EDWARD V April -
xxxxxAs we have seen, Edward IV died in 1483, having appointed his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as Protector until his son, Edward V, came of age. The young Edward succeeded his father at the age of twelve, but was deposed three months later in favour of his uncle, Richard, on the grounds that his parents had not been properly married and he was therefore illegitimate.
xxxxxAfter Richard had been crowned king in July, the young Edward and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, were never seen in public again. It is generally believed that Richard had both boys murdered in the Tower of London. They were probably smothered to death while they slept. However, this has never been proved.
xxxxxSoon after the death of
Edward IV in April 1483,
xxxxxIt was then that the two
boys were declared illegitimate. The Bishop of Bath and Wells
conveniently pointed out to Gloucester that when Edward IV had
married Elizabeth Woodville -
xxxxxNothing more was heard
about the two boys. They were seen at the windows of their apartment
on a number of occasions up to August, but not afterwards. As noted,
it is generally believed that they were murdered by Richard's agents
xxxxxIncidentally, during repairs in 1674, a wooden chest was discovered under a pile of stones beneath the stairs to the chapel of the white tower. It contained the bones of two young children. On the direction of the king, Charles II, they were put in a white and black marble urn, designed by Christopher Wren in 1678, and this was buried in Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. In 1933 the bones were forensically examined and found to be those of two boys around the ages of the two princes, but that was as far as the evidence could go.
Edward V: late
16th century, artist unknown – National Portrait Gallery, London.
Murder of Princes: by the German painter
Theodor Hildebrandt (1804-