A Conversation for Richard III - Malignant or Maligned Monarch?

Princes in the Tower

Post 1

Harlequin {Keeper of Contradictions, Ambiguity and Things You Shouldn't Ask But Do}

It does seem likely that Richard was implicated in the deaths of the Princes.

The Wars of the Roses, and indeed the loss of France, was mostly due to infighting between Henry VI's advisors during his minority and subsequent periods of mental ill health.

The prospect of another Royal minority in what was an already factionalised political frame was perhaps a part of his brothers legacy Richard didn't want to consider. Bear in mind that the Prince's were linked to the Woodville's and Grey's by Blood, and they formed quite a faction.

One option was to neuter any other opposition and set himself up as protector, hence the execution of Hastings and declaring himself protector. However rumblings from the continent and foreign meddling in the question of Henry Tudor's spurious claim must have led to a policy reconsideration.

By removing the Prince's he diminished the Woodville's influence at court, thus removing the major factional opposition. Doubtless it wasn't an easy decision to make though, but a necessary one. Richard had his supporters, but as Buckingham later showed, support was a fluid commodity in the political arena.

Richard's eventual defeat at Bosworth owed more to political manouvering than lack of support. The Stanley's where no doubt swayed by the prospect of better rewards under Tudor (Step-son in law of one of the brothers) than with Richard. Any moral outrage that may be implied by their lack of support for Richard can be counted out as they both plotted against Henry VII later in the reign.

Although morally reprehensible in our 20th century minds, Richard's dealing with the Princes was a decisive political step. Alternatively it could be seen as making good a bad situation, if Richard was not himself responsible, bearing in mind there where plenty of others who stood to gain by their deaths. Only the Woodville's themselves can be seen as not being suspects.

Princes in the Tower

Post 2


A smart political operator such as Richard would see - even allowing for 15th century politics - that murdering the princes was an altogether dim move. It would hardly break the Woodville-Grey alliance. Remember, Edward V was merely the figurehead. Elizabeth had the power. And, in plotting against Richard she plotted against her own son. The conspiracy theorist in me sits up and takes notice at this point.

Remember, he didn't declare himself protector. He was made protector, and - apparently - he reluctantly agreed to be 'promoted' to monarch.

Sure - it was the Stanley's decisive political manouevre not to join Richard on the battlefield which was a principle cause of his defeat. Politically and physically it was about as effective a choice as could be made.

Princes in the Tower

Post 3

Harlequin {Keeper of Contradictions, Ambiguity and Things You Shouldn't Ask But Do}

Yes and no....

Without the Princes, the Woodvilles and Greys had no political force, other than their personal positions, the Dowager Queen was not a political force without heirs.

My own personal suspicions are aroused by there were no attempts to display the bodies, no attempts to lay the blame for their loss or disappearance.... yet there was no objection to Richard taking the throne.

Is it therefore possible that there were written records of what transpired, but the Tudors destroyed them for some reason to perpetuate their propaganda ?

Princes in the Tower

Post 4


Could be. That's the whole problem with the "history" of the period. Peering through the clouds of Tudor propaganda ain't easy - and it just goes to prove no history is final and factual. I wonder what historians in 2600 will think about, for example, Kennedy's Assassination, the Second World War and the Russian Revolution.

Now there's an interesting thought experiment...

Princes in the Tower

Post 5

Harlequin {Keeper of Contradictions, Ambiguity and Things You Shouldn't Ask But Do}

Yes, true and opinion is divided in 2001, let alone 2600 smiley - smiley

Princes in the Tower

Post 6

Bruce from the University of Woolloomooloo

Let's get one thing straight, there were no 'Princes' in the Tower. There was a king in the tower, and the next king in the case of his death before fathering children.

Edward V was on the way to his coronation when taken into 'protection' by his uncle, who then demanded the surrender of his brother from the family home. At that point a campaign was started claiming that he (Richard) was the only legitimate son of Richard of York. As Richard of York, Clarence and Edward VI were dead, and the claimants to the throne safely locked away - they could not refute such allegations and he had the boys as a hostage for the goodwill of their family.

Thusly, if the claim to the throne was a bit dodgy for the lineage Henry IV to Henry VI, then that of Richard of York and his sons was just as spurious. Remembering that the crown lawfully passed (ie with the assent of Parliament) to Edward VI and this was successfully tested in battle (ie the Deity assents also), the throne now resided in the claim of Edward V and his heirs - NOT in the heir of Richard of York (who wasn't made king).

The new king to be and his brother just disappeared. If there had been a passing of the crown to a 'legitimate' source, they still would have remained as a focus for popular rebellion against Richard's reign. Any other noble house or foreign crown would have used this as a chance to assume control and marry the boys into their dynasties and make the next generation 'legitimate'.

Whether Owen Tewder/Tudor had a particularly good claim is irrelevent. With the support of noble families, the Parliament and a victory in the field of battle - that is as good a claim as was required back in those days.

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