aid. Richard took care to keep him safe as a hostage.
  • The intelligence that Henry had reached Shrewsbury struck Richard with dismay. He had heard of his landing, and yet had deferred for one day setting out against him, as the 15th was the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. But hearing next that Henry had reached Lichfield, he set out for Leicester, his army drawn out in long array, with the baggage in the middle, he himself following on a great white courser with his bodyguard. His frowning countenance in this day's march was noted. He reached Leicester at sunset on the 20th, and marched out again on the morning of the 21st, at the head of a larger army, it was thought, than had ever before been seen in England. He wore his crown upon his head, and encamped at night at a spot some little way south of Market Bosworth. His adversary that same night encamped within three miles of him, and early on the 22nd both parties prepared for battle. Richard rose in the twilight, pale and haggard, disturbed, as he admitted, by fearful dreams, and said the issue of that day's conflict would be disastrous for England, whichever party prevailed. He summoned Lord Stanley, who had approached within a short distance of either camp, to join him at once. Stanley refused, and Richard ordered his son Strange to be at once beheaded; but the execution of the order was deferred in the preparation for battle. Richard occupied Ambien Hill, and there was a marsh between him and the enemy, along the side of which Henry led his men, leaving it to the right as a protection. But when he had passed it Richard ordered the attack, and a shower of arrows on either side began the engagement, backed up by some volleys of cannon from that of Henry. The armies then came to close quarters, and the Stanleys, both Lord Stanley and Sir William, joined Henry openly. Richard, finding his followers half-hearted, dashed over the hill against his antagonist in person, killed William Brandon, his standard-bearer, and threw to the ground Sir John Cheney, a man of great strength. Henry, however, maintained his own against him, till the coming up of Sir William Stanley changed the fortune of the day, and Richard was surrounded and killed.
  • After the battle his dead body was carried to Leicester, trussed across a horse's back, behind a pursuivant, and with a halter round the neck. After two days' public exposure it was buried there at the Grey Friars. But some years later Henry VII erected a fine tomb for him, with an effigy in alabaster, which was destroyed within fifty years after it was built, at the dissolution of the monasteries (Excerpta Historica, p. 105).
  • That Richard was an undersized, humpbacked man, with his left shoulder, as More tells us, higher than the right, has always been the tradition; and though doubts have been cast on his deformity, there is an interesting record of a petty squabble at York within six years after his death, in which he was called ‘an hypocrite and a crouchback.’ But the deformity could scarcely have been very marked in one who performed such feats upon the battlefield, nor does it appear distinctly in any contemporary portrait, though there are not a few. Of these several are of the same type, and perhaps by the same artist, as those in the royal collection at Windsor and the National Portrait Gallery. They exhibit an anxious-looking face, with features capable, no doubt, of very varied expression, but scarcely the look of transparent malice and deceit attributed to him by Polydore Vergil, or the warlike, hard-favoured visage with which he is credited by Sir Thomas More.
  • [More's Hist. of Richard III; Polydore Vergil's Historia Anglica; Hall's Chron.; Fabyan's Chron.; Hist. Croylandensis Continuatio in Fulman. The above are the original literary sources of information, to which may be added for details, W. Wyrcester, Annales; Fragment relating to Edward IV, at end of Th. Sprotti Chronica, ed. Hearne; Three Fifteenth-Century Chronicles, Warkworth's Chron., Plumpton Correspondence, Documents relating to the Collegiate Church of Middleham, and Restoration of King Edward IV, all published by the Camden Soc.; Jehan de Wavrin's Anchiennes Cronicques, ed. Dupont; Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner; Devon's Issue Rolls; Davies's York Records; Calendarium Rotulorum Patentium (Record Comm.); Report IX of Deputy Keeper of Public Records; Dugdale's Baronage, and Sandford's Genealogical Hist.; Archæologia, lv. 159 sq. Of more modern biographies and criticisms it is important to note Buck's Richard III in Kennett's Complete Hist. of England, Walpole's Historic Doubts (1768), Gairdner's Life and Reign of Richard III, Legge's The Unpopular King, and Ramsay's York and Lancaster. Buck, Walpole, and Legge, together with Miss Halstead, whose two volumes on Richard III are now rather out of date, plead for a more favourable view of Richard's character.]
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  • King Richard, III
  • Original name: Plantagenet
  • Birth: Oct. 2, 1452 Fotheringhay, East Northamptonshire Borough, Northamptonshire, England
  • Death: Aug. 22, 1485 Market Bosworth, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough, Leicestershire, England
  • English Monarch. Born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, the youngest son of Richard, Duke of York and his wife, Cecily Neville. The nation was in the throes of the so called War of the Roses. Richard's elder brother, Edward, eventually seized the throne and defeated the Lancastrians at Towton. His brother George, was created Duke of Clarence and Richard, was created Duke of Gloucester at the age of eight. He was appointed admiral of England in 1461. Richard, a capable soldier even in his teens, was given command of the vanguard at the Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. Both were Yorkist victories and the Lancastrian heir, Prince Edward, was killed in the latter. Richard married the late Earl of Warwick's daughter, Anne. They would have one son, Edward. Richard was created Warden of the West Marches of Scotland and kept the north peaceful for the king. When King Edward died suddenly in 1483, his son was only twelve. Richard would take the role of lord protector and escorted his nephew to London. Young Edward V arrived in London on May 4, his coronation was scheduled for June 22 but on the appointed day it was declared that King Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was illegal; the children of the marriage were therefore illegitimate, and barred from the throne. Within four days Richard was acclaimed king. King Richard III was crowned with his wife Anne on July 6 at Westminster Abbey. The exiled Henry Tudor, became the representative of the Lancastrian line and spent eighteen months planning his rebellion. On August 7, 1485, Tudor landed at Milford Haven in Wales. King Richard mobilized his forces and on August 22 the king met the pretender at Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Despite Richard's superior skills, he was beaten when his supposed ally Sir William Stanley, turned traitor upon the field of battle in favor of his step-nephew, Henry Tudor. Richard was also abandoned on the field by Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, the double betrayal severely depleted his army's strength. Richard personally led the knights of his household against Henry's banner at the rear of his forces and was finally struck down by a dozen men yards from his rival. Richard's body was supposedly dragged naked through the streets before being buried at Greyfriars Church, Leicester. Richard was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty, which had ruled England since 1154; and he was the last English king to die on the battlefield. (bio by: Iola)
  • Family links:
  • Parents:
  • Richard Plantagenet (1411 - 1460)
  • Cecily de Neville Plantagenet (1415 - 1495)
  • Spouse:
  • Anne Neville (1456 - 1485)
  • Children:
    • Katherine Plantagenet (1468 - 1487)*
    • John of Gloucester (1470 - 1491)*
    • Edward of Middleham (1473 - 1484)*
  • Siblings:
  • Anne Plantagenet Saint Leger (1439 - 1475)*
  • Henry Plantagenet (1441 - ____)*
  • King Edward IV (1442 - 1483)*
  • Edmund Plantagenet (1443 - 1460)*
  • Elizabeth Plantagenet of York De la Pole (1444 - 1503)*
  • Duchess Margaret Of York (1446 - 1503)*
  • William Plantagenet (1447 - ____)*
  • John Plantagenet (1448 - ____)*
  • George Duke of Clarence (1449 - 1478)*
  • Thomas Plantagenet (1451 - ____)*
  • King Richard (1452 - 1485)
  • Ursula Plantagenet (1455 - ____)*
  • Burial: Leicester Cathedral, Leicester, Leicester Unitary Authority, Leicestershire, England
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 2614
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latest news about Richard


A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.

Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king's:

Richard III dig: University to release DNA results:

Richard III dig: 'Strong evidence' bones are lost king:

Richard III's scarred skeleton becomes a battlefield for academics: (contains an image showing his severe scoliosis

Remains of King Richard III: Analysis by Dr Steven Gunn, University of Oxford

After the battle of Bosworth Henry VII didn't want anyone claiming that they were Richard III and had survived the battle.

Richard's body was taken to Leicester, slung naked over the back of a horse, and publicly displayed so people could see he was dead.

But there was the problem of how and where to bury him - what seems likely is that they wanted to avoid anything that would generate a posthumous cult.

There was a tradition in medieval England that people who were political victims then became popular saints. They wouldn't have wanted to bury him in York, where he was very popular.

Greyfriars was convenient and safe. Henry VII put steps in action for a tomb to be built, and the inscription was to be ambivalent, and in some ways rude about Richard III, talking about his nephews and indicating that he wasn't a very good king. There is evidence that people talked about him being buried there.


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Richard III of England's Timeline

October 2, 1452
Fotheringhay Castle, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England
Age 16
Age 17
Age 17
Westminster, Middlesex, England
December 1473
Age 21
Middleham Castle, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England
Age 22
August 22, 1485
Age 32
Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, England