British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (2022)

by An Ard Rí and Susan Flantzer © Unofficial Royalty 2012

House of York

The House of York descended from two sons ofKing Edward III: in the male line fromEdmund of Langley, Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III and from a female line ofLionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, Edward III’s second surviving son. These two lines came together whenAnne de Mortimer, a great-granddaughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence marriedRichard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, a son of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York. Their son wasRichard Plantagenet, Duke of Yorkwho led the Yorkist faction in theWars of the Rosesuntil his death at theBattle of Wakefield. Richard Plantagenet’s four sons wereKing Edward IV;Edmund, Earl of Rutlandwho died with his father at the Battle of Wakefield;George, Duke of Clarence; andKing Richard III.

  • Edward IV – reigned 1461-1470 and 1471-1483
  • Edward V – reigned 9 April 9, 1483-June 25, 1483
  • Richard III – reigned 1483-1485
  • Unofficial Royalty: House of York Index

Burial articles for all the British royal houses can be found at Unofficial Royalty: British Royal Burial Sites

An excellent resource: The Royal Tombs of Great Britain by Aidan Dobson, published in 2004

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All portraits and photos are from Wikipedia unless otherwise noted.

Edward IV, King of England (reigned March 4, 1461 – October 3, 1470 and 11 April 11, 1471 – April 9, 1483)

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (1)

  • Unofficial Royalty: King Edward IV of England

King Edward IV, the first Yorkist King of England, was the first surviving son of Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville, both great-grandchildren of King Edward III of England. After the death of his father at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, Edward became the leader of the Yorkist faction in the Wars of the Roses. Eventually, the Yorkists were the victors.

Had King Edward IV lived longer, perhaps he would have become one of England’s most powerful kings. He died on April 9, 1483, a few weeks before his 41st birthday. The cause of death is not known for certain. Pneumonia, typhoid, malaria, poison, and an unhealthy lifestyle are some possibilities. King Edward IV was buried atSt. George’s Chapelat Windsor Castle close by the resting place of his Lancastrian rival King Henry VI.

  • Unofficial Royalty: St. George’s Chapel, Windsor: Royal Burials

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of England

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (3)

  • Unofficial Royalty: Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville was the wife of King Edward IV and the mother of his ten children.She was the eldest of the thirteen children of Sir Richard Woodville and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the widow of John, 1st Duke of Bedford, son of King Henry IV of England. Elizabeth was the widow of Sir John Grey of Groby, who was killed during the Wars of the Roses, fighting for the Lancastrians. There were two sons from this marriage including Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, who was the great-grandfather of Lady Jane Grey.

After the death of her husband in 1483, Elizabeth had to deal with her brother-in-law Richard, Duke of Gloucester arranging for her marriage to Edward IV being declared invalid and her children being declared illegitimate. The Duke of Gloucester became King Richard III. Elizabeth’s two sons 13-year-old Edward and 10-year-old Richard were taken to the Tower of London. Their fate still remains unknown.

On August 22, 1485, at theBattle of Bosworth Field, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the last king of the House of York and the Plantagenet dynasty, 32-year-old King Richard III of England, lost his life and his crown. The battle was a decisive victory for the House of Lancaster, whose leader 28-year-oldHenry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, became the first monarch of the House of Tudor. One of his first acts was to have the act declaring Elizabeth Woodville’s children illegitimate repealed. King Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, the eldest child of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and reinstated his mother-in-law as Queen Dowager.

In 1487, Elizabeth Woodville retired to Bermondsey Abbey in Southwark, London, where she lived the rest of her life. She was present at the birth of her granddaughter Margaret Tudor at Westminster Palace in November 1489 and at the birth of her grandson, the future Henry VIII, at Greenwich Palace in June 1491. Elizabeth died at Bermondsey Abbey on June 8, 1492, at the age of 55. With the exception of her daughter Elizabeth, who was awaiting the birth of her fourth child, and her daughter Cecily, her other daughters, Anne, Catherine, and Bridget attended her funeral at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle where Elizabeth Woodville was buried with her husband King Edward IV of England.

  • Unofficial Royalty: St. George’s Chapel, Windsor: Royal Burials

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Edward V, King of England

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (4)

  • Unofficial Royalty: King Edward V of England

Edward V and Richard, Duke of York were the eldest and second sons of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Following the death of their father in 1483, both sons were imprisoned in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who was acting as Protector during the minority of Edward V. The Protector, Richard, Duke of Gloucester had the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville declared invalid and had both of his nephews declared illegitimate. On 26 June 1483, an assembly of Lords and Commons declared Richard to be the legitimate king and he acceded to the throne as King Richard III.

Princes in the Tower

Wikipedia: Princes in the Tower

Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York have become known as the Princes in the Tower. What happened to the two brothers in the Tower of London has remained a complete mystery. Edward and Richard vanished during the summer of 1483. In 1674 the remains of two children were found during repair work at the Tower of London. Charles II of England ordered that the remains be interred at Westminster Abbey, where they remain. The remains have never been formally identified as those of the two missing Princes in the Tower.

The remains of the two children found at the Tower of London were interred in this urn in Westminster Abbey.

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (5)

Urn at Westminster Abbey containing the remains of the two children

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Richard III, King of England (reigned 26 June 1483 – 22 August 1485)

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (6)

  • Unofficial Royalty: Richard III of England
  • Unofficial Royalty: Richard III – Lost and Found

The eighth surviving child of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and Cecily Neville and youngest brother of Edward IV, Richard III married Anne Neville, Dowager Princess of Wales in 1472.Following the death of his brother King Edward IV in 1483, Richard, who was acting as Protector during the minority of his nephew Edward V, had both his nephews, King Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, imprisoned in the Tower of London. Richard, Duke of Gloucester had the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville declared invalid and had both of his nephews declared illegitimate. On June 26, 1483, an assembly of Lords and Commons declared Richard to be the legitimate king and he acceded to the throne as King Richard III.

Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485, and Henry Tudor became the first Tudor monarch as King Henry VII. Richard’s naked body was put on display at the Collegiate Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady. His body was then buried at Greyfriars Church, Leicester. The church was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and his remains were lost.

In 2012, a search was begun to find the exact site of the Greyfriars Church, in an attempt to locate the remains of Richard III. The site was found beneath a car park, and in September 2012, human remains were found. In February 2013, it was announced that “beyond reasonable doubt”, DNA testing had proven the remains to be those of King Richard III. Tests of the mitochondrial DNA found in the remains (which are passed in the direct maternal line), researchers were able to compare them with those of the son of a distant great-niece of the King. Richard III’s remains were re-interred at Leicester Cathedral on March 26, 2015.

Wikipedia: Leicester Cathedral

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (7)

“Tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral” by RobinLeicester – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tomb_of_Richard_III,_Leicester_Cathedral.jpg#/media/File:Tomb_of_Richard_III,_Leicester_Cathedral.jpg

Anne Neville, Queen of England

British Royal Burial Sites: House of York (8)

  • Unofficial Royalty: Anne Neville, Queen of England

Lady Anne Neville was the younger of the two daughters ofRichard Neville, 16th Earl of WarwickandLady Anne Beauchamp. Anne’s father, known as “the Kingmaker,” was one of the major players in theWars of the Roses, originally on theYorkistside but later switching to theLancastrianside. Both Anne’s parents were descendants ofKing Edward III of England.

Anne first marriedEdward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the only child of King Henry VI. However, Edward was killed during the Wars of the Roses at thefinal decisive Yorkist victory in the Wars of the Roses, theBattle of Tewkesbury, in 1471. A year later,Anne married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of the Yorkist King Edward IV. Their only childEdward of Middlehamwas born in December 1473.

In 1483, following the death of his brother King Edward IV, Richard had his brother’s two sons, King Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, imprisoned in the Tower of London, had the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville declared invalid, and had both of his nephews declared illegitimate. On June 26, 1483, an assembly of Lords and Commons declared Richard to be the legitimate king and he acceded to the throne as King Richard III and Anne became Queen of England.

Their reign was a short one.Anne and Richard’s son Edward of Middleham, now Prince of Wales, died on April 9, 1484, at the age of ten. Anne survived her son by less than a year, probably dying of tuberculosis, on March 16, 1485, at the Palace of Westminster. She was buried in Westminster Abbey in an unmarked grave to the right of the High Altar, next to the door to Edward the Confessor’s Chapel. Her husband Richard survived her by only five months, losing his crown and his life on August 22, 1485, at theBattle of Bosworth Field.

  • Unofficial Royalty: Westminster Abbey: Royal Burials

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