Aaand, we’re back at it. To note, this will be my last historical post before the New Year due to travel, but we’ll reconvene the second week of January. (In the meantime, of course, if you follow the modern stuff , there will the traditional end-of-year wrap-ups next week.) Anyway. The Princes in the Tower. Henry VII. Rebellions. Before we start, if you missed the last post on evidence for the Princes’ potential survival, you can catch up here. I recommend making sure that you’ve read it since I’ve written the below on the assumption you’re clear on those events.
Ok! Part Sixteen! If you missed the most recent post in our Richard III series, then you can catch up here. Today we’re going to discuss evidence that the “Princes in the Tower” may well have survived. I feel fairly confident that the evidence for why they didn’t has been well-covered, and frankly the most glaring piece of it is that they disappeared during Richard III’s reign, so…let’s just go ahead and wade into the murkier territory.
Okay! Part Seven! If you missed Friday’s post covering Richard’s marriage to Anne Neville, then you can catch up here. Today, we’re going to cover Edward IV’s disastrous 1475 military campaign in France and Richard’s disagreement with his brother over the end result.
Ok, we’re picking up where we left off yesterday with Richard III. You can catch up on how I’m approaching him here. As I mentioned yesterday, we know very little about Richard’s early years save that they were predominantly spent at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, and that his most constant companions were his sister, Margaret, and his brother, George. Our next glimpse of him comes in October 1459 when Richard was seven, by which time the first half of the Wars of the Roses was well underway.
One of my favorite figures from the Wars of the Roses is Cecily Neville, Duchess of York who came very close to becoming England’s queen through her husband and ended up mother to two, Edward IV and Richard III. She was grandmother to the Princes in the Tower, mother-in-law to Elizabeth Woodville and Anne Neville, mother to a Duchess of Burgundy and rival to Marguerite of Anjou. In short, she was something to almost everyone and while we know where she was and what she did more often than most women of her time, we know remarkably little about who she actually was.
If you’re familiar with her, it’s actually a bit astonishing given the wealth of information we have to parse through and the level of fame that her family achieved. We have flashes of activity over the course of several decades, but only two real moments of humanity shine through, both of which relate to her children. We know that she was beautiful, though it’s unclear to what extent that was exaggerated given her rank. We believe that she was religious based on her increasingly public piety and retirement to a convent. We assume she mourned the loss of her husband and children.