The Dangerous Job of Being a British Prince

Life will probably be quite rosy for the newborn Prince George of Cambridge, but back when the title of king meant real power, it was quite dangerous to be a prince, especially a crown prince. There was always someone who wanted you dead. Pictured here are the princes Edward and Richard, sons of King Edward IV. They were kept in a tower by their uncle, who became King Richard III.

Edward senior went boating one day in 1483 and soon after became ill and died (in a rather prolonged way which to some suggests foul play) when junior was only 12.  Senior managed to make his youngest brother Richard (yes, that Richard) Protector of the young uncrowned king and that was exactly what he did, placing his nephew in the Tower of London for his own protection.  He was soon joined by his younger brother, Richard.  The coronation would secure Junior’s position as the crowned King of England never came.  Dear old Uncle Richard had the pair declared illegitimate by Parliament and was then crowned Richard III.  However, despite this, the two princes still disappeared.

History has pointed an accusing finger directly at Richard III who, as the next in line to the throne, had the most to gain by disappearing the boys. Yet he was already king and the boys' mother later allied herself to him, hardly a sign that a doting mother might give that she believed the boys' uncle to also be their executor.  There are other names in the frame for the disappearance of the princes but my personal favorite is Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby.

Read the rest of that complicated story, plus those of five other young princes who would have been better off born as commoners. Link  -via the Presurfer

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The princes in the tower story is quite false but (thanks in part to Shakespeare) poor Richard III remains falsely maligned. In my freshman year of college, my history professor assigned The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey because it tells the REAL story of what happens (by way of a modern-day cop realizing that the case against Richard is ridiculous and never appeared during his lifetime.) But more importantly, it underscores how easily history can be twisted when the victors write their version of it.
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