Richard III minimized

Late in the last play, Richard duke of Gloucester had fatally stabbed Henry VI. He and his brothers had stabbed to death the king’s son, his only child, Prince Edward. Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Lady Grey had announced the birth of their son, Prince Edward.  The year is 1471.  This is the Plantagenet brothers’ time, they being the Yorks.  The Lancaster side of this greater Plantagenet family has ruled England since 1400. 

1. Richard duke of Gloucester takes charge.  He sends his brother Clarence to prison. Edward IV is ‘sickly, weak and melancholy.”  Amazingly, the physically disadvantaged Richard woos and wins the Lady Anne, Warwick’s daughter, the wife of the late Prince Edward, the daughter-in-law of the late Henry VI, Richard having killed both of them. The ex-queen Margaret, banned from England, but having never left, lashes out Richard, she being one of few who can stand up to him.

2.  Near death, Edward IV reminisces on the good-times. He soon dies. The Plantagenet brothers’ mother, the Duchess, laments the deaths of three sons, justly in part blaming her son Richard. Lady Grey fears for her son, demanding he be returned to London. Buckingham, an aide to Richard, overhears her cry. 

3. Richard has the young prince “intercepted” on his way to London. He is the Lord Protector of the late Edward IV’s two sons.  The boys are sent to the Tower. The older one, Prince Edward, is the heir to the throne. Richard has Lady Grey’s two brothers executed at Pomfret Castle.  Richard believes the quickest route to the crown is through London’s mayor. Buckingham leads the effort. Richard duke of Gloucester becomes Richard III.

4. Lady Anne is rushed to Westminster to be installed as the country’s queen. Richard III soon reports that Anne is “very grievous sick.”  He now plans to marry the Lady Grey’s daughter, Elizabeth.  Buckingham defers when asked to murder Prince Edward and his brother, both held in the Tower.  Richard III has Buckingham dismissed. Another man kills the boys. Lady Grey agrees to help Richard III win her daughter, confessing “she was not Edward’s daughter.” Richmond with an armada is making his way from France to England.

5. Buckingham is captured and executed. Richard III and Richmond march to war in central England.  A battle begins at Salisbury.  Richard III loses the horse under him. He famously cries “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.” He is soon slain. Henry Tudor (Richmond) accepts England’s crown as Henry VII.  The year is 1485. The reign of the Tudor kings begins.