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David Starkey's New Evidence on the Princes In the Tower
March 22, 2015
9:55 am
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JennyER
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Did any one watch the documentary on The Princes in the Tower that aired on channel 4 last night?

What does everyone think about the new evidence that David Starkey put forward? For those who didn’t see it, he states that More’s account of Richard III might have more truth to it than people originally thought.

He gives more weight to the confession of James Tyrrell, who supposedly confessed to the murders and stated Richard III ordered their death. Starkey notes that whilst this is usually thought of as fantasy from More, it is interesting that during Tyrell’s trial, it is recorded that Henry VII and Elizabeth of York were present throughout and so Starkey concludes “something was going on” as it was highly unusual to have a King and Queen watch over such a case. He theorises that this piece of evidence makes it more than likely that Richard III was the boys murderers.

Thoughts?

March 22, 2015
2:35 pm
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Bob the Builder
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JennyER said
…Thoughts?

i watched it, and while i thought it was good that it wasn’t just fanatics yelling at each other with no interaction, i’m not sure it provided any great paradigm shift.

Starkeys evidence is interesting – yes, it is interesting that Henry and Elizabeth were, if not directly involved in the interogation of Tyrrell, then at the very least involved with the direction of questioning, and that they were prepared – as it appears – to put everything else on hold to deal with Tyrrell. Monarchs who’ve just lost their designated heir within the last month are unlikely to do this out of boredom.

the problem, for me, is that this seemingly important titbit actually produces no change: there’s no bodies, which would have sorted out Henry VII’s pretender problem once and for all, and very little was made of of the whole thing at the time.

why? is it because Tyrrell, who was a known affilliate of RIII and who was actually being accused of Treason on behalf of the de la Poles rather than anything to do with the princes, actually knew very little of what had happened but who was a convenient scapegoat?

if Tyrrell genuinely was involved and then spilled the beans as to what he knew in 1502, why was there no follow up to the others who even if they weren’t involved, would have been able to assist a further investigation – Tower officials, Richards household officials etc..? if Tyrrell was close enough and trusted enough by RIII to do this most sensitive task, why would RIII not ask him to re-bury the bodies and instead get someone else to do it? if Tyrrell was close enough and trusted enough to do this most sensitive task, would he not have had a very good idea as to who else was close enough and trusted enough to be asked by RIII to move the bodies from the Tower?

is this perhaps a ‘present’ from one grief-stricken parent to his beloved, grief-stricken wife? a sop, a crumb of comfort in a life where there’s not been much?

i should say that i’m not being sceptical out of fevered denial that Richard III probably did, on the balance of probabilities, have the two York Princes dispatched, i’m just being sceptical because what we know doesn’t make a convincing, logical storyline.

March 23, 2015
5:06 pm
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Boleyn
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I think it’s possible that with Perkin Warbeck, who presented a very good case for himself that he was Richard Duke of York, that Henry had to reinforce his point that the Princes were indeed dead, and that Richard 3rd was responsible. Certainly the King of Scotland James 1V was convinced Perkin was Richard of York, he even gave him Catherine Gordon, for a wife. Who James to had been trying to court himself, there is letter addressed to her in the Spanish State letters.(vol, i, p. 78.) How or why it ended up being amongst the Spanish State letters I don’t know.
Tyrell’s trial was really just frosting on the cup cake of life.
As for Thomas More’s account of where the Princes were buried, I find it difficult to believe that someone wouldn’t have noticed a 12 ft deep hole in the middle of a tower. Plus given that they had no heavy machinery to dig a hole that size back then the donkey work would have been done by a team of about 16 men, working for perhaps days at a time.
It’s my belief that the boys died of some sort of a tersian fever, (Prisons were notorious for illnesses to break out) and that the boy’s bodies were thrown in the moat, to prevent the fever from spreading. This is purely my view of course and I have nothing to back it up.
The bones that were found, in 1674 may or maynot have been of the Princes, but medical science was not as evolved as it is today, so when the bones were examined, and given More’s account of the event, the boffins( know it all’s) at the time concluded that they were indeed the Princes.
Today we have DNA and especially since we now have Richard’s DNA if the bones were submitted for analysis, it would possibly solve the mystery once and for all. The only flaw with that is, that I’m given to believe that the bones have since disappeared, given how things have been jiggled around in Westminster abbey they could be anywhere, and I doubt the church or even the Queen would allow a team of archelogists to go digging up the floors and opening tombs, on a whim. Richard’s bones were found after years of research and it was only when the evidence was presented to the council and shown to be tighter than a ducks chuff, that they allowed Phillipa Wotsit to dig up the car park. So you can see what a mammoth task the boffins would have.
I do feel that perhaps one day the riddle of the Princes in the Tower will be solved, but sadly I don’t think it will be in our life time.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

March 23, 2015
7:56 pm
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Hannele
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Boleyn said It’s my belief that the boys died of some sort of a tersian fever, (Prisons were notorious for illnesses to break out) and that the boy’s bodies were thrown in the moat, to prevent the fever from spreading.

If the princes had died of natural illnesses, it would have been in Richard’s primary interest to show their bodies to the public. Even if the whole personal of Tower had died because of it, it would have been worth the trouble.

The bones that were found, in 1674 may or maynot have been of the Princes, but medical science was not as evolved as it is today, so when the bones were examined, and given More’s account of the event, the boffins( know it all’s) at the time concluded that they were indeed the Princes.

No, but but they were of the same age. Why would any other boys have been buried in Tower?

Today we have DNA and especially since we now have Richard’s DNA if the bones were submitted for analysis, it would possibly solve the mystery once and for all.

It would solve their identity (at least if Edward IV was a true son of Richard duke of York) and in what age they died. But it is doubtful whether it would solve their manner of death and if they were murdered, who commanded it.

Whether Richard III murdered his nephews or not, when he took the throne, what had happened to Richard II and Henry VI meant that the boys would not live long.

March 24, 2015
10:38 am
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Boleyn
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I certainly agree it would confirm who the bones belong to and that in a way means that there is some sort of closure. But the riddle of what or who killed them will still be a complete mystery.
As I said the Tersian fever idea is purely my own, and it could well be that I am very wrong, but equally so I could well be right.
I agree that if tersian fever was to blame then it would have been in Richard’s best interests to display the bodies. However what we are seeming to take for granted is actually when the boys may have died. We presume that they died during 1483 and 1485, but what if that wasn’t the case? and that they were still very much alive and kicking after Bosworth. Henry blamed Richard for the boy’s death, but equally so if Richard had won Bosworth, then he could blame the welsh milk sop as Richard called Henry.
The bones that were examined were determined to be that of 2 children, approx the age of the prince’s, ok so I’ll buy that. but the depth at which these bones were buried is suspect. I believe another member Olga I think said that she believed they were animal bones, again this may o may not be true.
Richard 2nd, Henry 6th were just 2 of the kings that were destined, to meet with their maker a ittle earlier than they wanted. Edward 2nd met the grisly end of a red hot poker alledgely, all because the she wolf wanted to rule England through her son, and William (Rufus) 2nd ended up getting something in his eye. Did his brother (Henry) order his death, or did he shoot the arrow himself?
And of course the Infamous King John, did he kick his Nephew to death in a fit of rage? I believe so, given John’s subsequent behaviour, starving people to death etc, to the point of the Barons getting so peed off so they rebelled against him and forced John to sign Magna Carta (Great Charter) at Runnymead. By the way the religious revolution in Henry 8th’s time was radical enough, but if King John had had his way before the signing of Magna Carta, England would have become a muslim country. John desperate to outwit his Barons wrote a letter to the Emir or whatever the Muslim leader is called. And tole him that if he would adopt the Muslim religion if the Emir would send him men and money to defeat the Barons plan. The Emir very kindly rejected John’s offer “Phew”.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

March 24, 2015
7:51 pm
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Hannele
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Boleyn said However what we are seeming to take for granted is actually when the boys may have died. We presume that they died during 1483 and 1485, but what if that wasn’t the case? and that they were still very much alive and kicking after Bosworth. Henry blamed Richard for the boy’s death, but equally so if Richard had won Bosworth, then he could blame the welsh milk sop as Richard called Henry.

That is possible, but it is not likely. Richard’s reputation suffered greatly because of the rumors that he had killed the princes and because of it, he alienated many who had traditionally supported the Yorkist cause which resulted first Buckingham’s rebellion and then Henry Tudor’s invasion.

Therefore, if the princes were alive, Richard’s best interests was to show them to at least to handful men who were generally respected (among them a bishop and the mayor of London) and could convince others that the rumors were false. Before all, it would have prevented Elizabeth Woodiville to promise her eldest daughter to Henry Tudor.

Therefore, it is likely that the princes were killed in 1483, after they disappeared from public view. The other alternative is that they were alive but had escaped but that is not likely.

March 25, 2015
7:36 pm
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Boleyn
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Yes I do agree with you Hannele. The boys died by fair means (Illness) or Foul Means (Murder) either just after Richard was crowned, to prevent, any one rising in their favour, or shortly after Buckingham kicked off. The whole point for Buckingham kicking off was because he was making a play for the throne, and I doubt he would have done that if the boys were still alive.
I totally agree about escape being unlikely, but there were a few people who had escaped from the Tower.
Richard would have maybe got a few extra brownie points in supportof his claim to the throne, if he had produced the boys alive and well either at his coronation, or shortly after.
I actually have a sence of Deju Vu here for some reason. King John, had a very similar problem here, did he or did he not kill Arthur of Brittany?
Like the Princes, no evidence was discovered to prove whether or not the boy was dead or alive.
As a result of that John lost a few brownie points too. John was a throughly nasty piece of work anyway.
But Arthur’s disappearence like the Princes, is a very complex riddle to figure out.
I don’t believe Richard was responsible for their deaths, and neither was Henry Tulip. I’ve said it a few times as you have seen I believe the blame for the Princes disappearence falls squarely on Buckingham’s shoulders.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

April 4, 2015
6:57 pm
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Alexandria
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I don’t know that what David Starkey presented is new evidence. It has been known for many years. Marion Palmer in her novel The Wrong Plantagenet says that it was Buckingham who got Tyrell to murder the boys, leading him to believe that Richard wished it. Buckingham of course had a claim to follow the childless Richard in the absence of the boys. Tyrell was then forced to declare this when H7 wanted to remove any possible belief that Warbeck was Richard of York, and also to confirm in the public mind his own correctness in replacing R3. Perhaps Tyrell was falsely promised his life if he confessed this way. She suggests that Warbeck was actually an illegitimate son of Margaret of Burgundy, sister of R3 and E4, and thus the first cousin of the dead boys, thus explaining his similar appearance and gentry manners.
It has also been suggested that More’s portrayal of R3 is an elaborate exercise in deception to conceal the survival of the younger boy. Edward died in the Tower, but Richard survived and lived incognito in the household of More himself as a Dr John Clements (who does appear to turn up out of nowhere and then enjoy a successful career). There is quite a lot about this online for anyone who hasn’t encountered this story before. It has some meat on the bones, but I don’t really believe it. Nevertheless it is fascinating to check out all the clues and rebuses (rebi? not sure of the plural!) in the painting of the Family of Thomas More.

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