Mary’s Motto: “La volenté De Dieu me suffit” - The will of God is sufficient for me.
Princess Mary Tudor was born on 18 March 1496 as the fifth of seven children to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Mary became a beautiful young lady and was considered to be one of the most attractive women in Europe, at the time. This is no surprise as the same was said about her mother, Elizabeth of York. Mary was only seven years old when her mother passed away.
As with her sister Margaret, Mary would play a pivotal role in political alliances. At the of age six, she was given her own household and was given instruction in French, Latin, music, dancing, and embroidery.
Henry, Duke of York (future Henry VIII) and Mary got along very well as children — they had a very close relationship. It is said that Henry named the Mary Rose after his favorite sister and his daughter Mary as well.
Mary was initially betrothed to the future Charles V of Spain (in 1507) and after many delays, Henry VIII called off the betrothal. The next alliance and betrothal for Mary (at 18 years old) was with the French king, Louis XII. He was 34 years her senior. King Louis had no heir and needed one quickly because his health was failing fast. This was a great alliance for Henry VIII — to have France as an ally would be convenient for England. At the time, young Princess Mary was already head-over-heals in love with Henry’s best friend, Charles Brandon — marrying Charles was out of the question since he was below her station and not of noble birth.
“Mary refused to wed the French king, weeping and sulking, and demanding to be allowed to marry Charles. Of course, her brother refused. So, Mary struck a deal with Henry: she would do her princess duty and marry the French King. But, if she were to outlive Louis – which was very likely – she wanted her next husband to be one of her own choosing. Henry agreed, quite possibly with the intention of never honoring his promise.” – Quoted via TudorHistory.org
On 9 October 1514, Princess Mary wed the King of France – Louis XII, and became Queen (consort) of France. Louis had no living son and it was imperative that they produce an heir soon after the wedding. Mary knew that her “elderly” husband was ill — if she became pregnant with a son and Louis died, that son would be the next ruler and she, most likely regent.
On 1 January 1515, almost three months after their wedding, King Louis XII died. Mary reputedly wore out the king by his exertions in the bedroom to produce an heir. Their marriage produced no heirs and Mary was called, Dowager Queen after Louis’ death.
The new king of France, Francis I, attempted to arrange a second marriage for the Dowager Queen, but she only wanted Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Her brother, Henry VIII had agreed that she could marry whomever she liked after the death of Louis. Little did she know, Henry would not stand by his promise. In late January 1515, Henry VIII sent Charles Brandon to bring Mary back to England — he made the Duke promise that he would not propose to her.
When Charles Brandon arrived in France, Mary quickly convinced him to abandon his agreement with the King of England. Mary had heard rumors that her brother, the king, was planning a new marriage for her and would not follow through on his original promise. Having heard those rumors, Mary and Charles committed treason by secretly marrying, on 3 March 1515, (in the presence of King Francis I) since they did not get permission from Henry to wed.
Henry VIII was furious when he found out his best friend, and favorite sister married without his approval, or permission. Henry’s initial reaction was to remove Charles’ head from his body – but after much thought and time he only fined his favorites and allowed them to officially wed in England on 13 May 1515 in the presence of the king himself, and other courtiers. Mary became the Duchess of Suffolk, but was still called the french queen. Being a queen outranked being a duchess, and it was a reminder to Mary that she married below her station. Did it really bother her? Probably not, since she got her way.
Charles and Mary went on to have four children – their first, a son (1516) – named Henry after the King. Their second child was a daughter, Frances (1517), reportedly named after the king of France who allowed them to wed in the first place. In 1519, they had another daughter, Eleanor, and in 1523 another son named Henry (after their first son had died in 1522).
On 25 June 1533, Mary Tudor died at her home at Westhorpe Hall – she was 37 years old. She was laid to rest in the abbey at Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. She was moved to St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Mary’s Legacy: Mary’s granddaughter, Lady Jane Grey, became the Nine Day Queen after the death of Edward VI in 1553. Lady Jane Grey was overthrown by Mary, who became Mary I, and was executed on the 12th February 1554 after being convicted of treason. 
The Tower of London could be called the most haunted place in London as it has seen hundred of executions. Some justified, some not.
Many of the prisoners who entered the Tower only left to go to their execution. Most executions were public events and were well attended. Seems a little morbid now. Traitors could expect to be hung, drawn and quartered – the most inhumane of executions – the prisoner was hung and cut down still alive, their heart and entrails removed and burnt – then their body was divided into four parts and displayed publicly to warn others of what happens when you commit treason.
Yet, when we think of the Tower and executions, the most well-known execution is by beheading…with an axe. This was generally reserved for more important and distinguished prisoners. It was considered a more merciful death.
Public executions took place on Tower Hill, however more important figures like Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Jane Grey were executed within the Tower in a more private execution. This was done to avoid public attention and outcries for mercy.
The following people were imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed (or vanished):
George, Duke of Clarence – Arrested for plotting against his brother Edward IV, he was found guilty of treason and executed in secret at Bowyer Tower in 1477. Rumors spread that he had been drown in a butt of malmsey.
Edward V – Son of Edward IV, only 12 years old when he was brought to the Tower for his coronation. His uncle, Duke of Gloucester declared he and his brother illegitimate and crowned himself Richard III. The young princes vanished at the Tower and were never seen alive again. Last seen at the Bloody Tower.
Richard, Duke of York - Brother to Edward V, one of the Princes in the Tower. Vanished from the Tower along with his brother, never to be seen again.
The story of the little princes is still to this day a heartbreaking story that brings tears to ones eyes. They are “among the most poignant ghosts” in the Tower. Their disappearance in 1483 is very suspicious of wrong doing, but by whom? The ghost of the twelve-year-old, King Edward V, and his nine-year old brother, Richard, Duke of York, can been seen in the Bloody Tower, they are still wearing the white night shirts they had on the night they disappeared. They stand silently, hand in hand, before fading back into the stones of the Bloody Tower. – Source
Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick - On 28 November 1499, Edward Plantagenet, earl of Warwick, was executed by beheading on Tower Hill for treason. The son of George, Duke of Clarence, and the nephew of both Edward IV and Richard III.
Perkin Warbeck - On November 23rd, 1499, Perkin Warbeck was drawn on a hurdle from the Tower to Tyburn to be hanged. He died, not for his imitation of a Yorkist prince, but because of a plot to overthrow Henry VII. A plot which also cost the life of the last Plantagenet, Edward, Earl of Warwick.
Anne Askew – Persecuted for her religious beliefs under Henry VIII’s rule, Anne was sent to the Tower and tortured on the rack. Women had never been racked before Anne. She refused to give up her faith and was burned at the stake at Cradle Tower as a heretic.
Thomas More – Refused to accept his friend, Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but the King commuted his sentence to execution by beheading. The execution took place on 6 July 1535. When he came to the scaffold, he is widely quoted as saying (to the officials): “I pray you, I pray you, Mr Lieutenant, see me safe up and for my coming down, I can shift for myself”; while on the scaffold he declared that he died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Anne Boleyn - The second wife of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn was arrested and accused of adultery and incest by a king anxious to remarry and produce an heir. On 19 May 1536 she was beheaded by sword within the walls of the Tower.
The most persistent ghost in the Tower of London is the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn, and rightly so. Witnesses describe a female figure identified only by her dress. Queen Anne appears near the Queen’s House, close to the site where her execution was carried out. She can be seen leading a ghostly procession of Lords and Ladies down the aisle of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter and Vincula. She floats down the aisle to her final resting place. Queen Anne is buried under the Chapel’s altar. Her headless body has also been seen walking the corridors of the Tower. – Source
George Boleyn - the brother of Queen Anne Boleyn who had been executed on the trumped-up charge of incest with his sister.
Jane Boleyn – Wife of George Boleyn, the brother of Queen Anne Boleyn. Her marriage to George Boleyn was an arranged and a very unhappy one. She was instrumental in the arrest of her sister-in-law, Anne and her husband George. Jane provided damning evidence against them to Thomas Cromwell. She later became a Lady of the Privy Chamber to Katherine Howard. Jane Rochford encouraged the young queen in her affair with Thomas Culpeper with whom she helped organize secret meetings. Her part as a go-between was discovered and Jane Rochford was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. She was interrogated and lost her sanity. A new law which allowed the execution of the insane was passed in order to have her condemned to death. She confessed before her death, “God has permitted me to suffer this shameful doom as punishment for having contributed to my husband’s death. I falsely accused him of loving in an incestuous manner, his sister, Queen Anne Boleyn. For this I deserve to die.” She was executed immediately after Katherine Howard.
Katherine Howard – The fifth wife of King Henry VIII and the cousin of Anne Boleyn. Katherine was arrested at Hampton Court for adultery and tried in vain to reach the King. She was dragged screaming back to her apartments. Her lovers were executed and she passed their gruesome, impaled heads on London Bridge on her way to Traitor’s gate, the entry to the Tower of London. Katherine asked William Kingston for a block so that she could practice her execution. Legend has it that her last words were: “I die a queen, but would rather die the wife of Culpeper.”
Katherine Howard escaped from her room in the Tower. “She ran down the hallway screaming for help and mercy. She was caught and returned to her room.” The next day she was beheaded. Her ghost has been seen sill running down the hallway screaming for help. – Source
Thomas Cromwell - Cromwell was arrested on 10 June 1540 and imprisoned in the Tower. He was imprisoned for not pleasing the king – to be so blunt. The king deferred the execution until his marriage to Anne of Cleves could be annulled. Hoping for clemency, Cromwell wrote in support of the annulment, in his last personal address to the King. He ended it with the plea “Most gracious Prince, I cry for mercy, mercy, mercy.” Mercy did not come and Cromwell was condemned to death without trial and beheaded on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540, the day of the King’s marriage to Catherine Howard.
Jane Grey - Queen for just nine days, Lady Jane Grey was found guilty of high treason and sent to the Tower. On 12 February 1554 she watched her husband go to his death before she too was beheaded on Tower Green, aged 16.
Lady Jane watched as her husband was taken to Tower Hill where he was beheaded. She saw his body being carried back to the chapel, after which she was taken to Tower Green where she was beheaded. Lady Jane Grey’s ghost was last seen by two Guardsmen on February 12, 1957, the 403rd anniversary of her execution. She was described as a “white shape forming itself on the battlements”. Her husband, Guildford Dudley, has been seen in Beauchamp Tower weeping. – Source
Margaret Pole - The Countess of Salisbury was the last direct descendant of the Plantagenet line – her father was George, Duke of Clarence who was drowned for treason in 1477 and her brother Edward, Earl of Warwick was beheaded in 1499. She was arrested two years before her execution and treated poorly – neglected as a prisoner in the Tower of London. She was not given a trial. She was small, frail and ill. But she was a proud noble. She was dragged to the block, but refused to lay her head on the block. She was forced down and struggled. The inexperienced executioner made a gash in her shoulder rather than her neck. She leapt from the block and was chased by the executioner, with his axe. She was struck eleven times before she died. There were 150 witnesses to her execution. She was the oldest woman executed at 68 years of age.
The most grisly execution and thus haunting is that of the old Countess of Salisbury, the last of the Plantagenets. Her ghost has been seen reliving this truly gruesome act. Also the shadow of a great axe has been seen falling across the scene of her murder. – Source
Other notable executions:
John Fisher Bishop of Rochester (1534)
Implicated with Anne Boleyn (1536)
Sir Henry Norris
Sir Francis Weston
Implicated with Catherine Howard (1542)
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1546)
Thomas, Duke of Norfolk (1546)
Thomas Seymour, High Admiral of England (1549)
Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector (1552)
Guildford Dudley – husband of Lady Jane Grey (1554)
When it comes to the Wars of the Roses I am most attracted to it because it’s cousins fighting over the throne of England. Richard, 3rd Duke of York attempted to take the throne from his cousin Henry VI but failed. Eventually his son, Edward, Earl of March would succeed as Edward IV, but not without many battles of his own. These wars are what eventually led to the Tudor Dynasty – the one my site is primarily based on.
The beginning: Edward III’s descendants are behind the Wars of the Roses. Edward III had seven sons – five of which survived to adulthood: Edward The Black Prince (Duke of Cornwall/Prince of Wales), Lionel of Antwerp (Duke of Clarence), John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster), Edmund of Langley (Duke of York) and Thomas of Woodstock (Duke of Gloucester).
As the eldest son, Edward the Black Prince would have succeeded his father had he outlived him – he died in 1376. So when Edward III died in 1377 his grandson, Richard of Bordeaux (Plantagenet) succeeded his grandfather as King of England at only ten years old. He became Richard II of England.
By February 1400 Richard II was dead. Henry IV (House of Lancaster) was the new King of England. He was the son of Edward III’s third surviving son, John of Gaunt. This is where you can say the problems started. Henry IV’s claim to the throne, some would say, was not as strong as his cousin Edmund, Earl of March who was a descendant of Edward III’s second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp. Subsequently, the Earl of March was arrested and thrown into prison. Henry IV also seized his estates. All of this to remove any question of who was the rightful king of England.
In 1413 Henry IV had died and passed the throne to his son named, Henry V. Henry V died in 1422 at age 35. When he died he had one son, Henry VI to take the throne, however Henry VI was not yet one year old. He was the youngest ever, at nine months old, to inherit the throne of England. At this time England would be ruled by a council of men.
When Henry VI grew into adulthood and could run his own kingdom (1437) he did not seem to be able to run it as successfully as the council had done.
In 1450, Richard, 3rd Duke of York (who also had a strong claim to the throne through Edmund of Langley – Duke of York), was persuaded to return to England from Ireland and claim his rightful place on the council and put an end to bad government.
In 1453 Henry VI’s queen, Margaret of Anjou became pregnant. This was the time that King Henry had his first bout with mental illness. His illness lasted for the best part of a year. Margaret gave birth to a son and heir – Edward, Prince of Wales on 13 October 1453 while Henry VI was still in the midst of his illness.
After the birth of the young prince there were questions on who was in charge of the kingdom – and so begins my favorite part of the Wars of the Roses.
Before we get into some of the battles, let’s learn about the people who were involved to better understand the situation.
Henry VI: (The basis of the beginning of the wars)
Henry was the only child and heir of King Henry V. He was born on 6 December 1421 at Windsor Castle. He succeeded to the throne as King of England upon his father’s death on 31 August 1422 at the age of nine months: he was the youngest person ever to succeed to the English throne. A few weeks later, on 21 October 1422, he became titular King of France upon his grandfatherCharles VI‘s death in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes of 1420. His mother, Catherine of Valois, was then 20 years old. As Charles VI’s daughter, she was viewed with considerable suspicion by English nobles and prevented from playing a full role in her son’s upbringing.
On 28 September 1423, the nobles swore loyalty to Henry VI. They summoned Parliament in the King’s name and established a regency council to govern until the King should come of age. One of Henry V’s surviving brothers, John, Duke of Bedford, was appointed senior regent of the realm and was in charge of the ongoing war in France. During Bedford’s absence, the government of England was headed by Henry V’s other surviving brother,Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was appointed Protector and Defender of the Realm. His duties were limited to keeping the peace and summoning Parliament. Henry V’s half-uncle Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester (after 1426 also Cardinal), had an important place on the Council. After the Duke of Bedford died in 1435, the Duke of Gloucester claimed the Regency himself, but was contested in this by the other members of the Council.
Henry’s half-brothers, Edmund and Jasper, the sons of his widowed mother and Owen Tudor, were later given earldoms. Edmund Tudor was the father of Henry Tudor, who later became Henry VII. 
Edward would marry Anne Neville, daughter of Richard, 16th Earl of Warwick when he father became a supporter of Henry VI because he was upset with Edward VI marrying Elizabeth Woodville and his loss of personal power.
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick:
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander. The son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, Warwick was the wealthiest and most powerful English peer of his age, with political connections that went beyond the country’s borders. One of the Yorkist leaders in the Wars of the Roses, he was instrumental in the deposition of two kings, a fact which later earned him his epithet of “Kingmaker” to later generations.
Through fortunes of marriage and inheritance, Warwick emerged in the 1450s at the centre of English politics. Originally a supporter of King Henry VI, a territorial dispute with the Duke of Somerset led him to collaborate with Richard, Duke of York, in opposing the king. From this conflict he gained the strategically valuable post of Captain of Calais, a position that benefited him greatly in the years to come. The political conflict later turned into full-scale rebellion, where in battle York was slain, as was Warwick’s father Salisbury. York’s son, however, later triumphed with Warwick’s assistance, and was crowned King Edward IV. Edward initially ruled with Warwick’s support, but the two later fell out over foreign policy and the king’s choice of Elizabeth Woodville as his wife. After a failed plot to crown Edward’s brother, George, Duke of Clarence, Warwick instead restored Henry VI to the throne. The triumph was short-lived however: on 14 April 1471 Warwick was defeated by Edward at the Battle of Barnet, and killed.
Warwick had no sons. The elder of his two daughters, Isabel, married George, Duke of Clarence. His younger daughter Anne had a short-lived marriage to King Henry’s son Edward of Westminster, who died in battle at the age of 17. She then married King Edward’s younger brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III. 
Richard, Duke of York’s assertion of his claim to the crown in 1460 was the key escalation of the Wars of the Roses. When he was killed during the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460, his claim to the throne of England did not die with him. Instead it passed to his son, Edward. [7-1][7-2][7-3][7-4][7-5]
This hostility turned into open discord between King Edward and Warwick, leading to a battle of wills that finally resulted in Warwick switching allegiance to the Lancastrian cause. Elizabeth remained politically influential even after her son, briefly proclaimed KingEdward V of England, was deposed by her brother-in-law, Richard III, and she would play an important role in securing the accession of Henry VII to the throne in 1485, which ended the Wars of the Roses. After 1485, however, she was forced to yield pre-eminence to Henry’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and her influence on events in these years, and her eventual departure from court into retirement, remains obscure. [8-1][8-2]
Though a member of the House of York, he switched sides to support the Lancastrians, before reverting to the Yorkists. He was later convicted of treason against his brother, Edward IV, and was executed (allegedly by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine). He appears as a character in William Shakespeare‘s plays Henry VI, part 3 and Richard III, in which his death is attributed to the machinations of Richard. 
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 motherElizabeth 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. 
She was the daughter of Margaret Beauchamp of Bletsoe and John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset. Margaret’s father was a great-grandson of King Edward III through his third surviving son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. At the moment of her birth, Margaret’s father was preparing to go to France and lead an important military expedition for KingHenry VI. Somerset negotiated with the king to ensure that, in case of his death, the rights to Margaret’s wardship and marriage would belong only to his wife.
Somerset fell out with the king after coming back from France, however, and he was banished from the court and about to be charged with treason. He died shortly afterwards. According to Thomas Basin, Somerset died of illness, but the Crowland Chronicle reported that his death was suicide. Margaret, as his only child, was the heiress to his fortunes.
In 1452 Lady Margaret Beaufort, the nine-year-old daughter of the Duke of Somerset was summoned to the court of her second cousin, King Henry VI and the following year Edmund was granted wardship. On 1 November 1455 at Bletsoe Castle, she was married to Edmund. By the end of the following November, he was dead, leaving his 12-year-old widow pregnant with the future King Henry VII.
Henry won the throne when his forces defeated the forces of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. Henry was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the political upheavals of the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. He founded the Tudor dynasty and, after a reign of nearly 24 years, was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.
Henry’s paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor, originally from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle ofAnglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V. He rose to become one of the “Squires to the Body to the King” after military service at Agincourt. Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Henry V, Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII. Edmund was created Earl of Richmond in 1452, and “formally declared legitimate by Parliament”.
The Battle of Wakefield would be the last fight for Richard, 3rd Duke of York and his son Edmund, Earl of Rutland. Richard was killed in the fight and the Earl of Rutland was murdered when he tried to escape. The Earl of Rutland was the only son of the Duke of York fighting with him in the battle since Edward, Earl of March was fighting for the same cause in the west. The Earl of Rutland (Edmund) was captured – he attempted to beg for his life by offering a ransom, but was killed anyway.
By the account given by Roderick O’Flanagan in his 1870 biography of Edmund:
Urged by his tutor, a priest named Robert Aspell, he was no sooner aware that the field was lost than he sought safety by flight. Their movements were intercepted by the Lancastrians, and Lord Clifford made him prisoner, but did not then know his rank. Struck with the richness of his armour and equipment, Lord Clifford demanded his name. “Save him”, implored the Chaplain; “for he is the Prince’s son, and peradventure may do you good hereafter.”
This was an impolitic appeal, for it denoted hopes of the House of York being again in the ascendant, which the Lancastrians, flushed with recent victory, regarded as impossible. The ruthless noble swore a solemn oath: “Thy father”, said he, “slew mine; and so will I do thee and all thy kin;” and with these words he rushed on the hapless youth, and drove his dagger to the hilt in his heart. Thus fell, at the early age of seventeen, Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Rutland, Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Edmund, Earl of Rutland was then executed by order of the Lancastrian Lord Clifford, or by the man himself. So has been depicted in this portrait – the young Edmund begging for his life.
The death of Richard, Duke of York and Edmund, Earl of Rutland were revenge killings (as were many) by the Lancastrians, for their many losses. Richard’s eldest son Edward was now Duke of York.
The Battle of Mortimor’s Cross - 2 February 1461
When Edward, now Duke of York, advanced towards Mortimor’s Cross, to stop two Lancastrian armies from joining, his army witnessed what was presented to them as a good omen – a meteorological phenomenon known as a sun dog. A sun dog in the sky makes the sun appear as there are three suns in the sky at once. Edward took this to represent his father’s three remaining sons, himself, George and Richard.
At this battle, Sir Owen Tudor was was captured and put to death – he was the grandfather of Henry VII. This battle was a win for the York faction and Edward, Duke of York.
The Second Battle of St. Albans - 17 February 1461
Here, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick waited to join forces with the army of the Edward, Duke of York, near London. While waiting the Lancastrian army surprised them and attacked – Warwick fled. As the Yorkists retreated, they left behind the bemused King Henry, who is supposed to have spent the battle sitting under a tree, singing.
The Battle of Towton - 29 March 1461
This battle has been described as the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. More than 50,000 soldiers from both sides fought for hours amidst a snowstorm. The battle took place on Palm Sunday. It was reported that 28,000 men died on the battlefield.
Hand-to-hand combat lasted hours which exhausted the armies. “The arrival of Norfolk’s men reinvigorated the Yorkists and, encouraged by Edward, they routed their foes. Many Lancastrians were killed while fleeing; some trampled each other and others drowned in the rivers, which are said to have made them run red with blood for several days. Several who were taken as prisoners were executed.” 
The power of the House of Lancaster was critically reduced after the battle. King Henry VI fled the country, and many of his most powerful followers were dead, including Henry Percy, 3rd earl of Northumberland, or in exile after the encounter which allowed Edward rule England uninterrupted for nine years until a brief restoration of Henry VI to the throne in 1470.
[7-5] York was a direct descendant of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III. The House of Lancaster was descended from John of Gaunt, the third surviving son of Edward III, and as such had a superior claim over the House of York. However, Richard Plantagenet’s mother was Anne de Mortimer, the most senior descendant of Edward III’s second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp. Lionel had been the eldest son of Edward III to leave a surviving line of descent; as such, by modern standards, his line had an indisputably superior claim over that of his younger brother, John of Gaunt. By contemporary standards, this was by no means so certain; nonetheless, it allowed Richard and then Edward a good title to the throne.
In 1483 Edward V and Richard, Duke of York disappeared from the Tower of London. They were the sons of the late Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville.
Edward V was born 2 November 1470 in Westminster Abbey where his mother had taken sanctuary from the Lancastrians who had deposed his father during the Wars of the Roses. His brother, Richard was born 17 August 1473 in Shrewsbury, England when Edward IV ruled over England once again.
Shortly before his sudden death on 9 April 1483, King Edward IV named his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Lord Protector of the realm for the young Edward V, who was only 12 years old.
It was at Ludlow Castle that young Edward was notified of his father’s death and his succession to the throne – he was to travel to London immediately in preparation for his coronation. As he traveled from Ludlow, Richard (Lord Protector) met and escorted him to lodgings in the Tower of London. Edward’s brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York joined him shortly after. Edward’s coronation was to be 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. This left an opening for their uncle Richard to take the throne himself.
The last time the boys were seen in or around the grounds of the Tower of London was the summer of 1483 – they were never to be seen again.
A decade later, in January 1493, news of a resurrected Duke of York (in Ireland) had reached London. Just six years earlier another boy by the name of Lambert Simnel claimed to be the young Duke of York but turned out to be a pretender. The idea of another pretender must have seemed preposterous and fabricated at the time.
However, when the news of Perkin Warbeck arrived in England, Yorkist supporters jumped at the chance to back anyone who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.
Henry VII took the threat of Perkin Warbeck seriously. So seriously he dispatched 200 men to Ireland. Their job was to arrest those that may be involved or cause trouble for the throne. He also sent spies to dig up the truth of the new pretender to expose him as a fraud. Any legitimate, surviving son of Edward IV would be considered a threat to Henry’s crown.
By end of June of the same year (1493) the danger seemed over. Nothing had happened in either Ireland or England. In Flanders, Margaret of Burgundy (aunt to the princes in the Tower) had been unable to raise funds for the army she needed to assist her nephew in taking back the throne of England for the House of York. Margaret was sister to Edward lV and insisted that Warbeck was indeed her nephew and heir to the throne of England. When Margaret continued to throw her support towards Perkin Warbeck Henry VII became angry and declared his son, Henry Tudor (future Henry VIII) as Duke of York in a magnificent ceremony. There could not be two living Dukes of York in England.
1493 was also the year Perkin Warbeck wrote a letter to Isabella of Castile looking for support while trying to convince her that he was indeed Richard. During this time period Henry VII was negotiating the marriage of his son Arthur, Prince of Wales with Katherine of Aragon – daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. Resolving the issue of the pretender was of utmost importance to both parties. Ferdinand and Isabella would not want to align their daughter with a usurper.
For the next couple years Warbeck worked on a plan and tried to gain more supporters.
At the beginning of 1496, James IV of Scotland had arranged and celebrated the nuptials of Warbeck and his cousin, Lady Katherine Gordon. Surely James IV believed he was the rightful Duke of York and king of England, why else would he marry his cousin to Warbeck. Soon after the wedding Falkland Palace was used as Warbeck’s base. Together they planned to invade England in hopes of claiming the English throne as Richard IV.
In 1497, after departing Scotland, Warbeck crossed to Ireland. When he arrived he found no allies and was being pursued by the Earl of Kildare. In a country that had supported the House of York, Warbeck was sadly not welcomed, so he sailed to Devon.
“Here only a few thousand people joined him and the people of Exeter and Taunton drove him out. Warbeck fled to Beaulieu Abbey where he hoped to find sanctuary. In August 1497 he was persuaded to give himself up. As a foreigner Warbeck could not be tried for treason so would not have faced the butchery of being hung, drawn and quartered.”
“Henry allowed Warbeck to remain at court where he could be watched. However, he foolishly tried to run away which seemed to emphasise his treachery. Warbeck was put in the stocks, humiliated and sent to the Tower. Clearly after being generous to the pretender, Henry’s patience had run out. In 1499, Warbeck was charged with trying to escape for a second time, found guilty and hanged on November 23rd 1499″.– The History Learning Site
I can only imagine how Queen Elizabeth reacted to the news. Did she believe that Warbeck was indeed her young brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York?
We don’t know for certain what happened to the princes, or the people involved in their disappearance, but those involved would have certainly been aware of the true status of the boys and react accordingly. This is why I believe Henry VII was not involved. If he knew that Richard was dead, by his hand, or his orders, he would not have sent an army or spies to investigate the pretender.
So what really happened to the boys? Were they both murdered? Did Edward V die from natural causes and his brother Richard escape? Did Elizabeth Woodville send a local boy in place of her youngest son and ship Richard off to safety?
[To Isabella of Castile, 1493: (British Library MS Egerton 616), as quoted by I. Arthurson in The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy, P. 49-50]
“I myself, then nearly nine years of age, was also delivered to a certain Lord to be killed, [but] it pleased Divine Clemency, that lord, having compassion on my innocence, preserved me alive in safety: first, however, causing me to swear on the holy sacrament that to no one should I disclose my name, origin, or family, until a certain number of years had passed. He then sent me therefore abroad, with two persons, who should watch over and take charge of me; and thus I, an orphan, bereaved of my royal father and brother, an exile from my kingdom, and deprived of my country, inheritance and fortune, a fugitive in the midst of extreme perils, led my miserable life, in fear, and weeping, and grief, and for the space of nearly eight years lay hid…scarcely had I emerged from childhood alone and without means, I remained for a time in the kingdom of Portugal, and thence sailed to Ireland, where being recognised by illustrious lords, the earl of Desmond and Kildare, my cousins, as also by other noblemen of the island, I was received with great joy and honour. -Richard”
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York was the great-grandson of Edward III. He was next in line to the throne of Henry VI and often stepped in and ruled when Henry VI was incapacitated.
Things would not turn out well for Richard, Duke of York and his son Edmund, Earl of Rutland – they were killed in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460.
With the welfare of Henry VI still an issue, Richard’s eldest son Edward, Earl of March, who had inherited the title Duke of York after his father’s death, continued the fight to take the throne from Henry VI. With the help of his cousin Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (also known as The Kingmaker) they were able to defeat the Lancastrians, and in March 1461 Edward was declared King.
In May 1464 Edward secretly married the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville who was the widow of a Lancastrian soldier. This greatly upset his cousin The Kingmaker because he was working on a marriage alliance with France and his marriage to Elizabeth added nothing to the security of England. His choice of wife would cause more fighting and battles during his reign, but he would not back down for he truly loved Elizabeth.
The story of Edward IV’s marriage is that in 1464 the twenty-four-year-old king stopped at Stony Stratford on a march north to counter Lancastrian threats. Very early on May Day he slipped away to the manor of Grafton, five miles away and there in secrecy married Elizabeth Grey, née Woodville, the beautiful but impoverished widow of a knight killed fighting against the Yorkists three years earlier. Edward consummated the marriage immediately and then returned to his entourage. Then, before continuing northwards, he took up residence at Grafton for three days during which time Elizabeth was brought to him secretly each night. Edward kept his horrendous mésalliance secret for five months, allowing the Earl of Warwick to continue discussions about a possible royal bride from France. – See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/eric-ives/marrying-love-experience-edward-iv-and-henry-viii#sthash.ciQFIbGI.dpuf
Edward and Elizabeth would have many children. When he died in 1483, his eldest son would become Edward V of England. His Uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester would become Lord Protector over young Edward until he became of age to reign on his own. Edward was brought to the Tower of London to prepare for his coronation. Instead, Richard held him in the Tower of London along with his brother, Richard, Duke of York and took the throne for himself after claiming Edward and Elizabeth’s marriage null since Edward was already betrothed to another before marrying Elizabeth.
On 22 August 1485 Richard lll died in the Battle of Bosworth. Henry Tudor claimed the throne of England as Henry VII and eventually married Elizabeth of York – daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. The legacy of Richard Plantagenet, and the House of York were carried on through her children with the Lancastrian, Henry VII.
Name: King Edward IV
Born: April 28, 1442 at Rouen, France
Parents: Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville
Relation to Elizabeth II: 14th great-grandfather
House of: York
Ascended to the throne: March 4, 1461 aged 18 years
Crowned: June 28, 1461 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Elizabeth, Daughter of Richard Woodville
Children: Three sons including Edward V and Richard Duke of York (the Princes in the Tower), Seven daughters and four illegitimate children
Died: April 9, 1483 at Westminster Abbey, aged 40 years, 11 months, and 11 days
Buried at: Windsor
Reigned for: 21 years, 5 months, and 18 days, Deposed October 3, 1470, Restored May 21, 1471
Succeeded by: his son Edward V
Timeline for King Edward IV
Edward, son of Richard of York, is declared king by the Earl of Warwick following the Yorkist victory at the Battle of Towton.
Warwick defeats Lancastrians at Battle of Hexham; Henry VI is captured and brought to the Tower of London.
Edward marries Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a commoner, offending Warwick.
Warwick falls out with Edward IV, and defeats him at Edgecote. They are later reconciled but Warwick is banished. He makes peace with Margaret, returns to England with an army, and Edward flees to Flanders. Henry VI is restored to the throne.
Edward returns to England from Flanders and defeats and kills Warwick at the Battle of Barnet.
Margaret is defeated at the Battle of Tewkesbury and the Lancastrian heir, Prince Edward, is killed. Soon after, Henry VI is murdered in the Tower of London.
Edward grants privileges to the Hanseatic League of North German trading cities to conduct trade in England.
William Caxton sets up a printing press in Westminster, London
Edward falls out with his brother George, Duke of Clarence, who is then murdered in the Tower, supposedly in a butt of malmsey wine.