Edward IV was the eldest son of Richard, Duke of York and Cecily Neville. As England’s King, Henry VI was mentally unstable, the Duke of York had acted as Lord Protector of England. Henry’s weakness and Richard’s claim to the throne had exacerbated tensions between the houses of York and Lancaster, leading to the War of the Roses. In 1460, after Richard took King Henry captive, it was agreed that Richard and his heirs would inherit the throne after Henry’s death. However, the Lancastrian’s made a last-ditch attempt to hold onto power, and Richard died soon after at the Battle of Wakefield.
A few weeks later, 18-year-old Edward consolidated the Yorkist Victory at the Battle of Towton and even though Henry was still alive, was crowned King. He received crucial support from his maternal cousin, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, later known as “The Kingmaker.” However, this alliance faltered when Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, instead of making a marriage alliance with France as Warwick desired. Disappointed in Edward’s lack of pliability, Warwick began to look for a puppet King elsewhere.
Warwick accordingly shifted his allegiance to the deposed King Henry. He also recruited his son in law, George, Duke of Clarence who was also Edward’s youngest brother, by promising to make him King. In 1470, Edward was deposed and fled to the Netherlands while Warwick restored Henry VI to the throne. However, Clarence angered at Warwick’s duplicity, shifted his allegiance back to his brother and aided Edward to regain the throne in 1471.
Warwick was killed in battle, saving Edward the trouble of executing him. However, another close relative needed to die so he could secure his throne. After his defeat, Edward imprisoned King Henry in the royal apartments in the Tower of London. Soon after Edward’s re-ascension, he was killed while at prayer in his private chapel.
Clarence was awarded half of Warwick’s lands as a reward for ultimately supporting his brother. However, the Duke’s ambitions remained unabated. He began to demand more land and power. He was also openly insubordinate towards the King. So, in 1477, Edward had his brother arrested for treason. A show trial followed and in 1478, Edward ordered Clarence’s execution. The Duke was secretly killed in The Tower, by a means never officially revealed. But legend says that he was given a choice of death- and chose to drown in a vat of Malmsey wine, in tribute to his dissolute lifestyle.
Wine, religion, and military might all featured in another Mughal Princes’s quest to wipe out his opposition to the throne.