A Christmas romance – how lovely…
Edward IV died unexpectedly in April 1483. For Elizabeth Woodville this was a disaster, especially when her brother-in-law Richard became the Protector. Now is not the time or the place to look more closely at the possible permutations of what happened to young Edward V and his brother Richard in the Tower or what Richard’s plans and rationale were for claiming the crown himself; suffice it to say rather a lot of mud was slung at the time and has continued to be thrown since.
Elizabeth Woodville took herself, along with her remaining children, into sanctuary at Westminster. Whilst she was there she and Margaret Beaufort – presumably working on the principle of the enemy of my enemy is my friend in Elizabeth’s case- came up with a plan to marry their children. Henry Tudor, Margaret’s Lancastrian son and dubious claimant to the throne would marry Elizabeth of York the eldest daughter of Edward IV. There was the small issue of Edward’s possible pre-contract in marriage rendering the princess an arrival on the wrong side of the blanket but by this stage in proceedings there were no other Lancastrian claimants and it was Richard who was suggesting the legitimacy of his nieces and nephews was open to question in order to claim the throne for himself.
It was against this backdrop – Jane Austen never came up with a romance like this one- that on Christmas Day, 1483, at Rennes Cathedral in Brittany, where he was in exile but writing and receiving lots of letters that Henry Tudor took an oath that he would marry Elizabeth just as soon as he got his mitts on the crown. The rest as they say is, er, history.
Henry Tudor was born in France,though all was changed to Wales when we crowned this usurper . He was the son of Margaret Beaufort and one of thirty archer soldiers that she fancied. He was a good accountant but no fighter and by his mothers marriage to Lord Stanley he won the crown by arrangement shall we say? Richard had been caught between a rock and a hard place and had little choice but to live. What he did was never proven though it is more likely he had to stop rebellion by taking control of the figure heads of two illegitimate princes. Woodvil family on the top rung of power had all control and Richard his brother the Kings loyal servant raced from Appleby courts in Cumbria now the Gloucester Arms hotel.
No one bothered to tell him his King was dead. Only the Hastings letter a month later announced it. He knew his own life was in peril so what ever he did was risky stuff. Another family connection being blamed for regicide BUT I have proof he knew that his Brother Edward was guilty of marriage to the Talbot girl long before his marriage to the Irish witch now his staunch enemy. It is not out of the question that she even had a hand in her husbands death.
Richard may be forgiven for panic he had reached the end of his tether. It was Morton at table that confessed he knew where the two princes bodies had been buried that a young Tom Moore the judges son overheard that a large pile of stones sat on top. The place back of a stone staircase in the old Royal section of the Tower of London. The fact that some small piece of velvet lay under the bottom body covered face to face by the body on top that historians say is total proof of Richards guilt. As velvet only appeared in England around 1482 it must be the princes? Wrong as the jars that held the bones made by order of King Charles 11 had been may times robbed by those who placed great store of owning royal bones. Filled with pig bones mice and rat bones and even horse bones the pots are now almost useless as proof to us now. Even the pelvic bone found in almost tact is too small for a boy and more than right a girls pelvic bone. now that piece of velvet is suspicious as it first appeared in late 1700 as part of findings with the Princes grave.
Only the place named proved right but did Morton have it in for Richards memory? Yes he hated him.Could it be that all had been set up by this educated and evil man of forked law who had so many livings as church man to police.The thing is if Richard knew his brother was married twice to both women why did he even think the princes enemy? Mind you out of the way gave him a better chance. He had been known as a good uncle and if you see Christmas at Middleham, Masham and Sheriff Hutton over the early years of the boys lives one may see how hard it may have been for Richard to accept his plight. If he had been weak he would have perished sooner and Woodvile Kings would have been our heritage. My great great grandfathers brother Doctor Sam Parr built the well over King Richards last drinking place on the battlefield of Market Bosworth.
The Princes in the Tower – the original conspiracy theory or should I say theories. I doubt if we’ll ever know what happened to them but you never know, stranger things have happened. I know that its an unlikely scenario but I do like the John Clement theory presented in the More family portrait by Holbein/Lockey…though the Alison Weir book very firmly places the blame on Richard….though who gained from the death of the princes in the Tower – answer Henry Tudor. I can go around in ever decreasing circles pointing my finger with plenty of circumstantial evidence.
I saw Sam Parr’s well cover when we went to Bosworth in September. It’s undoubtedly a fascinating period of history. It draws you in. Having said that I seem to be fairly well drawn into most periods of history from William of Normandy to the English Civil War – although I’m not overly keen on the Stuarts and once it all becomes political I go right off the whole thing, although I can see that yelling at one another in the House of Commons is infinitely preferable to hacking at one another on various battle fields.
Thank you Sir Kevin Parr. Never cared for that lickspittle Henry. He had the most to gain by death of the two princes, not Richard.