Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Princes in the Tower


Disappearance of Princes Edward & Richard

Edward and Richard, the sons of Edward IV were the Princes in the Tower who had disappeared and were never seen alive again, shortly after Edward had been crowned Edward V. Edward was born in 1470 in London and his brother Richard, Duke of York was born in Shrewsbury in 1473. Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville were their parents. Edward IV had come to the throne as a consequence of the Wars of the Roses and had managed to restore some amount of stability in the country.

Edward IV had died suddenly on 9 April 1493 after an illness that lasted for three weeks and his eldest son had been declared Edward V at Ludlow. His uncle, the brother of his father, Richard, Duke of Gloucester had been named as protector.

Elizabeth Woodville together with her supporters, made attempts to replace Gloucester, with a regency Council, knowing of the dislike that Gloucester had for them. Edward V, as the new king travelled towards London and was met by Gloucester who escorted him to the capital and lodged in the Tower of London. Edward was joined by his brother the Duke of York in June. The boys had been declared illegitimate since it was assumed that their father was contracted to marry someone else before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.

The Accession That Never Took Place

Richard, Duke of Gloucester was crowned Richard III in July 1483 and the two boys were never seen again. It was believed that their uncle had murdered them. Historians who tend to believe their disappearance will forever remain a mystery, need to think again. The Independent can reveal that the historian and screenwriter who organized the Looking for Richard project which resulted in one of the greatest historical discoveries of modern times, the grave of Richard III situated below a car park in Leicester is back again, trying to crack the case.

 It is widely presumed that the Plantagenet King Richard II had killed his nephews in the summer of 1483 after the death of their father Edward IV. Anticipating his coronation, twelve year old Edward V was taken to the Tower of London together with his nine year old brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. However, the accession never seemed to take place.

No Definitive Answer till Date

Towards 1674, workmen started preparation for some rebuilding work on the White Tower at the Tower of London and while clearing the rubble at the base of a staircase, they found two skeletons that were small enough to recommend that they belonged to two youths. The immediate presumption made at that time was that they were the skeletons of Edward and Richard, the Princes in the Tower.

 Had such a discovery been made in present times, a forensic examination would have been made or perhaps a DNA confirmation may have been collected in an attempt to conclude if the skeletons were those of the unfortunate princes. But such practices were not available then and the bones had been moved to Westminster Abbey for reburial.

Thereafter there have been many attempts to re-examine the skeletons in an effort to decide if the skeletons had indeed been of the princes. No definite answers have come up till date but the question may be asked - `if these are not the remains of Edward and Richard, then who are they and the most compelling question is that if these are the skeletons of the Princes in the Tower were they murdered and by whom?

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