Archaeologists are DNA testing some bones they've found to see if they might be the remains of Richard III. Are there any other members of the Royal Family....

(747 Posts)
seeker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:19:56

where DNA testing might produce interesting results?

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 19:31:22

It was widespread at the time, though, as evidenced in several contemporary documents. And he had a very powerful motive for killing them, because as long as they were alive they would inevitably have been the focus of attempts to remove him from power.

Saltire Wed 12-Sep-12 19:37:51

Was Margaret Beufort's son Henry, Henry the 7th. Was he the father of Henry the 8th and grandfather of Elizabeth the first ? and they were Tudors, not Plantagenets?

and Richard the 3rd was the brother of Elizabeth's Woodvilles husband (who's name I forget, was it Edward)


Yohoahoy Wed 12-Sep-12 19:41:21

I don't know that there are many documents contemporary to him that do suggest that though. Once Henry Tudor came to the throne he was very swift to discredit Richard, and any support from him was stamped out. There is some record from York where themayor/guildsmen (can't remember exactly) expressed their sadness at his death.

There are very records surviving from that exact period. Many were later destroyed by the Tudors. If you discount the Tudor propaganda, there seems to be a reasonable mix of anti and pro-Richard sentiment, which is more what you'd expect.

Most of his evil reputation comes straight from Thomas More & Shakespeare. Certainly in the Midlands/North he was generally well thought of.

But back to the Princes. Quite possibly he would at some point have disposed of them. It was pretty common practice during the preceding centuries, so no reason to think he would have been any different.

It's just the timing doesn't sit well, plus Elizabeth Woodville's actions. Would any mother really give her daughters to the man she thought had killed her sons?

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Wed 12-Sep-12 19:55:00

ooh, this is brilliant - mumsletters know so much stuff. And I am so glad that in this time of austerity the council lets 'em dig up the car park rather than grimly refusing.

MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Wed 12-Sep-12 20:15:25

When are results likely to come through? Watching with great interest. I am another one who prefers Richard to Henry Tulip.

Now, oh wise mnetters, was there any truth in the rumours that 2 kids' skeletons were found under a staircase at the Tower very recently? Yes, I know I could Google it but I'm enjoying the discussion!

tiredemma Wed 12-Sep-12 20:17:56

This is so fascinating.

DD is about to start studying Archaeology and History at Leicester. She is thrilled about this. <Geek> grin

Yohoahoy Wed 12-Sep-12 20:28:32

2 bodies were found under a staircase in the Tower in the mid 1600's I think, and placed in Westminster Abbey. It was in the 1930s they were taken out and examined, with the ages possibly matching that of the Princes, but one might have been completely the wrong age.

There were also some other bones found near Edward IV's tomb I think. They've not done DNA testing on any of them though. I think Royal permission would be needed, but I don't know if permission has ever been sought and refused, or if no one's actually asked.

Will be interesting to see if interest is revived after the car park bones!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 20:34:01

Woollybackswife - it is a terrific department with a lot of very good (and nice) people in it. She's made a good choice. I hope she has a fantastic time.

Thank you Tunip. She is very excited and we are thrilled for her. Having accompanied her for a visit (and stayed quietly in the background - thank you MN) I'm sure she has made a fantastic choice. smile

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 20:43:04

Richard didnt need to murder his nephews. He had them safe in the tower, and had had them declared illegitimate. He was crowned king in their place. If he had them in his custody, he could have produced them at any time to discredit any pretenders. he could even have released them eventually if their claim was invalid.
Henry VII needed to marry their sister Elizabeth in order to strengthen his hold on the throne. If they were illegitimate, then so was she, thus invalidating her claims. If they were declared legitmate when alive, then the crown belonged to them. If they were dead, but legitimate, then so was Elizabeth, making her useful.
It makes far more sense for Henry to have killed them. And his ruthless mother was more than capable!

Themumsnot Wed 12-Sep-12 21:00:50

Saggy - he did need to kill them as they would have been the focus of attempts to depose him. You are quite right though that Henry Tudor had even more reason to dispose of them, but they disappeared from view almost two years before the Battle of Bosworth. The French ambassador to England, Mancini, reported to France before the end of 1483 that it was widely believed that Richard had killed them.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:33:54

There simply wasn't a strong enough motive for Richard III to have his nephews murdered. Both of them, (and their sisters) had already been declared illegitimate, by an Act of Parliament - so legally they couldn't ever inherit their father's throne.

No one batted any eye when Richard III took the throne. Most people were hugely relieved, in fact. He was a grown man, known to be fair-minded and with integrity, as proven over and again with his governship of the North. He'd been fanatically loyal to his brother, Edward IV.

But...the fact was, Edward IV was a bigamist. He'd been secretly married, before secretly marrying Elizabeth Woodville, who became his Queen. Which made all their children illegitimate. Richard III had no choice, but to take the throne.

Henry VII was forced to invalidate the Act of Parliament, in order to marry the boy's sister, Elizabeth of York. But, of course the second she became legitimate once more, so would her brothers...and their claim to the throne infinitely stronger than Henry VII's. So, they had to be dead.

Buckingham also had motive, a good one. He was a plantagent also, and he wanted the throne for himself. By secretly having the boys murdered, without Richard III's knowledge, he knew he could frame Richard, and the public outcry could be enough to help Buckingham usurp the throne...Buckingham actually went on to stage a failed bid to take the throne.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:42:40

Totally agree with Yohoay by the way.

Also, there's no way Elizabeth Woodville would have released her younger son, Richard, Duke of York, into his uncle's keeping, if she thought for one second he would be in danger. Edward V (her elder son) had already been in his uncle's keeping for several months, before his brother Richard joined him.

Elizabeth Woodville was a master schemer, and very politically astute. She knew it wasn't even remotely in Richard III's interests to have his nephews murdered. It would have been a ridiculously stupid thing for Richard to do. And, he'd already proved 101 times over that he was far from stupid.

And, there was simply no need to murder them. They were already declared illegitimate by law. The population were perfectly happy to have Richard on the throne. Everything was calm and stable. Everything was rosy.

Am a huge Richard III fan, too. We Speak No Treason, by Rosemary Hawley Jarman is in my top 5 books of all time wink

cory Wed 12-Sep-12 21:44:12

"Most of his evil reputation comes straight from Thomas More & Shakespeare. Certainly in the Midlands/North he was generally well thought of."

This is a view that is often trotted out without much actual evidence to support it. Professor Michael Hicks has written a book about his early career and the evidence he has amassed seems to suggest that greed was Richard's predominant characteristic long before he came within sight of the throne.

trixie123 Wed 12-Sep-12 21:44:22

There's also an argument that the dwindling of support for Richard that made Bosworth an even fight and not a rout for Henry Tudor was due to the belief that he murdered his nephews (though this may be accrediting too much sentimentality to the noblemen of the period who were a pretty hard headed bunch). Ultimately the sides were fairly evenly matched and it was only the Stanleys (one of whom was married to Henry's mother) who won the day for Henry, hanging back from battle until a crucial moment. Richard got within yards of Henry on the field but was overwhelmed. Also I think it is a red herring to protest Richard's innocence on the strength of the actions of Elizabeth Woodville. She was nothing if not a politician, she had numerous children and noble families were not Boden-catalogue material. The princes had had their own separate household from a very young age, they were not going to the medieval equivalent of soft play and waking her up at four in the morning. It served her and her daughters' continuing interest to come to terms with Richard after the death of Edward IV by coming out of sanctuary at Westminster. I don't think it implies her belief in his innocence.

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:45:32

"There is some record from York where themayor/guildsmen (can't remember exactly) expressed their sadness at his death."

Yoho the record stated 'On this day, August 24th, the great and good King Richard III was unjustly slain at Redmore Plain, much to the great sadness of this city' (paraphrasing slightly)

Henry VII was furious with York, and fined the city heavily, as I recall hmm

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 21:48:31

He didnt need to kill them, just keep them locked up.
richard was his brother Edwards biggest supporter. I find it crazy that he would kill his brothers children, when he already had what he wanted.
And surely, if that was the case, wouldnt their sisters have been equally dangerous? Especially with their mother behind them?

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:48:39

cory greed was a predominant characterristc for many nobles in the 15th century.

However, Richard was happy to forgo much of his wife's vast inheritance, in order to be able to marry her quickly and in order for his brother George, Duke of Clarence, to agree to the marriage.

So, at that time he chose love over money smile

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:50:58

I think Elizabeth Woodville came out of Sanctuary, because she knew Richard III had won, he held all the cards, he had all the power. London, and the rest of the country was more than happy for him to be king.

There was nothing left for her to fight for.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 21:53:28

I don't think the sisters would have been seen as as dangerous as their brothers at that point - England had never had a proper queen regnant so they wouldn't be as obvious as heirs, surely?

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:54:38

Also, Cory at the Treaty of Picquiny, Richard was disgusted by how his brother Edward IV let Louis basically pay him to leave France, and pay him to stay out of France.

Government had raised huge taxes to pay for a war with France, and Edward IV kept the money, didn't fight the war, and kept Louis's money, too. It's recorded how disgusted Richard was, and how he refused Louis's gifts, and refused to join in the celebratory banquet.

Not that greedy hmm

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 21:55:59

Can see the MN version of the Battle of Bosworth brewing!......

LaQueen Wed 12-Sep-12 21:58:52

Edward's IV's daughters weren't dangerous, in and of themselves, but hugely dangerous if married to a wealthy, ambitious nobleman.

Henry VII's own claim to the throne was very tenuous, but it was massively strengthened by him marrying a plantagenenet princess.

Henry VII deliberately married his wife's younger sister, Margaret (?) to a mere knight, so she wouldn't have a husband powerful enough to fight her corner.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 12-Sep-12 22:00:40

No, there hadnt been a Queen Regnant, but there had been many women used as rallying points. Many powerful women, who caused lots of trouble, and the daughters of Edward IV had their mother behind them.
She had made many enemies, and wouldnt have left sanctuary unless her family was safe.

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