Edward V of England

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Edward V (2 November 1470 – possibly on 6 July 1483) was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III. Along with his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, Edward was one of the Princes in the Tower, who disappeared after being sent (ostensibly for their own safety) to the Tower of London. Richard III has been widely blamed for their deaths, but what actually happened remains controversial.

Along with Edward VIII, Empress Matilda and Lady Jane Grey, Edward V is one of only four English monarchs since the Norman Conquest never to have been crowned. If, as seems likely, he died before his fifteenth birthday, he is the shortest lived monarch in English history (his great-nephew Edward VI died in his sixteenth year).

Contents

Early life

Edward was born in November 1470 in a sanctuary within Westminster Abbey, where his mother, Elizabeth Woodville, had sought sanctuary from Lancastrians who had temporarily removed his father, the Yorkist King Edward IV, from power as part of the Wars of the Roses. Edward was created Prince of Wales in June 1471, following Edward IV's restoration to the throne, and in 1473 was established at Ludlow Castle on the Welsh Marches as nominal president of a newly-created Council of Wales and the Marches.

Prince Edward was placed under the supervision of the queen's brother Anthony, Earl Rivers, a noted scholar, and in a letter to Rivers, Edward IV set down precise conditions for the upbringing of his son and the management of his household.[1] The prince was to "arise every morning at a convenient hour, according to his age". His day would begin with matins and then mass, which he was to receive uninterrupted. After breakfast, the business of educating the prince began with "virtuous learning". Dinner was served from ten in the morning, and then the prince was to be read "noble stories ... of virtue, honour, cunning, wisdom, and of deeds of worship" but "of nothing that should move or stir him to vice". Perhaps aware of his own vices, the king was keen to safeguard his son's morals, and instructed Rivers to ensure that no one in the prince's household was a habitual "swearer, brawler, backbiter, common hazarder, adulterer, [or user of] words of ribaldry". After further study, in the afternoon the prince was to engage in sporting activities suitable for his class, before evensong. Supper was served from four, and curtains were to be drawn at eight. Following this, the prince's attendants were to "enforce themselves to make him merry and joyous towards his bed". They would then watch over him as he slept.

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