Richard Grey

Born: 1458?

Died: June 25, 1483

Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England (Age c. 25)

Grey in History

As was the case with his elder brother Thomas, life did not begin well for Richard Grey after his father was killed in 1461 fighting for the Lancastrian army against the Yorkists, the royal house that would soon occupy England's throne. Despite his father's past allegiance to the Lancastrians, Richard and his brother would be elevated in their status when their mother, Elizabeth Woodville, secretly married King Edward IV in 1464. Little is known of Richard Grey's activities during this time period, and he was certainly not as active as his elder brother. He was betrothed to an unborn daughter of William Hastings (a staunch supporter of Edward IV), but this arrangement ultimately fell through, and it is assumed that he went into exile with the king or into sanctuary with his mother during the brief Lancastrian readeption in 1470-71. Once Edward IV and the Yorkists regained the throne, Richard would gain a name for himself as a newly appointed councilor to his new half-brother, Edward, Prince of Wales. Both Richard and his brother Thomas were showered with important positions and lands by their stepfather. and Thomas was even elevated to the level of marquess.

Unfortunately, events would rapidly deteriorate for the increasingly powerful Woodville family after Edward IV's sudden death in 1483. Richard and his uncle Anthony, Earl Rivers, were to accompany the new King Edward V to his coronation ceremony but were intercepted by the Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham (the former of whom was Edward IV's brother and the man he had supposedly named as protector during Edward V's minority reign). At first, it did not seem as if Gloucester meant any harm to the men, but he would eventually seize his nephew the king and arrest Grey, Rivers and Sir Thomas Vaughan for treason against his person. Gloucester attempted to convince the lords to have the men executed immediately, but it was decided, at first, that the men had not committed treason. However, after it became clear that Gloucester intended to put himself on the throne (after imprisoning his two nephews in the tower and bastardizing them), Grey, Rivers and Vaughan were all executed at Pontefract Castle (likely without a proper trial), just days before Gloucester's coronation. Grey could not have been much older than his mid-twenties and died as one of the many victims of Gloucester's tyranny.

Grey in Shakespeare

Appears in: Richard III

Lord Grey appears in Richard III as a minor character who is a supporter of his step-father, King Edward IV. He is arrested and executed along with his uncle, Earl Rivers, and Sir Thomas Vaughan under orders from the Duke of Gloucester.


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