The Princes of Ludlow – Edward V


Lincoln, where Edward I’s son was invested Prince of Wales in 1301

Since the last Welsh Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was killed in the 12th century by King Edward I, the heir apparent to the throne of England has been invested as the Prince of Wales.

This began with Edward I’s son, Edward (later Edward II)

He was created Prince of Wales at Lincoln in 1301, and was the first English person to hold the title.

The link between the Prince’s of Wales and Ludlow began in the 15th century, when Edward IV established his eldest son, also called  Edward (later Edward V) at the castle of Ludlow to govern the Council of Wales and the Marshes.

The Keep, Ludlow Castle

Edward IV knew Ludlow well, having been based there as a young man whilst his father Richard, Duke of York was heavily involved in the Wars of the Roses

Ludlow wasn’t to foresee future health and happiness for it’s Princes, sadly none of them became King.

Edward V

Edward was born to Queen Elizabeth Woodville on the 2nd of November, 1470 during what is one of the most turbulent times in England’s history.

West Front, Westminster Abbey

He was born in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey whilst his father King Edward IV was exiled, having been temporarily deposed by the rebellion of his cousin the Earl of Warwick, and the reinstatement of the Lancastrian Henry VI to the throne.

Edward IV regained control in May, 1471 after a final victory against the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury. He soon reclaimed London, and I would imagine met his 6 month old son soon after.

Young Edward was invested Prince of Wales in June, 1471, and at the age of approximately 3 years old he was sent to Ludlow Castle to rule the Council of Wales and the Marshes.

Edward was given into the keeping of his uncle Anthony Rivers, the Second Earl Rivers, brother to Queen Elizabeth. He was to supervise the upbringing of the young boy, and was an intelligent man and noted scholar.

Prince Edward in stained glass at St. Laurence, Ludlow

Anthony was the oldest surviving child of Elizabeth’s parents and before Elizabeth’s marriage to Edward IV, had been a Lancastrian and had fought against Edward at the Battle of Towton in 1461. It is thought that he wrote the first book in England, and was also an accomplished jouster.

He was also a powerful man at court, and was often at the King’s right hand, sent to resolve conflicts on the King’s behalf such as in 1472 when he was sent to support the Bretons against a possible French invasion.

His wealth and power didn’t sit well with the old faction at court, who thought the Woodville’s held too much power over the King. Elizabeth sort many a powerful position for her large family, (she had 8 living brothers and sisters) and as she was a commoner it was thought by some that the Woodvilles had overreached themselves.

Edward’s daily regime was set out by his father. One of my favourite of his rules was that Edward was to have no ‘swearers, brawlers, backbiters, common hazarders, adulterers, [or users of] words of ribaldry’ in his household.

According to Dominic Mancini an Italian visiting the court, Edward grew to be an articulate, literate child, with ‘such diginity in his whole person’

King Edward V

Henry III’s Nave, Westminster Abbey

When Edward was 12 years old, his father the mighty Edward IV died at Westminster.He died on the 9th of April, 1483 after a short illness, some say he caught a chill whilst fishing, others say he hadn’t been in the best of health in the last few years of his life.

He was only 41 years old.

It is often a disaster when a minor inherits the throne, and Edward IV must have thought about previous monarchs such as Richard II and Henry VI – both child Kings with unsuccessful reigns. He wrote in his will that his loyal brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester should be the Lord Protector, guiding the young Edward until he was to come of age.

Ludlow Castle from the West

Edward’s Queen Elizabeth wanted to retain power for her family and didn’t notify Richard of the King’s death. Word was sent to Ludlow, informing Edward of his fathers death and for him to be escorted to London as soon as possible for his coronation.

6 days after the death of the King, Richard was notified at Middleham by Lord William Hastings.

He was soon to head south to ‘secure the person of his nephew’

Next post.. What happened to Edward V?


The White Tower, Tower of London


Wikipedia – Prince of Wales
Wikipedia – Edward V
English – Edward IV Timeline

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