Edward the King
A few quotes might give a misleading impression of Edward IV. Dominic Mancini:
He was licentious in the extreme. Moreover it was said that he had been most insolent to numerous women after he had subdued them, for, as soon as he grew weary of dalliance, he gave up the ladies much against their will to the other courtiers. He pursued with no discrimination the married and the unmarried, the noble and lowly, However, he took none by force.
The Croyland Chronicler also waded in on Edward’s passion for
Boon companionship, vanities, debauchery, extravagance and sensual enjoyments.
Here’s Mancini again.
In food and drink he was most immoderate; it was his habit so I have learned to take an emetic for the delight of gorging his stomach once more. For this reason…he had grown fat in the loins
No one challenges the idea that Edward was a good time king. But Edward was also an active leader and governor. He was immersed in the daily business of governing his kingdom; he fostered trade, brought the royal finances under control. He is also credited with starting towards the direction of the modern state – using the royal household to manage rather than the cumbersome Exchequer and Chancery. Edward was probably not a great innovator; it would be left to the Tudors to create the bureaucracy that serviced the early modern state, but he was a master at the art of medieval kingship – managing his great men and barons, balancing their needs and ambitions, providing confidence and leadership.