The Murder of the Princes

Anything with a vague historical bent

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Marcus Woodhouse
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The Murder of the Princes

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:14 pm

Audrey Williamson, Amberley Books 2nd edition 2010 ISBN 978-1-84868-321-1
Even though I am still not won over to the arguement that the two Princes were not done in by Richard iii, I still found this a worthy and very plausible read, especially in the evidence that it gives towards the survival of the younger of Edward's sons Richard, Duke of York.
I did found the angle the author took of "humanising" the characters and suggesting that they could not have done this or that because of affection etc a little naive. Afterall fratercide was well established in for instance Ottoman Turkey when it came to obtaining power. While I would agree that often historians do ignore such elements as family bonds and the way these may impact upon political events it is equally difficult to assume or base the motivation of historical characters on what "we" would have done.
My own research into the past does make it clear to me that while there are many ways in which we can connect to, or begin to imagine how a 15th century man or woman might feel, they remain in many other ways totally alien to us in thought patterns, for instance the avowed atheist and feminist Audrey Williamson would have comaprable figure in 1485.
It is also once again irksome to come across an researcher who goes to great lengths to point out the obvious bias and demonising poraganda of the Tudors in relation to Richard III while accepting so many of the same myths with regard to the Woodvilles.
For instance she again gives the story of the Queens Gold in which Elizabeth Woodville is meant to have bankrupted some poor London merchant because he didn't give her mother some tapestries (in fact he was arrested and found to be a Lancastrain spy and Elizabeth waved her rights to Queen's Gold on this and other occasions), Sir Edward fled England with the dead Kings treasure (in fact he was ordered to set sail by the Council and Parliament the day after Edward died to ward off any French attack and his fleet left him only when they discovered he had no money to pay them to stay at sea). It is a shame that having gone to so much trouble to find out valuable information about Richard and other players in the events of 1483-1485 she uses these ad hoc as it does lower what was an otherwise reasoned exploration into the fate of the Princes in the Tower.
And I still think it was Col Mustard with a candle stick in the kitchens.


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