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Richard III
Richard III

Richard III (1452-1485), Duke of Gloucester and brother of Edward IV, became the last Plantagenet king in 1483. His reign brought on the revolt that ended the Wars of the Roses.

In the spring of 1483, Edward IV died, and his elder son became King Edward V at the age of 12. The young king was left in the care of Richard, who was named protector of the realm. The Woodvilles, the family of the young king's mother, attempted to seize power. In crushing their conspiracy, Richard found that he might himself become king and reached for the opportunity. He was crowned early in July 1483, after Parliament had declared him rightful king. Edward V and his younger brother Richard were put in the Tower of London. Some scholars believe that King Richard had the boys killed. But no proof of such a crime exists, and the fate of the youths is still a mystery.

Richard governed well, but the people grew tired of civil disturbances. Powerful Lancastrian nobles plotted against him. With their help, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, of the House of Lancaster, invaded England from his exile in France. His forces won the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, killing Richard. Henry Tudor became king as Henry VII.