At Bosworth Field, Richard III was the last English king to be killed in combat; and the battle - on 22 August 1485 - marked the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and the start of a century of Tudor rule.

One of the most important battles in English and Welsh history took place at Bosworth during the 15th century Wars of the Roses.

Prior to the Wars of the Roses, the Plantagenet King Henry VI was married to an ambitious French princess, Margaret of Anjou.

At this time, there was a complex series of rivalries and jealousies at court between powerful noble families.

The Queen and her circle of nobles were known as Lancastrians after Henry’s surname of Lancaster.

The party of nobles - the Yorkists - who opposed the Queen and the Lancastrians was led by Richard, Duke of York, Henry’s cousin, who was also descended from King Edward III and therefore also had a claim to the throne of England.

The weak, sick king was unable to control his ambitious queen on one side, and the Yorkist Earl of Warwick, the ‘kingmaker’, on the other side.

Both sides started to recruit soldiers and prepare for war. Many soldiers had just returned from the Hundred Years War in France, so recruiting trained men to fight was easy. Each side chose a badge: the Red Rose for Lancaster and the White Rose for York.

In 1455, just two years after the end of the Hundred Years War, this dynastic civil war broke out. There was tremendous bloodshed as defeated forces on both sides were brutally murdered by the victors.

By 1483 the Wars of the Roses had seemingly burnt itself out; the Lancastrian faction had effectively been annihilated in 1471 with the death (or murder) of Edward Prince of Wales at the Battle of Tewkesbury and the murder of his father, Henry VI, in the Tower of London.

Only one real claimant remained - Henry Tudor who was descended from Edward III through the marriage of his third son John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster to Katherine Swynford.

By contrast England's Yorkist King, Edward IV, was secure on his throne with two young sons and heirs; 12 year old Edward and 10 year old Richard.

Moreover Edward IV himself was still comparatively young at only 40 years of age, but on 9 April 1483 he unexpectedly died and although his eldest son, the 12 year old Edward, was initially proclaimed as Edward V he was never to be crowned.

The late King's brother - Richard, Duke of Gloucester - saw his nephews declared illegitimate and he was then crowned as Richard III.

But his actions caused significant discontent amongst the aristocracy.

The unknown fate of Edward V and his brother Richard, the two 'Princes in the Tower', also harmed his reputation.

All this led to a rebellion in 1483 which was supported by many former Yorkists. Whilst unsuccessful it effectively drove a number of powerful magnates to Brittany where they joined the 'court in exile' of Henry Tudor.

Early in August 1485 the would-be Lancastrian king, Henry Tudor sailed across the English Channel from France to south Wales with a force of around 2,000 men.

Marching through the Welsh countryside the ranks of the Lancastrian army swelled, until by the time they crossed the border into Shrewsbury their number had more than doubled in size.

On hearing the news of Henry’s landing, King Richard III began to muster his Yorkist army at Leicester. With his royal army now almost 10,000 strong, the king deployed his troops on a hill top, just south of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.

On an adjacent hilltop stood the forces of Henry’s stepfather Thomas, Lord Stanley, with a fairly substantial private army totalling around 6,000 men. In the bloody battle that followed, Stanley elected to simply stand and spectate.

As the battle swayed first one way and then the other, Richard appears to have decided to bring the encounter to a swift end by leading a charge aimed directly at Henry.

On seeing Richard separated from his main force, Lord Stanley finally decided to join the battle on the side of his stepson. After his horse became trapped in boggy ground, the king continued to fight on foot before he was finally overwhelmed.

Richard was the last Plantagenet king of England and the last English monarch to be killed in battle. On seeing their leader’s fate, the Yorkist army abandoned the field.

Richard’s crown was brought to Henry who was proclaimed king on the nearby Crown Hill.

The new Tudor Dynasty would rule England for the next one hundred and eighteen years, until the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.

Richard’s body was interred in a plain unmarked tomb at Greyfriars in Leicester and forgotten about, until it was rediscovered under a car park by archaeologists in September 2012.

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