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The Princes in the Tower
February 3, 2011
11:52 am
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David
Mount Vernon, Washington, USA
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My question is:

Was Perkin Warbeck really Prince Richard, who would have been Richard IV of England….was King Henry VII the person who killed Perkin Warbeck because she knew he was who he said he was?  If this is true, then did she have a child killed and placed in the burial site at the twoer with Edward V in order to make it look like both were buried there?  And finally, did the wife and child of Perkin Warbeck move to England and live with the royal family?  I would appreciate any and all comments regarding this subject…..

February 3, 2011
12:11 pm
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MegC
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I'll be honest, I don't know much about this particular period of English history, but it sounds like if you find the answers to all these questions, then you might also find out if Anna Anderson was truly Grand Duchess Anastasia!!  😀

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

February 3, 2011
2:36 pm
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Sharon
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David, I don't know whether Perkin was Richard or not.  I know many people from that time said he was Richard, but most of them had their own agenda for promoting that theory.  Richard's Aunt, Margaret of Burgundy, Edward IV's sister, claimed Warbeck was Richard. She tutored him in the ways of the Court. France's King received him in France, and the Holy Roman Emperor acknowledged him as King Richard IV…etc.

James IV of Scotland acknowledged him and married him to a cousin, Catherine Gordon, daughter of the Earl of Huntly, George Gordon and Elizabeth Hay.  Henry VII captured Catherine after a battle with Warbeck and she was imprisoned.  Later she served as one of Elizabeth York's ladies. She was a guest at Margaret Tudor's wedding to James IV. She also served the Princess Mary. She was married 3 more times after the death of Warbeck/Richard.

Would Henry or Richard have had another child killed to replace the one that got away? Why bother? There were no bodies of the boys to be found.  And why would only one of the boys have escaped?  And how?  Was it Richard or Henry who ordered their deaths? Or neither?  My gut tells me the boys were both killed at the same time in the Tower.  I still cannot figure out who the culprit was who ordered their deaths. I'm not sure about this, but when the bones of two children were dug up in the Tower during the 1600's, wasn't it said that they were thought to be the remains of Edward and Richard? 

February 3, 2011
7:28 pm
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Anyanka
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Whoever ordered the murders of the princes, I doubt that allowing one or the other to survive would have been high on the assassin's priorities.

 

I don't think Warbeck was Richard. However I agree with Sharon that there were plenty of people who were prepared to use him to gain power, directly or not.

It's always bunnies.

May 27, 2011
11:47 am
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BoleynBlue
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I agree with Anyanka and that neither of the Princes would have been allowed to survive, so I really dont believe that Perkin Warbeck could have been Richard, although as others have said, to say that he was would have benefitted others.

July 29, 2011
5:57 pm
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Hannah Again
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David said:

My question is:

Was Perkin Warbeck really Prince Richard, who would have been Richard IV of England….was King Henry VII the person who killed Perkin Warbeck because she knew he was who he said he was?  If this is true, then did she have a child killed and placed in the burial site at the twoer with Edward V in order to make it look like both were buried there?  And finally, did the wife and child of Perkin Warbeck move to England and live with the royal family?  I would appreciate any and all comments regarding this subject…..


I highly doubt it. The only people who supported the pretender were the bitter enemies of King Henry VII, out to destabilise his regime. Everything Warbeck did ended in miserable failure, and really he was just a little bit desperate.

 

I highly doubt that Henry VII had anything to do with their deaths in person, as he was in exile in Brittany at that time. OP, you're referring to a “she” there, do you mean Margaret Beaufort? If so, I find it highly unlikely that she had anything to do with it, either. She was very well acquainted with the line of succession; therefore, what did she really have to gain by killing two children, when she knew full well that that would merely put Richard of Gloucester on the throne, and not her son?

 

Personally, I am satisfied that Richard did indeed kill his nephews. I know that he passed the Titulus Regius, and made them illegitimate. However, acts of Parliament can be reversed in a trice, especially in those turbulent times. He must have known that no matter what dubious legislation he put through Parliament, those boys would one day grow into men, and be able to raise an army and take him on in the battle field to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. He still, IMO, had all to gain from their deaths, rather than their neutralisation.

 

Also, I doubt that Richard would have allowed either of the children to simply escape his clutches. But, I also find Elizabeth Wydeville relinquishing Richard of Shrewsbury into Richard's hands hard to fathom. Nevertheless, it seems that she did.Confused

August 16, 2011
10:23 am
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HollyDolly
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There was another young imposter, lambert Simel or Simmons.He too claimed at first to be one of the princes in the tower,and later changed to Edward,Earl of Warwick.Wikipedia has something on him.Unlike Warbeck, he was pardoned by Henry VII and wound up working in the king's kitchen and later became a falconer,and died in 1525.

Most people even then believed Richard did it.There are some who say maybe Henry did it instead.The bodies of the two children found at the tower are i think buried at Westminister Abbey. It would be nice if DNA tests could be done on them and compared to the royal family. Still wouldn't answer who killed them though. Same could be done as far as Warbeck is concerned, though he most likely was an imposter. He may have resembled Prince Richard though.

September 24, 2011
7:54 am
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TinaII2None
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I've been watching The Shadow of the Tower and the episodes on disc 3 all deal with the Cornish rebellion of 1497 and the Perkin Warbeck attempt. I had no idea that the two were sort of interconnected (seems that when the original uprising failed, the leaders were executed, and the remainder sent home with doubled or tripled taxes, some may have taken up the cause of Warbeck in order to overthrow Henry VII).

This makes me want to read up more on the subject — I mean, I had heard of Simnel and Warbeck before and the plots centered around them, but I still don't have a lot of details which is one reason I thought I'd come here to the Forum. I figured that someone had brought up the topic as well as the story of the Princes in the Tower.

As a side note: since my knowledge of this part of Henry's reign is limited, I can't be certain how historic the miniseries is when it comes to Simnel and Warbeck, except that the former — when his episode concluded — was permitted to live (and he was a child, the approximate age of the one he was supposed to be imitating, the Earl of Warwick). Warbeck, in what I'm guessing will be his final appearance (in the episode The Strange Shapes of Reality) is shown drifting deeper and deeper into a world of his own making as he wallows away in a dark cell in the Tower. A pretend world with him as Richard IV is far better than a reality in which all those that once proclaimed him have turned their backs. I do not know if he did go mad, but I get the impression that the “French boy” (as a few of his supporters call him in private) is driven into near insanity as he loses his real identity and takes on the “character” of Richard Duke of York. He's almost pathetic, the way he's used.

Anyway, do I think Warbeck was Richard of York? I doubt it. I'm one of those that still believes Richard III had his nephews murdered, and I still ask the question that I understand many even then were asking: show Edward V and his brother to us. Had Richard done so, we would have known that at some point they were still alive and possibly his hands might not have been so dirty. (Okay, I don't believe the withered arm/hunch-back tales and I'm not sure he was the son of Lucifer as portrayed in Shakespeare. But I see him and even understand a bit of his motivation in seizing the throne. It was underhanded but I understand. But I also see him as a conniver and a liar since he was first going to have Edward IV declared illegitimate by claiming their mother wasn't legally married to their father, and when Plan A fell through he went to Plan B — have Edward's children declared illegitimate by disputing the marriage to Elizabeth Wydville. That alone damns him in my eyes, even if I see it through 15th century eyes!)

For me, Warbeck suffered from the Anastasia Syndrome before the tragic Grand Duchess ever existed. You locate someone who bares some resemblance to the royal individual believed dead; you train them; pass them off to teary-eyed companions or servants, and perhaps even convince some of the royal family too that they are who they claim to be. I've seen those interviews with Anna Anderson — who in old age seemed completely delusional — and thanks to the science of DNA, we know she was NOT Anastasia. Thanks to DNA, we know that the real girl was murdered along with her family. No stranger had taken pity on her to rescue her, just as I don't believe that the person sent to kill Edward V and Richard of York took pity on the youngest child and decided to take him into hiding. (I guess I've just seen too many evil people in my career in law enforcement to believe they had a change of heart in saving one child after killing another — I'm just cynical about many things now).

But that's my opinion. Laugh If any of you get a chance to catch The Shadow of the Tower, some of the episodes aren't bad and some are WAY too talky, but the ones about the pretenders have been pretty interesting.

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

September 24, 2011
6:29 pm
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Anyanka
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TinaII2None said:

 

For me, Warbeck suffered from the Anastasia Syndrome before the tragic Grand Duchess ever existed. You locate someone who bares some resemblance to the royal individual believed dead; you train them; pass them off to teary-eyed companions or servants, and perhaps even convince some of the royal family too that they are who they claim to be. I've seen those interviews with Anna Anderson — who in old age seemed completely delusional — and thanks to the science of DNA, we know she was NOT Anastasia. Thanks to DNA, we know that the real girl was murdered along with her family.

 

I really can't see the British establishment* allowing DNA tests on the bones of the bodies that are described as the “Princes in the Tower” any more than I can see them DNA-ing the bodies in St Peter ad Vincula . Trying to find true line descendants after 480+ years is going to be very hard.

 

With the Romanovs there were viable collecteral lines from which DNA could be collected.

 

* The Queen, parliment etc.

 

It's always bunnies.

September 24, 2011
7:37 pm
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TinaII2None
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Anyanka said:

 

I really can’t see the British establishment* allowing DNA tests on the bones of the bodies that are described as the “Princes in the Tower” any more than I can see them DNA-ing the bodies in St Peter ad Vincula . Trying to find true line descendants after 480+ years is going to be very hard.

 

With the Romanovs there were viable collecteral lines from which DNA could be collected.

 

* The Queen, parliment etc.

*********************

Oh I'm realistic enough to know that the remains of the Princes will never be exhumed for DNA analysis. If it ever happens it won't be in our lifetimes. It would be nice and definitive if it did take place, but there are way too many people who would raise barriers, including many who probably just feel that the dead should be allowed to rest in peace. The crime scene tech in me wants a final answer, but I don't think we'll see it.

So this is one of those mysteries that will likely remain so.

When I mentioned Anastasia, it was just to say that Anna Anderson (and however many other imposters there were) was being used by others who sought some type of gain. It was the same with Warbeck and Simnel, where you had two individuals being trained and propped up as whichever member of the house of York the conspirators had in mind. (Not sure how factual this part was, but in the miniseries, Warbeck was first going to be declared as Richard III's illegitimate son, and then it was changed to Richard Duke of York; I guess they figured making him Edward IV's son made a tad more sense. Now he's either one or the other – not both LOL). I just hate seeing these people used for such purposes, especially if any had emotional problems.

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

March 19, 2012
5:40 am
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Janet
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Personally, I don’t think Richard did it. I think it was Henry VII or someone that supported him. Even if Henry overthrew Richard, both of those princes stood in his way to the throne. Henry had much more to lose if those princes were alive. Besides which, Henry and every one that supported him would want to portray Richard as evil incarnate, making Henry seem more of a ‘good guy’ and not someone that committed high treason by attacking the king that was already on the throne. Just my opinion of course. Wink

March 19, 2012
8:58 am
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Maggyann
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I know it is not ‘nice to think off’ but I have always been suspicious of their own mother Elizabeth Woodville. She loved her position but knew her son was not going to be king as she had planned with herself wielding the power from behind the throne. She didn’t want to lose everything when she could get away with losing only ‘somethings’.
The agreement was made between herself and Margaret Beaufort that Henry Tudor would take the throne, marry her daughter Elizabeth of York and allow her to take up a position of some honour as the Queen’s mother. She had other daughters to make good marriages for too which was a big consideration.
I think it quite possible, in the terms of the times she lived in, her own personal desires for position/power/security expains why she allowed Richard to join Edward in the tower and that she then worked and plotted to organise their deaths. She knew neither of these boys had a chance anyway so took a pragmatic course to protect herself and her daughters. She may even have felt that it was the kindest thing left to her to do for her sons. Perhaps some poison. I can’t imagine the hows of it all but I do think it quite feasible that she was behind their ‘disappearance’. I do not subscribe to the idea that she helped one or even both boys to escape from the tower, to turn up later as claimants because from the moment she committed to her daughter being queen she had to let go of the boys in all ways and would have seen that nothing short of a total ‘clean up would protect Elizabeth’s future position or her own for that matter and that of her other daughters.

Let us show them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves - Boudica addressing the tribes Circa AD60

March 19, 2012
11:11 am
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Boleyn
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The so called pretenders to the throne is an intersting and long debated subject, and I think it will always be a mystery too, Much the same as who actually killed the Princes in the tower. I don’t think it’s possible tha Perkin or Lambert were of Royal blood, as Thomas More gave in depth detail to how the Princes died and to where their bodies were buried, and consquently found. DNA testing could be done but as already pointed out it would be very time consuming and without a direct descendant DNA in the first place I doubt that the Queen’s permission would be very forthcomming. SWMNBN put forward an intersting theory however in The White Queen book is it just possible that Queen Elizabeth did manage to get Richard away to safety abroad? I doubt it myself, but who knows? The other question I have about this whole pretenders issue, is why did Margaret actually believe they were her nephews? Elizabeth bore them when Margaret was abroad and had been for a number of years too.
As for actually murdered the Princes, I think a few years ago a court as such was brought up and put Richard 3rd on trial for the murders of the Princes and was found not guilty, leaving the question still open to who killed the Princes. I don’t think Henry 7th was responsible either, so who does that leave? I have an idea it was the Duke of Buckingham, who was also a contender for the throne, and felt that he could lay the blame squarely on Richard and take the throne himself, he wouldn’t have seen Henry as a threat as Henry wasan unknown as was damn lucky to have actually won Bosworth as he really didn’t have the force to beat Richard and it’s only because of his step father and his step Uncle turning their coats so to speak that they won.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

March 19, 2012
12:38 pm
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DuchessofBrittany
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I find this to be one of the great mysteries. I can see how people can easily argue for Richard’s guilt or Henry’s guilt. But we just don’t know. Since we lack the fundamental forensic evidence (such as time of death, for example), it is all speculation. Mind, many a court case has been based on speculative evidence and some very convincing attorneys. For me, I can see both sides of the argument: Richard and Henry both had the means, methods, and opportunity to kill these boys.
I am not sold on Richard’s “Titulus Regius” as sole proof of him not killing his nephews. There were still many in England who supported Edward V, and it would not be enough to bastardise them. It would be guranteed in killing them.
However, I can see shrewd Henry wanting them killed, if they were alive. Henry had many detractors, too. With Richard dead, Edward V (even illigitimate) would mean the Yorkist had a claim.
Then again, I go back to the whole question of Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. It is somewhat ironic that Edward’s grandson, Henry VIII (who apparently took after him) was to deal with his own marital woes with a vivacious, independent woman in Anne, who would also be called a witch). But, I digress. It seems Edward was popular and able King, who was a capable statesman and a brave warrior. Elizabeth Woodville was another thing. I often wonder if Richard and other Yorkists did not fear her. She was intelligent, capable, independent, and shrewd. Since Edward V was young, his mother, potentially, could wield copious amounts of power. I doubt few males could appreciate, or would allow, a mere woman to control a kingdom.
Sorry for the long post. I hope it makes some sense, but I felt the need to..vent?

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March 19, 2012
2:20 pm
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Boleyn
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Good point Duchess.
I feel that Richard wouldn’t have gained anything by killing the Princes as he’d already declared them as Bastards, and the same where Henry is concerned too.
When The skeletons of the 2 boys were discovered I believe it was Bernard Spilsbury who was a priorneer in forensic medicine, who stated the the skulls of the children, who he determined were aged between 9 and 12 showed signs of suffocation. As Thomas More stated that the Children were suffocated being folded into their matresses, I see no reason to suspect that this isn’t true. My bugbear with this whole thing is, is how did Elizabeth Woodville and the Princes sisters view the deaths of their brothers? Surely Elizabeth Henry’s, Queen would have wanted to find out what had happened to her brothers? I find it difficult to believe that they all just excepted the boy’s deaths without so much as a by or leave. But then I guess death or disappearence was just excepted back then and it was best not to ask questions unless you disappeared too. The same could be said of the death of Henry 6th. I find it hard to believe that he wasn’t bumped off, but then who did that?

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

March 19, 2012
3:25 pm
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Janet
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All good points in the mystery. I have a problem with More’s views though. He was born in 1478 and the princes were done away with in 1483, which means that Moore was a very young boy at the time and probably wouldn’t have first hand knowledge. Also, he was writing in Tudor years and would still want to propagate the idea that Richard was evil and Henry was the savior of England. I’m not saying that Moore lied. He probably believed what he wrote, but that doesn’t make it true. Maybe Henry’s queen did suspect her husband of the murders and couldn’t/wouldn’t ask.

March 19, 2012
7:08 pm
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Boleyn
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Janet said

All good points in the mystery. I have a problem with More’s views though. He was born in 1478 and the princes were done away with in 1483, which means that Moore was a very young boy at the time and probably wouldn’t have first hand knowledge. Also, he was writing in Tudor years and would still want to propagate the idea that Richard was evil and Henry was the savior of England. I’m not saying that Moore lied. He probably believed what he wrote, but that doesn’t make it true. Maybe Henry’s queen did suspect her husband of the murders and couldn’t/wouldn’t ask.

Good point Janet. I think Richard was much maligned as a bad king and the murderer of his nephews, I don’t think he was either to be honest, the only critisum I have about him was the way he went about to take the throne from the Princes. Having declared bastards doesn’t seem to have been a good enough reason and then around and kill them, and further more so I believe he was actually toying with the idea of marrying Elizabeth of York himself. I don’t believe Henry was involved with the boy’s deaths anymore than I do Richard, but I believe Richard was blamed as he was the one who declared them bastards etc. However I still feel that the Duke of Buckingham, who was married to Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s sister was the one who was actually responsible for the boy’s death. Thomas More must have either heard the story of their deaths and burial either as a small boy or perhaps came across something when older when he was training to be a lawyer, however you must admit that when the powers that be excavated exactly where More said the boys were buried they did find the 2 skeletons of 2 children, So I don’t think that could have be pure guess work on More’s part. He obviously knew something, from somewhere.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

March 20, 2012
2:25 am
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Maggyann
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I can’t remember where I read about this but if I do I’ll let you all know but anyway it is one of the things which has made me seriously consider Elizabeth Woodville in the mystery of the two Princes.
Edward IV’s tomb or grave or whatever was damaged during the Cromwell years. Later when it was being restored it was found to contain the bodies of Edward, Elizabeth and two unknown children.
If I remember rightly the two skeletons found in the tower were eventually declared to be unlikely to be the two Princes.

Let us show them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves - Boudica addressing the tribes Circa AD60

March 20, 2012
6:00 am
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Boleyn
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Well Maggyann, this one has thrown me, and of course you could well be right. It would seem more likely that the boys would have been given a decent burial, rather than be shoved away in some long forgotten corner in the Tower, and where better to bury them than with their father.
However it now throws into the mix, just who were the 2 skeletons unearthed in the Tower? Having read it is there a possiblity that they were the playmates of the Princes? Is there a slim chance that the bodies got mixed up, and that one of the skeletons found in the Tower is one of the missing princes and vice versa. The Assassins wouldn’t have had a lot of time to depose of the bodies it would have basically been grab a body a run.
However this also throws Thomas More’s detailed description into doubt.
As stupid as it sounds, is there a chance however slim that 2 more children were murdered in the days before the princes were last seen and when the Princes disappeared they too were murdered and mistakes were made. Yeah Yeah it’s a long shot, but who knows History has a habit of biting you on the bum when you least expect it.
However it still doesn’t answer just who was responsible for their deaths?
I still go with Buckingham, as he had plans to murder Richard and take the throne himself. Henry Tudor was a nothing and a nobody and nobody would back him against Buckingham if he had succeeded in his scheme of killing Richard and taking the Throne. I’m not entirely sure but I think that When Henry landed in Milford Haven, his rag tag army consisted of Mercinaries and convicts, and only a handful of Welsh Soliders actually turned out for him as hardly anyone knew who he was and it was only because he bore the Tudor name that he got any Welsh fighters anyway.
Don’t quote me on it please. When Henry came over for a second time, he knew as Richard did this was a do or die situation for them both.
I wonder if Richard had of won he would have married Elizabeth of York? How would he get around the laws of consanguinity? Was it just the boys that Richard had declared bastards? If he had declared them all bastards how would he jusify his marriage to Elizabeth of York? She would have been a bastard, so therefore no fit Queen for someone of Richard’s standing? Hmm good one for me to have a puzzle over for the next few hours, and perhaps a few sore heads for everyone else..

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

March 20, 2012
6:23 am
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Maggyann
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It is quite possible and how are we ever to know the truth of it all, but it could be that the two skeletons at the tower were as sad as it is the remains of two children who died there perhaps when it was being built or just two poor beggars who were used in some way in the precincts who died whether naturally or by other means. I would imagine the tower is built on the bones of many unnamed people who have died there in those years of toil and poverty.
As to Richard and his idea of marrying Elizabeth I suppose it would have been a case of the old get a bit of paper from the Pope to say it as all AOK and there you are. I don’t think Richard would have married her though. I don’t think he had any good feelings for Elizabeth Woodville or any of the children she had. If after his wife Anne died, presuming he had held the throne, he wanted a new wife he would have looked elsewhere.
I don’t agree with you (in the nicest possible way of course Laugh) on Buckingham. He was close to Edward IV and while he may well have wanted to kill off Richard I do not think he would have done anything other than upheld the rights of Edward’s son.
As for Henry, he was a rank outsider as far as support was concerned but he had Margaret behind him all the way and she was nothing if not determined. The battle may have been fought at Bosworth but she put her son on that throne no doubt about that.
Elizabeth Woodville was just as determined but for more personal/selfish reasons which is why I think it quite likely she took the drastic step of supporting Henry Tudor and his proposed marriage with her daughter at the expense of her son(s).
Therefore the two small skeletons discovered in the tomb she shares with her husband may well be those of her sons. She may have been able to bring herself to contribute to their deaths but would surely have also wanted their bodies to be treated well. Not slung into a hole with animal bones and other waste material.

Let us show them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves - Boudica addressing the tribes Circa AD60

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