Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1470, was born Edward V.

Edward was the elder of the two 'Princes in the Tower', who were cruelly murdered by their uncle, who seized the throne.

Edward was born at Westminster Abbey, on 4th November 1470, the eldest surviving son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. At the time of his birth, his father Edward IV had been temporarily deposed by Henry VI, who was beginning his second reign. In June 1471, Edward IV returned from exile in Holland and deposed the king who had deposed him, and restored himself to the throne, creating young Edward, Prince of Wales.  

In 1473, Edward was sent to Ludlow to be titular ruler of Wales. He resided there with his mother until 1483, when his father died suddenly, leaving Edward as king. Edward’s uncle, Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III, was appointed Lord Protector until Edward came of age. Richard had Edward and his younger brother, Richard of York, housed in the Tower of London, then a Royal residence as well as a prison. Richard of Gloucester, having already murdered Henry VI, and his own brother Clarence, proceeded to plot the downfall of his nephew. He brought before Parliament, rather dubious evidence that Edward IV was already married to Lady Eleanor Butler, when he contracted his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, and that therefore Edward IV was not in fact married to the queen, and consequently all his children were illegitimate and incapable of succeeding to the throne.  

Parliament, fearing a weak government under a boy king, leading to a possible invasion from France, readily accepted the evidence and passed an Act, Titulus Regius, which deposed Edward and placed Gloucester on the throne as Richard III. Soon afterwards, the two children in the Tower disappeared and were never seen again. There is no proof that Richard III murdered his nephews but a stack of evidence makes him the prime suspect. Richard certainly had most to gain by the disappearance of a potential threat to his throne.  

In 1674, builders working at The Tower discovered a box containing the skeletons of two children. Charles II, believing the bones to be those of his ancestors, had them interred in Westminster Abbey. In 1933, the bones were taken out and examined by experts, but it could not be determined when the subjects had died, or what age they were, or even if they were boys or girls.

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