History AS Level
The Yorkist Monarchy at the time of the death of Edward IV
Edward the 4th, King of England, died suddenly and prematurely at Windsor Castle at the age of 40 in April 1483. He enjoyed a relatively successful reign, restoring peace after the disordered period of Lancastrian rule and providing his subjects with some much needed stability. Edward the 4th had been a strong King after 1471, able to control the rival noble factions, but his death opened up a destructive, disastrous Yorkist family feud.
Edward the 4th had secretly married a commoner, Elizabeth Woodville in 1464, without consulting either of his closest advisors, Warwick and Hastings. The marriage created problems throughout Edward’s two reigns.
1. It was one factor that led Warwick to rebel against the King in 1469. Warwick was embarrassed by the marriage because it publicly curtailed the diplomatic negotiations for a prestigious royal marriage to Bona of Savoy, a French princess.
2. Woodville’s were seen as social climbers. They were resented by members of the established nobility, especially Gloucester, Hastings and Buckingham.
3. The family appears to be unpleasant – arrogant, scheming, grasping and vengeful. One notable exception to this rule was Sir Anthony Woodville.
4. Prince Edward, born in 1470, was brought up almost entirely by members of the Woodville family. Gloucester feared that Henry was more Woodville than York.
However, the marriage itself was very successful. They had 7 children, including two sons, Edward and Richard. Edward the 4th had every reason to expect that he would pass his throne onto his adult heir smoothly. However when he died…