In the last year of Henry's reign, the rebellions picked up speed. A suitable-looking impostor was found and King Richard's old groom circulated word in the city that his master was alive in Scotland. Ultimately, the rebellion came to naught. The knight Lyvet was released and his follower thrown into the Tower. Early in his reign, Henry hosted the visit of Manuel II Palaiologos , the only Byzantine emperor ever to visit England, from December to January at Eltham Palace , with a joust being given in his honour. Henry also sent monetary support with Manuel II upon his departure to aid him against the Ottoman Empire.
The later years of Henry's reign were marked by serious health problems. He had a disfiguring skin disease and, more seriously, suffered acute attacks of some grave illness in June ; April ; June ; during the winter of —09; December ; and finally a fatal bout in March Medical historians have long debated the nature of this affliction or afflictions. The skin disease might have been leprosy which did not necessarily mean precisely the same thing in the 15th century as it does to modern medicine , perhaps psoriasis , or some other disease.
The acute attacks have been given a wide range of explanations, from epilepsy to some form of cardiovascular disease. According to Holinshed , it was predicted that Henry would die in Jerusalem, and Shakespeare's play repeats this prophecy. Henry took this to mean that he would die on crusade. In reality, he died in the Jerusalem Chamber in the abbot's house of Westminster Abbey, on 20 March during a convocation of Parliament.
Despite the example set by most of his recent predecessors, Henry and his second wife, Joan of Navarre, Queen of England , were buried not at Westminster Abbey but at Canterbury Cathedral , on the north side of Trinity Chapel and directly adjacent to the shrine of St Thomas Becket. Becket's cult was then still thriving, as evidenced in the monastic accounts and in literary works such as The Canterbury Tales , and Henry seemed particularly devoted to it, or at least keen to be associated with it.
Reasons for his interment in Canterbury are debatable, but it is highly likely that Henry deliberately associated himself with the martyr saint for reasons of political expediency, namely, the legitimisation of his dynasty after seizing the throne from Richard II.
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According to one version of the tale, the oil had then passed to Henry's maternal grandfather, Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Proof of Henry's deliberate connection to St Thomas lies partially in the structure of the tomb itself. The wooden panel at the western end of his tomb bears a painting of the martyrdom of Becket, and the tester, or wooden canopy, above the tomb is painted with Henry's personal motto, 'Soverayne', alternated by crowned golden eagles.
Likewise, the three large coats of arms that dominate the tester painting are surrounded by collars of SS, a golden eagle enclosed in each tiret. Sometime after the King's death, an imposing tomb was built for him and his queen, probably commissioned and paid for by Queen Joan herself. Henry's body was evidently well embalmed, as an exhumation in established, allowing historians to state with reasonable certainty that the effigies do represent accurate portraiture.
Before his father's death in , Henry bore the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label of five points ermine. After his father's death, the difference changed to a label of five points per pale ermine and France. That entailment clearly reflects the operation of agnatic primogeniture , also known as the Salic law. At this time, it was by no means a settled custom for the daughter of a king to supersede the brothers of that king in the line of succession to the throne.
Edward IV of England - Wikipedia
Indeed, it was not an established belief that women could inherit the throne at all by right: Yet, the heir of the royal estate according to common law by which the houses and tenancies of common people like peasants and tradesmen passed was Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March , who descended from the daughter of Edward III's third son second to survive to adulthood , Lionel of Antwerp. Bolingbroke's father, John of Gaunt, was Edward's fourth son and the third to survive to adulthood. The problem was solved by emphasising Henry's descent in a direct male line, whereas March's descent was through his grandmother.
The official account of events claims that Richard voluntarily agreed to resign his crown to Henry on 29 September. The country had rallied behind Henry and supported his claim in parliament. However, the question of the succession never went away. The problem lay in the fact that Henry was only the most prominent male heir, but not the most senior in terms of agnatic descent from Edward III. Henry thus had to overcome the superior claim of the Mortimers in order to maintain his inheritance. This difficulty compounded when the Mortimer claim was merged with the Yorkist claim in the person of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York.
The Duke of York was the heir-general of Edward III, and the heir presumptive due to agnatic descent, the same principle by which Henry IV claimed the throne in of Henry's grandson Henry VI since Henry IV's other sons did not have male heirs, and the legitimated Beauforts were excluded from the throne. The date and venue of Henry's first marriage, to Mary de Bohun , are uncertain, but her marriage licence, purchased by Henry's father John of Gaunt in June is preserved at the National Archives. The accepted date of the ceremony is 5 February , at Mary's family home of Rochford Hall , Essex.
They had six children: She was the widow of John IV, Duke of Brittany known in traditional English sources as John V ,  with whom she had had four daughters and four sons; however, her marriage to the King of England was to be childless. But Henry already had four sons from his first marriage, which was undoubtedly a clinching factor in his acceptability for the throne.
The only two of Henry's six children who produced children to survive to adulthood were Henry V and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Henry IV King of England more Mary de Bohun m. Joan of Navarre m. Coat of arms as Duke of Hereford. Coat of arms as Duke of Hereford and Lancaster. Henry's achievement as king with the old arms of France.
Royal achievement as king. Ancestors of Henry IV of England Edward I of England  8. Edward II of England  Eleanor of Castile  4. Edward III of England  Philip IV of France  9. Isabella of France  Joan I of Navarre  2. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster John II, Count of Holland  William I, Count of Hainaut  Philippa of Luxembourg  5.
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Philippa of Hainault  Charles, Count of Valois  Joan of Valois  Margaret, Countess of Anjou  1. Henry IV of England Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster  Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster  Blanche of Artois  6. Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster  Sir Patrick de Chaworth  Maud Chaworth  Isabella de Beauchamp  3. Blanche of Lancaster Sir Louis de Brienne  Henry de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Buchan  Isabel of Beaumont  Sir Alexander Comyn  Alice Comyn  Joan le Latimer .
The French in London: From William the Conqueror to Charles de Gaulle. Translated by Emily Read. Barr, Signes and Sothe: Language in the Piers Plowman Tradition , Cambridge, , p. Oxford University Press, The Establishment of the Regime, —, ed. Gwilym Dodd and Douglas Biggs York: York Medieval Press, , pp.
Retrieved 17 August Eric Fernie and Paul Crossley London: The Hambledon Press, , pp. John Taylor et al. Clarendon Press, , p. Domestically, Edward's reign saw the restoration of law and order in England; indeed, his royal motto was modus et ordo , or "method and order". The latter days of Henry VI 's government had been marked by a general breakdown in law and order, as well as a sizeable increase in both piracy and banditry.
Edward was also a shrewd and successful businessman and merchant, heavily investing in several corporations within the City of London. During the reign of Henry, there had been corruption in the exchequer. Edward made his household gain more control over finances and even investigated old records to see that payments had been made.
Documents of the exchequer show him sending letters threatening officials if they did not pay money. His properties earned large amounts of money for the crown. His collecting habits show that he was not only a good soldier and administrator, but had an eye for fashionable style and an interest in scholarship, particularly history. He acquired fine clothes, jewels, and furnishings, as well as a collection of beautifully illuminated historical and literary manuscripts, many of which were made specially for him by craftsmen in Bruges.
It is not known where or how Edward's library was stored, but it is recorded that he transferred volumes from the Great Wardrobe to Eltham Palace and that he had a yeoman "to kepe the king's bookes". Ultimately, Edward's dynasty survived him by little more than two years, despite his military and administrative genius.
Edward was one of the few male members of his dynasty to die of natural causes. Both his father and brother were killed at the Battle of Wakefield , while his grandfather and another brother were executed for treason. His two sons were imprisoned and disappeared presumed killed within a year of Edward's death.
This was the end of the reign of the House of York and of the Plantagenet family , which ruled for the longest period of any dynasty in English history. Henry Tudor, soon after taking the throne as Henry VII, married Edward's eldest daughter Elizabeth of York , who was at that point the family heiress, thus forestalling any claims by Yorkist sympathizers that Edward's heirs had a better right to the throne. Through her, the Plantagenet family and the House of York continue in the line of English and British sovereigns.
Edward IV had ten children by Elizabeth Woodville , seven of whom survived him. Edward had numerous mistresses. Edward IV's eldest son was invested with the title of Prince of Wales at the age of seven months. At the age of three, he was sent by his father to Ludlow Castle as nominal head of the Council of Wales and the Marches , a body that had originally been set up to help the future Edward V of England in his duties as Prince of Wales.
The prince was accompanied to Ludlow by his mother and by his uncle, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers , who carried out many of the administrative duties associated with the presidency of the Council. The king visited his son occasionally at Ludlow. The grounds for Titulus Regius , passed to justify the accession of Richard of Gloucester, were that Edward had been contracted to marry another woman prior to his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.
Lady Eleanor Butler a young widow, daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and Edward were alleged to have been precontracted; both parties were dead by this time, but a clergyman named only by Philippe de Commines as Robert Stillington , Bishop of Bath and Wells , claimed to have carried out the ceremony. Speculation on the subject has given rise to the " Princes in the Tower " mystery. Questions about Edward's paternity were raised during his own reign for example by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick , [b] in , and repeated by George shortly before his execution in , [c] and again by Richard of Gloucester's supporters in the brief reign of Edward V.
Edward was not the only one to be accused of illegitimacy in the 15th century: Thus, for centuries historians viewed the story as no more than propaganda designed to discredit Edward and his heirs. In recent years, the question has been given real consideration; however, there is limited evidence that Richard of York was not the biological father of Edward IV, and that which might exist is subjective and open to interpretation. The claims were based on Edward's appearance and the circumstances surrounding his overseas birth.
During his own lifetime, it was noted that Edward showed little resemblance to his father. Unlike his father, he was well over six feet tall, an exceptional height for the age; but notably, his younger brother George was also tall and fair and said to bear a marked resemblance to Edward , whilst their sister Margaret stood five feet eleven inches, remarkable for a medieval woman observers of her wedding to Charles the Bold of Burgundy remarked that the bride towered over the groom — she had to lean down to receive his kiss. Dominic Mancini claimed that when Edward's mother, Cecily Neville , found out about Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville in , she flew into a rage and threatened to declare him a bastard.
However, this episode is not reported by contemporary sources, which instead condemn the pair for making an unequal and inappropriate marriage in dubious circumstances. Prior to his succession, on 22 June , Richard III declared that Edward V was illegitimate, and three days later the matter was addressed by parliament.
In Titulus Regius the text of which is believed to come word-for-word from the petition presented by Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham , to the assembly which met on 25 June , to decide on the future of the monarchy , Richard III is described as "the undoubted son and heir" of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York , and "born in this land" — an oblique reference to his brother's birth at Rouen and baptism in circumstances that could have been considered questionable. There is no confirmation for the view — as fictionalised in William Shakespeare 's Richard III Act 3, Scene 5 — that Richard made any claims about his brother's legitimacy, as his claim was based on the supposed illegitimacy of Edward IV's children.
According to Polydore Vergil, Duchess Cecily, "being falsely accused of adultery, complained afterwards in sundry places to right many noble men, whereof some yet live, of that great injury which her son Richard had done her. Edward was born on 28 April No contemporary evidence refers to him as being born prematurely.
Accordingly, counting back nine months from birth would date his conception to late July A Channel 4 television documentary in examined records in the archives of Rouen Cathedral that indicated that from 14 July to 21 August Richard, Duke of York, was away on campaign at Pontoise , several days' march from Rouen where Cecily of York was based , and that prayers were being offered at the cathedral for his safety.
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The programme also drew attention to the fact that the christening celebration of Edmund, Earl of Rutland , the second son of Richard and Cecily, was a lavish affair at the cathedral, whereas the christening of Edward, the firstborn, was low key, and in a side chapel. The programme concluded that Edward was not "Britain's Real Monarch".
Henry VI of England
However, there is no strong reason to suggest Edward could not be premature: Richard, Duke of York, would have had every right, even a duty, to challenge the child's paternity if it was in doubt; refusing to do so, and allowing a child he knew was not his to remain his heir and an heir to the English throne was tantamount to treason. On the other hand, Richard, whose father had been executed by the Lancastrians and whose own status under their regime was never beyond question, owed his security in large part to Cicely's powerful family, as the House of York would owe for decades to come; thus it would have been rash, if not to say dangerous, to cast suspicion on his wife's fidelity and then or later on his eldest son's legitimacy.
If the low-key nature of the ceremony was meant publicly to indicate the child's illegitimacy, Richard would furthermore have been exposing himself as a cuckold at a point when his interest was in presenting himself as a strong leader. In the event he acknowledged Edward and raised him as his heir, and nothing in their interactions suggests Edward was other than well-loved and cherished. He also had a direct albeit legally barred blood-claim to the throne through his mother Cecily, who was a great-granddaughter of Edward III through John of Gaunt and his illegitimate daughter Cecily's mother Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland.
Although this claim is via an illegitimate line, it is the same as the claim of Henry Tudor , who dislodged the House of York from the throne in It is also disputed that the line was in fact illegitimate, as John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster married his mistress Katherine Swynford, who was the mother of the Beauforts, after the death of his second wife Costanza of Castile.
The Beauforts were thus 'legitimised' and acknowledged as such by Richard II, though with the proviso as noted above that they would barred from succession to the crown. Edward was said to be an extremely good-looking man. Philippe de Commynes, who saw him on several occasions, thought the King handsomer than any prince he knew — "I don't remember ever having seen a man more handsome than he was when monsieur de Warwick made him flee England. When Parliament met at Westminster on 12 November , the Speaker, Sir James Strangways — who had fought by the side of Edward's father, the Duke of York, at the Battle of Wakefield and survived — referred to "the beauty of person that it hath pleased Almighty God to send you" and "the wisdom that, by his grace, accompanies it".
He also praised Edward's "noble and worthy merits, princely and knightly courage, and the blessed and noble disposition and dedication of your said highness to the common weal and government of your said realm.. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Elizabethan history play, see Edward IV play.
Ancestors of Edward IV of England Edward III of England 8. Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York Philippa of Hainault 4. Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge Peter of Castile 9. Isabella of Castile Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March Philippa, 5th Countess of Ulster 5.
Anne de Mortimer Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent Edward IV of England Ralph Neville, 2nd Baron Neville de Raby John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland Henry de Percy, 2nd Baron Percy of Alnwick John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster Sir Payne de Roet Alternative successions of the English crown.
Cultural depictions of Edward IV of England.
Lionel had been the eldest son of Edward III to leave a surviving line of descent; by modern standards, his line had an indisputably superior claim over that of his younger brother John of Gaunt. By medieval standards, this was by no means so certain; nonetheless, it allowed Richard and then Edward a good title to the throne. University of California Press. Retrieved 25 December The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, C.
Constitutional History of England in the Fifteenth Century Great Britain to , A Modern History. University of Michigan Press. Louis XI, the Universal Spider. A Study of Service. Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors. Founders of the Royal Library: England in the Fifteenth Century: Proceedings of the Harlaxton Symposium. The Genius of Illumination. The Royal Palaces of Tudor England: A Social and Architectural History. Privy Purse expenses of Elizabeth of York: