Richard III of England Biography

Richard III, the King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485, was the last king of the Plantagenet dynasty. This biography of Richard III provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline

Quick Facts

Birthday: October 2, 1452

Nationality: British

Famous: Emperors & Kings British Men

Died At Age: 32

Sun Sign: Libra

Also Known As: Richard III

Born in: Fotheringhay Castle

Famous as: King of England

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Spouse/Ex-: Anne Neville

father: Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York

mother: Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

siblings: 1st Duke of Clarence, Earl of Rutland, Edmund, Edward IV of England, George Plantagenet, Margaret of York

children: Edward of Middleham, John of Gloucester, Katherine Plantagenet, Prince of Wales

Died on: August 22, 1485

place of death: Ambion Hill

Founder/Co-Founder: Council of the North, College of Arms

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Richard III, the King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485, was the last king of the Plantagenet dynasty. He was also the last king of the House of York. He was one of the many sons of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, who had a strong genealogical claim to the throne of England. He grew up during a period of great political turbulence in England and lost his father and one elder brother quite early on in life. Another one of his elder brothers eventually took the throne of England as King Edward IV and Richard was named Duke of Gloucester and made a Knight of the Garter. He enjoyed a position of considerable influence in his brother’s court. After the untimely death of King Edward IV, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward's son and successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. However shortly before the young king’s coronation, the marriage of his parents Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid thus making Edward V illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. This led to the crowning of Richard III as the king. His rule lasted for just a short while as he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire two years after his coronation.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Richard III was born on 2 October 1452 as the 12th of 13 children of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville. His father, though not a king himself, had a strong genealogical claim to the throne of England. The infamous “Wars of the Roses” was going on at the time of his birth.
  • In 1460, his father, and elder brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, were killed in the Battle of Wakefield. Richard, aged eight at that time, along with his brother George was sent to live in the Low Countries following this tragedy.
  • In 1461 Richard’s eldest brother Edward was crowned as King Edward IV and Richard returned to England to attend the coronation. At this time Richard was named Duke of Gloucester and made a Knight of the Garter and Knight of the Bath.
  • He was brave and displayed exemplary military skills from a young age. He was appointed the sole Commissioner of Array for the Western Counties in 1464, when he was 11, and by the age of 17, he had an independent command.v
  • In October 1469, he was made Constable of England, and the next month he replaced William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, as Chief Justice of North Wales. Over the next couple of years he was named Great Chamberlain and Lord High Admiral of England.
  • The War of the Roses resumed in 1469 and King Henry VI snatched the throne from Richard’s brother Edward. Both Richard and Edward were exiled during Henry’s reign. However, the brothers returned to defend the crown and soon Henry was overthrown and Edward IV was back on the throne.
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Accession & Reign
  • King Edward IV died in April 1483. His 12 year old son, Edward V was named the successor to the throne and Richard was made Lord Protector of the realm. He quickly asserted his position and tried to keep the queen away from exercising her powers.
  • Richard took the young king and his brother into custody and lodged them in the Tower of London. Arrangements were being made for Edward's coronation on 22 June 1483 when a controversy erupted in the kingdom regarding the validity of the marriage of the young king’s parents, Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. The marriage was declared invalid, thus rendering Edward V and his brother illegitimate and illegible for the throne.
  • On 6 July 1483, Richard was officially crowned as King Richard III. The young princes were never seen in public again, and this gave rise to accusations that Richard had ordered the murder of his nephews which in turn fuelled the legend of the Princes in the Tower.
  • Many allies of Edward IV were disturbed by the developments in the court as they believed that the rightful heir to the throne was Edward’s son and not Richard. Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, led a revolt against Richard in October 1483 but the revolt collapsed quickly.
  • Another revolt arose against him in August 1485. Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who was a Lancastrian claimant to the throne, led a rebellion against Richard. He engaged Richard in the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Several of the key lieutenants in Richard’s army including Lord Stanley, Sir William Stanley, and Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, defected. King Richard III fought bravely but lost his life in the battle.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Richard married Anne Neville, the younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick, on 12 July 1472. Anne was a widow who had previously been married to Edward of Westminster who had died in 1471. This marriage produced one son who died young.
  • He also had two illegitimate children who were believed to have been born before his marriage.
  • King Richard III lost his life on 22 August 1485 while fighting against Henry Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth, thus becoming the last English king to be killed in battle. Henry Tudor succeeded Richard to become Henry VII.

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Article Title
- Richard III of England Biography
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Last Updated
- September 15, 2017
Richard III of England

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