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

emotionsecho Sun 20-Jul-14 21:46:40

LRD Do they ever learn?grin

Probably, yes, but there were zillions of rumours about what exactly had happened. I think all we know for sure is he died in captivity. I think one of Katherine Swynford's sons was his guard and might have done it. Point is, if you're going to murder someone, you surely wouldn't just say 'er, dunno what happened,' you'd put some story about and have a nice funeral?

We do have tombs for Richard and Henry, and I think people may even have been shown bodies - there wasn't any of that for the princes.

grin at 'do they ever learn'.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 20-Jul-14 22:22:27

But echo, if they weren't dead, they were legitimised before Henry Tudor married Eliazbeth of York.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 20-Jul-14 22:24:48

I think it's more shocking that Edward IV ordered George of Clarence, his brother, to be executed than that he ordered Henry VI, his enemy, to be executed.

Though the multiple treasons gave him a fair case.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 20-Jul-14 23:07:33

I didn't think it was that shocking when you look at it from the view that there were multiple incidents of treason by George of Clarence. Not to mention that after multiple incidents, I imagine George was more of a liability than an asset and Edward IV probably couldn't afford to appear weak in that regard.

emotionsecho Mon 21-Jul-14 01:56:11

The lack of any explanation about what happened to the Princes is indeed odd, LRD, was the convenient death (murder) of two Royal children a taboo to far and too dangerous to publicise even in those times?

Bill so that begs the question 'what did Henry VII know and who told him?'

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Mon 21-Jul-14 09:52:35

I'm putting my money on Margaret Beaufort as well. When Henry VI "died", they made sure the funeral was public, so there was no doubt whatsoever. I think if Richard III had been involved, he would have done the same thing. He could have easily had one funeral, followed shortly by another, saying they had both died of fever or illness or something. That would have put any rumours to rest, for the most part - no rallying point for people. The fact that he didn't publicly do this makes me think he didn't know where the bodies were so possibly wasn't involved.

On the other hand, if Margaret Beaufort had a hand in it, she would know that Richard III would at the very least be plagued with rumours and unrest, making him vulnerable to her son. She may have even hoped he could be outright accused or at some point be framed for the deed, again strengthening her son's position.

I also suspect her son knew about it as well, as I don't think he would have repealed the Titulus Regius if he thought there was any possibility the princes could come back as legitimate heirs and reclaim the throne. I think he knew they were dead, which is why he was able to say without doubts that any pretenders were not really them.

I would've thought that the death of two children/young teens ought to have been so routine it wouldn't matter. I may be being naive. But I just think surely, you could come up with something about 'oh, how sad, sweating sickness, they seem very ill, whoops'.

But this suspicion only really works to disprove the 'evil King Richard with a cunning plan' theory (because it'd be a really stupid cunning plan). It doesn't work to disprove someone, somewhere bumping them off and just being crap about it, or miscommunicating, and leaving Richard honestly not having the faintest clue what had happened.

emotionsecho Mon 21-Jul-14 16:12:24

Yes LRD if it was a 'cunning plan' it was an out and out failure!grin

I still don't think Margaret Beaufort was involved, she was virtually sequestered under Richard III's reign and her husband was a Yorkist supporter. How could she have arranged it, and how could she have guaranteed safety for the person who carried it out? If she arranged for them to be killed whilst Richard III was on the throne, which all evidence suggests is when they died/were murdered, and her son had lost at the Battle of Bosworth she would have ensured Richard reigned unencumbered by potential heirs to the throne from his brother's line. Far too risky.

I stil think Richard either killed them himself, had them killed, or someone killed them on his behalf a bit of the "who will rid me of this troublesome priest" scenario. Why it was not explained at the time as LRD has said is the most confusing aspect of it all though.

Colyngbourne Sat 16-Aug-14 19:34:06

Richard didn't kill them: he had no need to "get rid" of them as Titulus Regius declared them illegitimate; and should he have killed them/Buckingham killed them/they died of sickness, there was no benefit to their deaths unless he displayed the bodies to prove they were dead and not a focus for rebellion.

Buckingham didn't kill them as he joined Morton and Marg Beaufort's rebellion on the understanding that it was to address the grievances against the boys - and possibly allow him a chance at the throne himself - but very quickly became Marg Beaufort's coup to install her son as the next possible king.

Marg Beaufort didn't kill them as a) she had no chance b) she adored her son too much to keep him fretting all his life about whether they were still alive. He was her precious first-born and he was always looking over his shoulder worrying about whether the princes would turn up. She would have told him to set his mind and throne at rest. Hence Tudor is also not a suspect.

It seems fairly obvious to me that the boys were not killed. That the older boy appears to have died - none of the pretenders ever claimed to be Edward the older boy. There is a tradition at Gipping Hall in Suffolk (family home of the Tyrrell family) that the boys were sent to live there with their mother once she came out of sanctuary in March 1484. Personally I think the younger boy was probably Richard the younger prince. William Stanley who had supported Tudor, his brother's step-son, at Bosworth, supported Perkin Warbeck in 1495 (ie thought he was one of the boys) and was executed for it. The boys' mother Elizabeth Woodville was deprived of her livings and placed in a convent at the time of the Lambert Simnel conspiracy, a conspiracy that her surviving first-born son Dorset supported.

Perkin Warbeck was at times called "the Duke of York" by Henry Tudor, and once executed, was severly beaten about the face so that he could not be recognised.

It gained Richard nothing to get rid of the boys, and everything to hide them away (possibly abroad eventually) and keep people guessing. Both he and other members of the family were quite devout and at no point were any masses ever designated for the memory of the boys. Josephine Wilkinson's recent book on the princes is rather good, as is Audrey Williamson's somewhat dated 1978 book The Mystery of the Princes.

WinifredTheLostDenver Mon 08-Sep-14 22:35:13

The Women of the Wars of the Roses is £1.11 on Kindle at the moment.

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