Edward IV, king of England, died suddenly and prematurely at Windsor castle – perhaps from a stroke, or peritonitis or even a chill caught while on a fishing trip – in April 1483 aged only 40 years. He had enjoyed a relatively successful reign, by the standards of the day, restoring peace after the disordered period of Lancastrian rule and providing his subjects with some much needed stability. Edward IV had been a strong king after 1471, able to control the rival noble factions, but his death opened up a destructive, disastrous Yorkist family feud. The throne should have passed smoothly to his son; Edward V. This however didn’t happen due to his brother, Richard duke of Gloucester wanting the power; Edward changed his will on his death bed so his wishes weren’t clear; his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. On his death a bitter family feud was started.
Edward IV youngest brother, Richard, duke of Gloucester was powerful by himself due to Edward giving him lands in the north; this gave him power, men and was far away from court and London. Richard’s wife Anne Neville’s family owned large amounts of land and power in the north this passed on to Richard, making him stronger and wealthier. Richard could raise an army from his lands this threatened the Woodville family because Richard had the support of the north. He had no opponents with the north and made his own law. Richard also had the support of many nobles loyal to Edward because he had shown his loyalty through the war of the roses; Richard also showed his dedication to England by capturing Edinburgh from the scots. Richard also developed religious patronage, founding collegiate chapels at middle ham and Bernard castle.
In 1475, Edward IV made his first will before he left England to fight the war against France. He arranged for his wife, Queen Elizabeth, to be one of eight counsellors