The death of King Edward IV

Edward IV

Edward IV

During the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV reigned not once, but twice taking the crown for the Yorkists. His military skills and physical prowess earned him his reputation and fame. He was also an imposing figure reputedly standing 6 foot and 3 inches tall – almost a whole foot taller than the average male of the time.

Edward was famous also as being something of a womaniser, allegedly having a number of mistresses. He went against convention and married a woman of his own choice, much to the frustrations of his advisers who were looking to make a politically advantageous marriage for him. His choice was Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a Lancastrian knight, Sir John Grey, with two young sons. Together they had ten children, three sons, Edward, Richard and George. George died at the age of 2, whilst Edward and Richard were to be remembered through history as the Princes in the Tower. Of their seven daughters two died young, one took the veil and became a nun, three married well and one, the eldest Elizabeth was to become Queen of England when she married Henry Tudor, uniting the houses of York and Lancaster.

Tomb of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, St george's Chapel, Windsor

Tomb of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, St George’s Chapel, Windsor

As a result of years of over indulgence, Edward gained weight and suffered poor health much like his grandson was to do. It is recorded that “the king had started to get fat”, with even his doctors commenting on his eating habits. On 30th March 1483 Edward became ill after apparently catching cold on a fishing trip. We do not know what the cause of his illness was, although it has been suggested that it could have been Pneumonia or typhoid, or even poison. Edward died on 9th April 1483 at Westminster Palace, but not before recovering sufficiently during the preceding days enough to make amendments to his will which named his brother Richard of Gloucester Lord Protector, in preparation for his 12 years old heir Edward’s ascension to the throne.
Edward’s death was responsible indirectly for one of the most famous mysteries in history – what happened to his sons, the uncrowned king Edward V and his younger brother Richard.

Edward was to be buried in St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle, which he had commissioned to be rebuilt, a task that was not to be completed until 1528 on the orders of his grandson Henry VIII

Taegan and Caz