Did Richard III actually save tragic princes held in the Tower of London?

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  • Richard III of England
    English monarch
A portrait of King Richard III at the National Portrait Gallery  (PA)
A portrait of King Richard III at the National Portrait Gallery (PA)

Richard III’s reputation as a treacherous tyrant who would assassinate his own nephews in cold blood for a chance at the throne may have to be re-examined, according to new research.

The urn allegedly holding Princes Edward, 12, and 9-year-old Richard’s remains bears the inscription they were “stifled with pillows by the order of their perfidious uncle Richard the Usurper.”

The sons of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville became threats to Richard III’s claim to the throne during the Wars of the Roses when Edward IV died in 1483.

The brothers were kept in the Tower of London by their protector Richard, ahead of young Edward’s coronation, history records.

The boys were held in the Tower of London (Pixabay)
The boys were held in the Tower of London (Pixabay)

But it is assumed they were murdered after Richard III took the throne for himself.

Bones of two children were found buried below a staircase in the Tower nearly 200 years later.

But Richard III may not have killed the young ‘Princes in the Tower’ instead allowing the older boy, Edward V, to live in secret under a false name in a rural Devon village.

The shock reveal comes in research led by Philippa Langley, the historian responsible for a dig that found the remains of Richard III in a Leicester car park in 2012.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Langley and colleagues followed a paper trail including medieval documents that led them to Coldridge, where royal Yorkist symbols are carved into the local church, St Matthew’s.

The findings suggest a secret deal was struck by the boy’s mother that allowed Edward V to live the rest of his life in exile under the fake name ‘John Evans’.

One of the investigators of the project, John Dike, told the Telegraph: “With all the secret symbols and clues, it sounds somewhat like the Da Vinci Code. But the discoveries inside this church in the middle of nowhere are extraordinary.

“The evidence suggests that Edward was sent to live out his days on his half-brother’s land as long as he kept quiet, as part of a deal reached between his mother and Richard III, and later with Henry Tudor.

“Once you take all the clues together, it does appear that the story of the princes in the tower may need to be rewritten.”

In the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire Richard III was butchered as he vainly tried to reach the usurper Henry Tudor. He was the third King Richard to die by violent means and cautious monarchs have avoided the name since.

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