The White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster had been in battle for the throne of England for quite some time. At the time of the Battle of Tewkesbury the Yorkists were being led by Edward of York, or Edward IV and the Lancastrians were being led by Margaret of Anjou, in name of her husband Henry VI and her son, Edward of Westminster. The conflict began when Henry Bolingbroke (Henry V) deposed his cousin Richard II. Though he held the throne…
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.