Princes in the Tower  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"The Princes in the Tower" is an expression frequently used to refer to Edward V, King of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville surviving at the time of their father's death in 1483. When they were 12 and 9 years old, respectively, they were lodged in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them, their uncle, the Lord Protector: Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This was supposedly in preparation for Edward's forthcoming coronation as king. However, Richard took the throne for himself and the boys disappeared.

It is unclear what happened to the boys after they disappeared in the Tower. It is generally assumed that they were murdered; a common hypothesis is that they were killed by Richard in an attempt to secure his hold on the throne. Their death may have occurred some time in 1483, but apart from their disappearance, the only evidence is circumstantial. As a result, several other hypotheses about their fates have been proposed, including the suggestion that they were murdered by Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham or Henry VII, among others. It has also been suggested that one or both princes may have escaped assassination. In 1487, Lambert Simnel initially claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, but later claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick. From 1491 until his capture in 1497, Perkin Warbeck claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, having supposedly escaped to Flanders. Warbeck's claim was supported by some contemporaries (including the aunt of the disappeared princes, Margaret of York).

In 1674, workmen at the Tower dug up a wooden box containing two small human skeletons. The bones were found in the ground near the White Tower, which is close to one reported site of their burial. The bones were widely accepted at the time as those of the princes, but this has not been proven and is far from certain. King Charles II had the bones buried in Westminster Abbey.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Princes in the Tower" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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