Richard III

Richard was a son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and his wife Cicely Neville and was born on 2nd October 1452. His brother Edward IV became King in 1461. On his death Richard was declared Lord High Protector of the Realm for his nephew Edward V. But he had the young boy sent to the Tower of London and he was never seen again. Edward was declared deposed on 25nd June 1483 and Richard was proclaimed King. He met Henry Tudor and his army at the Battle of Bosworth Field and was killed there.


On 12th July 1472 he married Anne, daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. She was later buried in the Abbey. Their son Edward died before his parents and is buried at Sheriff Hutton in Yorkshire.


Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was crowned in the Abbey as Richard III on Sunday 6th July 1483. The day before he and his Queen Anne (Neville) rode in procession from the Tower of London to Westminster. On the day of the ceremony they walked barefoot on a red carpet from White Hall to Westminster Hall and then to the Abbey. The queen's train was borne by Margaret, Countess of Richmond whose son would become Henry VII after defeating Richard at the battle of Bosworth. Richard was crowned by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury and the queen's coronation followed. Almost the entire peerage of England was present at what was a magnificent spectacle. The traditional coronation banquet in Westminster Hall followed.


Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on 22nd August 1485 and his body was buried at Grey Friars Abbey in Leicester. But his bones were removed at the Dissolution of the monastery there and lost for centuries. They were recently re-discovered beneath a modern car park and the bones were re-interred in a new tomb in Leicester cathedral in 2015.

Further reading

"The coronation of Richard III – the extant documents" edited by Anne Sutton and P.W. Hammond, 1983

Richard the Third by P. Murray Kendall, 1968

Richard III by Charles Ross, 1981

Richard III, the Maligned King by A. Carson, 2008

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Leicester Cathedral

English Monarchs


2nd October 1452


22nd August 1485


6th July 1483

Engraving of Richard III
Richard III

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster