On this day in history, 17th August 1473, birth of Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York in Shrewsbury. Richard was the 6th child and 2nd son to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville.
Prince Richard was created Duke of York in May 1474 and made a Knight of the Garter the following year. From this time on, it became a tradition for the second son of the English sovereign to be Duke of York. On 15 January 1478, in St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, when he was about 4 years old, he married the 5-year-old Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk, who had inherited the vast Mowbray estates in 1476. Because York’s father-in-law’s dukedom had become extinct when Anne could not inherit it, he was created Duke of Norfolk and Earl Warenne on 7 February 1477. He was created Earl of Nottingham on 12 June 1476. When Anne de Mowbray died in November 1481 her estates should have passed to William, Viscount Berkeley and to John, Lord Howard. In January 1483 Parliament passed an act that gave the Mowbray estates to Richard, Duke of York and Norfolk, for his lifetime, and at his death to his heirs, if he had any.
His father died on 9 April 1483. Thus his brother Edward, Prince of Wales, became King of England and was acclaimed as such. Under the orders of Lord Protector, Richard duke of Gloucester the young king was transferred to the Tower of London to await the coronation. With her younger son Richard and daughters, Elizabeth Woodville sought sanctuary. On the 16th of June 1483 Elizabeth Woodville was persuaded to send her son Richard to the Tower to join his eldest brother in preparations for coronation. In an act of Parliament, the Titulus Regius, on 25th of June 1483, the eldest children of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville were declared illegitimate on the grounds that Edward IV had a precontract with the widow Lady Eleanor Butler, which was considered a legally binding contract that rendered any other marriage contract invalid. The act also contained charges of witchcraft against Elizabeth Woodville, but gave no details and had no further repercussions.
Edward V, who was no longer king, and his brother Richard, Duke of York, remained in the Tower of London. They were sometimes seen in the garden of the Tower, but there are no known sightings of them after the summer of 1483. What happened to the two of them—the Princes in the Tower—after their disappearance remains unknown.
Pictured: The marriage of Richard of Shrewsbury and Anne de Mowbray by John Northcote, c.1820
Caxton showing the first specimen of his printing to King Edward IV, Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, Edward, Prince of Wales and Richard of Shrewsbury, painting by Daniel Maclise (1806-1870)
The final building project of Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury, Hardwick Hall is a masterpiece of English renaissance architecture. The home quickly gained recognition, and a popular rhyme, “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall” was coined shortly after it’s completion. Elizabeth,
better known as Bess of Hardwick, was born to a rural gentry family but ultimately became one of the richest women in England through a series of advantageous marriages and clever political maneuvering. While Hardwick Hall was one of Bess’ many grand building projects it was the only home completed while Bess was unmarried. Bess intended to live out her days here with her granddaughter, Arbella Stuart, whom Bess desperately hoped to make queen after Elizabeth I. Built within view of her natal home (third photo), now know as Old Hardwick Hall, the new Hall is a stunning testament to Bess’
dynastic and political ambitions and her incredible rise from obscurity to one of the most notable women in Elizabethan England. The initials “ES” positioned at the top of every rooftop tower ensured there would be no uncertainty as to who was responsible for such a magnificent structure.
In the days preceding her daughter Lizzie’s coronation, she visited her in the Tower of London. Despite her feelings of grief returning as she entered the stronghold, she was determined to enter it once more. Her daughter’s coronation was a convenient excuse to search the Tower for her boys, her poor boys who had been murdered by unknown hands. Her daughter did not need her anymore, she had her husband and her newborn son, Elizabeth had no one. Nothing but memories of her murdered boys and dead husband. During her visit, she walked through the familiar halls, suppressing thoughts of what her sons must have endured. Elizabeth could not find any evidence of her sons existence, and so left before her daughter’s coronation, too overwhelmed by crushing grief and anger at the fate of her princes.