Edward IV (1442-1483)

Chosen as king by a segment of the nobility who wanted an end to the inept rule of the Lancastrian Henry VI, Edward IV was tall, handsome and brave; he was also generous, inclined to be trusting and prone to sexual adventures (cf Bill Clinton who he physically resembled). After finding himself in exile when Henry was briefly restored (1470-1) Edward returned to defeat his opponents at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury, making him the most successful general of his time. In his second reign he proved more astute and ruthless, amassing wealth through trade and ruling England through regional power-bases controlled by close friends or relatives. Unfortunately this carefully constructed network fell apart when Edward died suddenly with his heir still a child. Edward's surviving brother, Richard, fearing for his position under a new regime, took the throne, probably killing his nephews as he inevitable price of security.