You can't make up history like this

I’ve been convinced for a long time that his mother, Margaret Beaufort (see John of Gaunt), was the brains behind it.

Kat, Member of the Richart III Society.

That’s my take on the matter as well. It isn’t as if Henry Tudor didn’t take every opportunity to slander Richard III in the history books as it is — if there had been any legitimate evidence that Richard III had been responsible for the murders of princes, that’d be the first thing to come out.

I always thought that Buckingham was behind it.

Always wondered why nobody saw the princes after Sept.-Oct. 1483.

Henry VII had another reason for repealing Titulus Regius: his wife, Elizabeth of York. (The princes’ sister.)

Just out of curiousity: ISTR that a few years ago two small skeletons were found interred in the stairs of the Bloody Tower. I believe most people have assumed them to be the remains of the two princes, but has there been any confirmation of that? DNA, carbon dating, or clothing/fiber analysis - that sort of thing?

If I remember correctly, the bones weren’t even human. Wikipedia suggests that the bones were first found in 1675 during a renovation and were interred in Westminster Abbey; they were later reexamined but not all the bones were even human. Age and sex could not be determined.

Therefore it’s obvious that Richard III used black sorcery to transform the two princes into a little girl and a dog before having them murdered.

So I was searching for an old post, where I could have sworn that I had argued in the opposite of this - that Richard III had very good and pressing reasons for taking them out. I’m pretty sure I based this on Charles Ross’ biography of Richard III - Ross being in the “rather more likely than not” category.

Instead I found this thread from 2006 where Mississippienne and I were discussing death rates of extinction among nobility. Which tickled me, because I remember the cite I couldn’t recall then :p.

You’re right - it was more like a quarter ( ~24-30% ) of the English peerage per 25 year generation in the 14th century :D. Per K.B. MacFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England ( 1973 Clarendon Press, Oxford ). Poking around apparently the numbers were much the same for the 15th and 16th century and E. Perroy ( for France ) and A. Grant ( for Scotland ) have turned up roughly similar numbers. So noble houses in western Europe seemed to have gone extinct ( or were very occasionally dispossed ) in the male line, on average, after four generations, at least in the High Middle Ages/Renaissance.

Err…sorry for the hijack, but it IS rather mundane and pointless ;).

After pondering Henry VIII and his six wives, why the hell did #6 (Catherine Parr) agree to marry him? By the time Cathy #3 got there, Henry VIII had already had two wives annulled (Cathy #1 and Anne #2) and two wives beheaded (Anne #1 and Cathy #2). The remaining wife (Jane Seymour) died in childbirth. Was Catherine Parr a gambler, or what?

No, but she was past child-bearing age. Which is what got most of the others into trouble one way or another.

The really sad thing about these histories is the immense waste all these dynastic wars caused. Battle after battle. Towns and farms destroyed. Just plain mass murder.

And the common folk not only put up with it, but actually signed up to fight in these wars. Why would they care which idiot was king?

I think the saddest character in English history is Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen. I’ve read one book and seen the movie with Helena Bonham Carter (and from what I understand, there was no love between her and her husband, but the movie portrayed that there was.)

Poor thing got swept up into intrigue far above her head by ambitious parents, and ended up dying for it.

This is my favourite story from history.
And it’s about why you shouldn’t f^$< your niece.

Let’s talk about Carlos II of Spain. His mother, Mariana of Austria, was the niece of his father, Philip IV of Spain. Philip IV and Mariana’s mother Maria Anna of Spain, as well as Mariana’s father the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, were all grandchildren of Charles II of Austria and his niece-wife, Maria Anna of Bavaria. Philip IV and Maria Anna of Spain were descended from an uncle-niece marriage on their father Philip III’s side, too – his parents, Philip II of Spain and Anne of Austria.

Anyway, as you might have predicted, Carlos II was born grossly deformed, with the famed Habsburg jaw so large that he could not even chew, and a tongue so huge it lolled out of his mouth, causing him to drool continually and making his speech almost unintelligible. He was physically and mentally handicapped, epileptic, and completely bald by age 35. He is known to history as Carlos el Hechizado, “Carlos the Bewitched.”

This is what comes when fourteen of your great-great-great-grandmothers are Joanna the Mad.

Anyway, naturally enough, he proved completely incapable of fathering an heir, despite two very unfortunate princesses from fertile families being selected for the purpose. Despite his complete invalidity, he “baffled Christendom by continuing to live.” His death in 1700 at age 38 marked the end of the Spanish Habsburgs, and touched off the War of the Spanish Succession.

This war, which pitted France (which wanted to put Louis XIV’s grandson the Duke of Anjou on the Spanish throne) against the Holy Roman Empire, Britain, Prussia, and other states (who would really prefer not to see anyone descended from Louis XIV ruling Spain), turned into a world war on four continents between the great imperial powers.

The moral of the story: Don’t f^$< your niece. It could cause the War of the Spanish Succession.

The Time of Troubles, in Russia, after the death of Ivan IV, The Terrible.

It’s a period of about 15 years where no one had effective control over the Russian state. The noble families were warring with each other, the traditional enemies of the Russians - the Poles - were stirring the pot with legendary success, and the common people were getting another lesson in why anarchy is a bad thing.

If you want to weep and rail and even laugh at human stupidity and wastefulness I can’t think of many periods that match the Time of Troubles for fodder for this.

My favorite story from that time is about Marina, the wife of Dmitri, Tsar of all the Russians, also known as the First False Dmitri.

Dmitri was, himself, something of a pretender to the throne. He claimed to be the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, who had miraculously escaped an assassination attempt years earlier. Regardless of the questions about his legitimacy, he managed to get the backing of several of the leading families of the Moscovite nobility, and forced the throne away from Boris Godunov, who had taken it after the death of Ivan.

Needless to say, Dmitri owed a lot of favors upon taking the throne, and was in the position of facing a very insecure reign. To strengthen his power he sought foreign alliances with the Polish-Lithuanian Empire, and the Pope in Rome. Alas, his chosen bride, a Polish noblewoman, refused to convert to the Orthodox faith, and soon rumors that as a condition of support for Dmitri from these foreign powers was that he would convert Russia to Roman Catholicism. Eventually, these rumors grew common enough that a plot was formed to depose Dmitri, and he was shot while escaping.

Or so everyone thought.

Several months later, Marina’s father found a man who looked nothing like Dmitri, but when this man was presented to Marina, she miraculously recognized her “missing” husband in him. And so began the campaign for the Second False Dmitri to “retake” his throne. By promising wholesale confiscation of noble estates he raised a very large army, supported by a solid core of Polish and Cossack troops.

Alas, this Dmitri was drinking heavily one night when he ran afoul of another young snot of a noble whom he had had flogged. And he was shot, killed, and beheaded.

Then a few years later, a third false Dmitri appeared and was crowned Tsar by what appears to have been a marauding band of Cossacks who had happened to sack Moscow. He didn’t last very long, and I, for one, wonder what would have happened had he met Marina, but it does remain an evocative look at a period that helped to set a national character.

She probably had no choice in the matter. Who could say no to a king? After he died she waited a few weeks and then married Thomas Seymour, uncle to Henry’s heir Edward. Sadly she died in childbirth. Seymour was led the tower where he was killed for plotting against his elder brother who was steward of England at that time.

This is one of my favorite books on the subject of Henry the Eighth. The author looks at Henry from the perspective of his wifes rather than from the prespective of the people of the time who tended to side with the king because it was prudent. Anne of Cleves, for example, she argues was put aside not because Henry found her ugly but because she clearly did not find physically attractive.

I like the Tudors. All that effort Henry went through for a male heir. Yet in one of history’s best joke his real heir was female Elizabeth I, certainly a worthy successor and truly one of the greatest rulers England ever knew.

Don’t be ridiculous. Or so credulous.

There is just too much evidence showing that Richard had them killed – the fact that they vanished from the tower (and their jailer was let go) two years before Henry invaded. No one has ever shown them to be alive later than September of 1483; Henry invaded in 1485. Remember – at this time the Tower of London was a public park; people saw the prices up until the summer of 1483, but no one ever saw them afterwards.

Then there was the report by one of those involved in the killing that told exactly where the bodies were buried – a century before they were discovered (and, yes, the two bodies found when Charles renovated the Tower could only be the two princes – they were prepubescents draped in velvet. Velvet only came to England under the rule of Edward IV, and if Henry had killed the princes, Edward would have been 14 and thus past puberty. The two princes were the only two prepubescent children who were unaccounted for in the tower from the invention of velvet until Charles renovated)>

There’s more. Henry had no motive since he ruled by right of conquest, not right of blood (he was not even the actual Lancaster claimant – others within his house had a better claim on the throne). Everyone believed the prince were dead two years before Henry took the throne, so there was no need to state the obivous. Also, when Henry took over, the Yorkist heir after the princes happened to be in the tower. Henry didn’t kill him until he was ordered to as a condition of his son’s marriage.

Finally, no one believed Richard’s claim that the princes were illegitamate, especially since he used different stories at different times as a basis. And Richard had a much better reason to kill the princes – not from the Yorkists, but from the Woodville faction, who was his main threat to the throne. Henry Tudor was not a serious threat in 1483, but the Woodvilles were – and they power was solely due to them being relatives of the princes. Once the princes were gone, the Woodvilles were just another family.

People love conspiracies, but there is absolutely no evidence that anyone other than Richard had the princes killed.

Re: Pointlessness of the Wars of the Roses: My understanding is that the Wars extended over 30-odd years, and over that time involved about 20 weeks, total, of actual campaigning and combat. No wonder they didn’t change much.

So why all the attention? 1. The people most affected by them were the very upper classes–the ones most likely to commission and read histories. They were the ones whose ancestors got beheaded or had to flee after being on the losing side of the sporadic campaigns; everyone else disarmed and went back to work. 2. The wars did interest Sir Walter Scott (who coined the term “Wars of the Roses”) and Shakespeare, whose works were and are far more popular than those of historical scholars.

She’s attracted to dangerous men? Hardly uncommon, even in this century.

Any reason why the children’s bones haven’t been examined since 1933? With modern DNA testing, it should be trivial to determine their lineage, if not their true identity.

That could be a line in any episode of Blackadder.

Finished up the first book in the trilogy, which ended in 1603 with the death of Elizabeth I.

1588 is another one of those years that stuck in my head: defeat of the Spanish Armada. We were never really told what the hell the Spanish Armada was doing in the English Channel, only that henceforth, in some vague way, England had mastery of the seas and could establish colonies in America. The Protestant Reformation, Henry VIII, Philip II, Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth herself were never mentioned as being important background to understanding why the Armada needed to be defeated at all.

Henry VIII would ordinarily have been a good Catholic king, content to rule in Rome’s shadow, had it not been for two things: he needed a male heir (which he didn’t get from Catherine of Aragon; she was daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and the mother of Mary) and he wanted to get into Anne Boleyn’s pants. Since Anne refused to be a mistress — for her it was queen or nothing — Henry VIII was compelled to seek approval for divorce from the pope.

Unfortunately, the pope had been captured by Charles V — Catherine’s nephew, as it turns out — so no divorce approval was forthcoming. Henry VIII decides that he’s going to be the pope of his own damned church and grants himself a divorce anyway, then marries Anne Boleyn (she was the mother of Elizabeth).

Anne is beheaded; Catherine dies; Henry marries Jane Seymour (she is the mother of Edward VI), but she dies too. Damn the luck. There is a great deal of legal shuffling of heirs and the line of succession changes several times.

But meanwhile, England has become a much less Catholic place. The rift between Catholic and Protestant is not healed by Edward; “Bloody” Mary succeeds him (let’s ignore nine-day Jane for now) and tries to undo the effects of the Reformation personally and with liberal amounts of bloodshed; Elizabeth succeeds Mary and the counter-counter-Reformation takes place.

Still, Elizabeth has no heir (well, technically she has no offspring … there is an heir to the throne and Mary Queen of Scots wants it to be herself). All the good Catholics are mad at England, namely Spain — where Catherine of Aragon was from! — and with the succession up in the air, Philip II sees a chance to convert England back by the sword.

But Philip’s Armada is defeated, and England reigns supreme on the waves. England starts its overseas colonies in North America; Spain diminishes.

All because of Anne Boleyn. That woman cast a lonnnng shadow on history by refusing to be a mistress to Henry VIII. It was arguably the most important booty call of all time. Talk about a face that launched a thousand ships…

Nonetheless, she rather quickly came to a rather unfortunate end as I recall. :slight_smile:

At least she quit while she was a head.

Somewhere along the way, I came by a book titled “A Jubilee History of England”, by Duffy, printed in 1887. It has beautiful lithographs throughout that depict people, battles, etc. I’ve never been able to find out what it’s worth, if anything, and haven’t yet gotten around to trying to read it. I may have to give it a try, since my Saunders line is connected to all of these rascals.