EDWARD V. (1470-1483), king of England, was the son of Edward IV. and of Elizabeth, and was born in the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, November 4, 1470. As soon as Edward IV. was dead his brother Richard, duke of Gloucester (see RICHARD III.), acting so far in accordance with the late king's wishes, secured possession of the person of the young king, and was appointed by Parliament protector of the realm. He had previously arrested Earl Rivers, the young king's uncle, and Lord Richard Gray his half-brother, and his next step was to accuse Lord Hastings, president of the royal council, of designs on his life, and to have him executed almost immediately afterwards on Tower Green. The way being now cleared for a full declaration of his designs, he caused it to be decided at a meeting of the Lords and Commons that the marriage of Edward IV. had been invalid on account of the existence of a precontract; and, receiving a petition to act in accordance with this decision and assume the crown, he after a very slight reluctance consented to do so. Edward V. and his brother were confined in the Tower. Shortly after it was known that they were dead, but though it was the general conviction that they hail been murdered, it was not till twenty years afterwards that the manner of their death was discovered. Brackenbury, the constable of the Tower, had refused to obey the command of Richard to put the young princes to death, but complied with a warrant ordering him to give up the keys of the Tower for one night to Sir James Tyrrel, who had agreed to provide for the accomplishment of the infamous act. He gave admittance to two assassins hired by himself, who smothered the two youths under pillows while they were asleep.
For Edwards IV. and V. see Green's Short History of the English People, the Houses of Lancaster and York, by James Gairdner, and "König Richard III." in Pauli's Aufsätze zur Englischen Geschichte.