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Richard III - Was He A Real King?

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1325992.  Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:03 am Reply with quote

I wonder if anyone can answer this for me as I have only a limited knowledge of English medieval history -

Edward V came to the throne on 9 April 1483. But he and his brother Richard were captured by their uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester on his way to London. Richard claimed that they, and their sisters were bastards as their father, Edward IV was already married (in secret) before they were born. He then went on to make it official by Parliamentary Act known as the Titulus Regius, which made him king.

However, when Henry VII came to the throne in August 1485, he had the Act repealed that year. That means his reign doesn't count, and Richard was never a king, but a pretender. Even if the Princes in the Tower were murdered before 1485, that would make Elizabeth of York (Henry's wife) next in line, not Richard. So should Richard be counted as a king, or pretender, and Edward V's reign should be from 1483-1485(?)
Let me know what you think
Here's the text of the Act -

1326186.  Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:38 pm Reply with quote

I think (and I am neither a mediaevalist or a legal scholar so this could be bollocks) that Henry VII's victory came at the end of a very long series of civil wars and that probably the entire nation was grateful to sit back and take a breather. Henry VII's reign was by right of conquest, though he did have a somewhat tenuous claim through his maternal line. Richard III's claim was far more solid. Edward V was never actually crowned, so it's debatable whether he was ever actually king in any significant sense.

I think the monarchy in the Middle Ages often had far more to do with might than right.

Alexander Howard
1326197.  Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:15 pm Reply with quote

The princes and nobles debated details of legal claims with genealogies and legal precedents - then sorted it out with the sword.

Edward III (as we all know) had several sons none of whom succeeded to the throne: Edward the Black Prince, Lionel, John of Gaunt and Edmund of York. Richard II was the main heir (son of the Black Prince), but he acted capriciously and was overthrown by Henry Bolingbroke (son of Edward III's third son) to found the House of Lancaster. Richard of York was descended from the fourth son but counted his claim from his mother, a descendant of Lionel, Edward III's second son (do keep up). He acted because Henry VI (of Lancaster) was ineffective as king: so ineffective that he ended up being played by Tom Sturridge. Seniority was therefore arguable legally. The matter was settled by bloody civil wars.

Richard never became king, but he left three sons; Edward (Edward IV), George Duke of Clarence and Richard (Richard III).

However another murky detail: Richard of York had been away fighting for a year when Edward was born, so he suspected that Edward was not his son - if Edward IV was a bastard he had no legal claim, leaving George, who was executed by his own brother, allowing Richard to take the throne.

George Duke of Clarence had a son though before he was drowned in the butt of Malmsey; Edward. This loose end was tied up by Henry VII in the usual terminal way.

Basically, the legalities were studied and debated but the only reality is who is left alive on the battlefield.

I always had the impression that the Wars of the Roses took up much of the Middle Ages, because they are so prominent in the imagination. However the wars were all within the reign of one King, Henry VI, with two short, single-battle revivals at Bosworth Field and at Stoke Field (the eccentric Lambert Simnel rebellion).

Which is a long-winded way to say that Jenny is right.

1326205.  Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:12 pm Reply with quote

I guess, the point I wanted to make, is that Richard III should never be considered a king and listed as one, because officially, by Act of Parliament, he was declared an usurper, and Richard's claim about his nephews and nieces were rejected. So when we list all the kings and queens of England, should we skip Richard III?

And as I mentioned in the General Banter thread, this raises questions, about the legality of all the Acts, Proclamations, Charters, etc Richard made when he was king, including the founding of the College of Arms. If he was declared by Parliament to be a usurper, then all this would be null and void legally.

Much like Lady Jane Grey in 1553, everything she did (very little) was rejected as void.


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