Edward V and Richard Duke of York - Facts, History - Prisoner of the Tower

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Edward V inherited the throne when he was 12. His father was Edward IV of England and his mother was Elizabeth of Woodville (Elizabeth Grey).

His uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (King Richard III) put Edward V and his younger brother Richard Duke of York in the tower to await Edward's coronation around 1483.  The Tower of London was then a royal residence. It was customary for all royalty to await their coronation therein.

Richard was appointed Lord Protector of the two boys. However, Richard said he discovered that the princes were bastards. He claimed that Edward V marriage to Elizabeth Grey was not legal based on accusations that Edward V had had a pre-contract marriage with an Eleanor Butler. It was also, rumored that Edward V's father was not his mother's husband which would make Edward IV a bastard and not legally king.

The two boys, known as the little princes, disappeared in the tower of London and rumored to have been murdered. Richard III has been blamed for their murder. When the two boys died (both heirs to the throne), Richard became king. So, he had the most to gain.

However, there is some speculation that Henry Tudor, his mother, Margaret Beaufort or Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham may have had the boys killed. If Henry Tudor had the princes killed, then he removed any claims to the throne and put the blame for the killings on Richard III who already had a bad reputation. This is still a mystery and will most likely never be solved.

Bones that are thought to be that of the little princes were found under the steps in the White tower sometime in 1674. The remains were reburied in Westminster Abbey by order of Charles II. There is a movement to try and identify these bones as the princes through DNA and/or carbon dating since the recent discovery of Richard III's remains. However, the British authorities refused permission. They believe it would not prove Richard III guilt or innocence. They also would not know what to do with the bones that are buried as the Princes if they prove not to be them.

Perkin Warbeck first appeared in Cork Ireland as an impersonator of Richard, duke of York, (Edward Vís brother who died in the tower). He was recognized in the courts of Vienna and Burgundy as the rightful king. It is thought that Warbeck could have been one of Edward IV's illegitimate sons. There is also theories that Richard, Duke of York, escaped and went to Flanders. Other theories say that both princes escaped or were hidden away. Warbeck was captured in 1497 and put in the tower of London with the Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick. Henry Vii arranged for the 2 to escape then recaptured them. Edward Plantagenet and Perkin Warbeck were executed for treason. Edward Plantagenet was the son of Edward IV's brother, George and wife Isabel, the Kingmaker's daughter. The Duke had a good claim to the throne. The main reason they both were executed is Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain refused to marry their daughter Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIIís son Author unless there was no threat to Henryís throne and the succession.

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