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 (Born December 1473 – April [O.S. 31 March] 1484 or Spring 1476), 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 passed to Richard III's opponent, Henry Tudor, a descendant of Edward III of England through his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort.

Birth and titles[edit]

Edward was born allegedly 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] 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" 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], but made no provisions for their heirs in case of this said divorce, which seems to confirm Richard and Anne had no children in 1474 yet.

Edward was mostly kept in the castle as he was known to be a sickly child.[7]

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 8 September 1483, following his parents' Royal Progress across England.[8]


Edward seems to have been a delicate child, but the reasons of his sudden death are unknown. The Croyland Chronicle reads:

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


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").[12] 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.[13]

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:[14] 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. ^ 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
  8. ^ Kendall P.M., Richard III, 1955
  9. ^ Croyland Online
  10. ^ Edward of Middleham at Find a Grave
  11. ^ Hazel Pierce, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473-1541 (University of Wales Press, 2009), p. 9.
  12. ^ Richard III
  13. ^ Routh P. and Knowles R (1982). The Sheriff Hutton Alabaster Reconsidered. Wakefield Historical Publications. 
  14. ^ 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