Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales (1473-1484), only son of King Richard III of England

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales and the first Earl of Salisbury was the only son of King Richard III of England and Queen Anne Neville.

Edward Plantagenet was the only legitimate son of Richard III and was the probable successor to the throne of England but apparently died at a very young age of ten.

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales
Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales

How many children did Richard III have?

Richard III had only one legitimate child Edward of Middleham by his wife Anne Neville and three other illegitimate children.

John of Gloucester also known as the John of Pontefract was his first-born illegitimate son and was appointed the Duke of Gloucester on 1474. There are no official records stating the whereabouts of John’s mother, though some believe she must have been a lady named Alice Burgh.

Richard III also had a daughter named Katherine Plantagenet. Katherine’s mother is suggested to be Katherine Haute, wife of James Haute.

There has been a similar claim from a Richard of Eastwell, a bricklayer near Ashford, Kent. His claims, however, have not been validated, but he was given a house bearing his name “Richard Plantagenet” that still stands today in Eastwell Park.

King Richard III Family Tree
                      King Richard III Family Tree

The Early Life of Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales

Edward was born in December 1473 at the Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire, England. His mother was Anne Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick also known as the “Kingmaker”.

There is much confusion about the exact birth year of Edward of Middleham, however, 1473 has been universally accepted.

According to some reports, Richard III and Anne’s marriage were declared void by the Church until in 1474 when they remarried to protect Richard’s rights as a king. So, possibly Edward was not born until 1474.

After the death of Edward IV of England, his sons Edward V and Richard of York were declared illegitimate and Richard, the Duke of Gloucester ascended the throne of England.

Edward Plantagenet was a sickly child and remained at home for the most part of the time. During Richard III’s coronation in June 1483, Edward could not travel to London to attend his father’s coronation due to his ill health.

Soon after on 26 June 1483, Richard III created his son the Earl of Cornwall. On June 19, 1483, he was appointed the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and subsequently on 24 August 1483, Edward attained the titles of the Prince of Wales and the Earl of Chester in an elaborate ceremony at the Archbishop’s Palace in York.

Edward’s half-brother the John of Pontefract and his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick the son of George, Duke of Clarence were also present and were knighted in the ceremony.

Edward of Middleham, Son of Richard III and Anne Neville
 Edward of Middleham, Son of Richard III and Anne Neville

Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales Death

On 31 March 1484, Edward died at his residence in the Middleham Castle probably from tuberculosis.

The untimely death of Edward roused suspicion among people who believed that it was probably divine retribution against the sudden disappearance of the two young princes Edward V and his brother.

The sudden death of Edward left Richard without an heir. It is said that Richard declared his nephew John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln as his legal heir.

A monument of Edward of Middleham has been erected with an effigy of the child and a white alabaster cenotaph at the Parish Church at Sheriff Hutton.

Effigy of Edward of Middleham at Sheriff Hutton
Effigy of Edward of Middleham at Sheriff Hutton