Why did Richard III Usurp the throne?

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 20-04-13 18:37
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  • Why did Richard Usurp the Throne from Edward V in 1483?
    • The  Great chain of being
      • This chain was infrastructural for Medieval society, it was where everyone's position was in life and they were supposed to stay there.  However this chain became volatile when the woodvilles emerged.
      • The woodvilles and Richard were social climbers as they both held positions that were not destined for them
      • I presume that Richard believed with him being king the monarchy would be more stable and the line that follows him will be of royal blood in comparison to the tainted blood of the woodvilles.
    • Experiences  and lessons learned as a child
      • Political fortunes could change quickly, he would have seen this when his father was announced heir to the throne but was then killed with his brother, so then Richard was exiled and then a few weeks after Richard's brother Edward IV was crowned king. This showed Richard positions in society was very volatile
    • Woodville Faction
      • Richard did not get on with the Woodvilles and he may have feared for his life if Edward came to the throne
      • The woodville's reputation was known to be unpleasant  scheming, vengeful and due to many of them holding powerful positions in England, Richard may have believed it to be his duty as he was more royal than them, to save England from them.
      • The Woodville's were seen as social climbers and due to Edward V still being a child, Elizabeth and her family would be in control of him and therefore the country
    • Fear of losing control and having to live in exile
      • As a child Richard had been in and out of exile as he was a child during the wars of the roses, so knowing what exile meant he did not want history to repeat itself
      • Now that his brother was no longer around he may have felt that he would no longer have or be given any more power, therefore he felt it was in his best interest to usurp the throne.
    • Not Trustworthy of others
      • Richard's past experiences made him develop a weariness to everyone, as even his own family turned against him and his brother Edward IV and overthrew him in 1470 (Clarence their  brother and Warwick deceived them)
      • Richard's initial ideas may not have been to overthrow Edward V but to protect and influence him correctly. However he may have realised that he'd only be protector for a few years and then he would be at the mercy of Edward V
    • The need for an experienced Ruler
      • Due to Edward V being only a child when coming to the throne and also the woodville faction having no experience with knowing how to run the country  Richard may have felt it was hist duty to do so and usurped the throne that way. Especially when problems such as foreign policies coming into play, with only Richard knowing how to deal with such problems.


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