Richard III of England

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Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of an eponymous historical play by William Shakespeare.

When his brother Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord protector of the realm for Edward's son and successor, the 12-year-old King Edward V. As the new king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met him and escorted him to London where he was lodged in the Tower. Edward V's brother Richard later joined him there.

Edward IV's marriage to the boys' mother Elizabeth Woodville was publicly declared to be invalid, making their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. On 25 June an assembly of lords and commoners endorsed these claims. The following day Richard III officially began his reign. He was crowned on 6 July. The two young princes disappeared in August and there were subsequently a number of accusations that the boys were murdered by Richard.

There were two major rebellions against Richard. The first, in October 1483, was led by staunch opponents of Edward IV and most notably by Richard's former ally, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. The revolt collapsed and Buckingham was executed at Salisbury near the Bull's Head Inn. In August 1485 there was another rebellion against Richard, headed by Henry Tudor, 2nd Earl of Richmond (later King Henry VII) and his uncle Jasper. The rebels landed troops, composed mainly of mercenaries, and Richard fell in the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last English king to die in battle (and the only king to die in battle on English soil since Harold II, at the Battle of Hastings in 1066).

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