Portrait of Richard III (1452-1485), King of England and Lord of Ireland (1483-1485), Duke of Gloucester (1461-1483), Lord High Admiral of England (1462-1470; 1471-1483), Lord High Constable (1469-1470; 1471-1483)
Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England from 1483 until his death at 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 Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. When his brother King Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward's eldest son and successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. Arrangements were made for Edward's V coronation on 22 June 1483; but, before the young king could be crowned, the marriage of his parents was declared bigamous and therefore invalid, making their children officially illegitimate and barring them from inheriting the throne. On 25 June, an assembly of Lords and commoners endorsed a declaration to this effect and proclaimed Richard the rightful king. The following day, Richard III began his reign, and he was crowned on 6 July 1483. The young princes, Edward and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, were not seen in public after August, and accusations circulated that the boys had been murdered on Richard's orders. There were two major rebellions against Richard during his reign. The first, in October 1483, was led by staunch allies of Edward IV and Richard's former ally, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham; but the revolt collapsed. In August 1485, Henry Tudor and his uncle, Jasper Tudor, led a second rebellion. Henry Tudor landed in southern Wales with a small contingent of French troops and marched through his birthplace, Pembrokeshire, recruiting soldiers. Henry's force engaged Richard's army and defeated it at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Richard was slain in the conflict, making him the last English king to die in battle. Henry Tudor then ascended the throne as Henry VII. Richard was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringhay Castle, the twelfth of thirteen children of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville at the beginning of what has traditionally been labelled the "Wars of the Roses", a period of "three or four decades of political instability and periodic open civil war in the second half of the fifteenth century", between supporters of Richard's father (a potential claimant to the throne of King Henry VI from birth)—"Yorkists"—in opposition to the regime of Henry VI and his wife, Margaret of Anjou and those loyal to the crown ("Lancastrians"). When his father and elder brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, were killed at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460, Richard and George were sent by his mother, the Duchess of York, to the Low Countries They returned to England following the defeat of the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton and participated in the coronation of Richard's eldest brother as King Edward IV in June 1461. At this time Richard was named Duke of Gloucester and made a Knight of the Garter and Knight of the Bath; he was involved in the rough politics of the Wars of the Roses from an early age. By the age of seventeen, he had an independent command.
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