Young Folks' History of England HTML version

23. Edward V, A.D. 1483
Edward IV. left several daughters and two sons—Edward, Prince of Wales,
who was fourteen years old, and Richard, Duke of York, who was eleven.
Edward was at Ludlow Castle—where the princes of Wales were always
brought up—with his mother's brother, Lord Rivers; his half-brother, Richard
Grey; and other gentlemen.
When the tidings came of his father's death, they set out to bring him to
London to be crowned king.
But, in the meantime, the Duke of Gloucester and several of the noblemen,
especially the Duke of Buckingham, agreed that it was unbearable that the
queen and her brothers should go on having all the power, as they had done
in Edward's time. Till the king was old enough to govern, his father's brother,
the Duke of Gloucester, was the proper person to rule for him, and they
would soon put an end to the Woodvilles. The long wars had made everybody
cruel and regardless of the laws, so that no one made much objection when
Gloucester and Buckingham met the king and took him from his uncle and
half-brother, who were sent off to Pontefract Castle, and in a short time their
heads were cut off there. Another of the late king's friends was Lord
Hastings; and as he sat at the council table in the Tower of London, with the
other lords, Richard came in, and showing his own lean, shrunken arm,
declared that Lord Hastings had bewitched him, and made it so. The other
lords began to say the _if_ he done so it was horrible. But Richard would
listen to no _ifs_, and said he would not dine till Hasting's head was off. And
his cruel word was done.
The queen saw that harm was intended, and went with all her other children
to her former refuge in the sanctuary at Westminster; nor would she leave it
when her son Edward rode in state into London and was taken to the Tower,
which was then a palace as well as a prison.
The Duke of Gloucester and the Council said that this pretence at fear was
very foolish, and that the little Duke of York ought to be with his brother; and
they sent the Archbishop of Canterbury to desire her to give the boy up. He
found the queen sitting desolate, with all her long light hair streaming about
her, and her children round her; and he spoke kindly to her at first and tried
to persuade her of what he really believed himself—that it was all her foolish
fears and fancies that the Duke of Gloucester could mean any ill to his little
nephew, and that the two brothers ought to be together in his keeping.
Elizabeth cried, and said that the boys were better apart, for they quarrelled
when they were together, and that she could not give up little Richard. In
truth, she guessed that their uncle wanted to get rid of them and to reign
himself; and she knew that while she had Richard, Edward would be safe,