Following Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth, there were several rumours about the whereabouts and fates of important Yorkist children. These rumours provided hope and opportunity for Yorkist loyalists which led to Lambert Simnel becoming a pretender to the throne.
Lambert Simnel’s likeness to Edward IV
In 1486 a rumour spread that the Princes in the Tower were alive. This prompted an Oxford priest, Richard Symonds, to note a supposed resemblance between a local boy called Lambert Simnel and a youthful Edward IV.
He decided to pass Simnel off as one of the missing Princes. Soon after, another rumour spread, that Edward, 17th Earl of Warwick had died.
Lambert Simnel presented as being Edward, Earl of Warwick
Symonds changed his mind and decided that Simnel could pass for the less well-known Edward of Warwick, son of the Duke of Clarence and, attainder excepted, a claimant to the throne.
He promptly set about taking Simnel to Ireland where there were many Yorkist sympathisers. With senior Yorkists such as the Earl of Lincoln and Margaret of Burgundy willing to use the boy as a figurehead, the Irish accepted that he was Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick.
Lambert Simnel crowned King at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin
And so, on 24 May 1487, they crowned him King in defiance of the Tudors who had yet to make any headway into controlling Ireland.
The coronation of the pretender was important to the Yorkist cause. It attracted more men to the army that they were recruiting for the invasion of England.