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The Birth of Richard III

Today, 2 October, in 1452, birth of Richard Plantagenet, future Duke of Gloucester and King Richard III, who would rule the kingdom from 1483 until his death in 1485. Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire as 11th child and youngest surviving son of Richard and Cecily, Duke and Duchess of York. Richard spent his early childhood years at Fotheringhay, likely until the age of 7.


No one would have supposed that Richard would one day become the head of his family and King of England. Contemporary writers barely ever noticed Richard during his father’s lifetime. The first mention of Richard was when he was around 4 years old in 1456 from a poem in the ‘Clare Roll’:

'After the time of long barrenness,

God first send Anne, which signifyth grace,

In token that at her heart’s heaviness,

He as for barrenness would from them chase.

Harry, Edward, Edmund, each in his place

Succeeded; and after twain daughter came

Elizabeth and Margaret, and afterwards William.

John after William next born was,

Which both be passed to God’s grace:

George was next, and after Thomas.

Born was, which son after did pace.

By the path of death into the heavenly place

Richard liveth yet; but the last of all

Was Ursula, to Him who God list call'.

Richard would eventually marry Prince Edward of Lancaster’s widow Anne Neville (daughter to the 'Kingmaker') and have one son with her, Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales.

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