Poll: Who Killed the Princes in the Tower?

who-killed-princes

Given the series we’ve been running about the Princes in the Tower, and the murder’s repetition as a motif throughout Game of Thrones, it might be fun to see who you think killed the Princes in the Tower.

Who Killed the Princes in the Tower?

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(If you are unfamiliar with the mystery, please see the synopsis in this article. If you are unfamiliar with the suspects or want to learn more about them, please see this Wikipedia page for a brief overview.)

 

 

 

 

Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."

12 Comments

  • Reply April 28, 2014

    Martine

    Voted. ‘Cherchez La Femme’ as the French say and the Female of The Species is More Deadly Than The Male as all the songs and movies say.. 🙂 xx

  • Reply April 28, 2014

    antiwhitequeen

    Margaret Beaufort is 2nd?!

  • Reply April 30, 2014

    WATCHER ON THE COUCH

    Quite often in real life as opposed to fiction, it’s the most obvious person “who dunnit”. I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know for certain. I read Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” years ago. It’s food for thought but I’m not convinced by it

  • Reply May 1, 2014

    Edward Tudor

    The only person who had the means, motive but most of all opportunity was Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Richard had control of the Tower of London where the Princes were being held prisoner.
    The Woodvilles tried to break into the Tower to free the Princes and failed. The Tower of London was then and is still one of the most secure buildings in the country if not the world.
    Henry Tudor could not have committed the murders as he was escaping from Richard’s assassins in Brittany and France.
    Margaret Beaufort was over two hundred miles away on a manor in Lancashire under house arrest.
    Buckingham or Tyrell could have done the actual murders but in my opinion it would have been on Richard’s orders.

    I read Tey’s book and I am glad that Grant, her detective, is fictional or the crime figures in London would be even worse than the currently are.

    • Reply May 1, 2014

      antiwhitequeen

      I think the people who say that it was Margaret claim that she ordered it. And of course Henry did it after he became king (even though they were already missing before then). If the Woodvilles believed it was Richard, that’s enough for me.
      But you know who we have to thank for the blame on Margaret now…

    • Reply May 3, 2014

      Watcher on the Couch

      Well, in “The Franchise Affair” Josephine Tey has one character detracting another character (who does turn out to be a “bad” girl) because she has eyes of a certain shade of blue and persons with that shade of blue are “always oversexed”. I thought that was a bit daft even when I was a teenager – that’s even more illogical than Grant’s deductions in TDoT. I did think her books were good light reads back in the day though they are dated now. I had thought perhaps Ms Tey was a bit of a snob from some of the things in her books but on googling her biography it seems she came from an ordinary background. It seems she went with a hunch in thinking Richard III had been maligned. She thought from looking at a picture of him he could not be the baddie of popular legend.

      I think I know who ANTIWHITEQUEEN is blaming for the idea certain people now have of Margaret Beaufort. To a lot of people currently MB is “Mental Margaret” even though in real life she appears to have been a genuinely religious and pious lady. I know many people are not religious nowadays but I think it is silly to apply 21st century criteria when evaluating people who were living in very different time periods. There is no rule forbidding writers from penning fanciful tales based on people who actually lived though I do wish such writers would be honest and explain to their readers that the stories are “romps” and that for genuine history one should consult a non-fiction book (though even some of those can be dodgy). I personally prefer writers of historical fiction to be as honest as possible in their depictions of their interpretations of historical persons though when people lived a very long time ago I will admit that it is difficult to know what is truth and what is falsehood and what is somewhere in the middle.

    • Reply May 3, 2014

      Jun

      Yeah the motive, plus the fact that he was in power, is enough for me! As if Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch murdered the Elia and her kids entirely on their own accord.

    • Reply March 27, 2015

      timetravellingbunny

      There are several people who would have had means, opportunity and most importantly, a much better motive than Richard III – Buckingham and Thomas Stanley and his wife Margaret Beaufort among others (obviously, Margaret would be involved in a conspiracy in that scenario – it’s not like she would have done anything herself, duh! so where she was is irrelevant).

      The motive argument is really why Richard III as a culprit makes the least sense to me. Unless he was monumentally stupid. His motive is supposed to have been that he wouldn’t have been secure until the princes were dead? Well, how was he secure once they disappeared? They weren’t even known to be dead, there were no bodies, he could have had pretenders appearing over the next years and raising rebellions. The only thing it achieved was that his reputation plummeted and never recovered, surely if people had issues with him taking the throne, they had much more with the idea he murdered his nephews (which also would further support the view that he was a usurper)? Even if they didn’t think he was involved, a king who fails to protect his nephews while he’s responsible for them, doesn’t look good. If he wanted to eliminate them, the things that would make sense would be to: 1) have them die of “natural causes” or “accidents” and organize state funerals for them, showing everyone they’re dead (basically, similar to what Edward IV did with Henry VI), 2) blame someone else for the murders and again, organize the state funerals and show everyone they’re dead. Why not blame Buckingham, after Buckingham organized a rebellion against him in favor of (or supposedly in favor of, who knows what B was planning) Henry Tudor? Someone trying to get Henry Tudor on the throne (and possibly look for benefits or an in for themselves there) would have had the best motive to do away with the princes, which would both get them out of the way and let Richard take the blame in the public opinion.

      If Richard III ordered the deaths of the princes, it was the stupidest, most self-destructive murder plan in history.

  • Reply May 4, 2014

    Martine

    Watcher On The Couch wrote: “Josephine Tey has one character detracting another character (who does turn out to be a “bad” girl) because she has eyes of a certain shade of blue and persons with that shade of blue are “always oversexed”

    Oh that’s so very funny. I wish I could elaborate on WHY.. but it is very amusing.

  • Reply May 24, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    Nothing about sexy eyes today! There has been a bit of controversy among history buffs in the UK as to where King Richard III’s bones (if they are in fact his; some people think the DNA evidence has not been tested strongly enough to prove) should be lain to rest, Yorkshire or Leicester or Westminster Abbey (though the last one is pretty full by now). On a history website I visit somebody had posted a link to another website, which wasn’t actually about the controversy but referred to Richard being a northern King http://deremilitari.org/2014/05/richard-duke-of-gloucester-and-the-north/. I must admit I never thought about Richard being a King in the North before though Yorkshire is a northern county. At present it looks like Leicester will be getting the bones.

    Talking about websites linking to other websites, the Edward II blog referred on this site is worth a look, although the lady who writes it has exposed some books I thought of as “kosher” (not Mrs P G; couldn’t get into her books at all) as having flaws, so the books by the not-PG author will have to “guilty pleasures” in future. I thought the entry on the Edward II site concerning a support group for historical personnages mistreated in historical fiction was hilarious.

    • Reply May 24, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      I was actually against Richard being buried in Leicester. But oh well… That link looks interesting in regards to the discussion of R3 being Northern and a Northern king. I’ll have to read it.
      Richard III was, like all his a York siblings born into a family not necessarily strongly based in the north. They didn’t spend a lot of time there. The amazing Michael Hicks and JR Lander (I think it was in Kings and Nobles amongst others) have written extensively on Richard’s northern retinue and his power base, which IMO have been generally overestimated. While Richard’s networking skills were quite good, if not excellent, his power largely derived from Warwick’s great northern affinity. Richard was also an extremely good at “good lordship” I believe. I like to think that he gained his skills from Warwick, but I don’t think there is any evidence for this. In terms of his Northern base, his relationship with the Percy leader was not great and he basically strong-armed into submission as a vassal.
      Of course, correct me if I’m wrong. I’m going by memory and it has been months since I’ve read any Wars of the Roses material.

  • Reply March 27, 2015

    timetravellingbunny

    I wish this was a multiple choice, because all of these are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I tend to think, using the “who had the best motive and profited/could have profited most from it”, that it was someone in the trio of Buckingham, Margaret (obviously she wouldn’t have done it herself, duh – I’m confused as to why there are arguments such as “she was far away”) and her husband Thomas Stanley; the latter two would be working together. Now, Henry VII was the one who clearly profited the most, but I don’t think *he* did it, but one of the people trying to get him into power. And if that was their motive, it was almost the perfect crime. If Buckingham did it, it made sense as a part of a plan to play kingmaker to Henry but then possibly try to profit further and get himself on the throne, but he overplayed his hand. On the other hand, he could have been involved in a plot with Margaret and Stanley.

    So, I was torn between “Margaret and Stanley organized it, possibly with Buckingham’s involvement, possibly not” and “Buckingham did it, hoping to apparently curry favor with either side (but probably hoping to switch to Henry, considering his actions at the time) while planning to look for an in for himself”… I voted for Buckingham, but I could have for Margaret, too.

    Richard III seems to me the be the least likely since he would have had to be monumentally stupid to do it like that, and it didn’t bring him any benefits, only destroyed his reputation. Anyone else who would have benefited, more so, would know that Richard III would be blamed by popular opinion. And even if people didn’t think he did it, they would at best see him as a king who couldn’t protect his nephews while they were on his watch, so there’s really no way this was good for him.

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