Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales

Edward of Middleham
Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester,
Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Salisbury

Edward, Prince of Wales, son of King Richard III and his Queen consort, Anne Neville. From the contemporary Rous Roll in the Heralds' College.
Born December 1473
Middleham, Wensleydale
Died 9 April 1484 (aged 10)
Middleham, Wensleydale
Burial after 9 April 1484
Full name
English: Edward of Middleham
Welsh: Edward o Middleham
House York
Father Richard III of England
Mother Anne Neville
Religion Roman Catholic

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, 1st Earl of Salisbury (December 1473 9 April 1484), was the only child of King Richard III of England and his queen consort, Anne Neville. He was Richard's only legitimate child and died aged ten.[1]

Birth and titles

Edward was allegedly born in December 1473[2] at Middleham Castle, a stronghold close to York that became Richard and Anne's principal base in northern England.[3] The date of 1473 is, however, not universally accepted; Professor Charles Ross wrote that the date 1473 "lacks authority. In fact, he was probably not born until 1476."[4] The act of Parliament that settled the dispute between George of Clarence and Richard over Anne Beauchamp's inheritance just as if the Countess of Warwick "was naturally dead" was dated May 1474.[5] The doubts cast by Clarence on the validity of Richard and Anne's marriage were addressed by a clause protecting their rights in the event they were divorced (i.e. of their marriage being declared null and void by the Church) and then legally remarried to each other, and also protected Richard's rights while waiting for such a valid second marriage with Anne.[6] There were no provisions, however, for their heirs in case of this said divorce, which seems to confirm Richard and Anne had no children as of 1474. But such provision was the provence of the ruling king for those of royal blood so would have been moot.

Edward was mostly kept at Middleham, and was known to be a sickly child.[7]

On 26 June 1483, his father became King of England, following a sermon preached outside St Paul's Cathedral which declared the late King Edward IV's children illegitimate and his brother, Richard, the rightful king. After the citizens of London, nobles, and commons convened, a petition was drawn up that asked Richard to assume the throne. He accepted and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 July 1483, along with his wife. His title to the throne was later confirmed by Parliament in January 1484 by the document Titulus Regius.

Edward did not attend his parents' coronation, likely due to illness.[3] He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in a splendid ceremony in York Minster on 8 September 1483, following his parents' Royal Progress across England.[8]


The reasons of his sudden death are unknown. The Croyland Chronicle reads:

However, in a short time after, it was fully seen how vain are the thoughts of a man who desires to establish his interests without the aid of God. For, in the following month of April, on a day not very far distant from the anniversary of king Edward, this only son of his, in whom all the hopes of the royal succession, fortified with so many oaths, were centred, was seized with an illness of but short duration, and died at Middleham Castle, in the year of our Lord, 1484, being the first of the reign of the said king Richard. On hearing the news of this, at Nottingham, where they were then residing, you might have seen his father and mother in a state almost bordering on madness, by reason of their sudden grief.[9]

Edward's sudden death left Richard without a legitimate child and heir.[10] Contemporary historian John Rous recorded that Richard declared his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick, his heir in his place, but there is no other evidence of this.[11] Similarly, John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln also seemed to have been designated as Richard's new heir, but was never publicly proclaimed as such.[12]

Richard's enemies were inclined to believe that Edward's sudden death was divine retribution for Richard's alleged involvement in the usurpation and subsequent disappearance of the sons of Edward IV, Edward V of England and Richard, Duke of York.


Cenotaph at Sheriff Hutton Church long believed to represent Edward of Middleham, but now thought to be an earlier work.

The location of Edward's burial is unknown. A mutilated white alabaster cenotaph ("empty tomb")[13] in the church at Sheriff Hutton with an effigy of a child was long believed to represent Edward of Middleham, but is now thought to be an earlier work depicting one of the Neville family.[14]

It is perhaps most probable that Edward, having died in Middleham Castle, was buried in the nearby parish church of Saints Mary and Alkelda in Middleham, where his father had intended to found a college. However evidence for this suggestion is lacking.

In fiction

Edward of Middleham appeared in Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour and in Sandra Worth's The Rose of York series. In the latter series, it is implied that Edward was poisoned at the behest of Margaret Beaufort as part of her efforts to secure the throne for her son, the eventual Henry VII.

Edward of Middleham is a character in Joan Szechtman's Loyalty Binds Me, her 2nd book about Richard III in the 21st century.

Titles, styles, honours and arms



Since 1483, Edward used the arms of his father; debruised with a label of three points Argent.



  1. "Official Website of the British Monarchy". royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "- Person Page 10163". thepeerage.com.
  3. 1 2 Panton, p. 162-163
  4. Ross, Charles. Richard III (Univ. of California Press, 1981) ISBN 0-520-04589-0, p. 29, n22, citing P. W. Hammond Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales (1973) pgs. 12, 35-6, and also T. B. Pugh, Glamorgan County History III (1971) p 687.
  5. Ross, C.D., Richard III, St. Ives 1981, p.30
  6. C. Given-Wilson [ed.], Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, Edward IV - October 1472 - 2nd roll
  7. "Princes of Wales". englishmonarchs.co.uk.
  8. Kendall P.M., Richard III, 1955.
  9. http://www.r3.org/bookcase/croyland/croy8.html
  10. Edward of Middleham at Find a Grave
  11. Pierce, Hazel, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473-1541 (University of Wales Press, 2009), p. 9.
  12. Wagner, John, Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses, ABC-CLIO, 2001, p. 211-212.
  13. "Richard III". englishmonarchs.co.uk.
  14. Routh P. and Knowles R (1982). The Sheriff Hutton Alabaster Reconsidered. Wakefield Historical Publications.
  15. http://www.richardiii.net/r3_detail_children.htm


Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
Born: December 1473 Died: 9 April 1484
English royalty
Title last held by
Edward of the Sanctuary
Prince of Wales
24 August 1483  9 April 1484
Title next held by
Arthur Tudor
Peerage of England
Title last held by
Edward of the Sanctuary
Duke of Cornwall
26 June 1483  9 April 1484
Title next held by
Arthur Tudor
Earl of Chester
24 August 1483  9 April 1484
Title last held by
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Bedford
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
19 July 1483  9 April 1484
Title next held by
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/5/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.