HISTORY MEME → [1/3] Wars: Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster (associated with a red rose), and the House of York (whose symbol was a white rose). The conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487; however, there was fighting before and after this period between the houses. The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years’ War, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of Henry VI which revived interest in Richard, Duke of York’s claim to the throne. Historians disagree about whether the Wars of the Roses were caused by the structural problems of bastard feudalism or Henry VI’s ineffectiveness as king.
With the Duke of York’s death, the claim transferred to his heir, Edward, who later became the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. His son reigned for 86 days as Edward V, but Parliament then decided that Edward and his brother Richard were illegitimate and offered the crown to Edward IV’s younger brother, who became Richard III. The two young princes disappeared within the confines of the Tower of London.
The final victory went to a claimant of the Lancastrian party, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who defeated the last Yorkist king, Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth Field. After assuming the throne as Henry VII, he married Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter and heir of Edward IV, thereby uniting the two claims. The House of Tudor ruled the Kingdom of England until 1603, with the death of Elizabeth I, granddaughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.