After the death of King Edward IV, 12-year-old Edward V and his 9-year-old brother, Richard, Duke of York, were locked in the tower in June 1483 by their uncle, Richard III. Edward V was the heir apparent, but his accession to the throne never happened. Both boys vanished. The disappearance of the Two Princes in the Tower remained to be one of the greatest mysteries in British history. Call us crazy, but hindsight is 20/20? Sounds pretty obvious, but let’s dive a little deeper.
Their uncle, who locked them up in the tower in the first place, conveniently became king. Many historians believe the two boys were murdered. While the murder theory was plausible, nobody can confirm this for certain because the boys’ bodies were never recovered.
Many theories on how the princes died had been proposed through the years. Some believe the boys were suffocated using their bedding. Others think that they may have been drowned or killed by having their arteries cut. One more optimistic theory: One or both princes managed to escape the tower.
In recent years, a few historians believed that Richard III did not directly order the death of his nephews. They speculated that King Richard sent the boys far from home, and that it was actually Henry VII who murdered them for fear that the princes would return to claim the throne.
Overall, Richard III was known to be a religious man and a benevolent king. Despite this, his motivation to murder his nephews was very obvious. Upon Richard III’s ascension to the throne, many did not believe the rumor that Edward IV’s sons were illegitimate (and therefore, not the rightful heirs). Richard III’s rule was met with great opposition. He only ruled for two years before dying in battle, shrouded in suspicion.