Edward was born 28th April 1442 in Rouen France. His father was Richard, Duke of York, his mother was Cecily Neville.
In 1455 the Wars of the Roses, a clash for power between the House of York and the House of Lancaster had begun. Richard, Duke of York was head of the Yorkist faction. When he was killed at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, Edward aged 18 became head of the Yorkists.
With the support of the Earl of Warwick, Edward defeated the Lancastrians and deposed the Lancastrian king Henry VI on 4th March 1461. Warwick, nicknamed ‘Kingmaker’ due to his being able to influence those in power, believed he could control Edward and immediately began negotiating a marriage for the young king.
Edward, however, had other ideas and in 1464 secretly married the woman he loved, Elizabeth Woodville. This action alienated the Earl of Warwick who allied himself with Edward’s brother George and offered his support to Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI. Warwick was instrumental in orchestrating an invasion of England by Henry VI in 1470 which forced Edward to flee to the Netherlands.
While Edward was away in the Netherlands his wife, Elizabeth sought sanctuary in Westminster Abbey where she gave birth to the couple’s first son, Edward.
In 1471 Edward returned to England supported by his brother Richard and a considerable force. Warwick was killed at the Battle of Barnet and the Lancastrian army was defeated at the Battle of Tewkesbury in May 1471. Edward re-took the throne and sent Henry VI to the tower where he was later executed.
With his enemies defeated Edward was able to bring peace and stability to the country. He died of pneumonia on April 9th 1483 aged 41 years. He was succeeded by his son, Edward V who was aged just 12 years . Edward’s uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester was to act as regent for the young king. Edward V and his younger brother Richard were placed in the tower and mysteriously disappeared. Richard Duke of Gloucester became King Richard III.