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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

grin at 'do they ever learn'.

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.

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

LRD Do they ever learn?grin

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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 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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

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

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