Richard III

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Richard III,

1452–85, king of England (1483–85), younger brother of Edward IVEdward IV,
1442–83, king of England (1461–70, 1471–83), son of Richard, duke of York. He succeeded to the leadership of the Yorkist party (see Roses, Wars of the) after the death of his father in Wakefield in 1460.
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. Created duke of Gloucester at Edward's coronation (1461), he served his brother faithfully during Edward's lifetime—fighting at Barnet and Tewkesbury and later invading Scotland. On the death (Apr., 1483) of the king, Edward's eldest son, then only 12 years old, was proclaimed king as Edward VEdward V,
1470–83?, king of England (1483), elder son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. His father's death (1483) left the boy king the pawn of the conflicting ambitions of his paternal uncle, the duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) and his maternal uncle, Earl
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Richard, aided by Henry StaffordStafford, Henry, 2d duke of Buckingham,
1454?–1483, English nobleman. He was the grandson of Humphrey Stafford, the 1st duke, whom he succeeded in 1460.
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, 2d duke of Buckingham, seized custody of the young king from Edward IV's widow, Elizabeth WoodvilleWoodville, Elizabeth,
1437–92, queen consort of Edward IV of England. She was the daughter of Richard Woodville (later the 1st Earl Rivers). Her first husband, Sir John Grey, was killed fighting on the Lancastrian side at the battle of St.
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, and her relatives, and was able to assume the protectorship. Soon afterward, apparently suspecting a conspiracy against himself, he arrested and summarily executed Lord Hastings, a leading member of the council. He followed this provocative move by having Parliament declare his brother's children illegitimate. Edward V and his brother were placed in the Tower of London, where they were almost certainly murdered. This was probably done on Richard's orders, though the evidence is inconclusive, and historians have suggested several other figures of the time who might have instigated the killing of the princes.

Richard had himself crowned king in July, 1483. A rebellion broke out in Oct., 1483, led by Richard's erstwhile supporter Buckingham, in favor of Henry Tudor (later Henry VIIHenry VII,
1457–1509, king of England (1485–1509) and founder of the Tudor dynasty. Claim to the Throne

Henry was the son of Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond, who died before Henry was born, and Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III through John
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). This revolt collapsed, and Buckingham was executed. In 1485, however, Henry landed in Wales, defeated and killed Richard in the battle of Bosworth Field, and ascended the throne. Richard's remains were rediscovered in 2012 in Leicester, and later (2015) reinterred in the cathedral there.

Despite his usurpation of the throne, Richard was not the total villain that tradition has made him. His evil reputation, perpetuated by Shakespeare's Richard III, was shaped at least in part by the efforts of Tudor propagandists to justify Henry VII's own usurpation. Richard was the last of the Yorkist kings, and, in retrospect, his death ended the Wars of the RosesRoses, Wars of the,
traditional name given to the intermittent struggle (1455–85) for the throne of England between the noble houses of York (whose badge was a white rose) and Lancaster (later associated with the red rose).

About the middle of the 15th cent.
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See biographies by P. Kendall (1955, repr. 1972), C. Ross (1982), and R. Horrox (1989); E. F. Jacob, The Fifteenth Century (1961).

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Richard III

crook-back king. [Br. Lit.: Shakespeare Richard III]

Richard III

visited by the ghosts of all his victims. [Br. Lit.: Shakespeare Richard III]
See: Ghost
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Richard III

1452--85, king of England (1483--85), notorious as the suspected murderer of his two young nephews in the Tower of London. He proved an able administrator until his brief reign was ended by his death at the hands of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) at the battle of Bosworth Field
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