To what extent did Edward IV restore royal authority in the years 1471-83?

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To what extent did Edward IV restore royal authority in the years 1471-83?

Edward IV defeated Henry VI at the Battle of Tewkesbury making him the new heir to the throne. Henry VI was a particularly under-mighty king and did a poor job throughout his reign. When Edward IV came to the throne (for the second time) he did not have much of an act to follow, however, Henry had left him in a lot of debt and he needed to restore authority to the kingdom. There are many factors showing how Edward did to try and regain control, although it is hard to tell how many of them were effective!  

Edward was a very handsome and able king (which was very unlike the previous king – Henry). He wore exquisite clothing, lined with fur, as well as fashionable shoes with pointed toes. These he brought to court as a popular item of clothing and was known for making the court more fashionable. The variety of clothes he dressed in were very costly making him always stand out from the crowd. His contrast to Henry was so significantly different that he became a spectacle and the powerfulness of his clothes automatically gave him authority.  His figure and looks won over many people as being an icon to them. As well as this Edward acted like a king; he organised events (such as jousting) and built impressive buildings and displays. He brought about a sense of pride back into the Kingdom through his work and his clothing – it won him great respect from his nobles, which increased his power.

Unlike Henry VI, who by his death had run up a debt of £370,000, Edward was much more in control of his money. Using practices like ‘Wardship’ – in which he would enjoy the income of a child until they came of age and then sometimes charge an entry fee and sell them their marriage – he could develop a good income. He also used ‘bishoprics’ where he would take revenue from bishops even if their property was empty, as well as fines (from court) to bump up his salary. Tied with the fact he was a businessman himself and that he used customs revenue, he was bringing in a respected wage. Edward was a much better king for bringing in money rather than giving it away. Unfortunately for him, he had to pay off Henry’s debt – which made it harder for him to gain a profit.

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After taking refuge in Burgundy, Edward returned to defeat Warwick in the Battle of Barnet. By doing this he showed his strength and determination to be king (which instantly helped him to strengthen the monarchy – showing that they had a strong leader). He then went on to exterminate the last of the Lancastrian resistance at the Battle of Tewkesbury when he killed Henry VI son, Edward of Westminster – who was next in line for the throne. By doing this he did not only eliminate the Lancastrian line but gave himself more authority and diminished a lot of ...

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