Richard III discussion

Who do you think "done" the princes in?

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message 1: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Henry VII? Warwick? Margaret Beaufort? Richard?

message 2: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I am inclined toward Henry Tudor, possibly because I dislike the poltroon. He shared so many characteristics with Louis XI of France; they were both conniving, murderous toads. I also wonder if Henry was himself legitimate. There seems to be some question there. In any event, what I have read about him depicts the sort of man who would not find it difficult to off a pair of kids, so long as he did not have to do it with his own hands.

message 3: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
That's my feeling as well. I know you hate Plaidy but her theory in To Hold the Crown AKA Uneasy lies the Head was for Henry as well, and it made it more difficult fighting off the Perkin Warbecks and other pretenders because he couldn't just come out and say it can't be because I know they're dead. Oh for a time machine.

message 4: by Pat (new)

Pat | 39 comments I've heard a little bit about many theories, but this is something that's entered my mind. Is it possible that the boys merely succumbed to a disease while in captivity and never recovered? They were never discribed as being healthly robust kids from what I've read. I realize that where they were housed was not just a prison and maybe they were well cared for, but what a terrifying ordeal it must have been for them. If they died accidentally or otherwise, noone would have wanted that information released. You're right Misfit...if only we could sneak a peek.

message 5: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Illness is always a possibility but I liked Penman's logic on that one -- if they had really died by illness or poison by his hand all he had to do to stop the rumors was to produce the bodies, by not doing so he made the situation worse. And I don't think anyone can say Richard wasn't smart enough to know that, and a prime motive for anyone wanting to discredit Richard.

Fascinating stuff all around.

message 6: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I argue for Henry because of his curious silence when he took control of the Tower after Bosworth. If the boys were missing, don't you think he would have made a huge production of it and laid it all at Richard's door? The Princes are not mentioned in the Bill of Attainder presented against Richard by Henry, although there is an accusation that Richard "shed innocent blood". I realize Henry was a sneaky creature but it would have been to his advantage to blame Richard for the deaths or disappearances of the boys. In addition, when Henry repressed Titulus regius in order to legitimize Elizabeth, he also made her brothers legitimate. They had a far better claim to the throne than did he so I think it almost certain he knew them to be dead.

message 7: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments
Or Henry knew that he would do everything in his power to kill them if they were alive...
I think that Richard III sent the princes away to a safe place and Edward died there or on the way. But I think that Richard Duke of York lived and was the man that Henry called Perkin Warbeck.

message 8: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments There is a really good case to be made for that, Barb, with so many titled heads willing to support the Warbeck chap. His resemblance to most of the other Plantagenets is so strong, one feels there just had to be a family connection.

I wish permission would be given to test the bones found in the seventeenth century in order to try to see if they really are the bones of the sons of Edward IV. That would put to rest some of the speculation - but not nearly all of it. Heh!

message 9: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Spft*zfit*tzzt*...the synapses again...
Diana Kleyn ('Richard of England') wrote about the bones that were found and included some forensic information that included the fact that the bones weren't the correct ages for the princes and that one of them was likely a girl and not a boy...spft*fzsit*
...I think :0)

message 10: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments And I think that Kleyn ...or is it Audrey Williamson ??? one of those smart ladies, suggested that the government of England will never let those bones be tested for DNA...

message 11: by Ikonopeiston (last edited Jan 05, 2009 05:50PM) (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I have heard a lot of contrary rumours about the bones. Do you know if it is possible to trace relationships through the male DNA? I'm not sure about that and I do know they have DNA from Edward IV (but not from Elizabeth Woodville?). Very peculiar.

I read that when they measured Edward's skeleton, it was six feet three inches which would have made him an impressive king indeed.

Your synapses are firing on all cylinders tonight. ;)

message 12: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments I had no idea that they had a DNA sample from Edward IV, how cool is that!

I have no idea how such things are done. I thought they would have to start from this end and compare the results with known descendants of the Plantagenets. If they have a sample from Edward IV that would certainly simplify the process wouldn't it.

message 13: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I am completely stupid about this sort of thing. I would think it ought to help sort things out. I have read that it is not possible to make a better guess at the gender of very young skeletons and to better determine the age. I wonder why the Windsors don't want to know the truth. For heaven's sake, it has been more than five hundred years since the death of Richard.

Do you suppose those bones could be dated back to Roman times? The Tower was built on Roman foundations, after all. We need those bones!

message 14: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Kleyn talks about the gender and the age of the bones in her book, which I borrowed through ILL and can't refer back to because it's gone back to it's home at Binghamton University...

And I've read the same, that the bones could be far older than our princes bones. But wouldn't it be interesting if they did try to use the forensic technology available today and see what information they could get from those bones.

message 15: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Do you have any idea why the current occupants of the throne will not let science have its day? I have not read a single thing which gives any reason for the refusal.

message 16: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments I don't recall her (Kleyn's) rationale or even if one was offered only that she did not think the government would ever want to re-examine the bones.

message 17: by MAP (last edited Jan 08, 2009 06:40PM) (new)

MAP | 181 comments I don't know if this is the right thread to do this in, and I'll be the first to admit I'm VERY new to Ricardian history, but I'm going to give something a whirl.

First, I don't think Richard killed the boys. Josephine Tey and others have made several good arguments for why it wouldn't have made any sense. I also don't think Tudor did it, simply because the boys went missing too early for that, though I do see there could be other reasons for this.

Many people argue that if the boys were not alive when Tudor came along, why didn't he accuse Richard of murder? I have a theory. It's a lame one, and I'm sure you all can pick it apart easily (and please do!) but I'll post it cause I haven't seen anyone else say it.

Tudor was trying to assert his right to the crown. He couldn't do it through lineage, so he had to do it by right of conquest and asserting that Richard was a loser and deserved to be usurped. This seems to be why many say "Why not heap the murder of two boys on him, whether he did it or not? That would really clinch Richard's unfitness to crown!"

My theory is this: Tudor was trying, as I said, to assert his right to the crown. To say about Richard, "He didn't deserve to be king of this country and I had every right to usurp him because he was cruel and he was a tyrant, and because he COMMITTED REGICIDE booo hissss" may have been hitting a little close to home, may have been too obviously the pot calling the kettle black. After all, if Richard is unfit for the crown and deserving of being usurped because of regicide, then why wouldn't disaffected English say to Tudor, "As opposed to what YOU did?? Kill a king, strip him naked, and parade him around on the back of your horse? Doesn't that count as regicide, sir?"

Anyway, feel free to disagree with me, or tell me it's been brought up before and dismissed, or anything else. :) I just like thinking about the motivations of people for doing unusual things, and this is what I came up with.

message 18: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
MAP, welcome our fledgling group BTW and excellent opinions. This in one mystery that will likely never be resolved and argued about time and again. The only thing I am positive about is that Richard did not do it.

message 19: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Well done, MAP! You have come up with a fresh way to look at the whole thing. one little nit to pick - Henry had to know that the boys were dead or he would never have taken the chance of suppressing Titulus Regius in order to legitimize Elizabeth of York. He needed her to be legitimate so as to shore up his claim to the throne but had he thought for a moment one of the sons of Edward IV might turn up. I do not think he would have ventured to do it. Either he killed the lads or he knew somehow that another person had done them in.

Of course, your idea that he could not have come straight out and accused Richard of the deed is logical, given his position at the time. However, hints could have been dropped to Polydore Vergil and others - Henry VII was a foxy one - and they could have done the accusing, which they did.

Like Misfit, I do not believe Richard did it. He was far too intelligent to handle a double murder in such a clumsy manner as to leave himself open to all sorts of scandal. But then I am a thorough-going Ricardian.

One other thing, in the fifteenth century, it was the usual sort of thing for a king who lost his throne, one way or another, to lose his life as well. The people, as opposed to the nobility, just wanted some peace and quiet and generally went along with whatever happened. Had Richard offed the boys, I do not think it would have made all that much difference to his subjects so long as they were not oppressed and were given an acceptable story about the deaths.

message 20: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments Oh, I totally agree that Henry must have at least known the boys were dead. That was one of my problems with the book The King's Daughter: I felt that Tudor's claim was so that he would never have legitimized Elizabeth if he thought one of her brothers would pop back up. She was a great bonus to his reign, but he made sure she wasn't necessary to hold on to his reign. He wouldn't have legitimized and married her if either of the boys could have possibly been alive.

message 21: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Since you do not believe he killed them and it is doubtful Richard would have been so stupid as to mishandle it, who do you think did the dirty deed? Buckingham is the usual alternate suspect. He was certainly unbalanced enough to have done it for any of a variety of reasons. Can you conjure up anyone else?

message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura I agree that Richard didn´t do it after reading Josephine Tey´s book.

message 23: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
"The people, as opposed to the nobility, just wanted some peace and quiet and generally went along with whatever happened."

I agree. I've just started the second of Valerie Anand's Brides Over Time series which tells the history of England from the viewpoint of the villeins and the lesser folk - all they do want is peace. It will be fun when I get to the book that deals with the whole Richard/Henry VII issue.

I'll be starting The King's Daughter some time this weekend. I don't expect to love it (hopefully it won't hit the wall), but should be interesting just the same.

message 24: by Ikonopeiston (last edited Jan 09, 2009 06:19AM) (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments That sounds like a fascinating series and Book Three lurks in your future. You know, the fact which most amazed me when reading about these days was the sheer number of children a woman had to turn out in order to keep the populace up to snuff. You learn about woman who birthed a dozen or so- as did Richard's mother, Cecily - and men who fathered two dozen or more. Wow! Makes me ache just to think about it.

I just noticed we have dozen members now. Not 'alf bad.

message 25: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Hey Laura, Josephine Tey is the mother of the modern Ricardian movement, I think. Her book never gets old to me. I am no longer sure how many times I have read it. ;)

message 26: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments As to who I think did it: Oh, probably Buckingham or someone like him with similar motives, but that's strictly a bias of my enjoyment of The Sunne in Splendour, rather than because of any good research of my own. :)

message 27: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Misfit,
I'm going to be very surprised if The King's Daughter hits the wall at your house...

I can't even imagine birthing a dozen children. I was talking with a woman I know yesterday and she has nine children...just mind boggling to me...

I see that European Royalty is doing a group read.
Would you all want to do one here as well?
Or if not a group read then maybe a book discussion?

message 28: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Barb, sounds fine to me.

message 29: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
I noticed we've gained a few new members as well. We'll be hitting the *cough* big time next. Group reads or group discussions? Buddy reads?

Yikes, I've just realized maybe madam moderator here should craft up a welcome and introduce your thread. Never done this before :)

message 30: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I vote for discussions by the group. Being a bit of a hermit, I am not very good at book club type reads. However, I will go along with what the group decides.

LOL You sound surprised that we are such an attractive crew. What I appreciate most of all here is the courtesy and maturity of the members.

message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura Me too, I think the discussions are more useful since we have already a book discussion at European Royalty group.

message 32: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Ikon, hopefully we'll keep it courteous and mature. So far I've loved the discussions.

I'm with you on group discussions. I read what I want to read and I have to be in the mood so monthly book reads only work for me when I'm actually ready to read the particular group.

We could have a Book section and threads for a specific book and anyone can discuss thoughts that way?

message 33: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Good idea. Actually, a number of people are reading from our bookshelf now so that should be fun.

How about 'The Daughter of Time' for a discussion. Most of us seem to have read that and to have been impressed. Or maybe we should vote on a choice. Should the eligible books be constrained by what is on our bookshelf?

message 34: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
I'll start a book discussion forum and anyone can add a thread for any Richard book they want to talk about. Kind of fun setting one's own rules.

message 35: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Yes! that was exactly what I was typing to beat me to it!

message 36: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments See, being the moderator isn't all bad. ;)

message 37: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Ikonopeiston wrote: "See, being the moderator isn't all bad. ;)"


I think I just managed to start a new section for book discussions. Feel free to get any threads going you guys wish. I'm off to read my book for a bit.

message 38: by Pat (new)

Pat | 39 comments This is in reference to the question as to why DNA testing is being refused in the cases of the princes, Edward and Richard. I have been searching the internet and am not sure how accurate this information is, but here is what I have found out. There is a conflict as to who is holding up the testing...either Elizabeth II or the Dean of Westminster Abbey...both saying that there is no reason in stirring up rumors and heresay anymore than already exists. That didn't sound like sound reasoning to me until I starting reading more about other requests for unburying the dead for DNA testing, lots of them. Some of those included were Sir Richard Guildford, believed by some to be Edward V, and Dr. John Clement (Thomas More's son in law)which many believe to be Richard, Duke of York. There is a strong following of persons who believe the princes were never murdered at all and lived on with different identities. Then there are those who want John Clement's daughters' tomb excavated to see if some of More's manuscripts on Richard III are there. Some believe that his works on what happened to the princes were just a smokescreen to protect his family and John Clement. It just goes on and on and I get the point that...where would it ever end? Any thoughts?

message 39: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I am currently reading Jeremy Potter's book on Richard's reputation over the five centuries since his death. He reports that a contemporary chronicle was discovered as late as 1980 in the library of the College of Arms (which Richard founded). In it an anonymous London citizen states that the Princes were put to death on the advice of Buckingham. He does not say who actually did it. So we cannot despair of fresh information surfacing even now.

I had heard that defense of More and also the story that he did his History of Richard III as an elaborate joke for the amusement of his intimates. Certainly some of his phrases can be read that way. He is often reluctant to confirm the truth of some of his more lurid charges, prefacing them with 'as some men say' and similar caveats.

Do you suppose the current royal family and the Dean of Westminster Abbey are making too much money off tourists drawn to the mystery and so forth to want to settle things? Certainly if the bones were proved to be those of the sons of Edward IV, there would be no reason to test those of Dr. John Clement, Sir Richard Guilford or any other claimants to the blood of the Plantagenets.

There is the hope that when Elizabeth II finally gives up the ghost or the throne, Charles who is much more of a scholar will give his permission for the testing. We can always hope. Personally, I believe those bones are those of a much earlier time than that of the Princes. There is no proper chain of evidence connecting them to the excavated remains since they were thrown on a rubbish tip for an unknown length of time and were mixed with the bones of animals etc.

message 40: by Barb (new)

Barb | 145 comments Hi Pat,
You're up early and doing some nice sleuthing! I'm so excited that your found something out there on the web about this topic. This is one of the many times when the web is such an amazing tool!

And yes, those argument make complete sense... could the results create any new claimants to the throne? That alone would probably keep those bones away from the scientists.

I'd love to read some of what you found, if you have time and are able to would you mind posting some of the links to the sites where your investigation took you?

Nice work!
Thanks for sharing!

message 41: by Pat (new)

Pat | 39 comments Good Morning Barb,
I've been up all night (yawn)
Just google ...princes in the tower DNA...and a whole slew of articles come up, nearly all with a different opinion. The one from the Holbein Artworks Society(or something like that) was especially interesting. There was a lot of information about More and his family.

message 42: by Pat (last edited Jan 10, 2009 05:25AM) (new)

Pat | 39 comments Yes Ikon, Charles seems to want to settle the mystery according to some sources, but looks like until E2 relinquishes her throne to her son or William, we will just have to wait.
I really don't know what to think anymore, it's gets more confusing with every new detail I find.

message 43: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Fascinating stuff Pat, good sleuthing! This has been a great discussion - I never knew that more wrote anything on Richard III before - I'll have to read up more on that one as well.

message 44: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Here's an interesting article that also discusses the Holbein painting,

message 45: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments Thank you for the link. I have placed it in my Ricardian folder of bookmarks. The article is fascinating although I think the chain of evidence will be difficult to shape using mostly male DNA. Still, I hope he gets to investigate if only to disprove one of the speculations.

message 46: by Laura (new)

Laura Great Pat, a lot of new stuff to read about it.

message 47: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
From the Richard III society page,

message 48: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1139 comments Mod
Interesting thread at Amazon that's gone a bit OT and two commenters are now debating the fates of the princes and Weir's book among other things.

message 49: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments How interesting that there is arising a movement to rehabilitate Elizabeth Woodville. Since those of us who feel Richard III to be maligned are called "Ricardians", I do wonder what the Elizabeth supporters will dub themselves.

Thank you for the link.

message 50: by Susan (last edited Mar 13, 2009 09:02AM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments Woodvillians?

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