The Princes in the Tower: The tale of their mysterious disappearance

    the princes in the tower
    Credit: Historic Royal Palaces/

    2022 marks the 10 year anniversary since the uncovering of the remains of King Richard III of England. We look back at the mystery of the Princes in the Tower and how Richard III took the throne…

    The story of Princes in the Tower is a famous and tragic tale of the disappearance of two young boys who were in line to the throne. Here we delve into the tale of what happened to them and consider if Richard III was really involved in their disappearance

    When King Edward IV died in 1483 his two sons were only 12 and nine years old. At 12, Edward stood to inherit the throne and was moved (with his brother Richard) to live in the Tower of London which was customary at the time when awaiting a coronation.

    Richard III was the brother of Edward IV and was officially named the protector of the realm. His nephews, the young heir and his brother, were placed under his care to protect. 

    The last sighting of the boys playing in the Tower of London gardens was in June 1483. Within a matter of weeks and before Edward’s coronation could take place the boys were pronounced as illegitimate. This was due to a claim that the marriage between Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville was unauthorised. 

    A few days after the boys had been declared illegitimate, Richard III took the crown for himself and ascended to the position of King. 

    Young Edward and Richard were never seen again and their mysterious disappearance haunted the two years that Richard III ruled, as many people were angry and suspicious of him. Richard III was killed on 22 August, 1485, at the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor (Henry VII) took the throne.

    the princes in the tower

    In 1674 workmen found two skeletons at the base of the staircase to the chapel in the White Tower. Following investigations by the royal surgeon and selected antiquaries, the remains were declared to be those of the Princes in the Tower, and King Charles II had them reburied in an urn in Westminster Abbey.

    In 1933 the skeletons were re-examined using more modern scientific techniques and, while findings are not considered conclusive, they are generally thought consistent with two children of the ages of the Princes.

    But was it really Richard that had them killed? That is a mystery still yet to be solved…

    Read more: 

    The Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    Top 11 House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones filming locations in the UK

    Five ways to follow in the footsteps of King Richard III


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