Edward IV of England

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Edward IV (28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483) was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470,[1][2] and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England. The first half of his rule was characterised by violence, but he overcame the remaining Lancastrian threat at Tewkesbury to reign in peace until his sudden death. Before becoming King he was 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge, and 9th Earl of Ulster. He was also the 65th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Contents

Reign

Accession to the throne

Edward of York was born at Rouen in France, the second child of Richard, 3rd Duke of York (who had a strong genealogical claim to the throne of England[3]) and Cecily Neville. He was the eldest of the four sons who survived to adulthood. His younger brother, Edmund, died along with his father fighting for the Yorkist cause. The Duke of York's assertion of his claim to the crown in 1460 was the key escalation of the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. When his father was killed at the Battle of Wakefield, Edward inherited his claim.

With the support of his cousin, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick ("The Kingmaker"), Edward defeated the Lancastrians in a succession of battles. And whilst the Lancastrian Henry VI and his militaristic queen, Margaret of Anjou, were campaigning in the north of England, Warwick gained control of the capital and had Edward declared king in London in 1461. Edward strengthened his claim with a decisive victory at the Battle of Towton in the same year, in the course of which the Lancastrian army was virtually wiped out. Even at the age of nineteen, he had remarkable military acumen and a notable physique. His height is estimated at 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m), making him the tallest among English, Scottish & British monarchs to date.[4]

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