RICHARD, Duke of York (1472–1483), second son of Edward IV by his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, was born at Shrewsbury on 17 Aug. 1472 (Gent. Mag. January 1831, p. 25). He was created Duke of York on 28 May 1474, and on 15 May 1475 he was made a knight of the Garter (Anstis, Order of the Garter, ii. 194). Before he was quite three and a half years old a project was already on foot for marrying him to Anne, daughter of John Mowbray, fourth duke of Norfolk, in anticipation of which he was, on 12 June 1476, created Earl of Nottingham (one of the titles of his intended father-in-law, who had died in the beginning of the same year), and on 7 Feb. 1477 Duke of Norfolk and Earl Warren, with 40l. a year as Duke of Norfolk out of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and 20l. a year as Earl Warren out of Surrey and Sussex (Pat. 16 Edw. IV, pt. ii. m. 12, Exch. Q. R. Memoranda Roll, Trin. 16 Edw. IV, rot. 9). The marriage was actually celebrated at St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, on 15 Jan. 1478, when both bride and bridegroom were in their sixth year (cf. Sandford, Genealogical History, p. 416). The object of the match was avowedly to provide for a cadet of the royal family out of the lands of a wealthy nobleman whose line was now extinct; and parliament not only ratified an agreement with the Duchess-dowager of Norfolk by which, in exchange for other lands, she gave up a large part of her jointure to the young couple, but enacted that the gift should remain the property of the Duke of York, even if his wife died without issue (Rolls of Parliament, v. 168–70).
On 5 May 1479 Richard was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland for two years, and two days later an instrument drawn up in his name appointed as his deputy Robert Preston, lord of Gormanston. In this document he is styled not only Duke of York and Norfolk and Earl Warren, but also Earl of Surrey and Nottingham, earl marshal, and marshal of England, and lord of Segrave, of Mowbray, and of Gower. On 9 Aug. 1480 his appointment as lieutenant of Ireland was continued by another patent for twelve years more after the expiration of his two years’ term. Being, however, still a child, he remained under his mother’s care till after the death of Edward IV, in April 1483. Next month the queen, his mother, hearing that his brother Edward had been stopped by his uncle Gloucester on the way up to London, took him and his sisters into the sanctuary at Westminster. But on Monday, 16 June, the council, having resolved that he should keep company with his brother in the Tower, she delivered him to Cardinal Bourchier, not without some misgivings, probably, though one writer tells us that she did it with good will. Of course he was not to be regarded as a prisoner; but neither he nor his brother left the Tower again. Their uncle Gloucester usurped the kingdom ten days after he was surrendered [see Richard III], and about two months later they were both secretly murdered by his orders [see Tyrrell, Sir James]. Yet some years afterwards, as the precise circumstances of the assassination remained for a long time unknown, rumours were spread in many countries that he was still alive, and he was successfully personated for a while by Perkin Warbeck [q. v.] [Hist. Croylandensis Continuatio in Fulman’s Scriptores; Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner; More’s History of Richard III; Fabyan’s Chronicle; Excerpta Historica, p. 16; Sandford’s Genealogical History; Nicolas’s Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York and Wardrobe Accounts of Edward IV.]
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 48
Richard (1472-1483) by James Gairdner