The Princes in the Tower

[openbook booknumber=”0712673792″]

[rating:3/5]

For those of you who don’t know the story of the princes in the tower here is a quick re-cap.

There were two princes of England who were eight and twelve when the oldest of the two inherited the throne. Their father had died unexpectedly young and this lead to an unfortunate power struggle. The two boys were ultimately locked up in the White Tower by their uncle, Richard III who then assumed the throne.

Some year or so later the boys mysteriously disappeared. In modern times what is almost certainly their bones were found buried beneath a stair well in the tower which has brought the mystery of their plight and ultimate fate back to the fore-front of modern debate.

This book takes the debate, and approaches it in a very linear and logical fashion. The author lists all of the sources of reliable information and lists not only what she considers to be the best and worst sources, but why she considers them so.


The late fifteenth centure was a violent age not noted for sentimentality. It was accepted that men often died horribly in battle or on the scaffold. Yet the murder of children provoked appaled shock and indignation.

She then starts from fairly far back in history, with the crowning of the Princes’ father, Henry IV and the story of the relationship he had with his brother Richard III. This turns out to be vital to understanding the psyche of Richard and helps the reader to understand decisions he made later in life.

The author keeps the proceedings logical and explains away a lot of the “Richard is completely innocent” arguments about what must have happened at that time. By the same token she doesn’t completely vilify the man, either.

By the end of the book you realize that while some of this was the doing of a not necessarily evil man, it was also caused by feuds and bad circumstances. Richard was committing an act of self preservation against the Queen and the powerful Wydville influence.

If you have an interest in England’s history, or in the story of The Princes in the Tower, and if you are as detail oriented as I am, wanting the whole story, then by all means this is a book for you. If not then you probably won’t like this book at all, and might even find it boring, hence the three stars.

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