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Why did Richard Of Gloucester seize the throne in 1483, and why was he overthrown so quickly?

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Introduction

Why did Richard Of Gloucester seize the throne in 1483, and why was he overthrown so quickly? Edward IV died on the 9th of April 1483. Prior to his reign, England had endured a period of turbulence within the ruling houses, where the strongest nobles competed for the throne, he left England both prosperous and peaceful, but he had not prepared a transition of power, for his son, Edward, had not yet achieved his majority; England was left with a power vacuum. Edward's will, written in 1475, had named Elizabeth as regent, however talks with his councillors shortly before his death, indicated that he wished his brother Richard to be given control of England as protector. As there was no argument as to Edward's wishes, there was no petition for the wills instructions to be carried out. However, factions were immediately formed; there was Elizabeth and her extensive family, the Woodvilles, who believed Richard's Protectorate should end with Edward V's coronation - giving Elizabeth a similar role to that envisaged by Edward before leaving for France. The old nobility, represented in the former King's Council and which included the late King's friend and chamberlain, William, Lord Hastings and the Duke of Buckingham, supported Richard and a full protectorate including custody of the King until his majority, possible as they feared a strong and powerful Woodville clan attaining such power. ...read more.

Middle

Indeed Hastings had been in negotiations with Elizabeth, but he has been a loyal supporter of Richard, and indeed integral to Richard's actions against Rivers. However Hastings was accused of Treason, and without trial, or law of arms, was immediately executed and Archbishop John Rotherham, Bishop John Morton and Thomas, Lord Stanley were arrested. This was one of the many actions that would ultimately lead to Richard's downfall. The young King and his brother, Richard, Duke of York were interred into the royal apartments of the tower of London, removed from public view. Richard, with the support of Dr Edward Shaw, declared that His brother's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous, as he had been previously contracted to Lady Eleanor Butler. This final move secured Richard the throne; by proclaiming the marriage unlawful, the Woodvilles were left in a political wilderness, and the children, thus being illegitimate could not reign, and Richard being the brother of Edward had the closest claim by blood. Richard was proclaimed King of England. With the sudden disappearance, from public view, of the young princes about the time of Richards's coronation it became popular public opinion that Richard had had them executed. Buckingham chose this moment to stop supporting Richard. Reverting to his Lancastrian antecedents, he influenced the malcontents in the south and east, turning their attention to the exiled Earl of Richmond - Henry. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Richard had custody of Lord Stanley's son, thus ensuring that Lord Stanley could not openly assist his stepson. This action did little to gain the respect of the nobles; it demonstrated to them that Richard knew his power was diminishing, and that the only way to hold their loyalty was to yoke them with threats. When Henry arrived at Bosworth, he had fewer than five thousand men and little military experience. Richard had nearly ten thousand men and an overwhelming advantage in skill. However Richard had demonstrated with Hastings and Buckingham, that loyalty did not guarantee you favour. Richard, fearing treachery commanded the Earl of Northumberland to guard his flank in case Lord Stanley and his forces turned and assisted Henry. He rode out and actively sought Henry, his own reckless courage in battle dominated him and he purposefully exposed himself in an attempt to lure Henry into open combat. Seeing this, Lord Stanley ordered his forces against Richard. As they approached the Earl of Northumberland's troops - ordered to defend Richard, they found no resistance. Richard had been betrayed, not only by Lord Stanley, whose loyalty was in question anyway, but also by Northumberland, a blow that Richard was not expecting. The King was cut off and surrounded by both Henrys army and his own, which had now turned against him. He was killed. To the people of England, God had avenged Richards's murder of his wife, son and nephews. In receipt of God's favour, Henry was immediately King. ?? ?? ?? ?? i ...read more.

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