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Richard III: The Making of a Legend
show that Richard condoned this attack on his mother's reputation. The fact that he moved into his mother's house at this time rather tends to prove the opposite.
On Monday following Dr. Shaa's sermon, the Duke of Buckingham addressed the assembled Lords and on Tuesday he spoke to the magistrates and chief citizens of London at the Guildhall. The crown, he told both groups, belonged rightfully to Richard of Gloucester. On Wednesday, June 25, a parliament in fact, if not in name, met at Westminster and drew up a petition in which they reviewed the charges relating to the pre-contract and the illegitimacy of Edward's children and implored Richard to take the throne. Their petition was unanimously approved and was formally presented to Richard at Baynard's Castle on the following day. After a show of reluctance, he accepted the petition and the crown. The whole assembly then repaired to Westminster where Richard seated himself on the marble chair of the King's Bench and, on that day, he began his reign. On July 6, in a magnificent ceremony, Richard and Anne were crowned in Westminster Abbey, with virtually every peer and leading citizen in attendance. 
Two weeks after the coronation the new king and queen set out on progress throughout the kingdom, accompanied by many bishops, lords, judges, and household officials, but no armed men. At Gloucester, they were joined by Buckingham, who had remained in London and was now on his way to Brecon. It was to be the last meeting between the king and his chief supporter.
When Richard reached Lincoln early in October he learned, to his great surprise and dismay, that Buckingham had revolted against him. The uprising had begun in the southern and southwestern counties as a Lancastrian and Woodville attempt to put Edward V back on the throne. By the time Buckingham reached Brecon, plans for the rebellion had already been laid. Apprised of the plot, and flattered by the astute Bishop Morton, the duke quickly became involved in the treason. It is quite possible that Morton may have convinced Buckingham, who was descended from Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III, that he had a chance to claim the throne for himself. On the other hand, Morton may have persuaded Buckingham to play the king-maker once more by supporting the claim of Henry Tudor. If Morton adopted the latter course, he no doubt argued persuasively that Tudor's chances of winning the crown were greater than Buckingham's since Henry's mother had great Lancastrian support and his promise to marry Elizabeth of York would gain him the aid and friendship of the Woodvilles and many disaffected Yorkists.
For reasons known only to himself, Buckingham agreed to lend his support to Tudor's cause. The leaders of the revolt already in progress were informed that they could count on the help of Buckingham and his large band of armed retainers. Within days, however, Buckingham and Morton were able to turn the focus of the rebellion from Edward V to Henry Tudor by informing the rebels that both the erstwhile young king and his brother had been put to death in an unknown manner. Whether the two boys were indeed dead at this time is a point of much debate.
On October 15 Richard issued a proclamation declaring Buckingham a traitor and instructing his subjects to take up arms against him. The proclamation forbade any man to injure the person or possessions of any of Buckingham's followers who remained loyal to the king. This worked to the advantage of Lord Stanley, whose wife, the mother of Henry Tudor, was deeply involved in the rebellion, but who chose at this time to remain personally loyal to the king. It was fortunate for Stanley that he did, for the rebellion was a disaster from the moment Buckingham assumed leadership of it. Buckingham's troops, many of whom had been forced to join his army against their will, deserted in large numbers. He was attacked during the march through Wales by bands of men loyal to the king. It was the weather, however, which proved his undoing. A great storm, known to this day as Buckingham's Great Water, arose and washed out roads, bridges, and fields. Morton, sensing that disaster impended, deserted the duke and fled to Flanders to await a better opportunity.
Buckingham, no doubt realizing that he had been used and discarded by the bishop, donned rough work clothes and fled to Shropshire where he sought refuge in the home of a retainer. The enormous price on Buckingham's head put too great a strain on the loyalty of his retainer and Buckingham was turned over to agents of the king. He was brought to Salisbury where, hysterical with fear, he related all the details of the plot and begged for an interview with Richard. His request was denied and on November 2, in the market square, the would-be kingmaker was beheaded. When Henry Tudor, whose fleet was anchored off Plymouth, learned of the fate of Buckingham and the rebellion, he returned to France.
Richard showed great clemency to most of the rebels. Ten of the leaders were executed but many of the others were pardoned. Lady Stanley was deprived of her titles and estates which were given to her husband and she herself was placed in her lord's custody. Both Stanley and Northumberland profited greatly from the confiscated estates of the Duke of Buckingham.
On January 23, 1484, two months after the collapse of Buckingham's rebellion, Richard's only parliament convened at Westminster. Chancellor sell delivered the opening address. In addition to the Titulus Regis, which confirmed the act of the previous parliament settling the crown on Richard, this parliament passed several important pieces of legislation. Benevolences were made illegal and the legal machinery of government was reformed in order to protect the ordinary citizen. These acts, passed at the request of the king and his council, earned for Richard the support of the commons. The nobility and gentry, who had for years been using the law to overawe and prey on the lower classes, were alienated by Richard's insistence on reform. One interesting and probably noncontroversial act passed in this reign strictly regulated the activities of foreign merchants in England. At Richard's request a clause was inserted which exempted any foreigner engaged in the printing, binding, or selling of books. This was the first piece of legislation in England which protected and fostered the art of printing.
Early in March 1484, after Richard had sworn publicly to protect and find suitable husbands for them, the five daughters of Elizabeth Woodville came out of sanctuary. It is probable, though not certain, that Elizabeth joined them. She was given a pension of seven hundred marks a year and each of her daughters was provided with a small dowry. Elizabeth wrote to her son Dorset, who was in Brittany, telling him it was safe for him to return to England. He did, indeed, attempt to return but was captured by agents of Henry Tudor and taken to Paris. Obviously at this time the Woodvilles felt that they had nothing to fear from King Richard.
In April 1484 the royal couple's only child, Edward, Prince of Wales, died at Middleham Castle. Although he had been sickly from birth, his death was a blow from which his parents never fully recovered. On August 21, Richard appointed his nephew, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, as Lieutenant of Ireland, a position traditionally given by the Yorkist kings to the heir apparent.
On March 11, 1485, Anne Neville died, probably of tuberculosis. Almost immediately rumors circulated to the effect that the king planned to marry his niece Elizabeth and that he may have hurried his wife into her grave. It is possible that some people believed that Richard would make Elizabeth his wife in order to undercut Henry Tudor whose bid for Yorkist support was based on his promise to marry the young heiress. At the urging of his councillors,
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