Edward was born on 2 November 1470 in Westminster Abbey. He was the son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville. At the time of his birth, the king was in exile in Flanders, following the brief restoration of Henry VI to the English throne.
After regaining his throne in 1471 and eliminating his enemies, Edward IV named his son Edward, Prince of Wales and sent him to live with his mother at Ludlow Castle where he became the nominal president of the Council of Wales and the Welsh Marches.
While at Ludlow Castle Edward was placed under the supervision of the Queens brother Anthony, Earl Rivers. Edward IV had been very specific about the education of his son.
In 1480 Edward was betrothed to four year-old Anne, heiress to Francis II, Duke of Brittany. They were to be married when they reached their majority.
It was while he was at Ludlow Castle that Edward learnt of the death of his father.
Edward IV died on 9 April 1483 and his son became Edward V in April 1483 aged twelve.
Reign 1483 – 1483
In his will, Edward IV had named his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester as Protector of the Realm. He believed that Gloucester would be the best person to protect his son’s position, however Gloucester cared nothing for the young Edward V, but only wanted to secure the throne for himself.
Edward V left Ludlow Castle and made his way to London under the supervision of Earl Rivers and Sir Richard Grey. They stopped at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire, where they met and dined with Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
The following morning Earl Rivers, Richard Grey and Thomas Vaughan were arrested on the orders of the Duke of Gloucester, sent north and executed.
Gloucester’s plan to gain the throne for himself had started. He now escorted Edward to London.
On 19 May 1483 Gloucester placed Edward to live in the Tower of London and then sent his brother Richard, Duke of York to join him. At this time, the Tower of London was both a palace and a prison.
Gloucester claimed that Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was invalid as he had already been engaged to Lady Eleanor Butler; this would make Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York illegitimate, therefore not legal heirs to the throne of England.
Parliament agreed with Gloucester, stripped Edward V of his title and Richard, Duke of Gloucester became King Richard III of England on 26 June 1483.
The Tower of London was now a prison for the two children. Over time, they were seen less and less in public, finally disappearing completely months later. Nobody knows for certain what happened to the Princes in the Tower, as they became known; however, it is believed that they were murdered by their uncle King Richard III.