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Richard, Duke of York

The royal title "Duke of York" was held, during the 15th century by two Richards, both surnamed Plantagenet and both of whom played a key role in the period known as the Wars of the Roses. They were the father and the son of Edward IV of England.

Richard, Duke of York (1411-1460) was the son of Richard, Earl of Cambridge, a noble who had been executed for treason by King Henry V of England in 1415, and of Anne Mortimer, who, like her husband, was a direct descendant of King Edward III. Richard thus had an excellent claim on the throne of England, which he began to press in 1448 by assuming the long-disused surname of Plantagenet. In doing so, he made a direct challenge to the weak King Henry VI. In about 1424, he married Cecily Neville, a descendant of John of Gaunt. Having had the attainder[?] against his father reversed in 1426, he was himself attainted on November 20, 1459. This made him all the more determined to achieve the throne for the House of York, and he died fighting the Lancastrians at the Battle of Wakefield on December 30, 1460. He was buried at Pontefract. Richard's eldest son finally succeeded in putting his dynasty on the throne in 1461 as King Edward IV of England. Edward V of England was Richard's grandson, and Richard III of England was Richard's son.

Richard, Duke of York (August 17, 1473 - 1483?) was the second son of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville and, thus, the younger brother of Edward V of England. In January 1478, when he was about 4 years old, he married the 5-year-old Anne Mowbray, who had inherited the vast Mowbray estates in 1476.

Young Richard's uncle, Richard III of England, took him to the Tower of London in mid-1483, and what happened to him and his brother -- the Princes in the Tower -- after that has been the subject of much speculation and debate ever since. In the 1490s, Perkin Warbeck claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, but he was an imposter. Richard's might have been the smaller of the two skeletons discovered in a chest in the Tower in 1674, but there is as yet no evidence one way or the other.

The comedy series The Black Adder features an alternative history where Richard succeeded his uncle to the throne as Richard IV of England (reigned 1485 - 1498) before being poisoned and succeeded by Henry VII.



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