Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Richard III fact and fiction?

Why are people so quick to point the finger at Richard III for the assumed killing of his nephews "the prices in the tower"?

There were so many people that would have benefited from their deaths and those poor boys were doomed from the get go after their Fathers sudden death.

And why on earth was he portrayed as a hunch back cripple in Shakespeare's Richard III?

Why were there only reports of Richard the younger of the prices being found alive? Why would anyone impersonate the younger of the two and not the actual heir to the thrown?

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Richard had the most to gain from the deaths of the 2 princes, as they were both ahead of him in line to the throne.Further, the whole background to the Wars of the Roses had come from the fact that Henry VI had come to the throne when only a few months old; a child king could have plunged the realm back into civil war after 12 years of peace and prosperity.

    Richard made no attempt to show the Princes publicly when rumours of their death and disappearance began to circulate, nor did he make any public denial or defence in reply to the rumours,easily done if they were still alive.He had motive, opportunity, and no alibi.There was no investigation conducted into their fate by Richard, so he didn't even bother to try to pass blame onto anyone else, or to discover the true killer if he was innocent.

    On the other hand, Richard was absolutely devoted to his brother, Edward IV, and even during the bad times in exile had remained loyal (unlike their other brother,George,Duke of Clarence) to him and his children, and even to Edward's unpopular wife and her family.So, there is an argument that Richard, given Edward's will granted him power as Regent, had neither desire nor need to kill the Princes.

    Shakespeare's plays about the Yorkist and Tudor monarchs were propaganda; Shakespeare became popular during the reign of Elizabeth, Henry VII's granddaughter. He could hardly write plays about what a great and noble king Richard was, and how the Lancastrians (Henry IV) and Tudors (Henry VII), had basically usurped a throne they had no legal right, or right of succession to, by killing the previous kings (who both happened to be Yorkists). Henry VII claimed the throne through (a completely bogus) link to the House of Lancaster. Shakespeare wrote plays extolling the Lancastrians and Tudors, and villifying the Yorkists (even Edward IV, one of Europe's most renowned warriors of the day, was depicted as an aged, simpleminded weakling), to curry favour with Elizabeth.

    There were a number of reports/claims/attempts to produce one or other of the Princes at a later date.None of these was ever verified as truly being a son of Edward IV; they were figureheads produced by Yorkist propaganda, in order to rally support around a viable pretender, in an attempt to stage a successful rebellion against Henry,thus regaining the throne for the House of York.

    • If he had killed them he got no benefit from it if the deaths were not made public. Also consider, the Archbishop if Canterbury, E Widville, their mother and Elizabeth of York, their sister never once accused Richard big murder when it would have been expedient and safe to do so.

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  • 4 years ago

    He was guilty all right. But he may not have been after the crown from the moment his brother died. Edward IV had practised a 'divide and rule' policy, playing the Woodvilles off against Richard, Buckingham and Hastings. Once Edward died, one side had to get the other before the other side got them. Richard won the race. Edward, however, was already at age 12 devoted to his Wodville relatives. Don't forget that medieval kings started ruling quite young - Edward IV himself at 18. At 17, Edward III had organised the coup that resulted in the removal and death of Mortimer. So Richard didn't have long. Hence the reason for removing Edward's other supporters, seizing the crown himself, and then having the Princes killed. Buckingham's actions around the time of his rebellion suggest that the Princes were dead by then. Ricardians remind me a bit of holocaust deniers. It's a bit ridiculous to call More, a man who went to his death for what he believed the truth, a propagandist scribbler because you just happen not to agree with what he wrote.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Shakespear was a playwright, not an historian. His plays were based loosely on fact. Very loosely. But many people have taken his dramatic presentation as pure fact and, being too lazy to do their own research, believed that what he presented was the true story.

    Why would anyone impersonate a younger brother and not the heir to the throne? Because the younger brother would inherit sufficient money, and social status, to live comfortably, without all the hassle and the danger that went with holding the throne.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Richard is generally thought to have been the instigator of the murder of the two princes because he had the greatest motive; he also stayed silent when they disappeared. In those days also, any claimant to a seized or usurped throne (and even a legitimate claim) would have been a focal point for plots against the monarch. Richard would never have been safe as King.

    However, even though many modern historians are convinced that Richard was the killer, there are still supporters of the last Plantagenet king about. Here are two web sites you can browse:

    When Henry VII defeated Richard III at Bosworth, he had a rather tenuous claim to the throne of England. Therefore, propaganda was used to convince people that Richard was a hunchbacked cripple (in those days deformity was a sign of an evil character, or witchcraft, or of one abandoned by God) and that Henry was their legitimate King by right. Sir Thomas More was a perpetrator of this view in his rather questionable history. Shakespeare used this to flatter the Tudor dynasty by portraying him as such before the Queen who was a Tudor; it proved that she was wholly and legitimately Queen of England! Any remaining Plantagenet claimants to the throne were effectively executed by Henry VII's son, Henry VIII. (scroll down a bit)

    "Henry VII did his utmost to blacken the name of his rival. Sir Thomas More's history of the reign was used by Shakespeare, who immortalized Richard III as the humped back, evil villain of the popular imagination.

    It was not until after the death of England's last Tudor monarch, that George Buck felt secure to challenge the accepted view of the king in his history of Richard's reign, which was written in 1619."

    As for pretenders claiming to be the younger of the two princes:

    "At an early stage the survival of Prince Edward seems to have been dropped and all rumours concentrated on the younger one."

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We weren't alive when this happened. Richard was said to be a self-centric egoistic madman who wanted to be king. The princes were in the way, although it could have been somebody else who plotted. The boys are said to haunt the tower to this day.

    • You know nothing. He was greatly loved in the north of England where he remembered to this day. Ireland too was treated with justice by the house of York. He was just the opposite of what you say,often taking the side of the little guy against their social superiors.

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