Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales

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Edward of Middleham
Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester,
Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Salisbury
An engraving of the royal family reading Edward, P. of Wales
Full name
English: Edward of Middleham
Welsh: Iorwerth chan Middleham
House House of York
Father Richard III of England
Mother Anne Neville
Born December 1473
Middleham, Wensleydale
Died 9 April [O.S. 31 March] 1484 (aged 10)
Middleham, Wensleydale
Burial April 1484
Religion Roman Catholic

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales, KG and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, 1st Earl of Salisbury (December 1473 – 9 April [O.S. 31 March] 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 10.[1]

In 1485, Richard was killed during the Wars of the Roses, thus ending that conflict and the throne of England reverted to Richard III's successor, Henry Tudor, a descendant of Edward III of England through his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort.

Birth and titles[edit]

Edward was 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 not universally accepted; Professor Charles Ross wrote that the date 1473 "lacks authority. In fact, he was probably not born until 1476."[4] He was mostly kept in the castle as he was known to be a sickly child.[5]

On 26 June 1483, his father became King of England, following a sermon that was 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, asking Richard to assume the throne. He accepted on 26 June and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 July 1483. His title to the throne was later confirmed by Parliament in January 1484 by the document Titulus Regius.

Edward, however, was unable to attend his parents' coronation, probably due to an illness.[3] He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in a splendid ceremony in York Minster on 24 August 1483, following his parents' Royal Progress across England.


Edward was a delicate child and died of what could have been tuberculosis.[5] The Croyland Chronicle read:

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.[6]

Edward's death left Richard without a legitimate child.[7] 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.[8]


Cenotaph at the Sheriff Hutton Church long believed to represent Edward of Middleham, but is now thought to be an earlier work depicting one of the Neville family.

Richard's enemies were inclined to interpret the child's death as divine retribution for Richard's implication in the usurpation and subsequent disappearance of the sons of Edward IV. Richard buried his son in an unknown location.

A mutilated white alabaster cenotaph ("empty tomb").[9] 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.[10]

In fiction[edit]

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

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]


  • 15 February 1478 onwards:[2] The Earl of Salisbury
  • 26 June 1483 onwards:[2] The Duke of Cornwall
  • 19 July 1483 onwards:[11] Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
  • 24 August 1483 onwards:[2] The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester


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



  1. ^ Official Website of the British Monarchy
  2. ^ a b c d thePeerage.com
  3. ^ a b 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. ^ a b Princes of Wales
  6. ^ Croyland Online
  7. ^ Edward of Middleham at Find a Grave
  8. ^ Hazel Pierce, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473-1541 (University of Wales Press, 2009), p. 9.
  9. ^ Richard III
  10. ^ Routh P. and Knowles R (1982). The Sheriff Hutton Alabaster Reconsidered. Wakefield Historical Publications. 
  11. ^ Edward of Middleham


External links[edit]

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