Richard III: Who was the notorious king?

Rebecca Lewis

The rule of Richard III was bloody and short-lived. A King for only two years, his death brought to an end the dynastic struggle known as the War of the Roses.

Born on October 2 1452 at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, he was the last Yorkist king of England.

His father was Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and his mother Cecily Neville.

The War of the Roses, a battle between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for the throne, dominated his brief life.

In 1460 his father and older brother died at the Battle of Wakefield. The next year, 1461, his brother Edward was crowned Edward IV and created him Duke of Gloucester.

The brothers were exiled in 1470 when Henry VI, was briefly restored to the throne.

On their return to England the following year, Richard contributed to the Yorkist victories at Barnet and Tewkesbury that restored Edward to the throne.

But Edward died in April 1483 and as his son and successor, 12 year-old Edward V, was too young to rule, Richard was named as protector of the realm

Perhaps the most gruesome tale of his history is the story of the 'Princes in the Tower'.

It is commonly held Richard imprisoned Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, in the Tower of London. The two boys were never seen again.

An act of Parliament declared the nephews illegitimate, supposedly due to an earlier, secret marriage of Edward IV that invalidated his marriage to Elizabeth, and Richard III was crowned on July 6, 1483.

A rebellion raised by the Duke of Buckingham in October quickly collapsed, but Buckingham's defection, along with his supporters, eroded Richard's power and support among the aristocracy and gentry.

In August 1485, a little known Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who was a Lancastrian claimant to the throne landed in South Wales.

He engaged Richard in battle on Bosworth Field on August 22. Although Richard possessed superior numbers, a number of his key lieutenants defected.

Refusing to flee the battlefield, Richard was killed in battle and Henry Tudor took the throne as Henry VII, marrying Elizabeth of York from the rival house thereby ending the War of the Roses.

His remains were found in a car park in Leicester over 500 years later.