Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England from 1483 until his death. He was the last king of the House of York and the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the central character of a well-known play by William Shakespeare.
When Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named as protector of the realm for Edward's son and successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. As the new king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met him and escorted him to London, where he was lodged in the Tower. Edward V's brother Richard later joined him there.
A publicity campaign was mounted condemning Edward IV's marriage to the boys' mother, Elizabeth Woodville, as invalid, and therefore rendering their children illegitimate and ineligible for the throne. On 25 June, an assembly of lords and commoners endorsed these claims. The following day, Richard III officially began his reign. He was crowned in July. The two young princes disappeared in August, and there were a number of accusations that the boys were murdered by Richard.