Edward was born on April 28, 1442 at Rouen, France to Richard, Duke of York. While he was too young to fight at St Albans (1455) he later demonstrated his fierce bravery and excellent military skills in numerous other engagements. When his father was slain at Wakefield in 1460, Edward decided to uphold his family’s claim to the throne and was crowned in March 1461 at London. Less than a month later he won the battle of Towton and took control of most of the country.
By the mid 1460s he had alienated his most important ally and the man that put him on the throne Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the ‘Kingmaker’, by marrying a commoner and insulting Warwick and his family with other actions and refusals. Warwick could feel his power slipping away and in 1469 he launched a successful rebellion and imprisoned Edward at Warwick Castle. After Edward’s release Warwick’s next rebellion was crushed, but the earl fled to France, invaded England and put Henry VI back on the throne.
In 1471 it was the exiled Edward’s turn to invade, and march on London where he met the Kingmaker in battle ten miles away from the capital at Barnet. Warwick was killed and a year later Edward crushed the remaining Lancastrians at Tewkesbury, after which he was able to live the rest of his life in relative peace.
The King died on April 9, 1483, allegedly of illness caused by his ‘over-living’ and debauchery, leaving behind him seven children, including the princes in the Tower and Elisabeth of York, future wife to Henry VI.