Edward IV: The Yorkist Experiment

  • A. L. Rowse


There could be no greater contrast than that between King Henry VI, a holy and humble man of heart, no good as a ruler, and the young man who took his place at the age of nineteen. Edward IV was not only the handsomest prince, but if anything the handsomest man of his time—so the historian Commines described him after seeing him face to face. He stood head and shoulders above other men, nearly six feet four inches—which gave an even more striking impression then, when medieval people were on the average shorter than we are today. He was broad-chested and well-knit, brown-haired and with a pleasant expression. He was very engaging. As Miss Scofield demurely says, one of his most endearing characteristics was his active desire to give pleasure, which, where the women were concerned, he was well equipped to give. When he was leaving the Netherlands after his exile in 1471 he walked along the road to Flushing instead of going by boat as planned, simply to give the country folk the pleasure of seeing a procession. When enjoying himself at Windsor he invited the mayor and aldermen of London, “for none other errand but to have them hunt and be merry with him.”1 In the first flush of his youth when he was still slender, he must have been irresistible.


Supreme Power West Country Royal House Royal Title Country Folk 
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© A. L. Rowse 1966

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  • A. L. Rowse

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