Spotlight: Edward IV

Names: Edward IV / Edward Plantagenet

Titles: Earl of March / Earl of Cambridge / Earl of Ulster / Duke of York / King of England, Ireland and France

Dates: 28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483

Spouse: Elizabeth Woodville 1437-1492

Children: Elizabeth of York 1466-1503 / Mary of York 1467-1482 / Cecily of York 1469-1507 / Edward V 1470-1483? / Margaret of York 1472 / Richard, Duke of York 1473-1483? / Anne of York 1475-1511 / George, Duke of Bedford 1477-1479 / Catherine of York 1479-1527 / Bridget of York 1480-1517

Parents: Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York 1411-1460 & Cecily Neville 1415-1495

Noble Connections: Edward IV’s father, Richard Duke of York, was descended from Edward III by both of his parents. Thus, Edward himself had an excellent claim to the throne. His cousin was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. His youngest brother, Richard, later became Richard III.

Events of their Lifetime: Battle of Northampton 1460, Battle of Mortimer’s Cross 1461, death of Richard ‘Kingmaker’ Neville 1471, death of Henry VI 1471, death of George Duke of Clarence 1481.

Controversy: Was Edward responsible for the death of Henry VI in the Tower of London in 1471? Had Edward really been married before he married Elizabeth Woodville, as has been suggested? Was there really a question over the paternity of Edward – did his mother have an affair of which he was the result?

Works of Fiction:
Philippa Gregory, The White Queen (2009)
Thomas Heywood, King Edward IV Parts 1 & 2 (1599)
Sharon Penman, The Sunne in Splendour (1982)
Jean Plaidy, The Sun in Splendour (1982)
Jean Plaidy, The Reluctant Queen (1990)
William Shakespeare, Henry VI Parts 2 & 3 (1591)
William Shakespeare, Richard III (1592)

Portrayals on Screen:
Cedric Hardwicke, Richard III, 1955, directed by Laurence Olivier
Max Irons, The White Queen, 2013, 8 episodes
Justice Watson, Tower of London, 1962, directed by Roger Corman
John Wood, Richard III, 1995, directed by Richard Loncraine
Harris Yulin, Looking for Richard, 1996, directed by Al Pacino

Further Reading:
Mary M. Clive, This Sun of York: a Biography of Edward IV (1973)
Keith Dockray, Edward IV (1999)
Conor Fahy, ‘The Marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville a New Italian Source’, English Historical Review, 76 (1961)
Gila Falkus, The Life and Times of Edward IV (1981)
Richard Firth Green, ‘The Short Version of the Arrival of Edward IV’, Speculum, 56 (1981)
Jonathan Hughes, Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: the Kingship of Edward IV (2002)
Hannes Kleineke, Edward IV (2009)
Bryce Lyon, ‘Edward IV’, Journal of British Studies, 16 (1976)
Charles Ross, Edward IV (1974)
David Santiuste, Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses (2010)
Cora L. Scofield, ‘Five Indentures between Edward IV and Warwick the Kingmaker’, English Historical Review, 36 (1921)
Cora L. Scofield, ‘Henry Duke of Somerset and Edward IV’, English Historical Review, 21 (1906)
Cora L. Scofield, The Life and Reign of Edward IV (1966)
Eric N. Simons, The Reign of Edward IV (1966)


Arms of Edward IV as King of England
Arms of Edward IV as King of England


Edward IV c.1520 copy of a lost original c.1470
Edward IV c.1520 copy of a lost original c.1470
Edward IV
Edward IV
Romanticised image of the first meeting of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.
Romanticised image of the first meeting of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

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