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Synopsis

Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of an eponymous play by William Shakespeare.

When his brother Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward's son and successor, the 12-year-old King Edward V. As the new king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met and escorted him to London where he was lodged in the Tower of London. Edward V's brother Richard later joined him there. Arrangements began to be made for Edward's coronation on 22 June.

However, before the young king could be crowned, Edward IV's marriage to the boys' mother Elizabeth Woodville was publicly declared to be invalid, making their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. On 25 June an assembly of lords and commoners endorsed these claims. The following day, Richard III officially began his reign. He was crowned on 6 July. The two young princes were not seen in public after August and there arose subsequently a number of accusations that the boys had been murdered by Richard, giving rise to the legend of the Princes in the Tower.

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