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Edward, prince of Wales

Edward, prince of Wales (1330–76), known as the ‘Black Prince’. He was, both for contemporaries and later generations, one of the great chivalric heroes, though his reputation does not stand up to close inspection in all respects. The eldest son of Edward III, he was made earl of Chester in 1333, duke of Cornwall in 1337, and prince of Wales in 1343. In 1362 he became prince of Aquitaine, becoming a virtually independent ruler there. He was a great soldier. His career began at Crécy, where he fought bravely, and the notable victories of Poitiers in France (1356) and Najerá in Spain (1367) mark him out as one of the best medieval commanders, a man of ability and charisma. The brutal sack of Limoges in southern France (1370) is the one blemish on his military reputation, though it can be excused in strict legal terms. He was less skilled as politician and ruler than as a soldier; his venture into Spain was unwise, and his extravagant and harsh rule in Gascony alienated some of the most influential nobles there. His policies contributed to the reopening of the Hundred Years War in 1369. In England the administration of his lands was efficiently centralized, but overly harsh. In 1362 he married the celebrated beauty Joan of Kent in a love match; a more statesmanlike man would no doubt have used marriage as a diplomatic tool. Disease forced him to return to England in 1371, and ruined his last years. In 1376 he predeceased his father, leaving his young son Richard as heir to the throne.

Michael Prestwich

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Edward, prince of Wales

Edward, prince of Wales (1453–71). The heir of Henry VI, Edward spent most of his life in exile in France. In 1470 his prospects were transformed by the restoration of his father. Six months later, he returned to England only to find that Henry VI had been deposed once more by Edward IV. His army was intercepted and defeated at Tewkesbury on 4 May. He was probably killed in flight from the field. His death sealed the fate of his father. A description of him as eager to display his prowess in the field suggests that he was more like his famous grandfather than his unfortunate father.

Anthony James Pollard

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Edward, prince of Wales

Edward, prince of Wales (1476–84), was the only child of Richard III by his marriage to Anne Neville. He was born at Middleham castle (Yorks.), made earl of Salisbury in 1478, and at Richard's second coronation at York in September 1483 was created prince of Wales. In January 1484 Parliament confirmed his place in the succession. Two months later, he died at Middleham, leaving his parents at Nottingham almost mad with grief, according to the Croyland chronicle. He was buried at Sheriff Hutton in Yorkshire.

J. A. Cannon

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