On This Day

Richard III

King of England Richard III

Profession: King of England


Biography: The last king of the House of York and from the Plantagenet dynasty, Richard was defeated in the Wars of the Roses, and is perhaps known best as the protagonist of William Shakespeare's play Richard III in which he is portrayed as a dark and twisted monarch.

Prior to succeeding the throne, Richard was installed as Lord Protector over Edward V, who was 12 years old at the time. Though Edward's coronation was planned, the marriage of his parents was declared bigamous, the coronation was cancelled and he was declared illegitimate and therefore unable to succeed the throne. Edward and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, were imprisoned in the Tower of London and never seen again, possibly murdered on the orders of Richard III who took the throne for himself.

His reign was short. The insecure and ambiguous way in which Richard came to the throne led to a new outbreak of the Wars of the Roses between the House of York and the House of Tudor (the House of Lancaster had been made extinct by the war). Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, tried and failed to overthrow Richard III in 1483. In 1485 Henry Tudor rose up in Wales with the assistance of French troops, and defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. Richard was killed, making him the last English monarch to die in battle, and marking the end of the medieval period in England. Henry Tudor succeeded him as Henry VII.

In 2012 his remains were excavated, identified and later reburied at Leicester Cathedral on March 26, 2015. While he remains in the popular imagination as a Machiavellian character of cunning and ruthlessness, many contemporary sources were much more positive about his character and rule.

Born: October 2, 1452
Birthplace: Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England
Star Sign: Libra

Died: August 22, 1485 (aged 32)
Cause of Death: Killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field by the troops of Henry Tudor

Historical Events

  • 1483-06-26 Duke of Gloucester succeeds as King Richard III of England after Parliament declared Edward V illegitimate
  • 1483-07-06 Richard III is crowned King of England after deposing Edward V
  • 1484-01-23 Parliament of English King Richard III opens, passes Titulus Regis, (Richard's right to the throne)
  • 1485-08-22 Battle of Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor's forces defeat English King Richard III during last battle in the Wars of the Roses. Richard is killed, the last English monarch to die in battle.
  • 2012-09-12 Excavators announce that they may have found the remains of King Richard III of England under a carpark in Leicester
  • 2015-03-26 Richard III of England (1452-1485) is reburied at Leicester Cathedral in England, after being discovered under a carpark in Leicester in 2012

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