The princes in the tower , who do we think caused their disappearance ?

(62 Posts)
autumnsmum Fri 11-Jul-14 11:41:58

Hi I have been reading a couple of books recently on the late Middle Ages and I wondered what the view was on here about the princes in the tower ? Was Richard the third responsible ? I read a book recently that claimed it was Henry Tudor

ravenAK Tue 15-Jul-14 21:58:36

They've been in an urn in westminster Abbey since Charles II's reign, apart from an examination in 1933. Apparently the Queen wants them left alone.

www.theguardian.com/science/2013/feb/05/princes-in-tower-staying-under

emotionsecho Tue 15-Jul-14 21:59:27

Nerf, the marrying of Elizabeth of York to Henry Tudor was a political move to unite the Houses of York and Lancaster who were the Houses at war during the Wars of the Roses.

Henry, via his mother Margaret Beaufort was a descendant of the Lancaster line, and Elizabeth was via her father Edward IV a descendant of the Yorkist line.

Richard III did indeed take the throne whilst the sons of Edward IV were alive and imprisoned them in the tower. There were rumours about the validity of Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, fueled by the fact that people at court didn't like her or her family and felt they were upstarts grabbing power and marrying into all the best families. There was also talk of Edward IV being married to someone else, and that his actual wedding ceremony to Elizabeth Woodville was a fake done purely so he could have sex wih her (the other marriage alluded to was also, apparently, done for the same reason). There were also rumours about Edward IV's legitimacy apparently his mother had sex with an archer and Edward IV was the result.

The times were fulll of intrigue and rumour smile.

Nerf Tue 15-Jul-14 22:51:32

Wow thank you. It's much easier to understand on here than wiki. Ice downloaded or listed all the books here �� as I vaguely knew this once (school!) but didn't retain it.
Last question - if the boys were illegitimate than why bother killing them off?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Tue 15-Jul-14 22:54:36

However, an act of parliament (Titulus Regius) was passed declaring the illegitimacy of the children of Edward IV owing to his (alleged) pre-contract with Eleanor Butler prior to marrying Elizabeth Woodville.

EB was dead at this point so couldn't testify either way.

No doubt at some point the bones will be re-examined and compared with the DNA of their (apparent) cousin but probably not under the current queen or Charles III.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Tue 15-Jul-14 22:55:07

To stop an uprising in their favour.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Tue 15-Jul-14 22:56:31

Plus, if you believe Josephine Tey, because Henry VII repealed Titulus Regius, thereby making his wife legitimate but also the boys legitimate (if they were still alive) and therefore giving them the best claim to the throne.

Nerf Wed 16-Jul-14 08:22:31

So Henry repealed it - maybe because he knew they were dead. Because he killed them! Case solved.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 16-Jul-14 08:29:09

Henry must have known if they were dead or not - they were being kept in the Tower, they would have needed guards, food, maybe schooling and doctors etc.

MooncupGoddess Wed 16-Jul-14 10:07:42

If the boys were alive and in the Tower up to August 1485 then surely there would be some references to them... but the last person who records seeing them alive was in summer 1483.

After that they just disappear from the record; Dominic Mancini, an Italian who was in England that year and wrote a report of what went on, left the country in July, commenting that by that point the princes had ceased to appear in public and suspicions were rife that they'd been done in.

Nerf Wed 16-Jul-14 12:04:52

Richard was King, while they were in the tower? They disappear, he goes to bosworth, he dies, Henry takes over (because Richard had no kids?)
If they'd been ill that would have been revealed wouldn't it, or an accident? Maybe Richard hid them before bosworth, the bones are substitutes, to protect them from Henry? That's why the queen said no, because she knows?

MooncupGoddess Wed 16-Jul-14 12:12:50

The bones could be from any period, there's no proof they're late 15th century (or even boys); but they were found in the place where More says the princes' bodies were buried, and the ages roughly match up with the ages the princes were in 1483.

So they could be a total red herring, but as the Queen won't give permission for them to be analysed with modern techniques no one knows either way.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 16-Jul-14 16:10:01

Richard was king because the boys were illegitimate and he was next in line to the throne, given that his elder brothers were both dead and George's children were disinherited owing to their father's treason.

Henry was king by virtue of conquest; there were closer blood relatives to Edward IV knocking around. Which is why marry

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 16-Jul-14 16:10:59

...marrying and legitimising Elizabeth gave their joint offspring a strong blood claim to the throne.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 16-Jul-14 16:13:06

I don't think the Queen "knows", by the way! Remember the queen is a very distant relative of all the parties involved - and either Richard III had them killed or Henry VII - neither is better or worse for her, or for generations of royals before her.

MooncupGoddess Wed 16-Jul-14 16:17:20

I think the Queen just has an old-fashioned but understandable distaste for the digging up and messing around with the bones of her (possible) relatives.

Nerf Wed 16-Jul-14 16:22:52

Yes I was getting a bit DaVinci Code in my theory!
Mum and I were in water stones flicking through all the books - she was getting very keen and I'm going to buy her the expensive one for Xmas!

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Wed 16-Jul-14 16:26:53

I think she's got a point, to be fair. The boys almost certainly died in either 1483 or 1485 and it's quite possible that tests on the bones (eg length to height to age proxies) would not distinguish conclusively.

Of course, if they shared no DNA with their cousin's bones, which I think would also have to be re exhumed, then their ID would be a new mystery.

Allalonenow Wed 16-Jul-14 16:34:43

My money is on Margaret Beaufort with the knowledge of Henry Tudor, as they were most threatened by the Princes.

Henry had to marry Elizabeth to strengthen his claim to the throne, as his claim depended on right by victory in battle and a very weak blood line link.

Muskey Wed 16-Jul-14 19:05:35

Changing the subject just a little does anyone have any views where Richards body should be buried. Does anyone agree that he should be buried in York Minster rather than Leicester

Wickeddevil Sat 19-Jul-14 22:00:04

Musket my heart says York, which I am guessing would have been Richatd's choice. But in the 15th century I suspect that they would have been pragmatic about burial and in all likelihood gone for Leicester

Muskey Sat 19-Jul-14 22:07:03

Had richard died in his bed then he probably would have been buried in London. I do think however that he should be re buried as close to his original resting place

LumpySpacedPrincess Sat 19-Jul-14 22:23:53

My money's on the Duke of Buckingham. Richard was capable and would have done it if it was necessary. I do believe that if he had done it he would have been more methodical. They would have "died of natural causes". They certainly wouldn't have just dissapeared.

I think they just died, and no-one wanted to explain it. Personally.

I suppose Richard could have done (perhaps not with his bare hands), but he'd have been looking forward to a good few years of being the power behind the throne, which isn't a bad look out. And I don't see Margaret Beaufort that way, somehow.

My feeling is that if someone had planned it, they'd have come up with a more plausible story than 'ooh, no idea, eh?' Eg., when Richard II died, he was first imprisoned, then there were rumours of ill health, then he died. Very neat. Of course, this didn't stop rumours he was murdered, but you'd think they'd learn, right?

LumpySpacedPrincess Sun 20-Jul-14 08:35:24

If Richard had killed them then he would have had a funeral for them. Of course some people would have been a bit hmm but they would have gone along with the status quo.

The worst possible thing for Richard was what actually happened, they just vanished.

emotionsecho Sun 20-Jul-14 21:42:29

LRD, wasn't Richard II starved to death by Henry Bolingbrooke who usurped him?

Also, didn't Edward IV and his brothers murder Henry VI?

Personally I think the Princes in the Tower were murdered under the watch of Richard III, not entirely sure if he organised it or someone else did it to either frame him or help him, but I do think he knew full well they were dead.

Their 'disappearance' didn't help him ultimately and the fact that no-one could prove one way or the other what actually happened did plague Henry VII's reign with pretenders. I don't believe that Henry VII, or his mother, had anything to do with their deaths. Margaret Beaufort was a formidable woman but I still don't think she would have arranged the murder of two children who had been declared illegitimate, their deaths played into her hands though as she then connived to marry Henry to Elizabeth of York.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now