This isn’t just meant as posturing. It’s a legitimate question, and an interesting one. The far, far more interesting question, however, is who didn’t say that he did it. This has been called the negative evidence – the conspicuous lack of positive evidence – and it is compelling.
It is often reported that the boys disappeared from public view late in the summer of 1483. This appears to be one of the few accepted, undisputed facts in the case. Even at this early stage, their fate was a matter of much gossip and it was, in the main, reported as just that – rumour and gossip. King Richard attracted attention, but so too did the Duke of Buckingham, as the below chronicle shows.
The eldest Prince, Edward, was also under the care of his physician, Dr John Argentine. The final glimpse of the boys within the historical record is the doctor’s assertion that “the young king, like a victim prepared for sacrifice, made daily confession because he thought that death was facing him.” This is often taken to mean that Edward feared his uncle was planning to do away with him, but could equally mean that he feared the medical condition he was receiving treatment for may claim his life. It is telling that Edward fears for his life, but makes no mention of his younger brother, Richard.
This, for me, is where the historical record becomes most interesting precisely because it is silent. It may be understandable that during the reign of King Richard III he would prefer to have them forgotten, whatever their fate, but he held on to the throne for only two years. After the Battle of Bosworth, King Henry VII ushered in a new, tentative Tudor regime. Had Henry found the boys alive and well, he would have uncovered a real problem. He had sworn to marry their sister, Elizabeth of York, to unite the Houses of York and Lancaster. In order to do this, he had to re-legitimise all of the children of King Edward IV. In doing so, he would hand the strongest claim to the throne in the kingdom to Edward if he were alive. Much of Edward IV’s loyal support, which Henry had co-opted against Richard III, would most likely return their might their former master’s heir. It would therefore be in Henry’s interest for them not to be found alive.
Upon taking the throne, Henry VII never once laid the blame for the death of the Princes at King Richard’s feet. In fact, he never laid the blame at anyone’s feet. He never said an official word about them. It would have been so easy for him to state that they were dead, King Richard had done it and now Henry had avenged the evil deed. Odd, then, that he should choose to remain silent about their fate, even during the Perkin Warbeck affair when the spectre of Prince Richard reared its head to threaten him.
Fascinating too is the failure of Elizabeth of York during her nearly twenty years as queen consort to put her brother’s fate to bed. She had been in sanctuary in 1483 but the following year rejoined the court of King Richard. If she felt constrained from speaking out at that time, why not condemn her uncle for the murders of her brothers after he was gone and she was free from his control? Surely her new husband would have welcomed any attempt she may have made to blame Richard.
Perhaps the most unlikely keeper of the secret was Elizabeth Woodville, queen to King Edward IV and mother to the two lost boys. She too spent over a year in sanctuary with her daughters when Richard stole the throne from her son. She too rejoined his court in 1484, under his protection. In itself, it is strange that she would hand not only herself but all of her remaining children over to a man who had allegedly killed her sons. Yet after 1485, she too would have been free from any threat Richard held over her and who would have had more cause to berate the dead king for his murdering ways? She too said nothing. Eventually she was sent to Bermondsey Abbey in 1487 where she died five years later still never having accused Richard of anything. As an aside, is it possible Henry stripped her of her lands and sent her to Bermondsey because she threatened to produce the boys and oust Henry?
Sir James Tyrell is the man most often held to have had the deed done for King Richard, allegedly confessing and offering names when he was arrested for treason in 1502. Examination of the historical record shows that Sir James, in fact, never confessed to the murder, nor was he apparently questioned about it. I have found a reference to Henry VII touting the suggestion of blaming Sir James to an ambassador once, but when it was not well received, he dropped the matter.
This account of the boy’s death seems to have firs been formulated by Sir Thomas More in his infamous History of King Richard III. He may have picked up the negative image of Richard during his time in the household of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and perennial thorn in Richard III’s side, yet he too reports only rumour, gossip and that ‘people said’ Richard killed the boys. Even the architect of Richard’s evil reputation could not bring himself to categorically say that he did it. It is interesting too that More never published the work. His nephew completed and published it after Sir Thomas’s death. Did More never mean to condemn Richard? That is a whole other story!
The first definite, unequivocal, explicit, unambiguous finger pointing is contained in Shakespeare’s play about the hunchbacked study in evil. Even this, though, presents issues. If we consider the play’s meaning to a contemporary audience, new light is shed upon the bard’s willingness to vilify the last Plantagenet king. Elizabeth I was ageing and had no heir. She was also refusing to name her successor. The play was written around the early 1590’s, when the Queen’s long serving advisor Sir William Cecil was also ageing. His son, Robert Cecil, was being fashioned to take his father’s place. The Cecils were not popular. They were trying to convince Elizabeth to name James VI of Scotland as her heir and this was not a popular policy. The fascinating fact here is that Robert Cecil was, without doubt, a hunchback. Not a man with of scoliosis, a hunchback. Was Shakespeare, then, less concerned with telling his audience exactly who Richard III was and what he did than with providing a moral tale for the country, perhaps even for the Queen, about the perils of relying on a scheming, unpopular hunchback and of failing to secure the succession? It was precisely that uncertainty that had put the Tudor’s on the throne and it now threatened to end their time in power too, sending the country into uncertainty.
The joy of writing about this kind of history is that we may never know the entire truth. I may have made wild assumptions, adding two and two together to make ten. Or I may have just hit the nail on the head. It’s interesting though, isn’t it?
Matthew has recently released The Wars of the Roses: The Key Players in the Struggle for Supremacy which details the course of the civil wars that made and broke families and can be found at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wars-Roses-Players-Struggle-Supremacy-ebook/dp/B0155CR1BS
Matthew is also the author of a brief biography of Richard III, A Glimpse of King Richard III along with a brief overview of the Wars of the Roses, A Glimpse of the Wars of the Roses.
Matt’s has two novels available too; Loyalty, the story of King Richard III’s life, and Honour, which follows Francis, Lord Lovell in the aftermath of Bosworth.
Matt can also be found on Twitter @mattlewisauthor.
54 thoughts on “King Richard III – Who Said He Killed The Princes In The Tower?”
Very well thought through! Though Richard was ASKED by Parliament to take throne once Stillington spilt the beans and they knew the princes were illegitimate.
There are some questions which form stumbling blocks to most scenarios.
1) Why did Eliz Woodville reconcile with Richard?
2) Why did Richard pay Tyrell an enormous sum of money at Guisnes of not to smuggle a prince away from England?
3) Why didn’t Henry have Tyrell, Dighton investigated immediately if he thought the princes had been killed?
4) Why did Henry keep Warbeck at court if he thought he wasn’t a prince?
5) Why did Marg of York and Maximilian put so much effort into pretenders if not for a prince?
I’d love your feedback on these.
Thank you for the comment.
The trouble with believing that Richard had the Princes killed (or that they died at all) is, as you state, the number of things that don’t quite add up.
Your questions are fascinating ones. Firstly, Elizabeth Woodville’s emergence from sanctuary after a year is problematic if one asserts the Richard had killed her sons. It is made more problematic when considering that she brought all of her daughters to Richard’s court with her. Because England was not subject to Salic law like France, Edward IV’s daughters could inherit in the absence of sons, so Richard would have needed to remove all of these threats if he was to remove any. He promised his nieces fitting marriages and safety and Elizabeth clearly believed him enough to trust him with her remaining children. Did he produce the Princes to allay her fears?
The money paid to Tyrell, and indeed his move to Guisnes can be read two ways. The money could have been part of a bribe to Brittany to secure Henry Tudor – Richard was trying to bribe Landlais there. Tudor fled to France before Tyrell arrived so the bribe would never have made a return. Richard may have wanted Tyrell in Guisnes to keep an eye on the Tudor situation. He was trusted beyond measure by Richard and may have been there looking for an opportunity to seize Tudor. Alternatively, he may have taken one or more of the Princes overseas, perhaps to their aunt Margaret in Burgundy. He may not have taken them permanently (or at all) at this point, but could have been laying foundations for them, with Richard providing for them financially at his sister’s court. Tyrell’s almost exile in Calais may have been part of this scheme too.
I don’t think that Henry VII ever believed Tyrell and Dighton killed the Princes, at least not on Richard’s behalf. When they were arrested for treason, it was for aiding Richard’s de la Pole nephew, not murdering the boys. Tyrell never confessed to the murder, Henry simply touted the idea of saying that he did. Thomas More claims there were rumours Tyrell and Dighton did the deed at Richard’s behest, but also stated that Dighton was alive and well and living free in London at the time he wrote (around 1513) – a strange fate for a murderer of Princes and the king’s brothers-in-law? Tyrell’s fall for other reasons probably provided a convenient Yorkist loyalist to blame. It was a month after Prince Arthur died and Henry’s succession suddenly looked shaky. If the Princes were still around, fear may have caused Henry to put them to bed (metaphorically?!).
Henry kept Warbeck alive in the Tower for a while before concocting a story of an attempted escape with the Earl of Warwick and executing them both. Warbeck’s story was convincing to many and hard to judge at this distance. His campaign would have been the perfect moment for Henry to ‘discover’ that the Princes were already dead, so Warbeck couldn’t be one of them. Yet he did not do it. Lambert Simnell is as fascinating. He was kept alive too, a king’s falconer to Henry VIII by the 1520’s. A strange way to treat a nobody boy.
Margaret of Burgundy had clear cause to want to imbed herself as a painful thorn in Henry’s side. She could easily have coached and lied about the pretenders just to cause trouble and destabilise the man who stole the crown from her family and killed her last surviving brother. Maximilian too had an interest in upsetting Henry Tudor who was pursuing a union with Spain rather than the Habsburgs. Then again, it is just as possible, if the earlier foray by Tyrell was for the Princes, that they were genuine and Henry fabricated identities to discredit them. It was certainly far easier in those days than now!
I find all of this fascinating because so much of the myth that we think we know is not actually even true and because we will probably never know the truth.
As an aside, on the subject of James Tyrell, when Elizabeth Woodville emerged from sanctuary Richard gave her a pension of 700 marks a year and installed her in a country house. Tyrell family legend goes that Sir James used his manor at Gipping to entertain Elizabeth and her sons. Could this be the manor Richard installed her in to allow contact under Sir James’s trusted supervision? It’s also interesting the Tyrell was granted a royal pardon for unspecified offences on 16th June 1486 and another, precisely one month later on 16th July 1486. Does this relate to murdering the Princes for Henry, or perhaps to ensuring their continued security and safety under Henry’s control without incurring his wrath?
Thank you for the fascinating questions. I hope these answers are of interest. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you Matthew for your detailed reply. I have been giving a series of talks on Edward IV, Richard, Princes, Pretenders etc and find whenever I think I can make sense of it all, I hit a stumbling block question about someone’s behaviour. This then keeps me hooked and trying.
I am currently caught between Margaret Beaufort persuading Buckingham to take the throne before Buckingham’s Rebellion, needing to kill the Princes first, (doing the job for Henry) and at least one of the Princes being sent to Burgundy, surfacing either as Warbeck or waiting safely in the wings for Warbeck clear his way.
The one thing in your reply that differs from my information is Lambert Simnel. My information is that the 17 yr old Simnel transformed into a 10 yr old Simnel after the Battle of Stoke. The reason for this was that Henry’s agents couldn’t find the 17 yr old on the battlefield and Henry needed a body.
I hadn’t heard that about Simnell. He was crowned Edward VI in Ireland in preparation for taking the throne so they must have believed there that he was the Earl of Warwick, who was 12 at the time. Simnell was put to work in the kitchens and the last record of him was keeping hawks for Henry VIII in the 1520’s.
I’m fascinated by the notion that they survived. There is little evidence of their death and fascinating hints at their continued existence. As you say though there are glaring issues with almost any theory. I think that’s part of what makes it so fascinating.
How have the talks gone? I am currently considering doing something similar and would be interested in any advise you might have!
My series of 6 talks started with Henry VI, Duke of York etc through Edward IV, reigns 1&2, Richard, Henry &’Pretenders’ ending with Tower bones and different scenarios of what happened to Princes. People were great and I managed to get them to view Richard with an open mind, as if they’d never heard of him before. I put people in small groups at the end of each talk where they tried to work out answers to questions I put to them. That was fun!
Re Simnel, my research showed variations re his age at Stoke from 10-17. Would a 10yr old be at a battlefield? Just not enough info on him?
I’m coming to London April 23-28. If you live there, I’d enjoy meeting up to discuss ideas further, if you want to. If not, that’s fine too.
The talks sound great. I’m glad they went down well. I’m afraid I’m nowhere near London but if you’re there on holiday I hope that you have a great time. The Battle of Stoke is approaching in my next book so it will be interesting to see what I turn up re Lambert Simnell.
Matthew, we certainly could do with some clarification about this elusive character.
I think the bodies discovered in the reign of Charles II are the princes in which case they died during Richard’s reign, but because decaying flesh smells, must have been buried much later under Henry VII. That makes Buckingham removing them and killing them, possibly with the approval of Henry’s friends most likely. I have written of this here http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/richard-iii-murder-of-princes-in-tower.html
An interesting article. I don’t believe that the bones found in the Tower were those of the Princes. They were found during building work and left on a heap for several days. The bones examined in the 1920’s were a mixture of human and animal bones. They could not tell whether the bones were related to each other at that time and although they aged the skeletons that they had, they did not even sex them. Also, if the basis for believing them to be the Princes is More’s tale, then it is heavily flawed. Tyrell never confessed to the murder. Henry VII suggested to an ambassador that he was thinking about circulating that story and was firmly advised not to. More states that Tyrell buried the bodies at the foot of the stairs, then moved them, so they would not be at the foot of the stairs any longer. Also, the bones were found under the outside stairs to the White Tower. Digging a deep trench to bury two bodies in the middle of the busy Tower would surely attract attention, never mind digging them back up and moving them.
The bones could come from any period during the history of the Tower or even before. They could be the remains of Bronze Age children for all that we really know. DNA testing and modern carbon dating would doubtless help, but the Queen will not permit it. Even if they were the boys, that still wouldn’t answer the question of who killed them…
Personally I agree with your comment. I think that Henry V11 and the Duke of Buckingham could have been the culprits not Richard 111. But I think I am right in saying that Buckingham lead a rebellion against Richard and was executed before the battle of Bosworth took place. So if this is true the Princes where most likely murdered before the end of Richard’s reign.
Yes Carole Heath I agree with your comment. Buckingham could have had the Princes murdered before Richard was killed at Bosworth. He lead a rebellion against Richard and went over to the Lancastrian cause in 1485. He had been a stanch supporter of Richard’s and some say he was one of the main protagonists in helping Richard to become King. He had a high status during Richard’s reign and he most likely had the power to have the Princes murdered I think.
I think I have a found the answer to your questions – why the princes disappeared in 1483 and why Henry VII did nothing to investigate it. I go into it in my book Tudor: The Family Story, but I have also written an article for the October 2013 issue of BBC History magazine which is now out. Hope you enjoy it if you see it.
I have just read David Baldwin’s The Lost Prince and found it answered several crucial questions for me. The biggest brick wall question I had was ‘why would E. Woodville support the Warbeck rebellion which would depose her daughter unless Warbeck was her son, Richard?
But if Prince Richard was Richard of Eastwell as Baldwin opines, then my question makes sense. Warbeck takes all the risks and if successful, is then replaced by the real prince.
What is your opinion of The Lost Prince and R of Eastwell being the real Prince Richard?
I love that book. Very compelling story. The survival of one or both of the Princes is not often talked about but every bit as likely as their deaths.
If Richard 111 did have his nephews killed which I doubt. This was not anything unusual for those times I don’t think. Get rid of the opposition which the boys would most likely have been to Richard when they grew up especially the older one. Sadly their murders where worst as they where two young innocent people. If you look at history it is littered with historical who-done its. And you only have to look at Richard 11 who I believe was deposed by Henry Bollingbroke later Henry 1V and Richard’s death in prison later on. But I personally think that Richard 111 did not kill his nephews I think it was either Henry V11 or Henry Duke. of Buckingham who had them murdered. Perhaps the Queen will not allow the DNA tests on the boys bones which I think are those of the princes in the tower it might throw up some evidence as Tony Robinson TV programme on the princes sometime ago that the residing Royals don’t have a claim to the throne anyway.
Yes you maybe right Carole about the DNA and the residing Royals. But the Royals today are from house of Hanover starting with George 1 although you are on the right track most of the Royal houses in Europe are all related in one way or another.
As Matt has pointed out, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Princes were murdered at all. It’s far more likely that one or both survived, and there are many stories to that effect – some more believable than others. So it’s pretty redundant to speculate on who murdered them, since they may well not have been murdered.
I personally don’t believe they were: I think Richard, persuaded they were illegitimate, spirited them away from the Tower to live in obscurity under his protection (maybe under the care of Tyrrel). This would make far more sense given what we know of his character, his piety, and his relationship with his brother while alive, and with Elizabeth Woodville and her daughter after his accession; also what we know of the Warbeck and Simnel stories. However, I’m inclined to believe that Prince Richard died a natural death as he was in very poor health by the 1380s.
There is an alternative theory for their survival which provides some compelling or at the least intriguing evidence – see my post below.
I think there is very little chance the bones in the urns are those of the Princes, for a number of reasons which have been closely argued in books and online. The Queen’s son Prince Edward has long been arguing for the bones to be tested, and maybe one day when his brother is King, this might happen. I hope so since I’m convinced it will help dispel the Tudor myths and slanders.
Interesting to hear of yet another atrocious death at the hands of my ancestors: The Tyrrels. Ah, we were such amazing people back then! Killed a king, claimed lands and treasure all throughout the crusades, and now this. Good thing Roger crossed the pond when he did, or I don’t know what would have become of us.
Richard iii had a good reason to kill the princes, regarding I am neutral on this, but still if Buckingham HAD killed the princes, he needed Richard’s permission to commit the deed, for the leutenant of the tower was completely loyal to the king. I don’t think Richard is absolved at all. And probably the only reason Henry did’nt touch the topic of princes murders was because he was afraid that it would start a similar cult, as happened in the case of Henry vi who had become a saint in the eyes of people. I dont think Richard was entirely innocent.
On the contrary, Richard had no reason to kill the Princes. They had been declared illegitimate by Parliament and all the Estates of the Realm, so were no longer eligible to take the crown of England.
And an Act of Parliament had declared so – Titulus Regius, the very Act for which Henry VII tried to destroy every remaining copy and record! People ignorant of how the crown related to Parliament keep forgetting that Richard was PETITIONED to become king, as he was now the legitimate heir to the throne. He did NOT seize it, nor did he take it by force of arms.
If you think the Dukes, Earls, Bishops and other members of the King’s Council and Parliament could be forced by Richard to offer him the throne, you are misunderstanding the situation. The English succession could be settled by Parliament – and in this case was – and could not be settled without their consent.
Everybody keeps offering the argument that Elizabeth Woodville never would have reconciled with the murderer of her sons so she must have believed Richard innocent. Everyone keeps forgetting about her older son Richard Grey who was executed by Richard. Whether or not Richard killed the princes is something that will be debated to the end of time. But Elizabeth Woodville’s reconciliation is just a sign that she did what she thought was right to survive, not a sign that she didn’t believe he killed her children, as she was quite obviously able to overlook her other son’s killing. Unless you are trying to suggest that for her Richard Grey did not matter as much as her younger sons.
Hi. Thank you for your comment. I agree with your point, but the difference between Richard Grey and the daughters of Edward IV was their blood. Elizabeth must have loved her two Grey sons as much as her other children but the real issue was the killing of Edward IV’s heirs. The Grey boys could never have been a threat to Richard nor could they ever have brought freedom back to Elizabeth. The only ones capable of that and known to still be alive were her daughters.
The real issue is that even after 1485 Elizabeth made no effort to accuse Richard of killing the princes nor is there any record of masses being said for their souls. If she felt restrained from accusing him whilst he was still alive, why did she keep quiet after his death, particularly when such an accusation would make her daughter and son-in-law more secure on the throne.
I know that there is an argument that Henry may have sought to avoid a cult growing up around them but they were not his enemies, Richard was. Would their mother have risked there immortal souls to save her son-in-law from a possible but unproven threat?
I don’t know the answer to that and it is the ability to discuss the possibilities that fascinates me about this period. You may well be right, but we will probably never know for certain.
Richard III also had her brother Anthony killed.
There has been quite a bit of discussion on the Richard III Society forum, with supporting documentary evidence that I don’t have to hand, that the Wydvilles did in fact plan to have young Edward crowned and declared of age before even notifying Richard of his brother’s death and also planned to have Richard killed before he reached either his nephew or London. Rivers’ guard was composed of over 6000 men and heavy weapons, including the new cannons. Richard’s escort was some 300 men. Thanks to Hastings, Richard was able to surprise them and take control of the situation, finding the large number of stockpiled weapons to boot. As Constable of England, as well as Protector, Richard was fully within his legal rights to arrest those who sought to circumvent his brother’s will for the Protectorship. (To threaten the Protector was historically considered an act of treason.) The Constable had the right to summary judgment, but those arrested were given trials, however brief, before being executed for treason.
Richard was Constable of England and had the right of summary judgment: he could have had them legally executed on the spot. Instead, they did get somewhat of a trial; having been caught red-handed committing treason the verdict was a foregone conclusion. Anthony Wydville, Lord Rivers, and his nephew Richard Grey were arrested by The Lord Protector and taken North. There they were tried for High Treason a few weeks later by the Earl of Northumberland and beheaded at Pontefract Castle. Rivers’s last act was to make Richard the executor of his will, knowing that Richard was a fair man. The knew the game they were playing, and knew that they had lost. (At least for the nonce.)
When she heard of Anthony’s arrest, Elizabeth Wydville ran with as much of the royal treasure that she could carry to the Archbishop’s house at Westminster (they had to break down a wall to get it all in) and claimed sanctuary. Even earlier, at Edward’s death, she had sent much of the coinage to sea with her brother Edward; this money was never recovered. She was a political creature almost until her death, when her son-in-law Henry VII gave her a secret funeral. When Edward IV’s tomb was opened, Elizabeth’s bones were strewn across the top of his coffin as the one Henry provided her was of such poor quality it had completely disintegrated.
A fascinating piece of information, of which I was not aware. I’d like to incorporate at least some of this into the ever-evolving script of THE TRIAL OF RICHARD III.
Thanks for that, Laura
Laura’s information about the Woodville plots against Richard’s Protectorship are correct. Not only were these treasonable: the Woodvilles had made themselves highly unpopular with much of the country, notably the old aristocracy, and a child king controlled by the Woodville faction was a prospect which no doubt struck horror into the minds of most of those close to the seat of government. It’s important to remember that not only were Richard’s actions within the law – they were popular at the time.
These issues have been discussed in several books including Paul Murray Kendall’s biog, Annette Carson’s masterly ‘The Maligned King’ which painstakingly trawls back through the early sources, and in other works incs those of John Ashdown-Hill.
Reblogged this on History's Untold Treasures and commented:
H/T Matt’s History Blog
My thoughts of the disappearance/murder of the princes is this: had Richard murdered his nephews, surely he would have produced the bodies and had it proclaimed that they died of natural causes or disease? It makes no sense whatsoever to have them just ‘disappear’, and would have defeated the supposed purpose of disposing of the opposition…
I agree – even if people had believed he did it, they would know that the boys were dead and none could rise in their support.
I am also of the opinion that Richard had nothing to do with the boys’ disappearance. Had he been involved, the announcement would have been made that the boys had perished from some sudden illness or tragic accident, poor things, and then they would have been given a lovely, public funeral. No chance of pretenders, no former monarch to rally around. This is what happened with Edward II, Richard II, and Henry VI, and people would almost have expected some such thing eventually (once they were adults) even if they didn’t believe the stated cause of death. Having them disappear without a trace certainly didn’t benefit Richard, quite the contrary. I also think that it would have been a stupid thing for Richard to kill them – just look at what happened to his reputation after Bosworth. And no one, not even Henry Tudor, ever called Richard stupid. Politically naive, yes, or at the other extreme evilly calculating, but not stupid. Something else happened to those boys – Buckingham or someone else got to them, Richard got them out of the country until he was well established, something. We will most likely never know.
According to the reports of how and where the Tower bones were found, the chances that they are those of Edward IV’s sons are very slim. The bones were found ten feet under the foundations of a great stone staircase that dated from two centuries before the boys’ births. It took several days to dismantle that staircase and dig out those foundations in 1674. How could anyone have dug under it in 1483 and buried the bodies of two children without someone noticing? And in one night according to More! Several hundred people were in and out of the Tower every day, and more than 100 lived there full-time. Someone would have said something, especially after Bosworth: “Oi, there was a bloody great ‘ole dug right there gov’ – they tore apart that stair over there – took ’em days – and then put it back. Strange thing that, eh?” That didn’t happen. Those bones are far more likely to be from the Roman cemetery currently being excavated near the Tower. It would only take carbon-dating to prove that.
Thank you for your comment Laura. It’s also worth noting that according to More that Herculean task was completed twice as Richard ordered the bodies moved, which would also mean the bones shouldn’t be those of the princes.
Reblogged this on karenstoneblog.
I’m so fascinated by your post and all the interesting comments. I had no idea that nobody actually openly accused Richard until More. (And maybe not even then.)
I’ve been persuaded by the argument that Buckingham was the culprit–and that perhaps the boys were killed by Tyrell, under orders from Buckingham, not Richard.
Buckingham did have designs on the throne himself, and the boys stood between him and the throne (while they posed no threat to Richard.)
We can never know of course, and as you say, this is what keeps this controversy “joyfully” alive.
I wrote a comic mystery based on the controversy called “So Much for Buckingham”, where pro- and anti- Ricardians resort to violence in their zeal to “prove” what can of course, never be proven.
Here’s the link in case anybody wants to read a lighter take on the controversy.. I hope it’s okay to include it here. http://www.amazon.com/So-Much-Buckingham-Camilla-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B010GKFE9U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444695891&sr=8-1&keywords=so+much+for+buckingham
A well-argued and plausible essay Matt, and one which mirrors the arguments and reasoning in a recent production by Leicester Amateur Dramatic Society, The Tyrsby Players, of ‘THE TRIAL OF RICHARD III’. This is a modern courtroom drama in which Richard is on trial for the murder of his nephews. Through the magic of Theatre, 9 historical witnesses – from Sir Thomas More to Henry VII and Perkin Warbeck, are brought in to testify. The audience form the jury and vote on the evidence at the end. He has been acquitted four times out of four so far. I should be only too happy for you to have a look at the script should you so wish.
Hi Michael. Thank you for your kind comment. The play sounds like a fascinating idea and I would love to see the script if that was possible. I studied law at university so it sounds right up my street! Matt
If you send me your email address Matt I’ll send you a copy of the latest incarnation.
Hi Michael. You can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks.
By chance a photo of the actor playing Richard (in costume) in the forthcoming London run, popped up on my newsfeed tonight. I thought he looked a little ‘soft’ for the part! – Richard was sharp in every way.
What a fascinating idea! I hope they will publish the play. It would be a hit in community and college theaters all over the world!
Annette Carson, historian and Ricardian, also posted a new entry on her blog in the last 48 hours; hers is about the disputed Council Meeting in the Tower when Hastings was killed. It’s well worth reading (as are her other posts) since she does very thorough research in all the primary sources.
Her book ‘The Maligned King’ is not so much a biography of Richard as an examination of all the primary sources for the disputed issues concerning Richar’d life and legacy. There are chapters on the varies issues, including what the records say about whether the Princes were murdered, and also about the bones in the Westminster urn Anyone interested in Richard should read this book.
There is a very elaborate theory concerning the possible survival of the Princes, which posits that More’s unpublished book was an elaborate attempt to disguise the fact that they were alive, and living in his own household. It’s known that Moore rewrote his version of Richard’s reign a few times, evidently never getting to the point he felt it could be published. This isn’t surprising if it was in fact an elaborate smokescreen, slandering Richard in order to protect the Princes.
The relevant website is very bog and I have not yet read it all. It provides many an interesting hour’s reading for enquiring minds, and deserves a mention here since it’s the Princes’ survival we are discussing:
Sadly I believe Leslau died before any forensic evidence could be obtained
Hi Sara. Thank you for your comments. I have written a separate post on Leslau’s theory here https://mattlewisauthor.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/leslau-holbein-more-and-clement/ and I know his family are keen for the work he started to continue.
For some reason my last post, partly about the importance of reading Annette Carsons; books and blog for nitty gritty research into sources, and partly about the theories of Jack Leslay concerning the survival of the Princes seems to have vanished into thin air.
Anyway I just found Matt’s 2016 post about Leslau’s theories which goes into a lot of detail:
Damn typos! Very tired now…
Hi Sara. I sent you the link to that post before I read this. Sorry for duplicating it.
Not at all – It muat have been some wordpress glitch since all my other comments showed up immediately, but the one I referenced didn’t until today, which is why I double-posted! – I assume as it was a new post not a response?
I’m still reading your very interesting summary of Leslau’s work! I must get your novels…
what a good source of reseach however it should be eay to understand for children:
-maybe a video
– simple bullet pionts stating the key pionts
but overall this was just good add more historical evidence and information and maybe why what Richard did well?
Thank you Connor. There are other posts on Richard III and the good he did, including Richard III: The Answers.
stupid typoes *easy & *points
The Tyrsby Players (Leicester Based Am-Dram Group) have just performed THE TRIAL OF RICHARD III for the fifth time, in which the audience are the jury and cast their vote based upon the evidence presented in a courtroom drama. Nine witnesses appear and are cross-examined. The Jury considers its verdict after the summing up. It follows the legal procedures of a modern courtroom, but the witnesses are in full late medieval costume, translated from their own time zones by the magic of theatre – including expert witness testimony from the late David Baldwin. The script – I hope – will be available over the next twelve months. Mick Baker (Director, The Tyrsby Players)
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 7:52 PM, Matts History Blog wrote:
> connor commented: “stupid typoes *easy & *points” >