Accession of Ed V and the usurpation by Richard II
- News of Edward V's death didn't reach Ludlow Castle until the 14th April (1483) and the royal party did not leave until the 24th of April (Delay suggests the Woodville's felt no immediate pressure to reach London)
- Earl Rivers agreed to meet Gloucester at Northhampton-Richard claimed he wanted to move South with Rivers and enter the Capital city with the new King.
- 30th April= Watershed. Gloucester and his retinue were met by Earl Rivers and Buckingham at an inn in Stony Stratford. When Rivers left, Buckingham and Gloucester plotted their next move (first decisive action against the Woodville's). The next day (early) Gloucester arrestedRivers and his three most trusted attendants: Sir Thomas Vaughan, Sir Richard Hawte and Sir Richard Grey.- four men imprisoned in Gloucesters strongold in the North.
- Held until their execution at Pontefract Castle (25th June)
- Rivers and Woodville faction= outwitted and taken by suprise.
- FAILED to take advantage of their early strategic and military strengths.
- These events led to panic in London. Elizabeth Woodville fled to sanctuary at Westminster Abbey with her children, Dorset and her brother Lionel, Bishop of Salisbury.
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On 4th May, when the Woodville family were still at Westminster, Gloucester entered the city with Edward V and Buckingham. The Counsel confirmed Gloucester as Protector.
- Little evidence even in early May that Richard would usurp the throne. Political tension appeared to relax. Protector supposidly ruled harmoniously for a few weeks. During this time Richard and the Counsel rearranged E d V's coronation for 22nd June and called Parliament to meet on the 25th of June.
- Gloucester faction began to fragment: Hastings didnt approve of Gloucester's behaviour towards Elizabeth and Buckingham. Hasting ( plus other members of the Counsel) ditrusted the rewards Gloucester heaped on Buckingham. Remembered Edward IV's judgement- that Buckingham should be excluded from any serious role in government. gloucester gave great power to Buckingham in the West country and Welsh Marches. (the right to raise troops in five western countries, titles Chief Justice and Chamberlain in both North and South Wales, stewardship of certain manors and constableship of castles as they became available)
- Hasting's= great personal friend of Ed IV. Hastings disliked gloucester's intolerance towards Elizabeth. Hastings suspicions aroused when Gloucester wrote to the authorites in York (10th June) asking them to send armed men to assist himself and Buckingham against the Woodville's
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- Hasting's =devoted to the interests of Ed IV and his children- came to believe the Protector harboured sinister ambitions.
- Early June, Hasting's + several members of hte Counsel met together privately (Thomas Rotheram, Archbishop of York and john Morton, Bishop of Ely).
- Gloucester= convinced Hasting's was scheming against him. So Gloucester moved against his former ally.
- Set up:13th June Gloucester called a Counsel meeting in the White Tower on the 13th June. Buckingham, John Howard and the other suspected conspirators were to attend.
- Sudden: during the meeting Gloucester accused Hasting's, Lord Stanley, Morton and Rotheram of plotting with the Woodville's and added additional charges of treason agaisnt Hasting's.
- Armed men waiting to escort Hasting's to church confession, then to summary execution on Tower Hill
- Morton and Rotheram imprisoned in the Tower briefly.Then morton was sent ot Buckingham's castle at Brecon (South Wales) where he was looked after well and Rotheram was released. Stanley temporarily detained in his own home
- After this brutality, Richard's desire to secure the throne for himself accelerated.
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- Gloucester sent a deputation to Westminster Abbey to request Richard, Duke of York should leave sanctuary and join Ed V in the Tower to prepare for th corontation. (Preparations for the coronation did actually stop at this time).
- Elizabeth agrees. (Possibly reassured by the rmeoval of Hasting's- a long term enemy of the Woodville family/ possible that she had no choice in the matter)
- Once two Princes together- Gloucester made his intentions clear. He planned to denounce their legitimacy and put himself forward as the rightful King.
- 22nd June: Friar Ralph Shaw delivered a Sermon at St. Paul's Cross in which he praised + other churchemen preached the same message.
- Sermon = flawed as it didnt legitimise Gloucester's right to rule.
- If children = illegitimate, rightful King would have been the son of Gloucester's older brother, George, Duke of Clarence. That child (Edward, Earl of Warwick) was already in gloucester's custody.
- Now preparations for usurpation were nearly complete. Richard needed to permanently remove any future threat to him from the Woodville family. Earl Rivers, Hawte and Vaughn= taken to execution block. Overseen by Sir Richard Ratcliffe.
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- Final moves in usrpation: 25th June - an assembly of the Lords gathered at Westminste. Buckingham presented a role of parchemnt, a petition, which detailed the evils od the Woodville family (their deception of Edward IV. Petition begged Gloucester to take the crown
- Next day: Buckingham read thep petition to a large crowd (including many London notables) at Baynard Castle.
- Gloucester appeared on a battlement and acknowledged the Crown and hailed ar Richard III.
- Went to Wesminster Hall and ceremoniously sat in the royal seat in the Court of the King's bench.
- From this seat, he formally declared that his accession to the throne should be dated from 26th June 1483.
- Usupred the throne without using military force. Claimed the King of England through legitimate inheritanceand at the request of the Lords and Commons of the Realm. Could make preparations for his own coronation.
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