Edward IV (York) of York
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Edward (York) of York (1442 - 1483)

Edward (Edward IV) "King of England" of York formerly York aka Plantagenet
Born in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Francemap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1 May 1464 in married privately at manor house of bride's father in Grafton Regis, Northamptonshiremap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 40 in Westminster, Middlesex, Englandmap
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Profile last modified | Created 9 Feb 2012
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Preceded by
Henry VI
Edward IV of England
1461 - 1470 Deposed
Succeeded by
Henry VI
Preceded by
Henry VI
Edward IV of England
Restored 1471 - 1483
Succeeded by
Edward V

Contents

Biography

During the Wars of the Roses, Edward of York seized the throne of England from the incumbent Henry VI of Lancaster to become King Edward IV. The Yorkist dynasty did not survive more than two years after his death in 1483.

Throne of England

Edward IV was the eldest son of Richard Duke of York and his wife Cecily Neville. He was born on 28 April 1442 at Rouen in Normandy, where the Duke was then governor. His living siblings were: [1]

Anne Duchess of Exeter - b. 1439
Edmund Earl of Rutland - b. 1443
Elizabeth Duchess of Suffolk - b. 1444
Margaret Duchess of Burgundy - b. 1446
George Duke of Clarence - b. 1449
Richard Duke of Gloucester - b. 1452

By 1454 he was named as Earl of March and was riding with his father at the head of his household troops. [2] By July 1460, at the Battle of Northampton, he was commanding a division of his father's forces in combat.

On 16 October 1460, Richard Duke of York claimed the throne of England by right of his descent from King Edward III's son Edmund of Langley. [3] This claim was opposed by Henry VI's queen Margaret] of Anjou on behalf of her son Edward of Lancaster Prince of Wales. In the ensuing Battle of Wakefield on 3 December 1460, the Duke of York was killed, leaving his claim to his eldest son Edward, who had been stationed in Wales.

At the Battle of Mortimer's Cross on 2 February 1461, Edward met a large force of Lancastrians moving to join Margaret in a march on London. When the sun rose that morning a parhelion occurred, which Edward announced as a divine sign in his favor. After he won that battle, he adopted the "Sunne in Splendour" as his badge. He entered London in triumph on 26 February, and on 4 March he was acclaimed by a "great council" of lords and churchmen as King of England by right of his father's claim. [4]

King Edward IV then took his forces north again, including his cousin and ally Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, whose father had also been killed at Wakefield. They met the Lancastrians on 29 March at Towton in Yorkshire, where Edward asserted his right to the throne by force of arms in what has been called the bloodiest battle of the civil war. The defeated Lancastrians fled the country. [5] Edward was then crowned in London on 28 June at Westminster Abbey.[1] On 12 November 1461, a Yorkist Parliament confirmed him in his title, deposing Henry VI as descended from an illegitimate line and attainting him and his followers. [6]

Marriage and Children

By 1464, King Edward was of age and unmarried, with only his younger brothers as heirs presumptive to the throne. Tradition decreed that he marry a daughter of royalty who would bring him a large dowry and alliances. Instead, perhaps about 1 May of that year, he secretly married Elizabeth Wydeville, widow of a Lancastrian knight, Sir John Grey, more commonly known as the daughter of Richard Wydeville (Woodville), Lord Rivers, and his wife Jacquetta of Luxembourg, widow of John Duke of Bedford. She was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 26 May 1465. The marriage was a major mistake that probably contributed to the downfall of the Yorkist dynasty. Not only did Elizabeth Wydeville bring no great dowry, she brought instead two sons from her first marriage, five brothers, and seven unmarried sisters, all demanding preferment from their new brother the king. [7] They proved greatly unpopular among the established nobility, who considered them parvenus.[8]

The marriage was fruitful, producing seven daughters and three sons: [1]

Elizabeth of York, Queen consort of King Henry VII - b. 11 February 1466; d. in childbed on 11 February 1503. Issue: Arthur Prince of Wales; Margaret Queen of Scotland; Henry King Henry VIII; Elizabeth, died young; Mary Queen of France; Edmund, Edward, Katherine all died young.
Mary of York - b. 11 Aug 1467; d. unmarried on 23 May 1482.
Cecily of York - b. 20 Mar 1469; d. 24 Aug 1507.
m.1 Ralph Scrope, Esq. Annulled with no issue.
m.2 John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles. Issue two daughters, Elizabeth (wife of Thomas Stanley) and Anne (died young).
m.3 Thomas Kyme. No issue.
Edward V - b. 04 Nov 1470; d. young 1483?
Margaret - b. & d. 1472.
Richard Duke of York -b. 17 Aug 1473; d. 1483? He married on 15 Jan. 1477 the orphaned heiress Anne Mowbray, the union being unconsummated due to their tender ages.
Anne - b. 02 Nov 1475; d. 23 Nov 1511; m. Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Issue one son, Thomas.
George of Windsor -b. 1477; d. young March 1479.
Katherine - b. 14 Aug 1479; d. 15 Nov 1527. Married William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon. Issue two sons, Henry, K.G. [19th Earl of Devon, Marquess of Exeter], and Edward, and one daughter, Margaret.
Bridget - b. 10 Nov. 1480; took vows as a nun about 1490; d. 1517.

It is notable that despite his own unapproved marriage, Edward was assiduous in promoting matches with European royalty for his children. None of these ever materialized, and by the time of his death in 1483 all his daughters were still unwed, "in consequence of the vacillating conduct of France, Scotland, Burgundy, and Spain, in regard to England." [9]

Warwick the Kingmaker

Although the term "Kingmaker" does not seem to have been used at the time, Richard Earl of Warwick was Edward's most important ally in taking the throne. However, he appears to have become aggrieved about his place in the new king's administration. At his coronation, when Edward's brothers were named dukes, Warwick was omitted. At the very time when Warwick was in the midst of negotiations with Louis XI of France for the hand of his sister-in-law Bona, daughter of the Duke of Savoy, Edward secretly married Elizabeth Wydeville. In foreign policy, Warwick continued to press for closer relations with France while Edward was growing closer to Louis' enemy Burgundy, culminating in the 1468 marriage of his sister Margaret to Burgundian Duke Charles the Bold. [10] This predictably led to Louis favoring the exiled Lancastrians.

Warwick was also frustrated over the marriage chances for his heirs. His nephew George Neville had been betrothed in 1465 to Anne Holand, heiress of Henry Duke of Exeter, but Elizabeth Wydeville paid 4000 marks to buy her for her own son, Thomas, Marquess of Dorset. His daughters and heiresses Isabel Neville and Anne Neville required husbands, and Warwick wanted the king's brother and heir male presumptive George of Clarence for Isabel, but Edward refused permission for the match, with the strong implication that Isabel was not good enough for a royal duke. Clarence, on the other hand, a young man not yet of age with an excessive sense of entitlement, was eager for the independence and dowry wealth the marriage would produce. [11] On 11 July 1469, the marriage between Clarence and Isabel took place in the Warwick stronghold of Calais. At the same time, Warwick was secretly fomenting rebellion against Edward, issuing a manifesto condemning the "deceitful, covetous rule and guiding of certain seditious persons (Wydevilles)". [12]

Historians are unsure if Warwick initially meant to depose Edward and rule through Clarence as king. [13] In July 1469 at the Battle of Edgcote his forces prevailed and took Edward prisoner, but he had insufficient support among the magnates and was forced to release him. Warwick then, in 1470, made an alliance with Louis XI of France and Margaret of Anjou. Edward fled to his own ally, Charles the Bold, while in England King Henry VI was restored to his lost throne on 3 October. [14]

Regrouping, Edward landed in Yorkshire on 1 March 1471, to an initial unenthusiastic welcome from the English. But his brother Clarence had reconsidered his position and realized that his chances of succeeding Henry VI on the throne were negligible. He led his army on 2 April to join his brother, and they marched to London where supporters joined them, and on 11 April Edward IV retook his throne. [15] On Easter Sunday, 14 April, at the Battle of Barnet in Hertfordshire, Warwick's army was routed and he was killed in the retreat. On the same day, Margaret of Anjou landed at Weymouth with her own army and her son Edward of Lancaster, and headed for Wales, where they had support from the Tudor family. Edward overtook them on 4 May at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. In the resulting rout, Edward of Lancaster was killed. King Edward returned in triumph to London on 21 May and took possession of Margaret of Anjou. Henry VI was killed. The House of Lancaster was decapitated and the House of York again had its crown.

King Edward

The last twelve years of Edward IV's reign were relatively uneventful. While he had been in exile, on 2 November 1470 his son and heir was born. In 1476, he removed the bodies of his father and his brother Edmund from Pontefract, where they were buried after the Battle of Wakefield, to the collegiate church at York seat of Fotheringhay Castle. [16] In 1478 his untrustworthy and incorrigible brother George of Clarence flirted one more time with disloyalty [17] and was executed for treason in the Tower on 18 February. [18] He was buried at Tewksbury Abbey, in the tomb of his wife Countess Isabelle Neville. [19]

By 1475, Edward had decided to emulate his Plantagenet ancestors and invade Louis XI's France in alliance with Brittany and Burgundy. It was a generally popular move in England, and the army he raised was larger than any previous English invasion force. Some sources have suggested that his true purpose was to extort a favorable settlement with Louis. When Edward's ostensible ally Charles the Bold of Burgundy defaulted on his promises of support, Louis Xi made a better offer, and on 29 August the two kings signed the Treaty of Picquigny, which formally ended the Hundred Years War. Louis effectively bought Edward off with a large cash payment, while the Dauphin Charles VIII of France and Edward's daughter Elizabeth of York were pledged in marriage to seal the treaty. By 4 September, the English army had returned to Calais, though not without complaint that it was an inglorious and dishonorable resolution. [20] Once the army had left French soil, Louis's enthusiasm for the marriage alliance diminished; it never took place. [21] Edward was no diplomatic match for the Spider of Europe.

End of the House of York

As he neared his 40th birthday, Edward's health suffered from a lifetime of excess. [22] About Easter of 1483, at Westminster, he fell suddenly ill and died on 9 April. In 1475, before embarking for France, he had made his Will, leaving control of his estate to his queen Elizabeth. On his deathbed, he added a number of codicils, which have since disappeared, although contemporary witnesses claim that he left the governing of the realm under his minor son to his brother Richard of Gloucester. [23] [24]

He was buried with great pomp at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on 20 April. [25] But even before the funeral, his advisors were arguing over the custody of his heir, the 12 year old Edward V. Within months, Edward's sons were dead and his brother Richard on the throne; within two years more, Richard was killed, leaving no heirs to continue the line of York. The Tudor dynasty that followed made sure no possible Yorkist claimants would survive. [26]

Edward IV's biographer Charles Ross sums up his end as "the only king in English history since 1066 in active possession of his throne who failed to secure the safe succession of his son." [27]

Research Notes

Illegitimate Children

Edward IV was well-known to contemporaries for his lechery; he had several mistresses and at least two acknowledged bastard children. When attempting to reconcile his mother to his marriage with Elizabeth Wydville, he is said to have told her, "...(she) is a widow and hath already children, by God's Blessed Lady I am a bachelor and have some too: and so each of us hath a proof that neither of us is like to be barren." [28]

However, the mothers of these children can not be confidently identified despite numerous claims, and several different women have been conflated by sources. The following children have been attested with varying confidence:

Several sources claim that he was acknowledged as Edward IV's son. [29] [30] He bore his father's arms with a baton sinister.

Sources are less confident about the identity of his mother, although there is reason to suppose she might have been Elizabeth Wayte, widow of ___ Lucy. Cokayne [30] claims (with no source given) that he was originally known as "Arthur Waite". In 1528/9 he leased a manor in Titchfield, Hampshire - perhaps once his mother's home - from a Wayte kinsman, where he buried his first wife Elizabeth.[31]

His birthplace and date are not established.

Richardson [32] suggests she may have been an illegitimate daughter of Edward IV married to Thomas Lumley. The connection to Edward appears to be inconclusive, as is the surname Plantagenet. There seems to be no evidence identifying her mother, despite claims that she was Elizabeth Lucy, mother of Arthur Plantagenet.

  • Other Alleged Children

Ross [33] names a daughter Grace, known only as being present at the death of Queen Elizabeth Wydeville in 1492. There is no information about her birth or her mother.

While other children have been alleged and probably did exist, there is no reliable way to identify them as Edward's.

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Weir, Alison. Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. United Kingdom: Random House, 2011.
  2. Ross, Charles. Edward IV, p. 14. Yale University Press, 1997.
  3. "Henry VI: October 1460." Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. Eds. Chris Given-Wilson, Paul Brand, Seymour Phillips, Mark Ormrod, Geoffrey Martin, Anne Curry, and Rosemary Horrox. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005. British History Online. Web. 21 February 2024. Westminster
  4. Ross, p. 34.
  5. Ross, pp. 36-38.
  6. "Edward IV: November 1461." Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. Eds. Chris Given-Wilson, Paul Brand, Seymour Phillips, Mark Ormrod, Geoffrey Martin, Anne Curry, and Rosemary Horrox. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005. British History Online. Web. 23 February 2024. Westminster
  7. Ross, pp. 85 ff.
  8. Mancinus, Dominicus. The usurpation of Richard the Third, C Armstrong, ed. p. 75. Oxford University Press: H. Milford. 1936. p. 75
  9. Croyland, p. 482. p. 482
  10. Ross, pp. 90-92, 104-112.
  11. Crawford, Anne. The Yorkists, pp. 78-82. Continuum, 2007.
  12. Hicks, Michael. Warwick the Kingmaker, pp. 266 & 272-75. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
  13. Ross pp. 116 & 126-138.
  14. "Edward IV: November 1470." Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. Eds. Chris Given-Wilson, Paul Brand, Seymour Phillips, Mark Ormrod, Geoffrey Martin, Anne Curry, and Rosemary Horrox. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005. British History Online. Web. 24 February 2024. 1470
  15. Ross, pp. 165-6.
  16. Fotheringhay - The Mausoleum of the House of York Mausoleum
  17. The Croyland Chronicle, pp. 478-480. London: H G Bohn, 1854. p. 478
  18. "Edward IV: January 1478." Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. Eds. Chris Given-Wilson, Paul Brand, Seymour Phillips, Mark Ormrod, Geoffrey Martin, Anne Curry, and Rosemary Horrox. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005. British History Online. Web. 24 February 2024. Westminster 1478
  19. Crawford, pp. 100-102.
  20. Ross, pp. 205-238.
  21. Croyland, pp. 480-2. p. 480
  22. Mancinus p. 83 p. 83
  23. Mancinus, p. 87. p. 87
  24. Croyland, p. 484. p. 484
  25. Ross, p. 416-418.
  26. Crawford, p. 167.
  27. Ross, p. 426.
  28. Ross, p. 87, n. 1.
  29. Crawford, p. 53.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Cokayne, GE. Complete Peerage, vol. 8, pp. 63-65. London:1932. p. 63
  31. "Parishes: Titchfield." A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Ed. William Page. London: Victoria County History, 1908. 220-233. British History Online. Web. 19 October 2020. [1]
  32. Richardson, Douglas, et al. C.P. Correction/Addition: Thomas Lumley, Esquire (died 1502-3), and his wife, Margaret Plantagenet. (Soc.genealogy.medieval Discussion Group, first post 29 October 2013). SGM Google Groups Link.
  33. Ross, p. 316 n. 2

See also:

  • Oakham Castle Horseshoe [2]
  • Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013); Vol IV, page 129; "Groby 16", Vol. III, pp. 160-161; Vol. V., p. 426, pp. 457-8; "York 13", Vol V, pp. 460-471,
  • Ashley, M (2002). A Brief History of British Kings and Queens, (pp.211-216). Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers. Print.
  • Cawley, C. (2006). "House of York: Descendants of Edmund of Langley." Medieval Lands v3. fmg.ac.
  • Weir, A. (2008). Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books. eBook.
  • Weir, A. (2011). The Princes in the Tower. Random House Publishing Group. Google Books.
  • Wikipedia: Edward IV of England




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Comments: 29

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Hello Profile Managers!

We are featuring this profile in the Connection Finder this week. Between now and Wednesday is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can.

Thanks!

Abby

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
I'm going to be working on this profile now on behalf of the England Project.
posted by Lois (Hacker) Tilton
Edward is better known for his victory at Towton 1461 and many other important events than for an oversized horseshoe gift to Oakham - the profile should reflect the major events in his life more than it does at present
posted by Jeremy Stroud
edited by Jeremy Stroud
Of York-21 and York-1159 appear to represent the same person because: Based on parents names and name of his wife, these two profiles are intended to be the same person and must be merged according to WikiTree policy. Please disregard the death date of before 1700 on Of_York-21 as this is incorrect. Also York is the preferred LNAB according to naming policy.
posted by John Atkinson
Thanks, John, merge now completed.
posted by Michael Cayley
posted on Of York-21 (merged) by Robin Lee
Thanks, Robin, merge now completed.
posted by Michael Cayley
pages 59-61 of a PhD theses by Anna M Duch, History, Univ of York, dated 2016 entitled "The Royal Funerary and Burial Ceremonies of Medieval English Kings, 1216-1509" gives some further insight into the last few days and hours of his life

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/77022468.pdf

also of note perhaps is the report by Mancici suggesting he may have caught what we would call pneumonia - cf e.g. https://www.thewarsoftherosescatalogue.com/post/the-death-burial-and-grave-of-edward-iv?msclkid=73aecc65d0a011ecaaac4e6b50a40fe8

i post these only because little has been written in the Biogrpahy about his death, perhaps to avoid controversy, whereas there seems to be little need to fear any, so long as no one writes he was possibly murdered by Richard III

posted by Jeremy Stroud
Plantagenet-1753 and York-1159 appear to represent the same person because: based on son, this is intended to be the same person. Please ignore the dates on -1753, the member used these dates to avoid the necessary certification for Pre-1500
posted by Robin Lee
I bet this rumour came from the Lancastrians or the Tudors who were masters at propaganda
posted by Roger Churm
Several comments have mentioned speculation as to whether Edward was illegitimate. here's an article from History Files making the case that he was legitimate: Was Edward IV Illegitimate?: The Case for the Defense
posted by Chase Clift
For info: a new blog posted on History of Parliament Online discusses Edward and the battle of Mortimers Cross: HPO
posted by Traci Thiessen
Source: Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume V, page 206 TUDOR 14.

Children of Henry VII Of England, by Elizabeth Plantagenet:

  • continued from comment before ...
ii. Margaret Tudor, born 28 (or 29) Nov. 1489. She married (1st) James IV, King of Scotland; (2nd) Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus; (3rd) Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven.
iii. Henry Tudor (Henry VIII Of England) ....
iv. Elizabeth Tudor, born 2 July 1492, died 14 Nov. 1495.
v. Mary Tudor, born 18 March 1494/5. She married (1st) 9 October 1514 Louis XII Of France, King of France. They had no issue. She married (2nd) privately shortly after 4 Feb 1514/5 and publicly 13 May 1515 (as his 3rd wife) Charles Brandon. They had one son, Henry, and two daughters, Frances and Eleanor. His wife, Mary, Dowager Queen of France, died 25 June 1533. He married (4th) Katherine Willoughby. They had two sons, Henry, [Duke of Suffolk] and Charles [Duke of Suffolk]. By an unknown mistress (or mistresses), he had one illegitimate son, Charles, and one illegitimate daughter, Frances (wife of Andrew Billesby).

Thank you!

Source: Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume V, page 206 TUDOR 14.

Henry Tudor was born 21 (or 28) Jan. 1456/7. He married 18 Jan. 1485/6 Elizabeth Plantagenet (also known as Elizabeth Of York), eldest daughter of Edward IV, King of England, by Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Wydeville. She was born 11 Feb. 1465/6.

Children of Henry VII Of England, by Elizabeth Plantagenet:

i Arthur Tudor, married Katherine Of Aragon. They had no issue. Arthur, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, died at Ludlow Castle, 2 April 1502. Arthur's widow, Katherine, married (2nd) his younger brother, Henry Tudor (afterwards Henry VIII, King of England).
  • children continue in next comment
Michael's comment on the doco he watched is intriguing. Cecily's "affair" and Edward's alleged illegitimacy were used for character building in ...I think in the "White Rose" on Starz. I don't think they ever mentioned it was an "archer" in the mini-series ... but I'll have to rewatch it now:)
posted by [Living Ogle]
In a documentary from 2004 called 'Britain's Real Monarch,' hosted by Tony Robins, it's stated that Edward IV was not the son of Richard 3rd Duke of York. But was in reality the illegitimate son of an English archer named 'Blaybourne.' The documentary even states Edward's mother, Cecily Neville, herself signed a document stating Edward was illegitimate. The Royal descent should have been by way of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, whose direct heir is todays Simon Abney-Hastings, 15th Earl of Loudoun; (and Rightful King of England). This in effect makes all titles and land grants granted by the English Monarchy since 1461 to this very day invalid, spurious, improper and illegitimate. The documentary can be seen for free on YouTube. - Michael D. Barnes
posted by [Living Barnes]
I put the wikilinks in the big list of children, which is common on wikitree and particularly useful in this case because there are children not in wikitree, and it would be good to make it easy for editors to see that so they can work on it. Mary is especially an interesting case for genealogy because her descendants can be traced into modern times.
posted by Andrew Lancaster
Should LNAB for Edward IV (York-1159), (1442 - 1483) be Plantagent?

"Royal Ancestry" D. Richardson, 2013, Vol. V. p. 460.

EDWARD IV PLANTAGENET, 4th duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 10th Earl of Ulster, etc. 2nd but eldest surviving son and heir. born 22 dec. 1445.

Thank you!

York and Lancaster are Cadet Branches of the House of Plantagenet. I've always believed that John "of Gaunt" should be listed as LNAB Plantagenet but as Lancaster. The use of Plantagenet has some doubts in the first place. Royals did not use Surnames, still don't, really. In the cast of Edward IV, he's several generation from the founding of the House of York. If the War of the Roses had finalized by the Houses of Lancaster and York re combining to Plantagenet, I could, maybe see Edward IV as Plantagenet. Although the marriage of Henry VIII Tudor and Elizabeth of York marked the end of the War of the Roses, the House of Tudor was the result.
posted by John Akard III

Rejected matches › Edmund (York) of York (1443-1460)

This week's featured connections are from the War of the Roses: Edward IV is 4 degrees from Margaret England, 4 degrees from Edmund Beaufort, 3 degrees from Margaret Stanley, 6 degrees from John Butler, 4 degrees from Henry VI of England, 4 degrees from Louis XI de France, 2 degrees from Isabel of Clarence, 6 degrees from Thomas Fitzgerald, 1 degrees from Richard III of England, 3 degrees from Henry Stafford and 7 degrees from Perkin Warbeck on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.