King Richard III Family Tree showing:
King Richard III was born to Richard of York and Cecily Neville on 2nd October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle. He was the eleventh of the couple’s twelve children. At the time of his birth six of his siblings survived. The other four had died in infancy.
Before Richard was a year old his father had come into conflict with the crown.
Wars of the Roses
In August 1453 Lancastrian King Henry VI suffered a mental breakdown and was unable to rule. Henry Beaufort Duke of Somerset took control of the country. This angered Richard Duke of York who, as next in line to the throne, felt that he should have been asked to assume control. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick backed Richard’s father. By March 1454 York had sufficient support to take control.
By December 1454, Henry VI’s health had improved sufficiently for him to regain control. He immediately restored Somerset as his chief advisor. Richard’s father and the Earl of Warwick began raising troops against the King.
The Wars of the Roses, named after the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York, began on 22nd May 1455 with the Battle of St Albans. The Yorkists won the battle and the King was captured. Richard’s father took control of the country again. A year later Henry VI was freed and Richard Duke of York was dismissed.
In 1459, Richard Duke of York was defeated at Ludlow. He managed to escape to Ireland and sent his eldest son, Edward to the continent. Richard, his mother and other siblings were imprisoned. The family were attained and their lands and titles confiscated.
The following year, Richard’s father and the Earl of Warwick, raised a force and invaded. On 30th December 1460 Richard’s father and brother Edmund were killed at the Battle of Wakefield. Richard and his mother went to the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Richard’s elder brother, Edward assumed the title Duke of York and took control of the Yorkist army. On 4th March 1461, Edward entered London and took the throne as King Edward IV. Richard returned to England in June and was created Duke of Gloucester in November 1461.
In 1465 Richard was sent to join the household of the Earl of Warwick. It was usual for the teenage children of the nobility to be sent to the household of another family as part of their education. He remained there until 1469 when he was removed because the relationship between Edward IV and Warwick had broken down.
A year later, with Warwick’s support, Henry VI was returned to the throne and Richard and Edward fled to Burgundy.
In 1471, Richard joined Edward when he invaded England to re-take the throne. Warwick was killed in battle and King Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London on the same day that Edward made his triumphant entry to London.
Relationships, Marriage and Family
Around 1468 Richard’s illegitimate son, John, was born. The mother’s identity is not known but Richard acknowledged the child. An illegitimate daughter, Katherine, was born two years later, probably to the same mother. She was also acknowledged.
On 12th July 1472 Richard Duke of Gloucester married Anne Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. They made their home at Middleham Castle.
A son, Edward, was born to Richard and Anne at Middleham Castle, Yorkshire in December 1473. Edward died on 9th April 1484.
Anne Neville died a year later on 16th March 1485.
Path to the Throne
On 18th May 1471, Edward IV created Richard Lieutenant of the North and Commander against the Scots. The appointment meant that Richard now spent most of his time in the north and was rarely at court.
After his marriage, Richard and Anne Neville lived at Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire.
On 9th April 1483, King Edward IV died at the Palace of Westminster following a short illness. Before he died he nominated Richard to be regent for his son and heir, Edward, Prince of Wales.
Prince Edward was in the care of his maternal uncle, Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers at the time of his father’s death. The Woodville family wanted to keep power over the young king and began the journey south to London to have Edward crowned as soon as possible.
As nominated regent, Richard wanted Edward placed in his care. He intercepted the Woodville party and had the adults arrested and placed in prison. He then continued to London with the young King Edward V and placed him in the Tower of London to await his coronation. Within a month, Edward’s younger brother, Richard, joined him in the Tower.
In June 1483 it was announced that at the time Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville he was already betrothed to Eleanor Butler. This invalidated the marriage and made the children of Edward IV illegitimate and unable to take the throne. As the next in line to the throne, Richard became King Richard III.
The two Princes in the Tower were last seen at the windows of the Tower in August 1483. At the time they were believed to have been murdered on the order or King Richard. This is now disputed and the disappearance of the Princes remains the subject of much speculation.
After becoming King, Richard, Anne and his son, Edward made a progress of the north of England where they were popular and well-received. In the south, plans were afoot to depose Richard and replace him with the Lancastrian heir, Henry Tudor.
A rebellion in Autumn 1483 led by the Duke of Buckingham failed and resulted in Buckingham’s execution. In exile, Henry Tudor announced his belief that he was the rightful King and vowed to marry Edward IV’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, when he became King.
Henry Tudor invaded on 7th August 1485, landing in South Wales. As he marched through Wales and into England he gained much support as men joined his army. Meanwhile King Richard III mustered his army and marched to meet the invader.
The two armies met on Bosworth Field on 22nd August 1485. Richard was killed in the fighting and Henry Tudor was proclaimed King Henry VII on the battlefield.
Richard’s remains were buried quickly and quietly in Greyfriars Church, Leicester. On 11th September 2012, workmen discovered that a car park in Leicester was the site of Greyfirars Church. A body was found and DNA testing revealed the remains to be those of Richard III. In 2015 his remains were placed in a tomb in Leicester Cathedral.
Published Mar 09 2022 @ 2:27 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for King Richard III Family Tree:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2022). King Richard III Family Tree (1452-1485). Available: https://www.treesofblue.com/king-richard-iii-1452-1485. Last accessed September 7th, 2023