Richard III - Did Richard Kill the Children?

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Did Richard III Kill the Children?

We really cannot know for certain. If there was a cover-up to protect the actual murderers, it was done exceedingly well and so thoroughly that we will never be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what really happened. In spite of what I see as very persuasive evidence that Richard did not kill the children, there are many very intelligent, highly successful, and unquestionably reputable historical scholars out there who believe that they have evidence that the king did commit the murders and that this evidence is equally as compelling as anything I believe.

But since you ask, let me give you my reasons. First, Richard did not have a strong enough need to kill the boys or enough of a reason. He seems to have successfully had them declared bastards legally--based on evidence of bigamy against his elder brother (their late father) Edward IV-- before he (Richard) ascended the throne. This action removed the boys from the line of succession to the throne of England. Killing them might thereby rid Richard of two people who later might try to prove their own right to inherit, but killing them also might alienate him from his own supporters as a murderer of his own family. This logic, however, does not save Richard from the charge of having had someone else--most commonly thought to be Buckingham--assassinate them secretly. I still do not feel this is likely, for reasons I will explain as I go. But Richard's successor, the usurper Henry Tudor, had all sorts of good reasons to kill off any Plantagenet heirs to the throne, the main one being that Henry was out to establish his own family--the Tudors--as the reigning dynasty. Henry celebrated his success in taking over the throne by hiring his own historian to write an account of how this all came about, and we are still relying on this account, even though we know that it is pro-Tudor propaganda.

Second, Richard's family is known to have been extremely close in their affections for each other. Richard's older brother, Edward IV, seems to have trusted Richard a great deal; when the younger sibling was a mere teenager, Edward had him commanding armies in the battles over the succession (a.k.a. The Wars of the Roses). When Edward made his will, he left Richard as Regent to protect the two sons--Edward, Prince of Wales and Richard of York--of the dying king and his wife Elizabeth.

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