The War of the Roses ended at Bosworth Field in 1485. The conflict ignited in 1455 between the noble houses of York and Lancaster. By 1483, Richard III of the York clan assumed the throne. However, enemies surrounded him and he spent two years staving off opposition and eliminating royal claimants. Eventually, Henry Tudor landed in England and met Richard in battle. The encounter ended the 30-year civil war, Richard’s life, and the York claim to the throne.
Richard of York became Lord Protector when his brother, King Edward IV, passed away in 1483. Shortly thereafter, he nullified his nephews’ claim to the throne and Edward’s two sons mysteriously disappeared. Their uncle became Richard III and assumed power. He faced opposition and put down one Lancastrian revolt in Henry Tudor’s favor before Tudor finally arrived to steal the throne.
Henry Tudor’s claim to the throne was tenuous. Indeed, Edward IV scoffed at Henry’s right to rule England. Despite the weak claim, Henry landed in England on August 1, 1485. Tudor was certain people would desert Richard III for his banner and made way to London. Richard moved quickly to intercept the usurper.
Richard III met Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field for a climactic battle. Yorkist forces outnumbered the Lancastrians two-to-one. Richard split his forces in three hoping to envelope Tudor. However, his troops struggled and the Earl of Northumberland refused to attack when ordered. A desperate Richard decided to risk everything by charging Tudor directly. He hoped to kill his rival and win the battle.
While Richard moved to destroy Henry Tudor, Thomas Stanley decided to enter the fray. Originally, the Stanleys supported the Lancastrian claims. However, the family switched allegiances in 1459. The current Lord Stanley quarreled with Richard and was Tudor’s stepfather. Richard tried to make peace with Stanley, but failed. Eventually, the king kidnapped Stanley’s son to dissuade him from joining Tudor.
William Stanley’s forces charged Richard’s position. They isolated and surrounded the king. Richard III died a warriors death from a blade to the head. Tudor forces desecrated his body after death. Meanwhile, the late king's forces fled the field as news of their leader's death spread. Shortly thereafter, Henry VII was crowned beneath an oak tree.
The Battle of Bosworth ended the War of the Roses after 30 years. After the conflict, Henry eliminated opposition and propagandized his victory. Meanwhile, Richard III became one of history’s great villains. Shakespeare immortalized Richard as an evil, plotting hunchback. Richard’s corpse disappeared for over 500 years before discovery in 2012. Until the discovery, the battle and elevation of the Tudors has largely been forgotten outside of Shakespeare.