The Mythology of the 'Princes in the Tower'

The Mythology of the 'Princes in the Tower'

by John Ashdown-Hill


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The term "Princes in the Tower" is generally synonymous with the supposedly murdered boy King Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, sons of Edward IV. But were those boys genuinely held against their will in the Tower? Would their mother, Elizabeth Widville, have released Richard from sanctuary with her if she believed she would be putting his life in danger? The children were declared bastards in 1483 and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was offered the throne. But after Bosworth, in order to marry their sister Elizabeth of York, Henry VII needed to make her legitimate again. If the boys were alive at that time then Edward V would once again have become the rightful king. Following the discovery of some bones in the Tower in 1674 they were interred in a marble urn in Westminster Abbey as the remains of the two sons of Edward IV. What evidence exists? What did the 1933 urn opening reveal? By working with geneticists and scientists, and exploring the mtDNA haplogroup of the living all-female-line collateral descendant of the brothers, John Ashdown-Hill strips away the myths.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445699134
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 07/01/2020
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John Ashdown-Hill is a historian, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a member of the Society of Genealogists, the Richard III Society and the Centre Européen d’Études Bourguignonnes. He was Leader of Genealogical Research and Historical Advisor for the Looking for Richard Project and is the author of The Last Days of Richard III.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Who were the so-called 'Princes in the Tower'? 9

2 Who invented the term 'Princes in the Tower', and when? 13

3 What does the term 'Princes in the Tower' imply? 18

4 What was young Edward really like? 22

5 What was young Richard really like? 25

6 How was young Edward brought up? 29

7 What provisions were made for young Richard? 35

8 When did King Edward IV die? 41

9 Were the two boys captured in April 1483? 46

10 What did their mother do? 51

11 Why were the 'princes' declared bastards? 60

12 What did Lord Hastings do? 68

13 What does the Cely Note mean? 75

14 Would Richard III have had the boys killed? 79

15 Did 'Edward V' attend Richard III's coronation? 86

16 What was the Duke of Buckingham up to? 90

17 Did young Edward die in 1483? 98

18 Did young Richard survive beyond 1483? 112

19 What did the Duke of Norfolk do in late July/August 1483? 117

20 Would Henry VII have had the boys killed? 125

21 What myths are told about 'Richard of England'? 133

22 What myths are told about 'Richard of Eastwell'? 145

23 When was the story of the murder of the 'princes in the Tower' put out? 152

24 How and why was the story promulgated? 157

25 How are the boys said to have been killed? 163

26 What bones were found at the Tower of London, and when? 171

27 What did the 1933 urn opening reveal? 177

28 Hypodontia? 187

29 Can DNA now reveal the truth? 194

Conclusion 210

Appendix 1 The Reign of Edward V 217

Appendix 2 Tanner 223

Appendix 3 The Meaning of the Latin Word nuper 258

Appendix 4 Leuven Reports 262

Abbreviations 267

Notes 268

Bibliography 296

Acknowledgements 303

Index 305

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