| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
EDWARD V.—THE STORY OF THE KING WHO WAS NEVER CROWNED
 WHEN Edward IV. died, his eldest son was only thirteen, but
the people willingly chose him to be King.
The young Prince of Wales, now Edward V., was living at
Ludlow Castle with his uncle, Lord Rivers, when the new of
his father's death was brought to him. He at once set out
for London, accompanied by his uncle and some gentlemen.
On the way he was met by another uncle, Richard of
Gloucester, who was a wicked, hard-hearted man. He sent Lord
Rivers and his friends to prison, and himself took charge of
the young King.
Edward was very fond of Lord Rivers, and was afraid of his
ugly uncle Richard. He cried when Lord Rivers and his
friends were taken away from him. That did no good, but the
poor little King was only a boy, and he did not know what
else to do.
When the Queen heard of what happened, she was so frightened
that she ran away from the palace in which she had been
living, taking her daughters and her other little son, who
was called Richard, with her. She ran to Westminster Abbey
and there took sanctuary, as Hubert de Burgh did, you
remember, many years before, in the days of Henry III.
 The Duke of Gloucester had the young King in his power, but
he was not satisfied with that. He wanted to have Prince
Richard too. Queen Elizabeth, however, would not give up her
little boy, who was only ten years old. And the Duke of
Gloucester, bad though he was, was afraid to take him by
force, because he was still trying to pretend to be a good,
kind uncle to the little boys.
At last the duke sent a bishop to the Queen to try to
persuade her to give up her little son. This bishop said
everything he could think of to make her do so, but all in
"My little boy has been ill," said the Queen; "he is not
well enough yet to leave his mother."
"Ah, lady," said the bishop, "it is not kind to his brother,
the King, to keep him here. They should be together so that
they could play with each other."
"Oh, surely some other little boy could play with the
King," said the Queen. "Little boys,
even if they are kings, do not
ask that their playmates should be princes. I cannot, I will
not, let my little boy go."
"Let him but come to me, and I will guard his life as my
own," said the bishop.
At these words the Queen stood for a long time thinking
silently. It seemed to her as if she must give up her boy
sooner or later. It would be better to give him to
this kind bishop, who would perhaps keep him safe, than to
his wicked uncle.
So, taking the Prince by the hand, she led him to the
bishop. "I know you are faithful and true," she said. "You
are strong and powerful too, and oh, for the trust his
father put in you, I now charge you, guard my boy."
Then kneeling beside her little son, and putting her arms
round him, she held him close to her heart. "Farewell, my
own sweet son," she said. "God give you good
 keeping. Let me
kiss you yet once before you go, for God knows when we shall
kiss together again." Then she kissed him and blessed him,
and kissed him again and again, and at last, crying
bitterly, put him into the arms of the bishop and turned her
face from him. But, weeping as bitterly, little Richard
clung to her and would not go, until the bishop, taking him
strongly in his arms, carried him away.
The bishop led the Prince straight to his uncle, who was
very glad to see him. His ugly face shone with joy as he
took his nephew in his arms and kissed him. "Now, welcome,
my lord," he said, "with all my heart you are right welcome."
King Edward, too, was very glad to see his brother, for they
had been parted for a long time. The duke led them through
the streets with great pomp, and put them into the Tower.
Now that the Duke of Gloucester had both the princes in his
power he began to show his wickedness. He sent to the prison
in which Lord Rivers and his friends were imprisoned and
ordered their heads to be cut off, because he knew that they
were the Queen's friends.
Then he called a council to arrange, he said, about the
coronation. Only a very few lords were asked to this
council. When they were all gathered together he came into
the room seemingly very much disturbed.
"What should be done to people who try to murder me?" he
At first every one was so astonished that no one spoke. Then
Lord Hastings, who was a brave man, and true to the King,
and the Queen, his mother, said, "If any one has tried he
deserves to be punished, whoever he is."
"The Queen has tried with her sorcery," cried the
 duke, "and
others have helped her." And pulling up his sleeve, he
showed his arm which was all puckered and withered.
In those days it was believed that people had power to hurt
their enemies by saying wicked words and rhymes, and wishing
evil to them. It was thought that people could even kill
others who were quite far away, and who they could not even
see nor touch. This was called sorcery. Of course, it was a
very foolish belief, and every one knew that the Duke of
Gloucester's arm had always been withered up, but when he
said that the Queen had done it by sorcery, no one dared to
There was silence in the hall till Lord Hastings said, "If
the Queen has done this—"
"You answer me with ifs and ands," cried the duke, "you are
a traitor. A traitor, I say," and with that he struck with
his hand upon the table.
Immediately soldiers rushed into the room.
"Seize him," he said, pointing to Lord Hastings, "cut off
"My lord," said Hastings, "I am no traitor."
"You are a traitor!" yelled the duke, "and, by Heaven, I
will not dine till I see your head cut from your body. Obey
your orders," he added, turning to the soldiers.
Lord Hastings was hurried away, and, without being allowed
to defend himself, without a trial of any kind, he was made
to lay his neck upon a rough plank of wood which happened to
be at hand, and his head was at once cut off. So another of
the King's friends was dead.
The Duke of Gloucester next made a clergyman, called Shaw,
preach to the people and tell that the little princes were
not really the sons of King Edward IV.
 and his Queen and
that, therefore, they had no right to the throne of England.
"Our true King," said this wicked clergyman, "is Richard,
Duke of Gloucester."Then he waited, expecting every one to
cry out, "King Richard! King Richard!" But there was not a
sound. The people stood as if they had been turned into
stone. Pale and trembling they went away to their homes,
wondering what would happen next. The clergyman, too, went
home. He was so ashamed to have preached such a wicked
sermon that he never again showed himself to the people, and
died soon after.
The Duke of Gloucester was very angry and disappointed when
he heard of the bad success of his wicked plans, but he did
not give them up. He again gathered a lot of people
together, and this time his friend, the Duke of Buckingham,
talked to them. The Duke of Buckingham said much the same
things as the clergyman had said. When the people heard
these wicked lies for the second time, they began to whisper
among themselves, till it seemed as if a swarm of buzzing
bees filled the hall. But not a single person shouted, "King
Then some of the duke's servants and friends came into the
hall, and they shouted, "King Richard! King Richard! Long
live King Richard!" but the cries sounded very feeble, for
they came from only a few.
The Duke of Buckingham, however, pretended that all the
people had shouted for King Richard. He thanked them, and he
and his friends went to the Duke of Gloucester and told him
that the people had chosen him as their King, and were
cheering and shouting for King Richard.
Richard then pretended to be very unwilling to take
 the crown, and only consented to do so after a great deal of
persuasion. This was all a part of his wickedness and
Richard was crowned with much splendour and grandeur. And
poor little King Edward, who had never been crowned at all,
and who had only been called King for a few weeks, was kept
shut up in the Tower of London.
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