King Richard III: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Richard III, King of England from 1483 to 1485.

  • Richard III was born on 2nd October 1452 and he died on 22nd August 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth.
  • When Edward IV, Richard III’s brother, died in 1483, Richard was made Lord Protector for King Edward V (Edward IV’s 12 year old son). Richard arranged lodgings for Edward V and his younger brother in the Tower of London. The coronation of Edward V was due to take place on 22nd June 1483. This never took place because Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville (Edward V’s mother) was found to be invalid. This meant that Edward V was illegitimate and not entitled to the crown.

  • Richard III began his reign on 26th June 1483. His coronation took place on 6th July 1483.
  • The last time Edward V and his brother, Richard, were seen in public was in August 1483. They were never seen again and many people believe that they were murdered by Richard III. This legend is often referred to as the Princes in the Tower.
  • Richard was a skilled military man. He grew up during the War of the Roses conflicts and, at the age of seventeen, he was a commander of his own troops. At the age of eighteen, Richard played a key part in the Yorkist victories at Barnet and Tewkesbury.
  • Richard III was defeated in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 by Henry Tudor (soon to be King Henry VII). He was the last King of England to be killed in battle. Richard’s body, discovered in 2013, was wounded in 10 places. He had 8 head wounds and part of his skull had been hacked away (probably by a sword blade).
  • Many people think of Richard III as being murderous, scheming, disfigured and evil. This is probably not an accurate portrayal. The Tudors made a big effort to make Richard III seem like a nasty piece of work. This reinforced their claims to the throne. William Shakespeare wrote a play about Richard (Richard III), making him seem clever and brave, yet evil and happy to murder his way to power.
  • Following the Battle of Bosworth, Richard III’s body was buried in Greyfriars Church, Leicester. The church was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries (during Henry VIII’s reign) and the exact location of Richard’s body was lost for centuries. In 2013, archaeologists found the skeleton of Richard III (confirmed by matching his DNA with that of his 16th-generation great-niece).
  • The Richard III society was started in 1924 with the aim of reviewing the traditional image of Richard III as a tyrant. People who share these aims are called Ricardians.

To learn more about the War of the Roses, click here. To find out about Henry Tudor, the man who defeated Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth, follow this link.