The Private Life of Edward IV

From the moment it became public news, the validity of Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Widville, the beautiful widow of a Lancastrian knight, was repeatedly called in to question. This alarmed Elizabeth Widville and led her into political killings. She was terrified that she would lose her crown and that her children by the king would never succeed to the throne. But after Edward’s death a bishop publicly announced that he had previously married the king to Lady Eleanor Talbot. As a result, Edward's children by Elizabeth, including his eldest son and heir to the throne, Edward, were then declared illegitimate, making Edward's brother Richard the legitimate heir to the throne. Later, claims were put forward that Edward had numerous mistresses and left behind many illegitimate children.

Dr John Ashdown-Hill, a central figure in the Looking for Richard Project and a renowned Richard III historian with a special talent for getting behind the mythology of history, now turns his attention to Richard's eldest brother, Edward IV. He unravels the complex web of stories around Edward's private life, discussing the truth behind Edward's reputation. Did Edward have numerous mistresses? Did he produce many bastards? Who was his legal wife? And what caused the early death of Eleanor Talbot?

Amberley Publishing, 336 pages

ISBN: 9781445652450


Reader Review

I just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying The Private Life of Edward IV. It makes for compelling reading and clearly shows, once again, just how many myths have been created around the figures of the period. ...

As always, John, you have managed to pull so much important, and hitherto ignored, information together to offer highly plausible scenarios. When I read your books I always feel that I am receiving a very valuable insight; your research is always thorough and impeccable – and it always makes absolute sense.

- Wendy Johnson

The Private Life of Edward IV
By John Ashdown-Hill

Author's Note

In connection with the Itinerary of the King which I published in THE PRIVATE LIFE OF EDWARD IV,  Geoffrey Wheeler of the Richard III Society Committee has kindly sent me the following suggestions in respect of three places which I had not been able to identify for certain:

p. 64 February 1462/3 – ‘Som’ych’ may refer to Someries Castle.

p. 137 March 1470 - ‘Warsop (Notts.)’ is probably Worksop.

p. 156 May 1473 – ‘Killingworth Castle’ refers to Kenilworth.

Click on the image for a printable download of the corrections.

Click on the image for a printable download of the corrections.


The Private Life of Edward IV

If you read this new book, please note the corrections to my text:

p. 12, penultimate paragraph, line 8

p. 12, last paragraph, line 1

p. 70, last paragraph, lines 3 & 4

p. 77, last line


* Please note that Amberley have corrected subsequent editions of the Edward IV book.

Also by John Ashdown-Hill