Edward of Middleham

Edward, Prince of Wales was Richard’s heir and the only child of his marriage to Anne Neville. The date of his birth is under some question,  either in 1473 or 1476 at Middleham Castle. Historians have theorized that he was “delicate” in constitution, but no conclusive information has been found.

When Richard III was crowned in 1483, Edward was heir apparent; this was confirmed by an Act of Parliament in January 1484. The boy was made Lieutenant of Ireland on 19 July 1483, and later that summer, he travelled from Middleham to Pontefract to join his parents. His poor health meant that he was unable to ride a horse, but was borne in a carriage. At the end of August, Edward was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, and on Monday, 8 September was invested as Prince of Wales at a splendid ceremony in York, where his parents had been welcomed with warmth and acclaim.

Edward died suddenly at Middleham Castle on 9 March 1484. The Croyland Chronicler wrote poignantly of Richard and Anne’s reaction to the news of his death: “You might have seen his father and mother in a state almost bordering on madness, by reason of their sudden grief.” Edward’s death meant that the royal succession was not clear. Richard would have chosen Edward, 17th Earl of Warwick, son of his late elder brother George, to be heir apparent but the boy was ruled out by his father’s execution for treason otherwise he would have had a better claim to the throne than Richard. The next most likely heir was John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln, the son of Richard’s older sister, Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk but despite giving John an important office, Richard never formally declared an heir.


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